Overview & Objectives

Prior to conducting research, it is important that researchers determine a clear plan for a study through development of a research proposal. Research proposals outline key details of what the researcher wishes to study and how this will be accomplished by following a specific research process. A proposal is meant to demonstrate that there are logical reasons for doing the research in a certain way and that practical and ethical issues have been considered. In this assignment, students are asked to develop certain aspects of a research proposal using qualitative methods.


Follow the instructions provided to develop a plan for research that adopts a qualitative methodology. In particular, you should formulate an idea for studying a topic of sociological interest with a focus on specific concepts or experiences that can be studied in a qualitative manner.  

You should draw upon your learning in the course to explain each of the following components. Although you aren’t developing a full research proposal, this assignment requires that you provide information about the study topic and steps in the research process, along with explanations to show your decision-making. You should present each section with headings in the order listed, although it is okay if you adjust the order somewhat or combine two sections into one.

  • Title of the research study
  • Introduction to the social phenomenon of interest – In a few sentences to one paragraph, explain a topic of sociological interest that you will focus on for a qualitative study. Indicate whether there is a specific dimension of the topic or concept that you are interested in.
  • Research question – In one or two sentences, explain the question that you will seek to answer.
  • Methodological approach and research design – In a few sentences to one paragraph, explain why a qualitative approach is a good fit. As well, identify the research design that you will use.
  • Target population/setting and sampling – In a few sentences, explain who or where you will study and/or collect data from, and what type of sampling will be used to select participants.
  • Methods of data collection:
    • Choose one qualitative method that will allow you to collect data on your phenomenon of interest from the target population/setting. You should choose one of the following options: in-depth interviews; focus group discussions; ethnography/participant observation; or, visual methods. In a few sentences, explain the method for data collection and why it is a good fit with the topic and research question.
    • As well, develop a guide for data collection or outline specific steps that would be followed to generate the desired data. For example, you could develop an interview or focus group discussion guide, or a plan for participant observation or visual method project that would allow you to collect data to answer your research question. The guide should include enough detail about what you would do to conduct the study, while also reflecting the flexibility of qualitative research. *You can include the guide as an appendix at the end of the assignment if it is lengthy/awkward to include in the text, with a reference to it in the assignment.
  • Plan for data analysis plan – In a few sentences, explain the main steps involved in analyzing the qualitative data produced by your methods. You might identify the general approach that you would use or specific type of analysis, but the important part is to give a sense of how data analysis would be approached and what the outcome would be.
  • Strengths and limitations of the proposed research – In a few sentences, identify one strength of your research plan with reference to criteria for evaluation. As well, identify one limitation of your plan with respect to criteria for evaluation.
  • Ethical considerations – In a few sentences to a paragraph, identify one or two ethical principles relevant to the research plan and describe how it/they would be addressed.

Presentation & Format

The length of this assignment should be approximately 4-6 pages, not including a title page or reference list. It is okay if your data collection guide takes up additional space because of formatting; however, the written portion of the assignment should fall within this range and address each of the items listed. Assignments that are shorter or longer are subject to grade deductions. You should write in complete sentences and use appropriate spelling, grammar, punctuation, and word choice. It is okay to have short paragraphs where appropriate.

The assignment should be double spaced, in 12-point Times New Roman font, and following APA formatting and reference style, except an abstract is not necessary. Information about APA can be accessed onlineLinks to an external site. or by consulting the following text:

American Psychological Association. (2019). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th edition. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

*Please ensure that any ideas drawn directly from course materials, the textbook, or other sources are appropriately referenced in the assignment and included in a reference list at the end of the assignment.

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