UMAA Impacts of Natural Disasters on Poor & Racial Minorities Research Design

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The second part of your research proposal (research design)


Each group will submit the second part of their research proposal to the folder. This part should be 3 to 4.5 pages (single-spaced) and should contain the following sections:

First, Research Design: 0.5 to 1 page

Reveal your hypothesis to your research question(s). The hypothesis should be empirically or theoretically grounded and should reasonably answer your research question(s). You could have one or multiple hypotheses.    

Explain how you will test the hypotheses or what methods that you will use to collect and analyze the data and verify the hypothesis. For example, if you choose the single-sited extended case method, explain how your research will “extend outward” from local to global to test the hypotheses. If you choose a comparative study, explain the rationale for choosing the two to four sites where you will work—what do they have in common, and how do they differ? And how you will verify the hypothesis through the comparison.

You need to briefly reveal your budget information for the project, including the budget amount for each item or step, whether you need to travel, buy equipment, do archival research, transcript the data, hire assistants, data analyses and storage etc.   

Second, data collection method(s): 1 to 1.5 pages

Explain how the data collection procedures you have chosen will allow you to answer your research question.  Will you use interviews, oral histories, observations, focus groups, textual analysis of archives?  If you choose interviews, whom will you interview, and what kinds of things will you ask?  Similarly, in what contexts will you observe, and what will you be watching for?  Explain how you will use cross-checking or triangulation. 

Provide a clear outline of the different phases of the research (from exploratory interviews to focused interviews, for example, or from structured questions directed to a large group of people to in-depth interviews with a chosen subset). 

Sometimes a diagram helps explain the relationships between different components of the research project, particularly in “multiple-method” research. 

You should provide a timeline estimating the amount of time required for each procedure. 

  • Third, Data Analytical Procedures: 1 page

Explain how you will record and process the data and relate outcomes to theoretical concerns.

For example, if you are doing statistical analyses, you might need to tell us: how to build your dataset? How to deal with missing points or other data issues? What are your (dependent, independent, mediator, or control) variables? What statistical models are you going to use? How to operate the models and test the results? How to interpret the results? Any limits of the models or your analyses?

For example, if you are doing comparative research, you might say that you will develop a timeline of key events for each site to help you see how the same social process unfolds differently in different settings.  In a multi-sited analysis, you might analyze how views or experiences of a phenomenon differ based on social location. Similarly, in the extended case method, you might analyze how the reported experiences of individuals vary across social locations. 

  • These are only a few suggestions.  Look to published work for examples of how to conduct analysis (and we will spend a couple of weeks on this in class). 
  • Finally, you should say how you will know when you have answered the question and how you will deal with contradictory results.

Fourth, Significance of Research: 0.5 to 1 page

  • Return to questions of what this research will add to knowledge.  What gaps will it fill in the literature?  What outstanding theoretical questions will it answer? And why does that matter?

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