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Exercises

  1. At the beginning of any research project, researchers have to plan the methods they will use to collect data, both primary and secondary, and decide how to make those methods effective, reasonably comprehensive, and efficient. This preliminary work, which becomes part of what is called a preliminary prospectus, is important in making the proposal writing process that comes later easier and more effective (particularly in making the ultimate proposal more persuasive). In a memo to someone who would act as your research supervisor, write the portion of a preliminary prospectus that proposes the search methods you will use to find secondary literature on a research problem of your own choosing. Be specific about the kinds of search methods you will use (electronic methods for searching library holdings and Internet sources), why you will use them, and what you expect to find. This is particularly important in convincing your research supervisor that you are on a useful and productive track for collecting good secondary data.

  2. Using the same research problem as you have used above, write the portion of a preliminary prospectus that proposes the methods you will use of collecting primary data. Be specific about the kinds of methods (experimental/empirical/quantifiable, nonexperimental/qualifiable) you will use, why you will use them, and what you expect to find. In this exercise, it is particularly important that you add an analysis of the ethical considerations of using the methods you propose.


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