Project 1—Introduction, Literature Review, and Hypotheses
Due: Friday, January 12, 2010
Quantitative Research Methods
You may work with others, but remember that, for credit, each person must sign the paper
that is turned in.
I encourage you to seek my help if you run into problems.
The Assignment in General
Project 1 consists of creating an introduction, literature review, and hypotheses for your research
The core will be the literature review (a lesson for your reader on what the community of
scholars says about the topic of your research paper).
You will discuss what sociologists have
discovered about why people take the attitudes they do about your topic or behave the way they
do in your topic area.
For example, if you were to choose to study why people favor or oppose
capital punishment, your review would give sociological reasons that explain why people take
their particular attitudes, or what kinds of people are likely to favor or oppose capital
The topic you will focus on is an attitude or behavior that was measured by the 2004 United
States General Social Survey (GSS).
In quantitative research, we call such measures of attitudes
or behaviors that we try to explain “dependent variables.”
You are to select a dependent variable
from the GSS that is of interest to you.
The overarching goal of Project 1 is to report sociological explanations for why people would
think or behave the way they do on the topic of your GSS dependent variable, and to formulate
hypotheses or expectations that are consistent with those explanations.
In a later project and in
the course paper, you will also do statistical tests to see if those expectations are correct.
work you do here will establish a rationale for your expectations about the population, and for
testing the hypotheses that you will eventually test.
To acquire that information, you will
have to do library research on your topic, including reading appropriate sociological books
and sociological journals.
The literature review should discuss social factors or characteristics that could lead people to
think or behave the way they do.
For example, explaining what leads people to favor or oppose
capital punishment, your library research might show that people in the South grow up believing
in severe punishment for misbehavior.
Not much is more severe than killing a dude, so you
might explain that southerners are hard core, discuss the evidence for that, and assert that persons
from the South are more likely to favor capital punishment.
Quantitative researchers measure those “explanatory” social factors or characteristics too, and
they call those measurements “independent variables.”
You will choose three independent
variables from the 2004 GSS as well.
Researchers do not normally choose their “explanatory” or “independent” variables in advance