Smart Guns Sociology

Smart Guns Sociology

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Smart Guns, only a disruptive element or a way , alongside international arms trade treaties, to handle illicit small arms and light weapons (SALW) trafficking in West Africa.?? Project descriptionAssignment ? Structured Research Proposal TOPIC: ??Smart Guns, only a disruptive element or a way , alongside international arms trade treaties, to handle illicit small arms and light weapons (SALW) trafficking in West Africa.?? Complete a research proposal form not exceeding 3,000 words (excluding the reference list), to investigate a topic in a subject area relevant to your course. Your proposal should be guided by the methodological issues covered in the Research Methods module. You are required to produce a structured research proposal, ensuring that you complete all elements of the Research Proposal assignment form (attachement 2). It is critically important that you carefully read all of this guidance before you start this assignment!!!!!! Your proposal should emphasise how you intend to answer whatever research question you formulate ? you should, therefore, devote most of your answer to theoretical and methodological issues. Please do not make the mistake of attempting to carry out a piece of empirical research and answer the research question within the proposal. Rather, you should provide a detailed and feasible account of what you would need to do in order to answer your research question, if you decided to pursue this research project for your dissertation. Additional Guidance If you are not planning(I am not planing) to undertake this proposed research for your dissertation, please make this clear in the proposal, and be sure your proposal provides a clear understanding of the resources that will be required to conduct the research, were the proposal to be accepted and commissioned, for example. This is very important in assessing the feasibility and quality of practical planning in your submission. Even if you are not considering this topic for your dissertation, it would still be useful to think of the research in terms of a dissertation-sized project with similar time constraints, otherwise you may find that you have insufficient word space to outline a larger project. Remember, the two biggest limitations to carrying out research are time and money ? it is likely you will have little of both so take this into account when you are designing your research project. Also consider carefully the issue of access ? how likely is it that either companies or individuals are going to let you see documents/data or speak to them? You must ensure that your proposal provides a concise ?mini? literature review to demonstrate your critical understanding of the subject area and previous research on this topic. You should try to discuss at least three previous pieces of research (Previous Research Findings section). Do ensure that you demonstrate your understanding of social science research methods by providing supporting evidence from the research methods published literature (for your Research Methodology section). This is very important; you need to support and justify your chosen method and tools by referring to the academic literature.You must ensure that you demonstrate ethical awareness and give sufficient thought to any ethical issues. It is very rare in primary research, particularly concerning issues relating to crime, risk and security that there are no ethical issues.The word limit for your assignment is 3,000 words. 1). Introduction This section should introduce the topic that you plan to research. You should detail the specific question you seek to answer (e.g. what is the nature of the relationship between CCTV installation and burglary reduction?) and set out a short list of clear aims and objectives. Please enter Introduction in below text box* Click here to enter text. 2). Previous Research Findings You should provide a clear and detailed discussion of research that has previously been conducted in this area. You should outline their methods and research design and consider their findings. Occasionally, you may plan to conduct research into a topic where little previous research has been conducted. If this is the case, you may need to widen your research parameters and you will need to find comparable research in either a closely related topic, or where methods used match your own. Do not simply repeat methods and findings, but ensure that you discuss these. Please enter Research Findings in below text box * Click here to enter text. 3).Relevant Theoretical Perspectives/Framework You should explain the perspective(s) that you will use to develop a theoretical framework to research and understand the problem and why you consider them to be most appropriate. You need to try to ensure that your proposed research is grounded in theory which will help you to structure and plan the research (as this will affect the research design, including your method(s) and how you analyse your findings). Looking at the theories and/or models that previous researchers in your topic area have used can help you with this. Note also that it is not always possible to find a theory that exactly matches your research problem. Therefore, you may need to take a more overarching view and look for theories that are relevant to the overall/general research topic area, rather than the specific research problem Please enter Relevant Theoretical Perspectives/Framework in below text box * Click here to enter text. 4). Research Methodology You should outline at least two different types of research design that could be used for your proposed research. Each design should be feasible and it should be clear to the reader how the methods outlined in each design will enable you to achieve your overall research aim(s)There are often a number of different approaches that could be used to meet the overall aims and objectives of a research project so please consider the different ways in which you could research your chosen topic. Please enter Design 1 in below text box* Click here to enter text. Please enter Design 2 in below text box* Click here to enter text. Please enter Design 3 in below text box(optional) Click here to enter text. Please present your case for, and against, using each of these designs (supported by reference to the literature) in the below text box.