► Define your thesis – what do you want to argue or explore specifically? (Browse resources to get background information and to clarify the issues. Revise your thesis if necessary, once you see what’s out there.) ► Do a literature search, & try to find previous research published relating to your specific thesis and subject area ► Select 5-10 sources for an annotated bibliography (analyze & evaluate)
10 Should be: Clear Specific (“focused”) Practical *thesis is also called argument, statement, hypothesis, question 10
11 An unworkable thesis: Intergenerational conflict among immigrant families in Canada A workable thesis: A study to identify the 3 most contentious issues between generations in immigrant families in Canada, 1990 to the present.
12 An unworkable thesis: Experiences of people with disabilities in the workplace A workable thesis: A study of work- related complaints & their outcomes filed with the Ontario Human Rights Commission on the ground of disability, 2000-2002.
An unworkable thesis: Experiences of people with disabilities in the workplace A workable thesis: People with physical disabilities are provided greater accommodation when employed by the Ontario Government than by large private companies in Ontario (period of study: 2000-2002)
What are some other possible theses relating to this area?
What are some possible theses relating to this area?
► Get background information – books, encyclopedias… ► Find out the issues - electronic databases (‘e-resources’) for journal & newspaper articles ► What’s on the Internet - anything there that is useful? reliable? ► If you are lucky, you may find that someone has written a “literature review” on your thesis or area. This is a kind of summary of what’s been published. Recommend you search e-resources (BIGsearch or multiple databases using EBSCO, ProQuest or Gale vendor aggregators for this: limit “literature review” with quotes in title field)
► Decide how far back in time you want to go ► Decide what sources you need to consult (books, encyclopedias, academic journal articles, newspaper articles? other?...) You will be wise to include a number of original research papers in your search ► Decide how flexible you are about changing your thesis. (You may want to do a number of different searches within your area, testing out different thesis possibilities.) Remember the more research you do, the better you will be able to identify the important authors and publications
Revise your thesis? Once you have done some searching, you may find that you will need to revise your thesis Possible Reasons: ► You can’t find supporting research on your thesis or topic ► Your area is discussed, but not in the way you expected ► Your thesis is too general – you discover that it has too many aspects (‘sub-topics’) to handle in one proposal ► You see a lot of research on a related aspect that you find more interesting and/or more practical
2020 ► Citation: author, title, publication info ► Notes: brief description & some evaluation Examples: See Library website: Research & Writing Help --- Subject Guides --- “Annotated Bibliographies” http://centennialcollege.ca.libguides.com/content.php?pid=67852&sid =504277
Example of a Citation with an Annotation (note) Staub, E. (1988, April). The evolution of caring and nonaggressive persons and societies. Journal of Social Issues, 44(2), 81-100. Retrieved September 10, 2009, from Academic Search Premier (EBSCO) database. Ervin Staub, a leading theorist in the area of prosocial behavior, has written an article which places prosociality in a global context. The author explores the ways that personalities and even whole societies can be shaped towards the reduction of intergroup hostility. Central among these change agents are parents and teachers, who through the socialization process, promote positive connections and caring values. Staub concludes by arguing that families institutions, and cultures can be transformed by creating systems of positive reciprocity among individuals and groups. Ervin Staub, a leading theorist in the area of prosocial behavior, has written an article which places prosociality in a global context. The author explores the ways that personalities and even whole societies can be shaped towards the reduction of intergroup hostility. Central among these change agents are parents and teachers, who through the socialization process, promote positive connections and caring values. Staub concludes by arguing that families institutions, and cultures can be transformed by creating systems of positive reciprocity among individuals and groups.
Style Guides – 2 examples “Standard systems for giving credit to others for their contribution to your work” APA (American Psychological Association) MLA (Modern Language Association.) Ask Library staff about these. See also : Libraries webpage Libraries webpage Research & Writing Help Research & Writing Help
24 Statistics ► ESTAT: an e-resource (database) popular data from Statistics Canada ► Statistics Canada (Internet website) Much is free, some are fee-based. Do not pay for Stats Canada data –ESTAT or other sources may provide free data ► Many other sources… Ask the Library staff for help
York University Libraries offer a lot of help on using Canadian statistical sources. York University Libraries homepage: http://www.library.yorku.ca/ Click on “Resources” ---Statistical data…
A few words about research methodology… ► Your proposal will include some suggestions on how information will be collected in order to support your thesis…
Quantitative vs. Qualitative Research Methodologies What’s the difference?
► In-depth interview ► Focus group (an unstructured, free-flowing but moderated interview with a small number of selected individuals on a specific topic) ► Case study (an intensive investigation of specific situation that can provide insight to the problem at hand)
► Observation technique (the systematic recording of behaviour patterns of the subjects or occurrences without questioning or in any way communicating with them) ► Experimentation (research that allows for the isolation of one variable at a time while the others are being kept constant to test a hypothesis about cause and effect) ► Survey techniques (telephone, self-administered questionnaires, structured interviews with some form of statistical sampling)
Qualitative research techniques ► “…research methodologies used in the analysis of data that is not easily reduced to numbers, i.e. quantified….concerned with the subjective understanding & interpretation of social behaviour” (Source: ‘Qualitative Research Techniques’, World of Sociology, Credo Reference database. Retrieved 23 Sept 2009)
Quantitative research techniques: ► “used to generate scientific knowledge about various social phenomena…The central notion of quantitative study is that findings emerge from investigation without bias from researchers’ values & ideologies…[&] differ from qualitative techniques in that they are more data-centered [using statistical methods, numbers] than individual-centered and are more detached and descriptive than in-depth and probing.” (Source: ‘Qualitative Research Techniques’, World of Sociology, Credo Reference database. Retrieved 23 Sept 2009)
Relationship between thesis and data collection methods… Your proposed thesis will stand up only if you can suggest practical ways to collect information about it. (You may have an assignment in the future (another course perhaps ) to carry out a research proposal?)
Example of a thesis/research method combo that may not be practical… ► Thesis: A study of work-related complaints & their outcomes filed with the Ontario Human Rights Commission on the ground of disability, 2000-2002. A study of work-related complaints & their outcomes filed with the Ontario Human Rights Commission on the ground of disability, 2000-2002. ► Research methodology: Quantitative Sample Survey using Ontario Human Rights Commission reports If you do not have access to these documents – or do not have the time to study them - you may have a good proposal in theory, but one that is not practical for you (should you need to follow through with an actual research project at some later time.)