San Jose State University Substance Abuse Sociology Question Research Proposal Paper

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I’m working on a sociology writing question and need an explanation to help me understand better.


  • Double-spaced
  • 4-5 pages
  • Include 1 to 3 references
  • Create a title (if you haven’t already)

1) Research question and/or hypothesis (2 point)

  • State your research question and/or your hypothesis for your proposed study. If you are proposing a qualitative project, then use a research question, if you are proposing a quantitative project, then use a hypothesis. Mixed methods ok.

2) Research design (8 points)

  • Choose a research design and explain how you will use that design to test your hypothesis and/or explore your research question.
  • You may combine research designs.
  • Describe why you chose that design(s) instead of a different design(s).

Quantitative research designs:

  • Cross-sectional
  • Case control
  • Longitudinal
  • Group research designs
    • Experimental
    • Quasi-experimental
    • Experimental

Qualitative research designs:

  • Biography
  • Phenomenology
  • Grounded theory
  • Case study
  • Action Oriented

3) Sample (5 points):

  • Pick a sampling procedure and describe how you will use that procedure to obtain your sample.
  • You may combine different types of sampling procedures.
  • How many people do you anticipate having in your sample?
  • How will they be invited to participate?
  • If you are using administrative/secondary data, what are the sample parameters, meaning the date range for the data you are using, and what is the data used for in the organization?

Sampling procedures:

  • Random sampling
  • Convenience sampling
  • Purposive
  • Snowball

Data collection and ethical considerations (10 points): Describe the following:

  • Name the type of data you will use:


  • Surveys
  • Administrative/secondary data


  • Interviews
  • Focus groups
  • Observation

If you are proposing data collection with people, explain what participants will be asked to do, including specific details such as:

  • The content areas that they will be asked about either through qualitative data collection or survey. The specific questions are not needed, rather a description of the areas that will be asked about
  • Where the data collection will take place
  • How long the data collection will take
  • Describe how the data will be recorded and stored to maintain confidentiality

If you are proposing data collection with people:

  • Describe how informed consent will be obtained, including these key details:
  • Consent is voluntary
  • No negative consequences for withdrawal from the study or declining to answer specific questions
  • Describe potential benefits and risks
  • Will compensation be provided?
  • Describe how confidentiality will be maintained including (as applicable):
    • Removing names or other identifying information from sample lists or transcripts (if applicable)
    • Not including names or other identifying information in any written document

If you are proposing data collection from administrative or secondary data sources:

  • Describe where the data will come from and how you would go about obtaining it.
  • Describe how the data will be de-identified so that no names or other identifying information appear in the dataset.
  • Describe how the data will be stored to maintain confidentiality

All papers should describe how the proposed project addresses the following three key domains of ethical research:

  • Respect for persons: all participants treated with respect and their autonomy is protected. Researchers are truthful.
  • Beneficence: The research study needs to have a purpose that leads to a benefit for society (with doing no harm)
  • Justice: The fair distribution of procedures to participants (or potential participant)

Your writing, citation & references will be also considered in grading (5 points):

– Language Use

  • Clear, direct style, precision and clarity
  • Variety of sentence patterns used correctly
  • Words appropriate to tone and meaning/ avoidance of slang, trite, informal language
  • Avoid excessive direct quotation/ avoid “dropped-in” quotes

– Paragraph Integrity

  • Introduction functions appropriately
  • Each paragraph has a focused topic sentence and clear purpose (refer to content)
  • Paragraphs are organized, unified and adequately developed
  • Transitions used to establish coherent flow of ideas
  • Logical, coherent structure is evident

– Mechanical Accuracy

  • Punctuation generally correct/capitalization correct
  • Grammatical accuracy/spelling conventions observed
  • Careful editing (minimal typographical errors)/ manuscript rules observed

(i.e., font, font size, margins)

– Citation & References

  • Cite appropriate sources
  • Citation format observed/ reference format observed

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