Part 1 (150 words excluding references)
Imagine that you have been a member of a research team conducting an Institution Review Board (IRB) approved study of interpersonal aggression among preschoolers for more than a year. In that time, your team has repeatedly employed a consistent set of procedures to study preschoolers’ behaviors. The procedures involve volunteer mothers bringing their children to your university’s child development lab for an observed “play session”. So far your young study subjects have been fairly racially homogenous (alike), from middle-class families and recruited (via contact with their parents) from a university preschool, affluent parts of town day-care centers, and a pre-kindergarten program being offered in the neighborhood school district. This means that, much to your frustration, you can’t claim that your study results are useful in understanding the behaviors of different race/ethnicity preschoolers and those from varying socio-economic status (SES) and education level families.
But wait…now you have learned that a friend of a friend can help you gain research access to a group of unusually racially diverse preschoolers from varying SES and education backgrounds, if you can do observations of these children really soon and at their day care facility. Several of your team members want to pursue this option and move on it quickly, arguing that there is no time to prepare a formal research proposal before embarking on the study in a new setting. “Besides the time issue,” they argue, “except for happening in a different place, our procedures should go just like all the others we’ve done and we already had them reviewed and approved by the IRB.”
PART 2: (150 words) Be sure to read the Lesson for Week 1 prior to responding.
Choosing a topic: There are so many things around us that it can be difficult to focus on just one for a research project. Here are a few things to think about to find yours. First, we are in a sociology class, so your topic has to be sociological in nature. Wondering if a new diet helps people lose weight, for instance, wouldn’t work. Instead, think back on some of the topics you covered in other sociology classes (Intro Soc, Marriage and the Family, Soc Theory, etc.). Was there something in there that sparked your interest? You can also build on previous research that you have completed for a former class in the program or closely related field. This project will be the focus of your discussions for the next several weeks. It is highly recommended that you choose something that is of interest to you and can keep your attention for that long.
We will be using General Social Survey (GSS) 2016 data set for Weekly Discussions, Assignment 1 and the Final Project (paper and presentation). You should NOT collect your own data.All variables and data are required to be from GSS 2016 data set. To know more about GSS, you may visit its main website by clicking here. You can find GSS variables online via GSS Data Explorer (https://gssdataexplorer.norc.org/). Make good use of the attachment at the end of the grading rubrics to select relevant variables for your project.
The point of the discussion is that other students will ask you questions or make suggestions that may help you define your project better. Your instructor will also interact with each of you individually in this module and the next to help you refine your topic. Which means, remember to check your thread regularly!
As you present your topic in this discussion, think about how you would study it. What is your research question and your theory behind it? After writing your introduction, tell the class what your topic is, phrasing it as a research question. Your research question should preferably be more general and open-ended than a hypothesis. Then, identify variables which you have found in the GSS 2016 dataset. Be sure to identify the variable name AND the question asked in the survey. See screenshots tutorial for more details. Wrap up by explaining why you chose these variables for your project and why you think there is a correlation or a relationship. You are choosing one independent variable and one dependent variable.
In your replies to at least two posts from your classmates, think critically about what they are trying to do with their project, and offer them constructive feedback. This can be asking for clarification about their proposed topic, suggesting a direction for their research, suggesting sources they may want to check, or contributing your personal experience about this topic. Be sure to also answer at least one peer who responded to your initial post (and interact with the instructor as needed).
For your Week 1 “Choose a topic” initial posting, please list everything in the following list:
1. Describe what your topic is, phrasing it as a research question.
2. Identify variables (one DV, at least one IV) which you have found in the GSS dataset (see the attachment below).
a. identify variable names; for example, “childs” is a variable name. It stands for “Number of children.”
b. identify the question related to this variable that was asked in the survey (in verbatim). For example, GSS survey question for variable “childs” is as follows (in verbatim):
How many children have you ever had? Please count all that were born alive at any time (including any you had from a previous marriage).
3. Explain why you chose these variables for your project;
4. Explain why you think there is a correlation or a relationship.
Reiteration: we will be using the 2016 data set for our project. All variables in your project HAVE to come from this 2016 data set. The first announcement in the course tells you how to download both the SPSS software and the full 2016 GSS dataset to be uploaded into SPSS.
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