Appl Research Methods
Appl Research Methods ESP 178
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Amber Homenick on Tuesday September 8, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to ESP 178 at University of California - Davis taught by Susan Handy in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 34 views. For similar materials see /class/187481/esp-178-university-of-california-davis in Environmental Science & Policy at University of California - Davis.
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Date Created: 09/08/15
ESP 178 Applied Research Methods Research Proposal Stage 2 Literature Review Due 25 Length 34 doublespaced pages Grade 10 of total course grade Purpose Gain experience in looking for and reviewing research articles on a selected topic and assessing their relevance to the research question Background One of the rst things a researcher does when developing a research proposal is a literature review The purpose of the literature review is to assess what is known and what remains to be answered with respect to the research question The literature review process consists of nding existing studies related to the research question and evaluating them with respect to both research design and ndings The researcher can then build on existing studies in designing her own study but also ensure that she is making a new contribution to the literature Task 1 Find 4 to 6 articles Sometimes the goal of a literature review is to nd every academic article published on a particular topic 7 to assess the breadth of the eld Other times the goal is to nd a small number of articles that are directly relevant to the research question and of relatively high quality In this assignment you are to do the latter nd 4 to 6 relevant peerreviewed and highquality articles See Appendix A for tips on how to nd articles plus don t forget to check the articles in the reader Think about the following Is it relevant Relevancy can be tricky Obviously you should choose articles that are more related to your research question than not Think broadly here 7 you may nd useful articles on topics that are different from but parallel to yours Even if you can t nd an article that uses the same behavior you re using as a dependent variable you might nd articles on sort of similar behaviors 7 or maybe on environmental behavior in general For example say you re studying factors that in uence who shes recreationally and who doesn t Ifyou can t nd studies on shing you might nd studies on outdoor recreation more generally You are looking for articles that can help you Decide what independent variables are relevant for your behavior For example a study might show that environmental awareness income gender are all associated with the type of outdoor recreation a person chooses Think about ways of measuring your dependent or independent variables For example an article might explain how they created an index for environmental behavior or for environmental awareness Is it peer reviewed Although the search process for a literature review can be similar to the search process for your background research the goals are di erent For the literature review you are looking for academic articles in peerreview journals 7 like the ones in your reader The peerreview quali er is important it is the review of one s research by one s peers that provides at least a modicum of quality control You can generally tell a peerreview journal by its title e g it has journal in its title somewhere but if you are not sure then check inside of the front or back cover to see if the publishers describe a process for reviewing papers You may come across several kinds of academic articles research articles literature review articles and theoretical articles Research articles which give an overview of research design and results of a particular study are of the greatest interest but the others can be helpful too Is it high quality Quality can be difficult The quality of an academic journal article is often measured by the number of times that other articles cite it something you can check through the Web of Science see Appendix A However this approach does not work well for relatively recent articles that simply haven t had enough time yet to be cited Researchers generally have an opinion about the relative quality of different journals you can check with me the TA or another professor if you re curious about the journals in which the articles you find are published Researchers also often have opinions about other researchers and the quality of the work they do Most important however are the merits of the research itself and the quality of the research design By the end of the quarter you ll be in a better position to judge this for yourself In the meantime do your best to sort out the stronger articles from the weaker ones Task 2 Write a short report on your literature search It is important that researchers document the steps they went through in carrying out a literature search to provide con dence that all relevant articles have been found and so that others can replicate the same process Write one paragraph in which you report the databases you searched and the search terms you used Provide a summary of which searches ie combination of database and search terms yielded the articles that you chose to include in your bibliography Also explain which searches did NOT prove fruitful Task 3 Write an annotated bibliography For the articles that you choose write an annotated bibliography An annotated bibliography gives the full citation for the article see Appendix B and then provides a brief summary of key points of the article For each article in your own words i summarize its main argument question or hypothesis ii describe the basic research design including variables