Posted: March 22nd, 2016
Background and Hypothesis
Building upon the annotated bibliography and literature review from Assignment #2, this section of the term paper will link the proposed research directly to the existing literature. Theories, explanatory frameworks and/or empirical evidence pertinent to your research question are to be presented: additional sources will be added as appropriate (the final term paper should have ten to 15 courses in total).
For the “research proposal,” the following questions need to be considered:
1) What is the theoretical basis for answering the research question? That is, what are the arguments, given the existing theories, about how you key independent variable “X” is associated with the dependent variable “Y”? Each theory should provide an argument about the relationship. If this is not explicit, an extrapolation from theory about how “X” affects “Y” needs to be applied.
2) How does the research build upon findings of earlier studies? In discussing how theory relates X to Y, existing studies that reinforce the relationship with theory should be stated. Accordingly, the theory explanation can be placed in a research context.
In constructing the research proposal, at least two theories or two arguments should be made to explain the relationship between Y and X. (Hence, support the theory of interest by eliminating the competing theory of disinterest). With the establishment of the competing theories and/or arguments, the supporting references should be assigned to the appropriate theory/argument (“put into ‘piles’ corresponding to the theories”). Important questions to consider are: what concepts are being used in each theory? What are the results? Do they support the theories? How does the finding of follow-on articles support/refute earlier work?
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