Social Research Methods

Research Project Format

General Considerations: Your project should reflect good writing techniques and guiding principals. The Research Project consists of 5 Chapters: Introduction, Review of Literature, Methodology and Design, Presentation and Analysis of the Data and Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations. The Research Project also includes Appendices and Bibliography. The following outline should be utilized when constructing your project. Chapter titles and sections are indicated in BOLD. Explanations are indicated under the specific sections.

I. Introduction


Provide a brief overview of the entire study.

Purpose of the Study (Including Research Questions OR Hypotheses)

Along with the statement, “The purpose of the study is…,” the Research
 Questions are stated in this section. 

Note:  The project normally has ONE or the OTHER, not both, although certain 

studies employ both Research Questions or Hypotheses.

Selection of the Sample and Demographic Data

Briefly explain why you chose a specific population and the sample.  
You will expand on this information in Chapter III.

Significance of the Study

Why is your study important?   This sections can be expanded after your 
Review of Literature is completed.  For example, “Research indicates that
little information exists in the area of (your research questions).” Then go on
to explain.

Assumptions of the Study

What assumptions are you making about the design of the study?  For 
example, you are obviously making an assumption that participants are 
responding to your investigations accurately and honestly.

Limitations of the Study

What doesn’t your study address?  Be up front.  Amazingly, this section makes   your study stronger since you are acknowledging that while your study doesn’t   address that element, it does (convincingly) address this element, etc.

Definition of Terms

For each important term in your study, you must define what the author means
in the study when the term is used.

Organization of the Study

A brief paragraph should be included at the end of Chapter I to explain to the  reader  how the remainder of the study is organized.

II. Review of Literature


Provide a brief introduction to place your study in the context of the current

Review of Literature (Related to Research Topic/Question)

This section details a review of literature that specifically addresses your research
questions/hypotheses.  You will have subsections under the Review of Literature 
section.  Note the “Levels of Heading” handout. 

III. Methodology and Design

Research Design

This section details what type of research you are doing (i.e., survey research, 
experimental or field research).  You should also answer the question of 
“Why this is the most appropriate method of researching your topic?” 
We will discuss more about Research Design in the coming sessions.

Selection of the Population and Sample

Why did you specifically want to study this population?  What is your
rationale?  Describe the method used to select the sample.  For example, 
random sample, stratified random sampling, purposive sample.  Again, the 
question of “Why this was the most appropriate method of sampling?”


List and explain all of your variables.  Must identify all dependent and 
independent variable.

Dependent Variables

List and Define

Independent Variables

List and Define


Your survey instrument (i.e., questionnaire) or interview form is discussed
in detail. How did you construct it?  Did you test it, then revise it based
on feedback?  Why did you included certain items; why were certain items 
excluded?  The instrument itself should be included as an Appendix to the study.

Procedures for Data Collection

How did you physically do the data collection?  For example, “The survey
questionnaire form was hand-distributed to the sample on  Friday, August 2.
One hundred questionnaires were distributed, and within 1 week, 35 
questionnaires were returned, yielding a rate of return 35%.

Procedures for Data Analysis

How did you complete the data analysis?  This is the section in which you 
discuss either the qualitative or quantitative data procedures. 

IV. Presentation and Analysis of the Data


Provide a brief discussion of the data analysis approach.  Refer back to 
previous section.

Data Analysis

This is the heart of your paper.  What is process by which you analyzed your 
data.  Statistics? (Quantitative?) Concepts formation?  (Qualitative?)


Summarize your process.

V. Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations


Provide a one or two paragraph summary of the research process to this point. 
“A (type) study on (topic) was conducted using (sample).  Data was collected
using (instrument/process) and results were obtained by (process).

Overview of Findings

This section contains each research question and each hypothesis.  After the
restatement of the Research Question, the results are stated.  This section
should contain subsections.  For example, 

Overview of Study

    Research Questions

        Research Question One



        Hypothesis One


Discussion and Implications


Discuss your findings in relation to the information/research in your Review of 
Literature (Chapter II).


This is the most creative part of the study.  Let your imagination run wild!!!
Given the results, what are the implications for the participants, for others, 
for the field, etc?  Be imaginative.  This is the generative part of research.
This is why we do it!!!!

Recommendations for Further Study

Given the results (and limitations) of your study, you should provide 2 to 
3 recommendations for further study to obtain more knowledge.  For example,         use the same design on a different sample.  Use an interview or statistical 
technique instead of a survey questionnaire, etc.  Predict what additional 
knowledge you could obtain by utilizing alternate methods?


This is the Bibliography section.  You are to use the American Psychological
Association (APA) Citation methodology.  Refer to your Expository or Critical
Writing Handbook (A Writers Reference, Harbrace College Handbook or any 

good style manual) for specific details.


This is the section in which you include the instruments/letters or     correspondence with the participants, etc.  On occasion, you can include 
sample analysis of data or responses.  Appendices contain additional
information that is important, but would detract from the main focus of 
your paper.

Sample Solution