* Click here to enter text. Please identify your preferred choice from the above possible designs, discuss your reasons for this and outline in detail the method(s) chosen in the below text box.* You should outline the methods you propose to use (e.g. documentary evidence, questionnaires, interviews) and why you consider them to be most suitable for gathering the necessary information to address your research problem. Do ensure that you provide sufficient information and justification for your methods in this section regarding sampling, access, validity and reliability, and participant numbers, for example. It is vitally important that you make use of the extensive social science research methodology literature to explain the various methods available and to justify your choice. Not providing supporting references for this literature is likely to lead to you failing this assignment. Click here to enter text. 5). Research Ethics Please outline the ethical issues associated with your proposed research and what actions could be taken to address these. Ethics are an important consideration in research design and you should ensure that you have given sufficient thought to ethical issues. There are likely to be ethical issues relating to any type of primary research involving people, and also with certain types of documentary research. Again, ensure that you support this section with referenced evidence from the social research literature. Please enter Research Ethics in the below text box* Click here to enter text. 6). Anticipated Problems You should be able to anticipate problems in conducting your research and also be able to offer solutions as to ways of overcoming them (e.g. how to gain access to an appropriate sample). Please enter Anticipated Problems in the below text box* Click here to enter text. 7). References Please insert list of references in the below text box* Click here to enter text. Learning Resource : The Experimental Method The experimental method is often considered to be the ?gold standard? of research, and as a result we sometimes give the mistaken impression that other methods are not scientific. This is not the case, but the experiment does have one real and very special characteristic that marks it out from the other methods available to us. The experiment is the best method for establishing the existence of a causal relationship between two variables ? allowing us to decide whether or not a change in one variable results in a change in another variable. The experimental method is a method of research that involves maximum input from the experimenter. The experimenter deliberately and actively manipulates one variable to establish what effect this change might have on the other variable. For example, we might be interested in the relationship between the size of a group of people and the extent to which members of that group offer assistance to someone who is apparently in distress. The two variables under examination are the size of the group and the amount of assistance offered. The experiment allows us to ask the question, does changing the size of the group result in a change in the amount of assistance the group members offer? (It would not make much sense to think about it the other way round ? that is to investigate whether the amount of assistance offered affects the size of the group.) In an experiment we seek to exercise as much control as possible. That is we seek to hold constant as many other variables as possible. Such variables in our example might include: the gender of the participants and the person in distress, the nature of the distress, the expression of distress, the time of day, the level of lighting ? an almost endless list. Control is achieved by conducting the experiment under controlled conditions where these variables can be fixed as much as possible. This leaves us with the two variables we are interested in. The variable that we think will be dependent on the other variable is known as the Dependent Variable. Thus in this example, as we think the amount of assistance offered will depend on the size of the group, the Dependent Variable is the amount of assistance offered. The other variable is referred to as the Independent Variable (these issues will be covered in more detail in later units of this module). The best definition of an experiment is that it is a study in which we control as many variables as possible while manipulating the Independent Variable (the IV for short) and observe the effect of this change on the Dependent Variable (the DV). But for a true experiment there is one other important requirement. In a true experiment we must assign our participants randomly to our different levels of the IV. Thus each participant must have an equal chance of participating in the 3-person group condition and the 10-person group condition. This is important, because if this was not the case, we might introduce bias into the study. Suppose for a moment that you allowed your participants to choose which condition to participate in ? you will immediately see that we have now confused (or confounded to use the technical term) the effect of group size with the sociability of the participants. That is, if we find that the bigger group offers less assistance than the smaller group then this might be because people who like big groups do not like helping others rather than anything to do with the group size per se. So in an experiment we manipulate the IV, measure the effect on the DV, control all other variables and randomly assign the participants to the different levels of the IV. If we do all this we can fairly safely conclude that any changes observed in the level of the DV are caused by the changes in the IV. Thus, we can infer a cause-effect relationship from the results of this experiment. If our participants offered less assistance when we arranged for them to be members of groups of 10 than when we arranged for them to be members of groups of 3, we could safely infer