You are on page 1of 9

Wolmers Trust High School for Girls Caribbean studies Internal assessment

Summarily, the internal assessment is a research paper, that is, a systematic process of collecting and analyzing primary data in order to answer a question about the social world. It is much more than library and internet research (secondary sources)!

The Research Process

Social research is a type of structured and systematic research carried out by social scientists about the social world (Neuman, 2000). The research process is an interactive one which according to W.L. Neuman (2000) involves seven main steps. Each step has to be taken with the other six steps in mind in order to ensure that the decisions made are compatible with each other.

The research process and your Internal Assessment

Step one - Choose a Topic

Here you identify a theme for your research paper. A theme is a broad area of study such as crime, technology or health. Pages twenty three to twenty five of the syllabus outlines the themes from which your topic must be chosen.

Criteria for topics selected It must be pertain to Caribbean society; It must be reflected in the syllabus; Must be practical, current; relevant/necessary justifiable; Must be of some interest to you as a student and an individual; Should not be a social studies or sociology study title. At this level, a fifth form study is unacceptable.

Step two Narrow/focus the research The result of this process is the formulation of a problem statement and a statement of the problem. This will be recorded in introduction and purpose of the research worth fifteen marks (see research paper outline).

How to focus the research Read 2

After identifying the topic of interest, familiarize yourself with the existing literature. This includes theories about the topic, studies done on the topic, facts reported in the news and other acceptable media. Sources of information include text books, journals, previous studies, archives and internet sources. All sources must be evaluated for relevance, authority, authenticity, credibility, currency/datedness,

o o

Reading allows you to determine; o o o What is already known and what we dont yet know; Current, relevant problematic dimensions of the topic worthy of study; sources, and methods for primary data collection;

Essential Tasks o Formulate a problem statement should identify the issue/variables of the study, the universe to be covered, the nature of the relationship to be examined and the likely method to be used. This can be written as a statement or a question. Outline the issues of the study write the statement of the problem Background (Describe the problem/issue with statistics and other evidence highlighting why it is worthy of attention) Major objectives of the study Research questions (major questions which must be answered in order to fulfil the purpose of the study); Hypotheses - tentative statements about the relationships or associations between two or more variables. These should be informed by your literature review and your prior knowledge of the population under study. General hypothesis a statement which suggests the possible answer to your problem statement. Specific hypotheses tentative answers to the research questions.

Educational value of the study (value to you and other students and the relevant academic community) Operationalization of key concepts (define key terms according to how they will be used in the study) Delimitations of the study (brief note on the scope of the study)

Write literature review - a succinct and logically developed summary and critical examination of the major readings that influenced your thinking in planning your study. This is the third section of the study and is worth fifteen marks. This is enhanced if reading is done with a specific purpose in mind. Read abstracts, table of contents and scan through texts in order to determine the relevance, reliability, of the text or article. This is critical review of the existing literature on the topic (greater focus on the literature pertaining to the research problem) Include both empirical and theoretical literature Summarize and evaluate literature. Attend to what is said about the topic, the sources of information presented as well as the methods used to collect data/information presented in the article/text. Be critical. Organize literature reviewed in terms of your research questions or research objectives. Avoid doing a book by book review. Note references carefully;

The essence of the literature review is familiarize yourself with the related issues and attain information needed to design a meaningful study (formulate hypotheses; choose appropriate data collection techniques and sources as well as analytical tools). If you can adequately answer the research problem from the existing literature, then the study is unnecessary. Step Three Design the Study

At this step you make critical decisions about to reduce biases and produce and objective, reliable and valid study. A. Primary Sources Your primary sources are those which provide first hand evidence and or testimony about the topic being studied. These include autobiographies, memoirs, diaries, emails, oral histories, letters, correspondences, eyewitnesses, legal cases, treaties, statistics, surveys, opinion polls, scientific data, transcripts, records of organizations and government agencies, original works of literature, art or music, cartoons, postcards, posters, photographs, films, objects and artefacts that reflect the time period in which they were created. Note that for your study, your key primary source is likely to be persons who have direct experience with the issue(s) being investigated (given the use of questionnaires, observation and interviews). Bearing this in mind decisions have to be made about the following: Sources of data for the study Sampling o Sampling is the process by which the researcher identifies participants (specific sources of primary data) for the study. She draws a subset of cases (the sample) from the larger pool of all eligible/relevant cases (the population) of the study. 4

o o

The researcher may use a probability technique, a non-probability technique, or a combination of both techniques to select her sample. At this stage in your study you should report on: The population from which the sample was selected (characteristics, location, relevance to the study); The sampling technique and how it was used; Rationale for using the sampling technique chosen; The actual size and composition of the sample selected;

Methods and instruments of data collection o A method of set of principles and procedures which informs the data collection process. The researcher may use a combination of quantitative or qualitative methods. Methods include survey, interviews, case studies, observation and archival research. Each method is accompanied by a specific instrument(s). Instruments are the actual/tangible tools used to collect the data. These include questionnaires and checklists.

Form of Results o This speaks to the type of answers the research will produce, whether numbers, words, photographs, maps or drawings.

All decisions made must be informed by the nature of the topic and the relevant population. Secondarily, decisions should also be informed by whether or not the study is qualitative or quantitative, and applied or basic. Note the table below Method Surveys Instrument Questionnaire
May be administered by several means.

