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How to Write a Research Proposal in Sociology That Can Make a Supervisor WOW?

Working on a research in sociology is pretty difficult especially when you lack decent experience in the sphere. The main stumbling block appears when a student has to draft a survey proposal to be approved by the supervisor.

What’s a research proposal in sociology? It is a short representation of the tested topic that guides a supervisor on how the survey is going to be performed and what results should be expected. If a survey proposal in sociology lacks proof or is too blurry, it won’t be approved, which means the supervisor won’t allow conducting the exploration. Thus, a bachelor’s, master’s or Ph.D. degree is under a threat. What we suggest is following the tips provided in this article to omit possible pitfalls and hand in a professionally-written proposal.

Define the Type of Your Research Proposal

There are two possible ways for you to go. Number one is creating a descriptive research proposal. Number two is working on an informative one. Inexperienced writers see no difference. Let us explain it all.

A descriptive research proposal deals with the overall overview of the issue to be studied, the goals of a writer, and a set of methods for completing an explorations in the top successful way. However, this type is deprived of any descriptive essence that allows you as a writer to draw any conclusions.

On the other hand, there’s an informative research proposal that is also referred to as a tiny version of the entire research paper. It actually deals with the writer’s motifs for the survey, addressed methods, possible results, and even implications.

Generally speaking, the tendency is that supervisors now are trying to step a bit aside from the first type and concentrate on the second one, which, we believe, is the right choice. Hereafter, we’ll uncover the secrets of drafting this sort of survey proposal in sociology.

Pick the Correct Topic!

Experts say that if you aren’t aware of what to start with, then you have to start from the very beginning. It sounds like a cliche, doesn’t it? But that is SO TRUE! Students spend much time trying to figure out what to write about. It seems that the Internet is filled with a huge number of topics for sociological research. But most of them pose no interest to the audience.

Tired of all the guides and never-ending instructions?

We’ve decided to share some possible directions on where to find research topics if you have found yourself stuck:

  • Question your professor/supervisor for advice. He/she is surely knowledgeable in the sphere and has a few suggestions that can be developed in your research proposal in sociology.
  • Watch more news on TV, read the news on social media to know what directions are really trendy and what topics are burning.
  • Use brainstorming trying to remember what topics posed interest to you before and what you wanted to explore years ago.

In case you are still stuck and haven’t got any idea what to start with, we’ve made a number of topics in sociology that you may want to consider:

  • Types of Modern Slavery;
  • Harassment in Social Media: Who’s Suffering the Most?
  • How Does Poverty Influence the Level of Education and Vice Versa?
  • Competition Among Your Women: Who’s Making Us Mean?
  • Foreign Education Is for Professional Success: True or False;
  • The Effects of Fast Food on Society;
  • Women vs Men, or Why Are We Differently Treated in Media, Social Interactions, and State Laws?
  • The Age-Old Question: How Money Buy/Don’t Buy Happiness;
  • International Perception of Marriage;
  • The Effects of Increased Meat Consumption on the Environment;
  • The Roots of Traditional Family Dinners and Their Popularity in Present Day;
  • The Popularity of Social Media in Different Age Groups;
  • How Do Families Influence the National Consciousness of Children?
  • Children of the ’90s vs Children of the 2019 — The Unbelievable Differences;
  • Why Modern Women Feel So Unhappy.

While choosing the topic for your research proposal in sociology, you may also want to consider a few other things including whether being too broad or specific. If you are going to broad, you may find yourself overwhelmed by a huge number of very different opinions. If you’re going to specific, you may lack data from previous researchers, thus you won’t be able to prove the significance of the subject.

If you are possessing any emotional response to the subject, you should not refuse from researching it. But you need to hold your strong emotional reactions under control and make sure they don’t influence the overall survey result.

Research Type as a Part of How to Write a Research Proposal in Sociology

There are two types of explorations that are commonly applied to survey proposals in sociology — qualitative vs quantitative. The qualitative approach helps a scientists build an overall understanding of the researched social phenomena by analyzing texts, communications, direct observations. This type of approach is known for laying stress on the contextual and subjective accuracy rather than the blurry principles.

The quantitative one is concentrated on dealing with a social phenomenon via proofs existing in a numeric form. The results according to a quantitative approach greatly depend on the figure and statistical analysis and lead to outcomes which are treated as more reliable.

How to Write a Research Proposal in Sociology According to the Format

Both the content and the structure of the study proposal convince the members of the committee of the relevance of the chosen topic and its research and of its potential contribution to the area of sociology.

A research proposal in sociology covers the identical components as any general piece, yet still, there are several differences you must know. We shall start explaining the structure step-by-step and providing the differences in the flow of the abstract.

