Preliminary Research Proposal

ASSIGNMENT PURPOSE: This paper asks you to propose a sociological research question or set of research questions and to outline a research method that allows you to answer your question(s). Bit of advice: over-share, over-describe and be as specific as possible. At the proposal stage, it is difficult to be too fine-grained in the detail you describe.

Introduction [~ .5 – 1 page]

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In the first section of your paper, explain the general theme or topic that you are interested in studying:

Convince your reader/audience/me that this topic is either important to study or so darn interesting that the project needs to be conducted
Make clear that this topic or theme is appropriate for a sociological research project
Research Question(s) [.25 page max.]

In the next section, clearly outline (using numbered bullet points) your research question or set of research questions.

Methodology [2 pages max.]

In this section, you will describe – in depth – the sociological research method that you propose to use to answer your research question(s). Depending on the method or methods you plan to use, this section should:

Discuss your sampling strategy or who/what you plan to collect data from
Make a statement on whether you are using a deductive or inductive approach to your project (and make clear that you know what that means)
Explain how you will collect data
Survey data: What variables you plan to include in your analysis? How will you operationalize these variables in your survey? Include some sample survey questions.
Ethnographic observation: Describe in detail the social context that you plan to observe. What things will you focus on? How will you take notes? How might you gain access to this space and position yourself within it?
Interview data: Describe the kinds of questions you plan to ask respondents and connect these questions\ directly to your research questions. Include sample questions.
Outline what you expect to find in the data collection/analysis process. This should include some clear hypotheses (i.e. preliminary answers to your research questions).
Word Bank of Potentially Useful Terms/Concepts (your call; don’t force it!!):

Dramaturgical theory

Symbolic interactionism

Survey data

Interview study

Ethnographic observation

Independent variable

Dependent variable

Front-stage work

Back-stage work

Code switch


Cultural script





Reflection theory


Mead’s “Social Self”

The “I” and the “Me”

Generalized other



Role strain

Role conflict

Gender role



Small group


Large group

Primary group

Secondary group

In-group vs. Out-group

Social network




Social Institution


Conflict Theory

Functionalist Theory

Critical Theory



Social Structure




Immigration Status


Socially Constructed



Free of typo’s and grammatical errors; double-spaced; 12-point, Times New Roman font; 1-inch margins on all sides (“Normal” margins in Word)

TOTAL: _________/50

SI Paper 2: Research Proposal Paper
SI Paper 2: Research Proposal Paper
Criteria Ratings Pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeIntroduction
15.0 pts
Full Marks
0.0 pts
No Marks
15.0 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeResearch Questions
10.0 pts
Full Marks
0.0 pts
No Marks
10.0 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeMethodology
20.0 pts
Full Marks
0.0 pts
No Marks
20.0 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeFormat/Style
5.0 pts
Full Marks
0.0 pts
No Marks
5.0 pts
Total Points: 50.0

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