Assignment: Scholarly Research Paper (DueThursday, June 25)
For the purpose of this assignment, select a topic within communication studies on which you will write a research paper. Whichever topic you choose, the most important thing is that you can find many research studies on it. The best places to look are Google Scholar and the online databases that are listed on the Brooklyn College Library homepage.In recent semesters, students have had a lot of success writing about technology-related topics like cyberbullying, online dating, and texting.
Once you have gathered and read many research studies on your chosen topic (I recommend that you download at least 30-40 studies), write a scholarly research paper that includes the following sections: Introduction, Literature Review, Proposed Methodology, Expected Conclusions, Implications for Research and Practice, and Bibliography. (Please be sure to use these exact headings).
Here are the instructions for each section:
Introduction (1-2 pages)
Write an introduction to your research paper. This section should include the following two parts: an introduction to the general topic of the paper as well as an outline of how the rest of the paper is structured.For example, if you were to write a paper on marital communication, you could start out by defining the institution of marriage, discuss when and why it emerged historically, and then explain that it is a universal phenomenon.
Literature Review (8-9 pages)
Write a comprehensive review of what research has discovered about your topic. Break up the literature review into multiple sub-sections with headings that are devoted to particular sub-topics. Make sure that it is logically organized. Briefly summarize the literature on the basis of the most important findings from each sub-section. The summary is a sub-section unto itself.
Once you have completed this comprehensive review, introduce the reader to one sub-topic on which either nothing or very little is known. For example, if you were to write a paper on marital communication, it is possible that nothing or only little is known about whether men and women marry for different reasons. Discuss why that is an important sub-topic. Take that sub-topic and formulate an actual research question. Going back to our example, your research question could be: “To what extent do men and women marry for different reasons?”
Proposed Methodology (2-3 pages)
Explain in detail how your research question could be investigated. Focus on three aspects: 1) which method you would use, 2) which participants you would include, and 3) what questions you would ask the participants. For example, you could suggest a survey, administered to 50 married men and 50 women, with a number of specific questions about their reasons for marrying. Divide this section into three sub-sections: “Method,”“Participants,” and “Questions.”
It is also important that you justify all methodological choices. Don’t just say that you would use a survey;state why a survey would be the best method to investigate your research question. Justify your methodological choices by citing the literature on research methods (available online), citing studies you have read about which research methods are appropriate for which kinds of research questions, and/or mentioning the research methods that some of the studies you have read made use of themselves.
Expected Conclusions (2-3 pages)
Outline what you think you would find if you were to complete the proposed investigation. It is important that you go straight to the point and answer your research question. Going back to our example, a good way to begin this section would be as follows: “Upon completion of my research, I expect to find the following similarities and differences in men’s and women’s reasons for marrying (elaborate on those similarities and differences).”
Once you have given a broad answer to your research question, provide a more detailed explanation that includes your expected findings. Going back to our example, elaborate on what you think your respondents would say about their reasons for marrying. Please note that you are not required to conduct any original research for your paper. However, it might be useful to you to either interview or survey a small sample of people. This would give you a good sense of what you would find if you were to conduct a larger-scale investigation.
Once you have discussed your expected findings, draw parallels between those findings and the research findings in your literature review. Do your expected findings confirm something the literature has already discovered to be the case? Do your expected findings contradict certain findings in the literature review? For example, if you find certain similarities and differences why men and women marry, it is possible that you can compare those similarities and differences to how gender roles have evolved over time.
Implications for Research and Practice (2-3 pages)
Discuss the implications of your expected findings for research and practice. First, based on your expected findings, formulate three new research investigations. (For example, if you were to find certain differences why men and women marry, you could propose an investigation into why those differences exist). For each proposed research investigation, explain to the reader what exactly you have in mind and why that is an important investigation.
Discuss the implications of your expected findings for practice. By practice, I mean the participants in your study and other relevant parties. For example, you could discuss how your expected findings are relevant to people who are married, as well as to people who are considering marriage. Be clear about whom your expected findings are relevant to and how those findings are relevant to them.
Using APA (American Psychological Association) style guidelines, include, in alphabetical order, full citations to all sources cited in your paper.
The completed assignment should be at least 15-20 pages, not including the bibliography. Double-space it and use Times Roman (12 font).
Some General Writing Instructions
Follow APA style guidelines. When you want to signal to the reader that certain content can be attributed to a certain source, include the author’s last name and the year of publication in parentheses. For example: “Research shows that men and women are equally likely to want to marry (Smith, 2018).”
Integrate and synthesize research findingswhen you write instead ofsummarizing the findings of individual studies one-by-one. For example, say: “Studies have found that most people marry around age 30.” Don’t say: “one study found that most people marry around age 30. Another study also found that most people marry around age 30.”
Paraphrase rather than quote your sources. The only time you are allowed to quote a source is when you provide a definition of something. In that case, you need to include the author’s last name, the year of publication as well as the page number where the definition can be found.
Focus on research findings, not authors, when you write. For example, write: “research has found that …. (Smith, 2018).” Don’t write: “Smith (2018) found that ….” The reason is that in almost all instances, what is important is not who made a given discovery but what was discovered.
Provide evidence for all claims that you make. Whenever possible, include actual research findings to back up any claims that you make.
Be careful about the verbs that you use. A research paper should be based on concrete research findings. Therefore, use verbs like “found” or “discovered,” not “says” or “argues.” Don’t use verbs like “can/could” or “may/might.” It is unclear which research findings these verbs refer to.
Pay close attention to all transitions. We are used to paying attention to whether words and sentences logically follow one another. Here, you should also pay attention to whether paragraphs, sub-sections, and sections of the paper are organized in a logical order. There should be a logical connection between where you end up one paragraph and start the next. The same goes for sub-sections and sections.
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