Your independent research project involves two steps. 


A.  You are first required to turn in a formal proposal of your research topic.


Within your summary proposal explain the issue or question your research will address.  I want to get a good idea of what you want to do.  Give me an idea of the data sources and variables you plan to use for the study.  I will grade your proposal on how coherent and developed your research idea is.  I will discuss the idea with you the week after you turn it in.  Your final research paper MUST follow the topic you outline.  (I will keep a copy of your proposal).


B.  Here are notes regarding the actual written research paper (also look at the Paper Evaluation worksheet).


1.       The paper should document your research into a social science question.  Most papers of this type have (roughly) the following format:

A.      Introduction

Introduce your topic.  Briefly summarize some previous research on the subject.  State how you are going to approach the issue.

B.       Analytical Section

If you want you can separate a section in which you further discuss your ideas on your topic.  It would be great (though not required) if you could formally present your ideas using such tools as a supply/demand diagram or a production possibilities curve.  Use this section to tell the reader the specific relationships you expect to find between the important variables in your empirical models.

C.      Statistical Model/Regression Equation

Use this section to specify the variables in your statistical models and the regression equations you will analyze.

D.      Data Sources

Briefly outline the data sources used in the construction of your dependent and independent variables.

E.       Empirical Results

Discuss your empirical results.  This is arguably the most important part of the paper.

F.       Conclusion

Restate some of the main empirical findings of the paper.  Maybe you can rephrase the most important findings using big picture language.  This would be a good place to summarize the point of the paper.

G.      References

Document the papers and books you cite in your study or referred to in your research.  I am not picky on the formatting of this.  You can follow the reference formatting in one of the research studies we reviewed in class.

H.      Tables of Statistical Results

If you want, you can instead embed the tables within the empirical results section.


2.       There is no minimum page limit for this paper.  Use the narrative necessary to clearly express your ideas.  Do not feel obligated to pad.  Economize on words and keep your writing direct.