Two assessment components
The research report (2300 words) – 65% of overall module mark
The multiple choice test (50 questions, up to 3 hours, online at end of semester) – 35% of overall module
Assessment criteria and details on My Studies in Module Handbook including all the subtitles for your
research report and what needs to go in each section. The seminar handouts also talk through what
goes in each section.Research Report
We started with a broad topic of “What is the relationship between gender OR social class and attitudes towards crime & punishment?”
We did a survey of students on SS414 and SS448 (approx 400 students) – you can download the data on My Studies under “SS414
Survey” where there are also important notes about the dataset.
You need to choose TWO questions from the survey to analyse:
1) A question measuring either gender OR class (your independent variable)
2) A question measuring attitudes towards crime & punishment (your dependent variable)
Our report will look at the relationship between these two variables.
You can now rewrite your research question based on these survey questions e.g. “What is the association between social class and
attitudes towards capital punishment”.Part 1 – Introduction to the Literature (600-800
You need to independently do a literature search to find relevant academic work on the topic to establish what is already
known about your research question – you need to summarise and critique this body of literature.
Use the library’s Onesearch and other search engines for the academic literature (Google Scholar)
– Is the topic of this literature relevant to my question?
– Are examples of the literature applicable (e.g. are studies carried out in China likely to inform my understanding of
British attitudes towards the death penalty?)
– Is it recent enough to be relevant?
All of these criteria of relevance are judgements on your part.
You should then use what you’ve found in the literature to write a rationale for your research – does it seek to confirm
findings you’ve located in the literature, or to help to settle a disagreement in the literature, or to extend the existing
literature by filling a gap?Hypotheses go at the end of the Introduction
At the end of your introduction to the literature you need to give a null hypothesis (H0).
A hypothesis is a prediction of the relationship between your variables. A null hypothesis always assumes no
relationship between variables. You should make your hypothesis specific to the questions you are analysing:
e.g. “H0:There is no relationship between whether someone receives a university bursary or not and their attitude towards
whether capital punishment should be re-introduced for the most serious murders”.
You can also write an alternative hypothesis (HA) predicting a relationship between variables if the literature
gives you reason to expect one e.g. that people who receive a bursary are less likely to support the re-introduction of
capital punishment or, if the literature doesn’t suggest an association, say that it supports the null hypothesis.Part 2: The Methods Section (400 words)
Gives enough information about the study to allow it to be replicated. Fits into 5 subsections:
Participants including descriptive statistics about the sample e.g. age (I suggest min, max, mean and SD), gender
and social class of participants (both as frequencies) – you’ll need to use SPSS for this.
Materials describing the survey
Procedure describing how the research was carried out
Ethics describing how ethical risks were mitigated (the research was approved by the SASS Tier 1 Ethics
Committee so you need to discuss what we did to make it ethical)
Analysis describing the statistical test used to analyse the data
Each section should also justify the choice of methods with reference to research methods literature
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