THREE PROPOSAL INSIGHTS - list started S'17; updated for S'18


  These three important tips were generated after reading the proposal submissions. They are based on  things I noticed while seeing similar issues in several of the papers  &  , therefore, are applicable to most of you. Everyone is somewhere within the process of  collecting, analyzing, and  warranting your data. Although some of these comments originated in reference to specific methodologies, the principles mentioned are helpful in the broad sense.




1. SURVEY is a broad, "umbrella" term for a methodological approach that uses the question as the primary technique. Four of the most commonly used instruments  that might pertain to this class are the Questionnaire, the In-depth Interview, The Focus Group, and the Poll.   Since the goal is to ask the question(s) of a REPRESENTATINVE sample of a larger population, investigators using this approach need to be very mindful of how they phrase the questions and sequence the questions in their instrument (whether it is a questionnaire, an open-ended interview, a poll, etc.). An  investigator using this discovery-based approach is operating with the premise that THE-MICRO-REFLECTS-THE-MACRO




2. An ABSTRACT is an up-front summary of the document  the reader is about to read.  That is why it is recommended to complete the document  first (e.g.  proposal, research report, critical essay)  and then write the abstract.  Although I understand why many of you wrote your proposal abstracts as future tense , how-to statements, be sure to model your final Thesis abstracts after the style you see in actual jounal articles (which are usually a grammatically correct blend of past tense and present tense.) If possible, there will be an additional class activity based on writing abstracts.





3. Although the returned proposals include many annotations & questions, your goal now is keep moving forward -- keeping my comments in mind as you finalize the structure of your argument ( i.e. your "Toulmin") Many of you wrote that your validity would come from being ethical, honest researchers who had used credibile sources for your literature review section. These things can be part of the test for validity but  by themselves, they do not equal validity. As you write your various rationales throughout your  final paper, you need to connect-the-dots  in an explicit way to PROVE that the investigation you carried out adhered to all the principles of validity.  


Reliability [a.k.a external validity]  is a nice goal too but many of you have relatively small samples so it might be difficult to generalize your results as broadly as you would like to.If appropriate, you can acknowledge that reservation in your Conclusion section.  Be sure to re-read the definitions  of "validity" & reliability" in your textbook ( especially Chapter 6, 3rd ed).




bonus tip:  Library Resources section in your Blackboard should now contains an active link to the 1( & eventually 2 ) chapters by Frey, et. al.  One of these chapters summarizes the six(6)  components of the standard research report. The other chapter will be used to complete one of your advance questions for the upcoming  "mid"(3/4) term exam.  Please let me know if those links are not working.  (The test study sheet will be  linked to course calendar & to a shortcut on my main page)