Identify and describe the concrete, specific ways in which the project contributes to theory.

Write an abbreviated, 15 page policy-relevant practice research proposal based upon their research question/dependent variable (DV) selected for the Week Three discussion board post.

Proposal should build out of the literature review constructed in Week Four but primary focus of practice proposal is the selection of a research design appropriate for the study of student’s own particular dependent variable.

Proposals must cover each and every major component of a traditional social science research project, with the exception of findings/conclusions.

Students must convincingly demonstrate that the research design is appropriate for the study of their own research question/DV. Focus should be on describing, explaining, and justifying the research design.


The paper must be 15 pages in length, which does not include the cover page or reference page.

Students must describe their research question in one sentence. Students must describe dependent variable in one sentence. Both the research question and the dependent variable must be on page one of the proposal.

Students must identify and briefly describe their research objectives

Paper must offer brief lit review on previous work done to investigate the same or similar research question/RQ. This lit review must:

Describe how other scholars have gone about studying the same or similar research question. What worked well, what did not work well?

Clearly identify and describe the concrete, specific ways in which the project contributes to theory. This component should include both a formal explanation and a substantive explanation.

In other words, how do methodologists describe the type(s) of theory contribution(s) you make? And what “gap” in existing theory within your sub-field do you aim to fill?

Hypothesis(es) should be derived from lit review

Paper must describe research design choices, including but not limited to:

operationalization/measurement of major variables (Both DV and IVs)
list of possible observable implications (esp. for DV)
possible data sources/cases
description of techniques/methods used to carry out data collection and analysis

Discuss case selection, if applicable to project
Using course readings and additional seminal works on research design and methods, paper must justify research design choices and convince readers their research design enables them to meet their research objectives

This will entail an explanation of how the nature of the data informed selection of appropriate methodology

Students must discuss the ways in which the research design is constructed to avoid common research design pitfalls

Students must identify the strengths and weaknesses of their research design

Students must offer concrete solutions for minimizing weaknesses

After thoroughly explaining and justifying research design choices, doctoral students must describe how their work contributes toward the evaluation and/or building of public policies.

Students should ground this explanation in the principles/methods for policy analysis studies and discussed in the course.

Identify and describe the concrete, specific ways in which the project contributes to theory.

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