that changes in group size caused changes in the assistance offered. The experiment is really only a special type of observational study, but the fact that we observe the DV while both manipulating the IV and controlling all other variables makes it unique, and it is these characteristics that allow us to use the experimental method to establish the existence of a causal relationship between the IV and the DV. However, there are also distinct disadvantages associated with the experiment that make it an impractical and undesirable method in many fields of research. The major problem is that the level of control required is so high that we normally have to sacrifice a great deal of realism, and as a result our method has low ?ecological validity?. Most experiments are conducted in laboratory settings to allow the experimenter to maintain control over a whole host of environmental and other variables. You may, justifiably, feel that the laboratory is not a good place to study natural behaviour.Learning Resource : The Quasi-experimental Method In social science research it is often not possible to conduct a true experiment. In particular it is often impossible to randomly assign participants to the levels of the IV. For example, suppose we are interested in the differences between the amount of assistance that men and women offer to a stranger in distress. An experimental design would require us to randomly assign our participants to either the ?men? or the ?women? condition. Even if we were allowed to undertake some rather radical surgery this would not be possible. Our participants arrive pre-assigned to our conditions. This is an example of a quasi-experimental study. Quasi-experimental studies are common in applied social science, and social scientists often blur the distinction between experimental and quasi-experimental studies. However, the difference is important because the quasi-experimental design does not allow us to make cause-effect inferences with the same degree of confidence as is possible with the experimental method. We always have to consider the possibility that it is some other variable related to the assignment of participants to the levels of the IV that has a causal relationship with the DV. For example, it might not be the sex of the participants that determines their willingness to assist the stranger, but some other variable correlated with sex, for example physical size. Quasi-experiments are still valuable scientific studies, but are rather more limited than experiments and the results from these studies must be interpreted with some added caution.Learning Resource : Field Experiments Field experiments are experiments that are conducted in an ordinary, natural environment ? that is, away from the laboratory, although the physical location itself is not necessarily important. What is important is the extent to which it is possible to control other variables. Field experiments tend to be conducted in the ?real world? where the rigorous control of variables that can be achieved in the laboratory is not always possible. In fact many quasi-experiments (see above) are also field experiments, but field experiments like true experiments involve the random allocation of participants to conditions. Both field experiments and quasi-experiments are rather less reliable methods of determining cause-effect relationships than true experiments. The limiting factor for field experiments is that the lack of control may permit changes in other variables to influence the DV and so threaten the validity of conclusions about the cause-effect relationship between the IV and DV. For example if a researcher was conducting a field experiment to investigate the ability of participant ?eyewitnesses? to identify own- and other-race ?suspects?, then s/he would need to ensure that the lighting and other conditions likely to influence the accuracy of the participants? identifications did not vary systematically. It would be particularly damaging, for example, if the own-race identifications were tested on a day with better lighting than the other-race identifications. This disadvantage of field experiments has to be balanced against the increased realism or ecological validity afforded by this method. Learning Resource : Non-Experimental Research Methods There are a variety of valuable research methods that are collectively termed ?non-experimental?. It is important to realise that just because these are non-experimental methods does not mean that they are not valid and valuable research methods. However, each of these methods has particular limitations which must be remembered when they are used. A particular limitation that applies to all of these methods is that we cannot safely infer a cause-effect relationship between the variables studied using these designs.Learning Resource : Observational Methods Observational research is ideally suited to the study of natural behaviour as it occurs in ?real? settings ? that is outside the laboratory. Observational studies are often undertaken informally to allow a researcher to obtain an initial impression of the variables involved in a situation. For example, a social scientist interested in violence outside pubs might spend a few sessions simply observing people coming and going outside pubs to get a feel for the variables that might be involved in determining when fights break out. Alternatively, observational methods may be used in a rather more systematic fashion once a researcher has a more focused notion of the variables involved. Here our researcher might spend 14 nights observing behaviour outside a selection of pubs and might particularly note the number of people outside the pub at any time and the ratio of men and women present. Finally, observational research might be even more systematic, involving careful planning by the researcher who has now identified that s/he wishes to record the number of men and women present outside the pub in the 5-minute period immediately preceding a fight. The researcher will have to decide how to classify who is present outside the pub (as opposed to walking past) and will probably need to c

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