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Applied Research Seminar (GSR 719)

Overview

The purpose of this seminar is to offer structure, support and guidance for completing an intensive research project and writing a report. GSR719 should be taken after the internship and required courses have been completed. Students may still use data from their internship or other dataset with sufficient sample size and number of questions for an in-depth quantitative analysis.

Research Report Guidelines

You may use just about any survey dataset if (a) there are sufficient cases and a “rich” set of variables; and (b) you can identify some relevant theoretical/research question that can be asked and answered with the data. Data from an internship, either quantitative or qualitative, may satisfy these requirements. If you do not have such a dataset because the data from your internship were proprietary, or the project is ongoing, you may substitute an alternate dataset. This would include datasets available from the ICPSR, Roper Center, U.S. Government and Agencies, or other available data.

The format of the research report itself is intended to resemble an applied research report for a client (i.e. an ‘analytical report’ with a more detailed ‘technical appendix’). We recommend that you aim to produce a report that could be used as a writing sample for prospective employers in your area of specialization, and that will demonstrate your research methodological competencies. For those of you who are aiming at career solely in qualitative research, a qualitative study is acceptable. However, unless you already possess field notes or transcripts, it will be impossible in most cases to finish the project during one semester. In addition, all research with human subjects that involves contact or direct observation must be approved by the Institutional Review Board. Be advised that, despite the gulf between “qualitative” and “quantitative” research in academic circles, these two are closely interwoven in applied research.

The research report should contain:

  • An overview and introduction to the problem
  • A literature review
  • Conceptual model
  • Research questions and objectives
  • Methodology
    The methodology section should include:
    • An overall description of the dataset
    • Sampling procedure
    • Item wording and coding
    • A brief explanation of methodology if necessary (e.g. confirmatory factor analysis or relatively new techniques)
  • Results
  • Conclusions/discussion

The aim of the data analysis is a multivariate technique such as regression or logistic regression. As you know from your statistics courses, data analysis using multivariate techniques hold many advantages over data analysis limited to two variable tables. Regression, including logistic regression, should be within the skill repertoire of most of you who have completed 708 and 709. As a less preferred alternative, two variable tables with appropriate “controls” for third variables will be acceptable for data analysis. Given that the project is an exercise in secondary data analysis, a purely descriptive data analysis will not be appropriate.

Students may still opt to submit a Master's Thesis of the traditional type. However, know that if you opt to use the more formal style, you will be responsible for that format with survey of the literature, discussion of relevant theories, etc. This may be appropriate if you are planning to use the report in conjunction with application to a Ph.D. program.

For further information, download the complete syllabus from GSR 719, or contact Professor Wood.

GSR 719 Syllabi - Wood (Spring 2012)

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