1. State the question of your exploration

To create an emphasis of the exploration, you need to a conduct a profound testing of the question. The questions serve as a identification of the boundaries of your exploration. Draw attention to the fact that any survey committee gives preferences to a plain and straightforward question/title which communicates with readers and doesn’t provoke any disarray.

The stated question must answer these questions:

  • Which topic are you working on?
  • What methodology is planned to be used while studying it?
  • What’s the hidden relevance of the subject?
  • Does it have any implications on the area of sociology?

Even if you are picking a rather broad topic, you can use all the chances to narrow it down. Pick the juiciest (most interesting) slice and turn it into a new topic with the brightest ideas for research. How to do it? Take one minute and just write down what you really what to do: “I want to find out…”

2. Introduce the subject

In brief, that’s the introduction section which starts with telling the readers about the chosen subject in general and then focuses on the juiciest piece — the precise issue — that you’d like to research. Any of your choices must be supported by explaining to the readers why this topic is so necessary. To do that, make sure your introduction part covers the following:

  • What’s already clear about this topic? Here you can even share the most important references to the brightest minds and their researches.
  • What makes your project (your juiciest piece) fit in the general picture? Does your research fill in any of the existing gaps in the previous researches?
  • Does your approach/topic somehow extend to any new case?
  • Are you going to improve any of the existing approaches or sociological models?

The main thing that you need to write will start like this: “It is important/essential/exceptional that we learn about/find out about________ because________”.

3. Share the list and description of methodologies

Section number three is all about what you are planning to do while approaching the research of the topic. We suggest you talk about the methodology that you believe should be applied in the course of the research.

However, the commonest mistake that students do is that they name the method without explaining how they are going to use it and what results it will lead to. If you are enumerating the methods from a long list, make sure each of them comes with the following description:

  • The name of the method or methodology that is going to be applied.
  • What it is going to be used for: to analyze primary or secondary data/ to analyze the survey results.
  • Why you believe this method is more appropriate than others (benefits).
  • What results its use can lead to.

As this chapter in the survey proposal in sociology usually has the most importance, you have to pay much time and effort to complete it. In case you experience problems while working on it, feel free to contact your supervisor. Share your determinations — and he/she will gladly assist you with developing your methodology or any other part of the research proposal in sociology.

4. Review the references

What does the review of the references give? It shows the committee the background of the sociological issue that you have intention to disclose. It also ensures that the scientist (you) is knowledgeable in this particular sphere.

By providing the review of the informational sources, you demonstrate your awareness of the sociological area and avoid empty statements as well as those that imply that not really much has been done in this very area.

Be very careful when choosing the examples of the information sources: pick those that are topical and provide appropriate citations. Keep in mind that the committee can also ask you to provide the so-called search strategy. This is when you have to clarify the procedure that you applied and the multiple sources you investigated (experts’ works, journals, databases, textbooks, test banks, etc).

5. Draw a conclusion

In this situation, the conclusion is not always accurate as it presupposes the potential results and outcomes of the survey you are proposing. Justify how the predetermined results can influence society on the whole.

When writing a final clause, indicate:

  • How the conducted exploration will prolong the already existing data of the sociological field (don’t be afraid to think pragmatically).
  • How the outputs may influence instructional interventions, policy, scholarly research, counseling, etc.
  • What can be changed or improved once the result of the exploration are published?
  • How the output of the study will be implemented in real-life situations or what innovative approaches may be generated after the results are revealed.

Don’t write too much but try to concise instead. Remember that being specific means you shouldn’t be too wordy. Present your research proposal in sociology only as a starting point that explains general ideas, whereas the details must be expected only in the course of profound research.

To learn more about what the committee expects you to present, you can look through the profiles of the committee members. Seek for their works and research proposals that could give you a hint on what you are expected/not expected to do.

Though sociology is a very flexible science and leaves so many chances for writing a good paper, crafting a research proposal on a sociological topic is really tough. Already printed facts and numbers can’t be presented as 100% reliable since they aren’t yours and you have no clue how the former researcher came at such conclusions.

To succeed, we suggest you ground your work on the principles of logic — conduct your own survey, see the true numbers and there won’t be the slightest doubt that your research is unworthy.

References:

  • Gordon, L.E. (2016). Real research : methods sociology students can use. Thousand Oaks: Sage.
  • Hartmann, D.J. (1992). Program Assessment in Sociology: The Case for the Bachelor’s Paper. Teaching Sociology, 20(2), p.125.
  • Mark Evan Edwards (2015). Writing in sociology. Los Angeles: Sage.