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New York Metro Field Study: Research Proposal
7-10 pages/ Typed and Doubled spaced
Students are being asked to compile a proposal for a ‘field research study’ of a particular topic of interest relative to the New York City Metropolitan Area (including Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, etc). Considering that 3 months is not a sufficient amount of time to conduct a thorough investigation of a research question, students will be asked to conduct just the beginning stages for the purposes of writing a research proposal. Students should propose research with one or a combination of the following methods: ‘Participant Observation,’ ‘Survey/Interviews,’ ‘A Social Experiment,’ ‘Unobtrusive Methods,’ and/or ‘Evaluation Research.’ This Proposal will consist of 5 major parts.
1. PROJECT SUMMARY (1 page)- What is the main problem/ question? Introduce your topic to the reader. What are you setting out to explore? State your hypothesis once. (Others might name this section “Statement of Purpose” or “Statement of Problem”)
2. LITERATURE REVIEW (3-4 pages)- Making use of at least 3 books (and or peer-reviewed journal articles) and as many periodicals as you like, provide a summary of what else has been written on this subject. Who has written about this? What theories or paradigms are appropriately attached to your research question? What published data would you like to introduce your subject with? What has not been done on this particular subject? Identify the concepts relative to your research question. Here is where you can begin to conceptualize your research question.
3. METHODOLOGY (2 pages)- Which methods are appropriate for your study? (i.e. participant observation, field experiments, and/or survey research). Why are these methods more appropriate than any other? What is your proposed research site? Who are the actors involved? How will you gain access to this space? Here’s where you can begin to operationalize your study. Explain the intended aggregates, attributes and variables involved in your study. Provide a timeline of you proposed study, and if necessary a budget.
4. ONE SET OF “FIELD NOTES” (2-3 pages)- Regardless of you chosen methods, I am asking you to physically place your body in a research environment; therefore, you can always produce one set of field notes. Field Notes are a ‘thick description’ of your experiences in your research field. A narrative of what has occurred. In these notes, you should be as detailed as possible. It would be wise to enter your field at least twice and take 2 sets of notes so you can choose one description that best fits your environment. These notes can be very informal and hand-written as you take them. But I would like them typed and cleaned up when you hand them in with the paper. These notes represent your actual ethnographic research.
5. PRELIMINARY ANALYSIS (1 pages)- After you have conducted your research, what are your initial findings? After your Lit Review, did your original question change? Make detailed references to your field notes. This is where you “pitch” your proposal. Most importantly, where do you go from here? Why is this study important? Why should we (the readers) care about this topic? What will this research be useful for? The purpose is to have knowledge of your said field, and to know exactly which direction you will want to go when you conduct the real research. (Of course, you will not be conducting an in-depth research project after this proposal. You are essentially pretending that I am someone that is going to fund you to conduct this research. So sell it to me!)
6. BIBLIOGRAPHY (1 page)- Students will be expected to cite their references throughout the text using MLA format. Plagiarism in any form is unacceptable. Make sure to provide author’s name, title of the source, publisher, and year.
7. ATTACHMENTS- (?)- Use the last few pages to attach sample questionnaires, interview questions, maps, informed consent forms, etc.