units of analysis treatment of time iii summarize the methods of data acquisition iv summarize key findings and v explain what you learn from this study that is relevant to your own study On this last point be specific Don t just say It helped me understand what factors in uence behavior Tell me which factors you learned aboutl Each summary should be about 12 page a sentence or two per item The Schutt book both editions has an annotated bibliography in Appendix A if you want to see what one looks like In addition Appendix B and Appendix C in Schutt both editions give helpful tips on questions to ask about a research article and how to read a research article Task 4 Re ne research question and conceptual model In addition to the literature review I d like you to take another crack at your research question and conceptual model After doing your research and thinking about my comments on your rst assignment do the following N In one sentence state your research question or hypothesis Draw a diagram of your conceptual model showing independent and dependent variables indicate which of your independent variables you will treat as control variables Y on must include a diagram Handdrawn is OK at this point though you will want to prepare a polished version for your nal proposal Note 1 Be sure that your question and your model matchH Note 2 If you haven t talked to me about your model yet make an appointment to see me Appendix A How to nd articles and information Although the Internet provides access to oodles of information these days the library is still your primary source for academic research The library s website links you to several important databases that enable you to search for books or articles on your speci c topic These databases now include electronic versions of a large share of academic articles 7 but not all of them Start with these databases to search for academic articles If the database does not provide you with full text then go to the Harvest Library Catalog and search for the journal the article is in With luck it will be available either electronically or in oldfashioned print in the library You might also try wwwsciencedirectcom for electronic versions of articles UCD Library Electronic Databases to try Environmental Policy Index 7 a good general index for environmental topics Expanded Academic ASAP 7 a multidisciplinary database that includes academic articles and articles from the popular magazines PAIS International Database 7 indexes all types of materials in the area of public affairs Web of Science run by ISI Web of Knowledge 7 multidisciplinary database that links articles by citations if you nd one good article you can use this database to search for later articles that cite this article or to find all articles by the same author TRIS Online 7 the best place to go for transportation research including academic articles and research reports Note Google Scholar is a new resource for nding scholarly articles peerreviewed and otherwise It is OK to try this but be sure that you use try some of the library indexes as well I have not used Google Scholar very much myself yet but I am skeptical that it is as effective or as ef cient as the traditional indexes 7 at least for now A really useful trick If you nd a really good article especially a recent one take a look at the articles it cites Be sure to consider what the article says about the articles it cites though 7 you want to focus on the ones they talk about in positive terms Then use the Web of Science database for newer articles that cited your reference To actually do this type of search click quotconnectquot to get to the database click quotfull searchquot and then click quotcited ref searchquot Enter the information about the older article or book and the search engine will find newer articles for you that referenced that one Books research reports and government reports are also acceptable sources but often harder to use than a succinct article They also generally go through a more limited peerreview process if any than academic articles so that quality may be more of an issue Books are most easily found through the Harvest Library Catalog you ll have to go to the library to get them Research reports and government reports may turn up in some of the electronic databases e g PAIS or TRIS but are often most easily found through a Google search regular Google not Google Scholar Google searches are a good way to find background information on your topic but you have to use this tool carefully Not all information on the web is to be trusted Use the following questions in evaluating what you find on the web Who or what is the author of the website Is the site advocating a particular point of view Does the web site give accurate and complete references Are the data uptodate Are the data official Is it a university research site Do the data seem consistent with data from other sites Appendix B A few words about citations Citation format is getting more complicated as more materials become available online The authordate format is used most widely in planning journals ie author year in the text with a list of references at the end of the paper but other formats are acceptable if used correctly and consistently My general rule of thumb is that you need to provide enough information that the reader could find the item herself For things like government reports this includes the agency the report number the date and if possible a phone number or email address for the agency I suggest using the Chicago APA or MLA manuals of style available through the library httpwwwlibucdaviseduinstruccitingf You can also take a look at the reading list for the course for an example of an acceptable bibliographic format
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