Assignment: Study Design Outline

In this assignment you will prepare a detailed outline of the hypotheses and/or research questions and the study design that you plan to present in your research proposal. These correspond to parts 2 and 3 of the brief proposal outline.

The outline below provides a general format. Your plan may require additional headings or subheadings or may not require all of the subheadings shown. However, all of the major headings (those marked with capital letters) should be included. Comments that you have been given previously should be incorporated in this assignment.

Entries may range from a few words or a key phrase to a complete quote with citation. This assignment is for an outline and not a draft. It should be complete and understandable, but not necessarily polished. This outline should also make you think about issues that you have not considered. Work hard to make sure that each of the elements of the outline is logically connected to the others.

  1. Hypotheses and/or Guiding Research Questions
    1. State the hypothesis or question (Repeat for each one)
      1. Key variables or themes
      2. Unit of analysis

      3. If you have a ...
        hypothesis research question
        Evidence and/or theory in support of hypothesis
        possible subheadings
        1. Citations to scholarly literature (most important)
        2. Experience with preliminary research (such as your survey or interview, general social survey analysis etc.)
        3. Popular literature
        4. Other
        Explanation and origin of the research question
        possible subheadings
        1. Relationship to existing scholarly literature
        2. Personal observation orexperience or results from your preliminary research such as your survey, interview, gss results.
        3. Popular literature
        4. Interrelated questions
        Evidence and/or theory opposing the hypothesis
        possible subheadings
        1. Citations to scholarly literature (most important)
        2. Experience with preliminary research (surch as your survewy, interview, GSS analysis etc.)
        3. Popular literature
        4. Other
        Expected Answers
        possible subheadings
        1. Previous scholarly research
        2. Theory
        3. Your personal observations or results from preliminary research
        4. Other
  1. Study Method
    1. Method to be used (note: if more than one method repeat this) b
      1. Justification (Why have you chosen this method?)
        1. Quote or paraphrase from Babbie or Lofland and Lofland
        2. Support from other sources
        3. Reliability and validity
      2. Detailed description of how you plan to go about doing the research
      3. Measurement of each key variable or theme (repeat for each variable)
        1. Variable
          1. How will it be measured? Possible approachs (may use more than one)
            • Preexisting measure from literature
            • Measure that you have designed
            • Experience from preliminary research
          2. How good is your measure in terms of reliability and validity?
    2. Sampling Strategy (Must incorporate comments on assignment 8)
      Repeat if more than one sampling method is used.
      1. Unit of Analysis
        1. Description
        2. Justification
      2. Theoreticical Population
        1. Description
        2. Justification
      3. Study Population
        1. Description
        2. Justifications
        3. Description of what is known about it (e.g. statistics) (if available)
        4. Other comments
      4. Sampling frame or an alternative method of identifying study population members
        1. Description
        2. What steps will be taken to assure that the sampling frame or other method will be representative
        3. Any weaknesses of sampling frame or other method
        4. From whom or from what organization would the sampling frame be obtained? For other methods, how will you identify potential participants?
        5. Other
      5. Sampling Method
        1. Method to be used
        2. Justification
        3. Quote or paraphrase from Babbie or Lofland and Lofland
        4. Details of method
          1. Subheadings will depend on method E.g. How many clusters, definition of strata
      6. Sampling Problems and How they will be dealt with
        1. Nonavailability of respondents
        2. Refusal to participate
        3. Errors in sampling frame
        4. Other

Optional sections (but only for now; you will need to do these for the proposal). It is good to do them now both to get feedback and to make progress on your proposal.

    1. Other study design issues and details
      1. Subheadings will depend on your topic and method
    1. Ethical Issues
      1. Potential risks and benefits of the study for the subjects, their families, or anyone else.
        1. Risks
        2. Benefits
      2. Informed Consent Procedures
        1. Description --how will you make sure you have voluntary informed consent?
        2. Special concerns for vulnerable populations
    1. Limitations
      1. Geography
      2. Time
      3. Limitations of sampling design
      4. Measurement
      5. Reliability and validity
      6. Other