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Research Paper GuideStatement of ProblemDescribe precisely what you intend to show/argue and why. Is your research problem addressing a significant social problemor is it testing some theoretical hypothesis?In this section,you should first grab the attention and interest of your readers, and secondly introduce the problem to be studied. You may consider using a rich illustration of the phenomenon you are studying. Aresearch paper is not an essayorageneralization that you make. Strive to be value-free in your inquiry. A social science research paper is not an editorial piece where one advocatesone’s own beliefs.It is data driven.Write the paper in a direct and technical style.The success of any science depends on asking the right questions. What distinguishes good questions from bad? In part, good questions advance knowledge about significant issues, issues that are timely (example: social media usage and self-esteem among adolescent girls [remember that from week 1?]), that advance our ability to predict future events, that test theoretical hypotheses, or resolve contradictory theoretical predictions. Literature Review and Development of HypothesesWhat have others found regarding your research questionwithin the last 15 years? From their findings, coupled with your theory, develop a logical argument that leads to the statements of your hypotheses. You will need to have one hypothesis. Your hypothesis should bedirectly stated(not in question format) at the conclusion of the review section. In writing this section you want to weave the arguments and findings of others into your own arguments. Take extreme care to avoid plagiarizing; make sure you give credit to the author,andif in doubt –quote and cite. You can also paraphrase an author but once again, you must cite their idea. Be sure to define and thoroughly explain key concepts. Assume that your reader may not know anything about your topic. You must have at least two academic resources.You may have additional resources that do not necessarily have to be academic and can come from the internet, magazines, news sources, etc. MethodsDescribe the sample, (the GSS) and the variables used to test your hypothesis. One should give just enough information here so that others can replicate your procedures. Why? An example of what you could say about your samplewould be: To test these ideas, the results of the 2002General Social Survey (GSS) conducted by the
2National Opinion Research Center are analyzed. This survey is composed of random samples of non-institutionalized, English-speaking American 18 years of age and older.What question did you use from the GSS? You may critique the question asked and possible inferences that might be made aboutit,such as: What you think people imagined when they read the question,or if it was a good question.FindingsIn this section you present those results that specifically address yourhypothesis. First,present and discuss the marginal, that is, the percentagesof respondents falling into each category of all of your categorical variables. For example, the marginalsof the dependent variable,euthanasia,might be that nearly two –thirds (64%) of Americans approve. This summary statistic of euthanasia provides a baseline for later analyses. Example: Responses tothevariable,euthanasiarevealed that individuals were more than twice as likely to agree as oppose to disagree. Interestingly, although numerous professional books and journal article on the subject detail considerable ambiguities and numerous moral shades of gray, only 5% of the public admitted not knowing where they stand on the issue.You should have graphs in this section of your paper. Use the graphs that you think are best for what you would like your reader to see.If your variables are continuous,present their mean values. For example, to the question of how much internet usage individuals engage in daily, respondents in our sample reported usinga mean of 4.68hours (median hours = 4.42hours; standard deviation = 3.05).Next you should consider the relationship between each dependent variable and independent variable of your hypotheses. These relationships should be presented in a table, i.e. a cross tab. Example:Table 1: Religiosity by responses to EuthanasiaEuthanasiaReligiosityYesNoTotal (N)Strong50%50%371Somewhat67%33%117Not Very79%21%391Not affiliated90%10%96Total68%32%975In table 1,it is evident that the more religious one is,the less likely one supports euthanasia (Gamma = .52). Those having no religious affiliation support euthanasiamore so than those who reported being strongly religious.Discussion
3Given what you have found, what is the status of your hypotheses? Can it be improved? What should other researchers look for,given what you have found? The discussion section can also feature related findings,not directly related to the hypotheses being tested. For instance, the relationship between religiosity and euthanasia attitudes may be found to show more dramatic reversals among individuals who have experienced a recent death of a significant other. You may not have thought of that before your research, but now it seems obvious.ConclusionSince this is too often the only part of a paper that some individuals read it is important to repeat what you intended to discover and whatyou found.Restate your hypothesis, your procedures, and your results.ReferencesAt the end of your paper include (alphabetically by first authors’ last names) all materials cited in your paper. Examples of American Sociological Associations format:Books: Basic form for a book entry is 1-Author’s last name, followed by a comma and the first name and middle initial, ending with a period. 2-Year of publication followed by a period. 3-Title of book italicized ending with a period. 4-Place of publication, followed by a colon and name of publisher ending with a period. -One Author De Anda, Roberto M. 1995. Chicanas and Chicanos in ContemporarySociety. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.-Two AuthorsHerrera-Sobek, María and Helena María Viramontes. 1995. Chicana (W)rites: On Word and Film. Berkeley, CA: Third Woman Press.