Soc 470 Sociology in the City Fall 2020
Writing a Research PAPER
How does a research proposal differ from a research paper?
A research paper includes a thesis or question and the results (data/findings) of your research
into that thesis/question. For the purposes of the Capstone Project, the results can be from
qualitative/quantitative research (surveys, interviews, experiments) or can be from your thorough
exploration of peer reviewed journal articles and books.
A research proposal includes everything in a research paper EXCEPT the concrete results –
see format on Writing a Research Proposal handout. Proposals are often used to request funding in
order to conduct research.
Research PAPER Preparation
Step 1 – Develop your thesis/research question (see Capstone Recap for more info). DUE Oct 19
Step 2 – Learn everything you can on the subject and fold it into a working bibliography.
Read/explore academic books, articles in peer-reviewed journals, documentaries, news articles and
other reputable sources. (The use of mass media, popular literature, and the Internet should be
minimal and properly cited.) Partial bibliography DUE Oct 19
Step 3 – Consider what type of research you will conduct – qualitative vs. quantitative, surveys,
interviews, observation, etc.
Step 4 – Conduct research. In the case of research into academic literature only, this will be a
deeper exploration of what you started in Step 2.
Step 5 – Draft an outline of your research paper, using the format below. DUE Nov 16
Step 6 – Obtain feedback from instructor, and perhaps internship supervisor and/or others
knowledgeable in the topic. Incorporate feedback and revise your outline into a full proposal, using
format below. DUE Dec 7
Step 7 – Prepare verbal presentation (see Capstone Recap for more info). DUE Dec 7 or 14
Research PAPER Format
Thesis Statement (aka Abstract) – about 300 words. Include: research question, hypothesis,
relevance of your research to the field, research methods.
Introduction – include background information and context for your research, as well as more
detail on the relevance of your project.
Review of the existing literature – offers more on context and demonstrates your ability to
critically engage with multiple sources with respect to your research question.
Methods – your research design (data collection strategy): procedure, participants (if any) and
the selection process.
Results – describe methods of analysis and concrete results.
Conclusion – emphasize the significance of your research and revisit gaps in the literature.
Address the broader theoretical/policy/practical implications of the work.
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