Step One Assessment

1.Please write down two questions you have about the course material from Class Two: “STEP ONE: Learning how to write a social scientific research paper assignment.”

2.Please write down two things you learned from the material in Class Two: “STEP ONE: Learning how to write a social scientific research paper assignment.”

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STEP ONE: Learning how to write a social scientific research paper assignment

USC has produced a fine online guide on how to write a social science research paper. It will serve as the foundation for the research paper in this course. Therefore, you are required to complete the following steps in preparation for your research paper.

1) Begin with familiarizing yourself with the different types of research designs that are available. Also read the chapter on research design in Hennie H. Boeije, Analysis in Qualitative Research (SAGE, 209): 19-42 Hennie H. Boeije, Analysis in Qualitative Research (SAGE, 209): 19-42 – Alternative Formats

(this will come in handy for the following steps too). Note you will have to turn in a research design for this course (Step Two). SDSU’s SAGE Research Message database will be helpful here.

2) Now, learn how to choose and state a research problem, I am leaving it up to you to select your research topic. You must complete a strong research design and research paper based on your selection so think this through carefully. Read the following short exert from King, Keohane, and Verba’s Designing Social Inquiry

on improving research questions. This will help you think of an answer to the “so what?” question related to determining if a research question is “important in the real world” and “makes a contribution” to the iidentifiable scholarly literature discussed in class.

Also, read the SDSU research guides for criminal justice, city planning, urban studies, and public administration based on your interests. They link you to the available library and online resources provided by the SDSU library as well as the contact info of the librarian responsible for these areas. Note the following research guides may be of value to you based on your interests as well: California policy analysis, US policy analysis, comparative politics and international relations, political science, sociology, diversity, women’s studies, LGBT studies, social work, gerontology, public health, health statistics, sustainability, environmental studies, urban studies, military/defense studies, finance, business, economics, elections, hospitality and tourism, education, and geography.

3) Now that you have a research question in mind, learn how to prepare to write your paper. Follow the steps therein to keep you on course and on schedule. Check out examples of scholarly articles in your chosen subject area(s) by consulting the research databases linked in your applicable SDSU research guide. This will be very helpful for you to get an idea how to write a paper on your research question.

For example, here is an article

based off of a report that the Department of Justice asked me to write on the relationship of organized crime to film piracy. It takes a mixed methods approach to the subject including ethnographic research, field interviews, data and content analysis, etc. This is an article I wrote testing assumptions about research and policy geared towards Chinese organized crime; this one is an article I wrote on the origins and early evolution of immigrant smuggling in San Diego and attendant corruption in public institutions and here is another one another one – Alternative Formats on the origins of drug trafficking on the same.between the US and Mexico. I used historical methods, social network analysis, and other social scientific qualitative methods in all three of these studies. These are just three examples that in my areas of interests. Other scholars use other methods (qualitative and quantitative) and sources of data, something you no doubt have been exposed to during your time as an undergraduate student. You will pick the research methods and data sources that work for your study and are appropriate to the journal that you choose.

IMPORTANT: When you turn in your research paper you will do so in a manner that reflects a submission to a specific academic journal of your choice that would be interested in publishing a paper on your research question. Identify such a journal and establish their submission/author guidelines. You will turn in a link to your journal and its guidelines along with your final paper. These guidelines will establish paper length, citation format, etc. For example, here is a link to the journal Public Administration Review and its “information for contributors.” Here is a link to Urban Studies, one for Sustainability, and one for Justice Quarterly. Can you find their submission guidelines?

4) Learn how to write an effective abstract. You will turn in an abstract with your research paper. Your abstract length should conform to the guidelines of your selected research journal.

5) Learn how to write your introduction. Many writers write their introductions and conclusions (# 10 below) last, after they write the body of their paper (#s 6-9) below). It is purely up to you and your individual preference and your selected journal’s general format and style.

6) Learn how to complete and write a literature review. Select the type of literature review appropriate for your research question and the journal you select to submit it to.

7) Learn how to write your methodology section. Keep in mind your selected journal’s general format and style.

8) Learn how to write your results section. Keep in mind your selected journal’s general format and style.

9) Learn how to write your discussion section. Keep in mind your selected journal’s general format and style.

10) Learn how to write your conclusion. Keep in mind your selected journal’s general format and style.

11) Learn how to proofread your paper. This is important. In addition to the the suggestions on the USC guide, I suggest the following: 1) Read it out loud to yourself and to another person and 2) have two other people proofread your paper. Particular pet peeves of mine include run on sentences and paragraphs, capitalization errors (ie, public administration, criminal justice, and city planning are NOT capitalized), reliance on the passive voice, and writing casually (ie, like you speak, not lke what you would write for a scholarly paper). You should consider the Grammarly software if you find that you persistently struggle with grammar. It is much better than the spelling/grammar check software available on Word, Pages, etc.

12) Learn how to cite your sources, sticking to fair use and avoiding plagiarism and an F! (Note: You will turn your research design and research paper in via Blackboard and the TurnItIn software which checks for such things.) Note the many links to citation resources the USC guide provides. Make sure to use the citation format required by the journal you select.

13) If your research design requires human subjects, please notify me immediately by email (mcillwain@mail.sdsu.edu) BEFORE you engage with the research subjects. Generally speaking SDSU’s Human Research Protection Program: Standards and Practices (Section VII Exemption from IRB Oversight/Review, pp.14-15) allows for human subject research related to educational endeavors as long as the university’s basic human subjects guidelines are adhered to when it comes to protecting research subjects. Please review the Standards and Practices if you choose to use human subjects (“a living individual”) to acquire “data through intervention (‘physical procedures by which data are gathered and manipulations of the subject or the subject’s environment that are performed for research purposes’) and interaction (“communication or interpersonal contact’)” and be prepared to discuss your use of human subjects with me. As a general rule I will not approve of research design that make use of identifiable personal information of human subjects. I will forward you to SDSU’s Instructional Review Board (IRB) if any open questions remain concerning your research design.

Note I will give a lecture on research ethics during our second class meeting.

Complete “STEP ONE Self Assessment” below by 4:00 pm on Monday (8/31). Validate your completion of each of these thirteen sections.

Click on the BB “Assignments” tab to access the “Step One Assessment.”

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