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Chapter 12

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Making Sense of the Social World 4thEdition
Chapter 12,Reviewing, Proposing, and Reporting Research
Typical Proposal Components
An introductorystatement of the research problemA literature reviewA methodological planA budgetAn ethics statementA statement of limitations
Chambliss/Schutt, Making Sense of the Social World4thedition© 2012 SAGE Publications
Follow along on the example of a research proposal to study the effectiveness of using episodes ofThe Simpsonsto teach about ageism in an introductory sociology class.
Chambliss/Schutt, Making Sense of the Social World4thedition© 2012 SAGE Publications
An introductory statement of the research problem . . .
. . . is where you clarify what it is that you are interested in studying.
Chambliss/Schutt, Making Sense of the Social World4thedition© 2012 SAGE Publications
Example: UsingThe Simpsonsin the Classroom
Statement of the Problem/Significance of the Project:INTRODUCTION:This is where you present your research questions and introduce the importance of your research.For example:Discussions of controversial topics,such as homophobia, ageism,sexism,and racism, are often difficult to generate in the classroom because students fear negative repercussions for expressing viewpoints that might not be deemed politically correct (Lusk&Weinberg 1994). It is very difficult to discuss the problems resulting from stereotyping certaingroupsif students are unwilling to admit that such stereotypes exist or to discuss them among their peers.
Chambliss/Schutt, Making Sense of the Social World4thedition© 2012 SAGE Publications
A literature review . . .
. . . iswhere you explain how your problem and plans build on what has already been reported in the literature on this topic.
Chambliss/Schutt, Making Sense of the Social World4thedition© 2012 SAGE Publications
For example . . .
By dealing centrally with the family,The Simpsonstakes up real human issues everybody can recognize and thus ends up in many respects less“cartooonish”than other televisionprograms(Cantor 1999:735). Numerous episodes are appropriate for use in a sociology course. Scanlon and Feinberg (2000) reference nearly 50 episodes covering 13 core concepts in sociology. In many episodes, Homer Simpson, the father of the cartoon family, learns valuable moral lessons about the consequences of ignorance and selfishness. Yet,“forall his stupidity, bigotry, and self-centered quality, we cannot hate Homer”(Cantor 1999: 739), and that allows the audience to learn the lessons with him. Also, since Homer is the one using stereotypes of homosexuality, gender,race,and age, students are“off the hook.”They are allowed to laugh at the stereotypes, knowing that they are wrong, but since Homer is the one using them, they are not seen by other classmates as guilty of using or believing them themselves. Also, the storyline of the episodes ofThe Simpsonspoint out the negative affects of such stereotypes and portray a moral lesson in which Homer, himself, learns the consequences of sexism,ageism, and homophobia.
Chambliss/Schutt, Making Sense of the Social World4thedition© 2012 SAGE Publications
A methodological plan . . .
. . . detailsjust how you will respond to the particular mix of opportunities and constraints you face.
Chambliss/Schutt, Making Sense of the Social World4thedition© 2012 SAGE Publications
Totest for the effectiveness of using an episode ofThe Simpsonsto facilitate difficult dialogues in the classroom, we will employ a quasi-experimental design. For the fall 2006 semester, we will have an experimental group and a control group, with the experimental group receiving the“treatment”by viewingThe Simpsonsepisode“Old Money”. We will administer a pre- and post-test of students’knowledge and attitudes about the existence and consequences of ageism and ageist stereotypes using a questionnaire.
Chambliss/Schutt, Making Sense of the Social World4thedition© 2012 SAGE Publications
Methodology
A budget . . .
. . . iswhere you present a careful listing of the anticipated costs.
Chambliss/Schutt, Making Sense of the Social World4thedition© 2012 SAGE Publications
Estimated Budget
SuppliesDVDofThe SimpsonsSeason 2……………….$ 29.99ExpensesCopying/Printing Questionnaires………………$250.00Student help conducting data entry/analyses…$500.00Total Requested………………………………………$779.99
Chambliss/Schutt, Making Sense of the Social World4thedition© 2012 SAGE Publications
An ethics statement . . .
. . . identifieshuman subjects issues in the research and how you will respond to them in an ethical fashion.
Chambliss/Schutt, Making Sense of the Social World4thedition© 2012 SAGE Publications
Ethical Statement
Students will not be required to participate in the study, and they have the option of choosing not to have their information included in any publications,presentations,or discussions in which any data from this study are included. With each questionnaire, students will be given a sheet explaining the purpose of the study and their options. They will be informed that they must keep all identifying information off of the questionnaire, so their information will be kept completely anonymous and confidential. The researchers will read the informed consent statement out loud at the start of class, ask if there are any questions, and ask everyone who is willing to participate in the study to sign and return the informed consent statements.
Chambliss/Schutt, Making Sense of the Social World4thedition© 2012 SAGE Publications
A statement of limitations . . .
. . . iswhere you review weaknesses of the proposed research and present plans for minimizing their consequences.
Chambliss/Schutt, Making Sense of the Social World4thedition© 2012 SAGE Publications
Statement of Limitation
The proposal’s primary weakness is its generalizability. Because thisstudyis conducted on a availability/convenience sample of students at a Midwesterncomprehensive university, the results may not be relevant to other populations.
Chambliss/Schutt, Making Sense of the Social World4thedition© 2012 SAGE Publications
A good research proposal helps you plan your study and . . .can get your study funded!
Chambliss/Schutt, Making Sense of the Social World4thedition© 2012 SAGE Publications

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Chapter 12