Unstructur ed Interviews


Observati on


Sample technique Typically probability (enhance ability to generalize) Typically qualitative (enhance validity by choosing the most informed experienced/infor med persons) Typically qualitative

Sample size 40 100

Form of results Numbers

Words, texts, charts, tables Dependent on the topic and population Words, texts, charts, tables, 5


Personal inquiry

Either qualitative or quantitative Texts to be examined

pictures Numbers,

Case Study

Analysis Checklist


Case to be examined

Words, texts, charts, tables, pictures Numbers may be used Representing decreasing amounts

B. Secondary Sources

Secondary Sources are materials that digest, analyze, evaluate and interpret information contained within primary sources or other secondary sources. These will feature prominently in your literature review and include books, such as biographies (not an autobiography), textbooks, encyclopaedias, dictionaries, handbooks, articles such as literature reviews, commentaries, and research articles in all subject disciplines, criticism of works of literature, art and music.

At the end of this step you would have completed section three of your internal assessment; Data Collection Sources. The section is valued ten marks. Here you give a description of the different sources from which information was collected and was obtained and how these sources contributed to an understanding of the research problem. Description In this context means that you speak to author(s), organization and nature of each source, as well as speak the value (quality) of the each source. You also describe the primary sources attending to the sample and its selection and the method of data collection.

Step Four Collect data Do not begin data collection until your research design has been approved; At all times be guided by ethical principles Gaining access o o o Obtain consent Set dates and keep them Exercise care, sensitivity, courtesy

Interacting with the participants o o Consideration for the nature of the sample should be reflected in your speech, dress and general demeanour; Be observant (engage your eyes and ears [active listening]) 6

Allow for the participants need for comfort and privacy.

Step Five - Analyze the Data In this section the researcher makes sense of the data by dissecting it to see what patterns (trends, correlations, causal relationships, etc) emerge. For your internal assessment it speaks to how you organize the raw data and subsequently, how you present the patterns you uncover from the data. Tips Attend to variables of importance when organizing information. If socio-economic status is an important variable for example, ensure that the data are dissected in terms of socioeconomic status. Think of possible ways of presenting the trends/patterns/themes you uncover while you are analyzing the data. Consider the objectives and research questions when analysing the data. At the end of this section you should be able to provide answers to each research question or hypothesis. Consider the method of data collection; it defines the kind of data collected and consequently suitable methods of analysis and presentation. Properly label and reference the diagrams. Sequence diagrams in relation to the research questions that they answer.

After completing this task you must find creative ways of presenting the patterns and consequent answers to your research questions. This will constitute the fourth section of your internal assessments; the Presentation of Findings which has a value of eighteen marks.

Diagrammatic presentation of findings Note that there will be some differences in how qualitative and quantitative data are presented. Because the former emphasizes the thematic information, the presentation must highlight rich text, verbatim reports and foster detailed descriptions of the phenomenon being studied. Thus pictures, maps, simple and complex tables, cartoons and comic strips and flow charts are among the more suitable ways of presenting qualitative data. In presenting quantitative data, you are required to use numbers to describe the phenomenon studied (show trends, relationships etc.). The following tools may be more suitable for presenting such data. Bar graph horizontal and vertical Histogram Pie charts Line graphs Simple tables Matrix (complex tables) 7

At this level you are expected to do more than report on the answer to individual questions of a questionnaire; you are required to analyse all your data, note relationships (causal relationships, correlations) and present the data in ways that highlight these.

Interpretation of findings In this section you explain the answers to the research questions that you deduced from the analysis of the data. That is, for each research question you: Outline the general finding; Highlight the data that support each answer/conclusion (referring to the presentation of findings); Provide possible explanations for the answer from within the study; Compare answer to the related hypothesis.

Discussion of findings Here we look at the answers deduced in comparison to the literature reviewed, revisit your hypotheses, and examine the implications of your findings for all stakeholders.

Conclusions, recommendations and Limitations Conclusion - Summarize your purpose and findings as well as the implications of those findings. Recommendations - Given the answers emerging from the study, what do you suggest be done to secure the best outcomes in the area of study? Recommendations may include suggestions for further study; ways of dealing with identified challenges or ways of improving on or maintaining positive outcomes. These must be practical, flow from the findings of your study and suggestive of how the recommendations can be implemented. Limitations - This section highlights those factors that limit the scope and application of your study. They also highlight those factors which may have an impact on the reliability of the data. These do not include time given complete the paper or word limit of the study. Think seriously about the intended used of the study, the area of the topic covered, the sample used and the data collection technique used in terms of how they affect the generalizability and accuracy of the findings. Helpful Texts 1. Mustapha, N. (2007). Sociology for Caribbean Students: society and culture. Volume one. Jamaica, Ian Randle publishers. 2. Neuman, W. L. (2000). Social Research Methods: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches (4th Edition). Allyn and Bacon. 8

3. All prescribed texts (see course outline)

Submission dates Note that for each date given, the required section must be accompanied by corrections made for previous sections. Internal Assessment Introduction and purpose of research 1.Data Collection sources secondary sources October 2, 2009 October 9, 2009 30% of sixth weekly grade Date September 25, 2009

2.literature review Complete section one introduction and purpose Literature review Data collection sources

Draft of research instrument Presentation of findings Interpretation of findings

October 14

October 30 - November 6, 2009 November 23, 2009 Term Grade

Discussion of Findings 1st complete draft Final submission

January 8, 2010 January 15 Last class in January