The Research Project is a report of an original empirical research project, which could involve collection of data or an analysis of existing data (i.e. secondary data analysis). Students select a topic in consultation with a faculty advisor.
One way to think of the research project is that it is similar in format to a journal article. It should include an abstract, an introduction, a statement of research question, a review of relevant previous literature, a methods section, an analysis, and a discussion/implications setion. This writing project is usually 20-30 pages long, although inclusion of tables and graphs can make it substantially longer. An appendix including samples of research tools employed, such as a questionnaire or an interview schedule, is also typically inclulded. In recent years, students have carried out research projects that they designed in SOC 411: Social Research and SOC 412: Data Analysis or SOC 413: Qualitative Methods.
If you are writing a research project, it is strongly suggested that you take SOC 415: Writing a Research Project, a course designed to help you develop and complete this project. Students have successfully presented these projects at national conferences, published these projects as articles in peer-reviewed journals, and submitted these projects as their writing samples in applications for further graduate study. Like a literature review or a case study, a research project requires an advisor and a second reader to approve the project; the instrucor from SOC 415 can be one of these two readers. Some recent titles of research projects include:
- Punitive Juvenile Justice and Youth Crime Journalism: Chicago 1981-1982
- The Trouble with Morality: An Examination of the Effects of 12-Step Discourse on Addicts' Decision Making
- Lesbian Families: Relationship Satisfaction, Motherhood, and Parenting
For examples of research projects, please e-mail the Director of Sociology Graduate Studies.