It is very important that you take careful notes during your research. You will need to cite your sources in the text and at the end of your paper. For help with formatting your citations, consult the Cite! page of this guide.
Regardless of the topic you choose (e.g., siblings relationships, male (or female) behavior in romantic relationships, behavior in nonverbal settings, women in leadership roles, etc.) your project should proceed in the following manner.
For example, if you are studying how hunger affects relationships in societies where there is starvation (this is the problem), you first need to define what you mean by hunger (feelings of acute need for food, levels of caloric intake, etc.) and starvation (widespread food shortages) and then state the context where this problem will be analyzed (for example, Europe after World War II). Because hunger depends on the availability of food, it is the dependent variable while the availability of food is the independent variable. Then the influences of social behavior, changes in social institutions, etc. are discussed.
It is at this step when you carefully read the journal articles found in your earlier searching. You may also want to do additional searching in relevant indexes.
If you find a particularly good article that is relevant to your topic, be sure you check out the bibliography at the end of the article. You are likely to find other relevant and useful articles through this method of "citation chasing."
Your methodology can vary from interviews with appropriate individuals, participant observation, surveys and statistical or textual analysis, etc.
Always summarize your findings in a succinct manner. Point out the implications for research, and for ordinary life and practice. If you are ambitious, indicate what future research can be done to further an understanding of the problem. Also discuss major weaknesses or qualifications to your study.
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