For your research paper in this course, you will write an analytical research paper addressing a topic of your choosing from among the topics covered in this course. As a research paper, your paper will have to answer a significant puzzle related to a course topic. For this assignment, you will build on what you submitted in Week 2.
Title Page of the Paper: The title of your paper should be brief but should adequately inform the reader of your general topic and the specific focus of your research. Keywords relating to parameters, population, and other specifics are useful. The Title Page must include the title, name, course name and number, and Professor’s Name.
Introduction, Research Question, and Hypothesis: This section shall provide an overview of the topic that you are writing about, a concise synopsis of the issues, and why the topic presents a “puzzle” that prompts your research questions, which you will include. This section will end your introduction with your research question.
Review of the Literature: All research projects include a literature review to set out for the reader what knowledge exists on the subject under study and helps the researcher develop the research strategy to use in the study. A good literature review is a thoughtful study of what has been written, a summary of the arguments that exist (whether you agree with them or not), arranged thematically. At the end of the summary, there should still be gaps in the literature that you intend to fill with your research.
As a literature review, this section should identify the common themes and theories that the prior research identified. In this section, what you do is look at the conclusions of prior research and identify the common themes in the conclusions. You then identify those themes. The APUS online library has some helpful information on literature reviews.
Methodology and Research Strategy: This section provides the reader with a description of how you carried out your qualitative research project, and the variables you identified and analyzed. It describes any special considerations and defines any limitations and terms specific to this project, if necessary. This section can be brief or more complicated, depending on the project.
Analysis and Findings: are not the same as conclusions. In the analysis component of this section you identify how you analyzed the data. The second part is the finding you got from your analysis of the data. The findings are the facts that you developed, not your interpretation of the facts. That interpretation is conducted in the conclusions and recommendations section of the paper. Findings will come from the prior research you examined and your analysis of those prior findings to create new findings for your paper. While there may be some facts that are such that they will stand and translate to your paper, the intent is to create new knowledge, so you will normally analyze the data to create your own findings of what facts that data represents.
Conclusions and Recommendations: is the section where you give your interpretation of the data. Here you tell the reader what the findings mean. Often the conclusions and recommendations sections will mirror the findings in construct as the researcher tells the reader what that researcher sees as the meaning of that data, their conclusions. Then, drawing on those conclusions, the researcher tells the reader what they believe needs to be done to solve/answer the research question. This section may include recognition of any needs for further research and then finishes with a traditional conclusion to the paper as a whole.
Remember, your paper should seek to answer a question that helps to solve the research puzzle you identified.