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Research Paper Prep Assignment 2021docx

2022 Ralph Bunche Summer Institute

Thinking About Your Research and the Major Research Paper


This assignment is developed to help you structure your research design. As you are learning in your race and politics and statistics courses, political scientists, as researchers, must consider a research problem, a theory about the relationship(s) between variables, appropriate measures for variables, and hypotheses about the expected results. Such considerations assist us in applying scientific methods to the research of social and political phenomena.

In keeping with this methodological approach, we want you to submit a proposal that outlines some of these same aspects of your own research. This proposal will help prepare you for the completion of your major research paper. As such, you are to prepare a short (approximately 2-3 pages), single-spaced research proposal. This exercise will not receive a grade: rather, this assignment is meant to help you move forward on your paper and to help us know what you are currently planning, please submit the following materials with the corresponding headings:

1. The Paper Title

2. The Research Problem

This should be developed in the form of the specific research question(s) in which you are interested.

3. Theory

This should be developed as a short review of relevant literature (somewhat like an abstract). However, most importantly, you should bring your own perspective to the forefront by highlighting:

a. The significance of your research question

  1. Your view on how you plan to contribute to the literature from a possibly

new perspective

  1. Your theory about how to explain and how to analyze the social phenomenon(a) you have in question

4. Data

State what data set you plan to use to conduct your analysis.

5. Variables

a. List the variables (and variable codebook numbers) that you feel are important for testing your theory.

b. Provide a brief statement about how these variables are relevant for testing your theory.

c. State how the variables are operationalized, or measured, including the statement of the survey question and responses. (Include how you plan to recode the variables.)

d. Classify the variables according to whether they are independent or dependent variables.

6. Hypotheses

a. State the effect that you expect each of your independent variables will have on the dependent variable. For example, “Do you expect that the independent variable, income, will have a positive or negative relationship with the dependent variable?” In other words, as income increases, “Do you expect that the dependent variable will also increase (positive relationship), or Do you expect that the dependent variable will decrease (negative relationship)?” Remember that you must also consider this relationship given the direction that the variables are coded.

b. Given your theory, state what variables you expect to be statistically significant (or have the most explanatory power) in your model. State why you have these expectations.

  1. Bibliography

Cite books and articles that you feel will help you with your review of literature for the major paper.
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