Research design exercise

Research design exercise


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This assignment is meant to give you an idea of how we design a research study. The topic, however, is given to you and you don’t have to read any studies on the topic in order to design this study (you are free to research the literature if you want but it’s not required for this assignment).


This assignment is similar to what you will do for the research proposal. Except here you are given the specific topic (dependent variable) and you don’t need to include a literature review section. I have also given you the geographical area / population you will focus on, i.e. Queens College students



You are interested in conducting research on volunteerism (this is your topic and dependent variable). Your universe for this study will be students at Queens College. The purpose of the study is to see whether students do any type volunteer work during their free time when they are not on campus and what could be a possible explanation for this. In other words, are some students more likely than others to ……?”


-The first thing you need to do is form a causal relationship (research question) with a dependent variable and an independent variable.


In your design you will need to include the following:

What is your unit of analysis for this study?

You need to have a testable hypothesis (you can also have secondary hypotheses)

Think about ways to measure the variables / make any abstract variables more concrete i.e. conceptual definition of volunteerism; indicators used to measure volunteerism and/or your other variables (how will you define volunteerism or any other abstract variables used?) refer to the lesson on conceptualization and operationalization.

Will you examine any control variables? Make sure you are clear about what we mean by control variables. This is where you go back and refer to your chapters instead of googling the phrase “control variables”.

What will be your research site? Make sure to mention your sampling frame, population, type of sample that would be best for your research and why? i.e simple random, stratified, etc?)

How will you collect data for your study? / data collection technique used in order to answer your research question. i.e. experiment (what type?), survey (what type?), content analysis, secondary analysis, existing statistics etc. What would be the most appropriate method for this study and why?


This assignment needs to be well written, in essay form and NOT bullet points. It must be professional in order to convince a sponsor to give you funding to conduct such a study. In other words, you must have an introduction discussing the topic and its importance. The only part you will skip is the literature review. Make sure you use formal and academic language. Check your sentence structure before submitting. Fragments and run on sentences make coherence and cohesion weak and prevent the reader from comprehending your arguments. As mentioned earlier, this will be good practice for your research proposal at the end of the semester.

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