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Sociology Research Report

Can you tell People’s Social Status by what they Wear?

The research report should be structured the following way:

• Title

• Abstract

• List of contents

• Introduction

• List of research questions

• Review of the literature

• Methods section

• Presentation and discussion of your findings

• Conclusions

• A complete list of references in Harvard style format

• Appendices

Please submit your typed proposal on A4 paper, line spacing 1.5, font size 12 attaching the pages together. Make sure your name is on every sheet. (Do NOT, under any circumstances, put individual sheets of paper in separate plastic wallets.)

Title

This should be short and accurately reflect the content of the report. Posing the title as a question can provide an effective way to focus your research project.

Abstract

This should be approximately 150 words in length and should summarise the aims of the research, briefly mention the research methods employed, the main results and conclusions. Examples of abstracts can be found in most academic journals, see for example the journal Sociology.

List of contents

This should comprise a list of the main sections, and where appropriate sub – sections, along with page numbers. It should enable the reader to locate without difficulty any part of the report.

Acknowledgements (not assessed)

You may wish to thank those people who have enabled you to complete the research. Do this briefly.

1. Introduction

Here the reader should be introduced to your research area and the aims of the project should be explained.

2. List of research questions

The main aim and list of research questions needs to be stated. These are very important and provide focus for your research. At every stage, from planning to write-up check that your research can effectively answer your research questions. If after you have undertaken your fieldwork you find that you have answers to additional questions then you can always add these new ones to your list. If you wish you may include a hypothesis.

3. Literature Review

This should summarise research that has been published (known as the literature) that is relevant to your chosen topic. At least 12 pieces should be described briefly, summarising the key issues discussed in the literature and the particular contributions each author makes to the discussion. It is essential that the literature is correctly referenced using Harvard style referencing. The literature review should not be structured as a list of reviewed works. You should build a narrative, ‘tell a story’ about the literature you looked at.

The literature review allows readers to familiarise with the topic and key issues and it also justifies why further research is needed (i.e. your research). At the end of your literature review you should make it clear why you feel that more research is needed, and how your research will add to our knowledge on the topic.

You will already have written a review of the literature for your Research Proposal (in semester 1). You should modify this in light of any comments and suggestions by the marker and also add reference to any additional literature you think is useful to your research.

Length: approximately 1000 words.

4. Research Methods

You must explain why you have chosen the particular research methods in order to answer your research questions effectively, giving attention to validity and reliability. You must explain your overall research design including the population and sample, method of delivery etc. You may also mention any possible weaknesses with your chosen method. It may be useful to make reference to research methods literature in order to explain your methodological choices. Include a copy of your questionnaire, or list of interview questions in the appendix and make a reference to where it can be found, page number etc.

Length: approximately 500 words.

5. Results and Discussion

In this section you will set out the evidence you have gathered in order to meet your research aims and research questions (and prove/disprove your hypothesis if you have included one). It should be organised with a series of sub–sections. You should take the opportunity, whatever your results, to show your understanding of fundamental concepts.

Results – Questionnaires

In this section each research question should be clearly stated and the results presented, described, interpreted and discussed. Results should be presented using appropriate statistics, tables and charts to illustrate the findings.

When presenting the results of the questionnaires, list each research question followed by the appropriate Table/Figure, correctly labelled.

You should describe and interpret the contents of these tables/figures, briefly and discuss in relation to your literature search (e.g. are your results similar/ different? Can you offer an explanation?).

At the end of this section you may want to summarise the results and discuss generally and provide conclusions.

Results – Interviews

The results of the interviews are presented according to the research questions/areas for investigation. Results should be presented under sections or themes relevant to the research area. Discussion is likely to be interwoven with the results and so there will be not only description, but also interpretation, reference to the literature and also perhaps to the survey results if this is relevant. There will be regular reference to the Appendices and precise page references must be given, particularly for quotations.

Length: Results and discussion approximately 1,000 words

6. Conclusions

The conclusions summarise the major findings of the research. Do not be afraid to really promote your findings as significant and important.

You should refer to your overall aims and conclude how far you have been able to meet the research questions. Your conclusions therefore, should be based on the results of the whole research project. You are also encouraged to refer to the literature and compare your findings with other authors/researchers. For example, do your findings contradict or confirm the findings of other research? How do your findings improve and contribute to our knowledge on a topic?

You should also comment on your own research design and methods e.g. with the benefit of experience would you now change anything? What do you think are the strengths / the weaknesses of your research? This is an important aspect of your report, showing what you have learned from your experience.

It is likely that your research will be useful to a range of different people and organisations, and in particular policy makers. Where appropriate write how policy relating to your topic could be changed or improved. For example if your topic investigated student attendance at university lectures, you might wish to state how university education or policy could be improved to encourage better attendance.

Finally, can you suggest any other research which might follow on from your own?

Length: approximately 200 words.

List of References

The Harvard system will be used. References should be listed alphabetically by authors’ last name and include full information, so that the reader could locate any of the publications.

All publications referred to in the text must be included in your list of references.

Full references also need to be given for any information available in electronic form, not just the web link (e.g. found on the internet).

Guidelines for formatting Harvard referencing for all types of sources can be found on StudySpace.

Appendices

Information in the Appendices will be referred to in your report. They must therefore be well-organised and paginated, so that information can be readily accessed.

They should include any of the following:

– Copies of measuring instruments, e.g. pilot and final questionnaires; coding sheets; raw data sheets; computer print-out of data.

– Pilot and final interview schedules; transcripts of interviews, any interview or observation notes;

– Letters asking for permission to undertake research;

– Information down-loaded from the internet;

– Any additional information which would clutter the main report but which is relevant.

Appendices should be organised and labelled clearly. Information should be easily located by the reader.

Last Updated on September 20, 2019

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