There are so many things around us that it can be difficult to focus on just one for a research project. Here are a few things to think about to find yours. First, we are in a sociology class, so your topic has to be sociological in nature. Wondering if a new diet helps people lose weight, for instance, wouldn’t work. Instead, think back on some of the topics you covered in other sociology classes (Intro, Marriage and the Family, Theory, etc.). Was there something in there that sparked your interest? You can also build on previous research that you have completed for a former class in the program or closely related field.
Second, this project will be the focus of your discussions for the next eight weeks. It is highly recommended that you choose something that is of interest to you and can keep your attention for that long.
Third, we will be using General Social Survey (GSS) 2012 data set for Weekly Discussions, Assignment 1 and the Final Portfolio. You should NOT collect your own data. All variables and data are required to be from GSS 2012 data set. You can find GSS variables online via GSS Data Explorer (https://gssdataexplorer.norc.org/). Make good use of the screenshot attachment at the end of the grading rubrics to search relevant variables for your project.
The point of the discussion is that other students will ask you questions or make suggestions that may help you define your project better. Your instructor will also interact with each of you individually in this module and the next to help you refine your topic. Which means, remember to check your thread regularly!
As you present your topic in this discussion, think about how you would study it. What is your research question and your theory behind it? What variables can you use to measure correlations that are connected to your research question? In your original post, tell the class what your topic is, phrasing it as a research question. Your research question should preferably be more general and open-ended than a hypothesis. Then, identify variables which you have found in the GSS 2012 dataset. Be sure to identify the variable name AND the question asked in the survey. See screenshots tutorial for more details. Wrap up by explaining why you chose these variables for your project and why you think there is a correlation or a relationship.
In your replies to at least two posts from your classmates, think critically about what they are trying to do with their project, and offer them constructive feedback. This can be asking for clarification about their proposed topic; suggesting a direction for their research; suggesting sources they may want to check; or contributing your personal experience about this topic.
In your Week 1 “Choose a topic” initial posting, please list everything in the following list:
1. Describe what your topic is, phrasing it as a research question. Please note:
a. the topic has to be sociology in nature;
b. your research question should preferably be more general and open-ended than a hypothesis; (it is not a hypothesis, not yet);
2. Identify variables (one DV, at least one IV) which you have found in the GSS dataset (use the search function at https://gssdataexplorer.norc.org/variables/vfilter. Make sure you set the year to be “2012” before you search, since you are required to use data from GSS 2012 for your project. If you have questions, refer to the screenshots attached at the bottom of page for a step-by-step tutorial. If your variable of interest is NOT in the 2012 data set, consider revising your topic to work with available data.
a. identify variable names; for example, “childs” is a variable name. It stands for “Number of children.”
b. identify the question related to this variable that was asked in the survey (in verbatim). For example, GSS survey question for variable “childs” is as follows (in verbatim):
How many children have you ever had? Please count all that were born alive at any time (including any you had from a previous marriage).
3. Explain why you chose these variables for your project;
4. Explain why you think there is a correlation or a relationship.