1. Introduction of the issue
1a. Clear statement of the problem
1b. Purpose of the study
1c. Significance of the study/ what will it add to the literature
2. Literature review (include a total of 5-10 peer reviewed sources – use assignment 5 to help craft this section: what do other researchers say or note that is important for your research – provides context and definitions
2a. Current literature/studies related to your issue/problem
2b. This includes defining key terms and identifying problems identified in specific research
3. Research question/s followed by hypothesis/ hypotheses.
3a. Question: propose a relationship between 2+ variables in the form of a question
-Declarative statement of the cause and effect relationship; a statement about the variables relationships to one another; something you can test.
-A hypothesis is a statement about variables and the relationship (or lack of) between them. So, a statement of greater than/less than or difference/no difference. It is somewhat an answer to your research question that you then go ahead and test.
For example: probation officers who have prior criminal justice experience are less supportive of rehabilitation than probation officer who have no prior criminal justice experience.
Population/sample: probation officers (individuals)
Variable 1: prior CJ experience (yes; no)
Variable 2: Attitude towards rehabilitation (support; do not support)
Relationship: group 1 less ____ than group 2 (statement of difference).
4. Research Methodology:
4a. Definition of variables (i.e. dependent, independent). Please note that the definitions must be of the main variables examined in the hypothesis/ hypotheses, and/ or research question. How will they be operationalized/defined?
4b. Definition of population: who (or what) to be studied. The group (or institution) that is undergoing a phenomenon that needs to be researched to understand the problem/issue
4c. Sampling method and rational: Now that you have identified the population, how are you going to get a sample of that population – The exact sampling method and steps to acquire the sample. Why is this the best sampling method for this research?
4d. Research design and Data collection method (i.e. observation, in-depth interviews, meta-analysis, surveys etc.): Now that you have the sample, what are you going to do with them, step by step to collect your data. Why?
4e. Proposed data analysis plan: now that you have the data, what are you going to do with this data? What would it tell you?
5. Risks and Benefits / Confidentiality Issues
5a. Think of risks and benefits for the population itself and the community as a whole. How is the research going to harm and benefit them? Will it potentially lead to increased public safety? Smarter spending? Better programs? New policy?
5b. How specifically are you going to protect confidentiality? What steps are you going to take?
6. Policy Implications
Before submitting the final product ask yourselves these questions:
What is my topic?
Does my literature review correspond with that topic?
Do my research question/s and hypotheses correspond with the topic and literature review in that they offer to supplement it?
Is the population definition relevant and appropriate for the topic and research question/s and hypotheses?
Does my sample size allow me to achieve the goals of my proposed study?
Is the sampling technique you are offering appropriate for the proposed study?
Does the design correspond to the literature, question/s and hypotheses?
Is the data collection method you offer the most appropriate for the scope of your study?
Each of the above questions/ guidelines will help you determine how solid the proposal is (i.e. how valid it is).