R i t i c a l E v a l u a t i o n o f S u p p o r t S e r v i c e s f o r h o m e l e s s 1 6 a 1 8 y e a r o l d s
Project will be a literature-based thesis/dissertation. The government has issued research guidance which strictly limits empirical projects within, amongst other areas, Health Services, schools or with children and young people. It has therefore been decided to limit undergraduate research projects in the Department to researching secondary sources (i.e. existing published research data) literature-based work rather than conducting any original primary research.
F. Whilst in most instances a literature based project will take the form of a small number of linked chapters, it could also be in form of a traditional project with a methodology, data and analysis chapter.
Given that you are not allowed to carry out any primary data collection involving human research subjects, normally there would be no requirement to obtain any ethical clearance. If in doubt, please discus with your supervisor and/or module leader.
This decision may sound harsh but given the complex time consuming process of obtaining ethical approval, it has been decided that all undergraduate projects will confined to secondary (pre existing) data.
PROJECT LAYOUT AND CONTENT
All projects should include the following sections:
Title Page: Title of the research, sub title if necessary, your name, date, and the following wording at the bottom A Report presented in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Coventry University, towards the degree of Bachelor of Arts with Honours in (insert your degree title), (date)
Abstract: This is a very short synopsis of your project and should be no longer than about 4 paragraphs/200 words. It should contain something about the research question/s/problem/issue, the research approach/perspective and what were the main conclusions.
Acknowledgements section: Significant individuals and the role they played in supporting you in completing your project.
Contents page and a list of figures if applicable
Glossary (optional): you may want to provide some brief definitions of any key terms/concepts that are used in the thesis which you feel will help the reader to better understand your arguments.
Introduction: this should include the aims and objectives of the research/study, the context, your motivation, its value, the parameters/limitations of the study…etc. You should provide a synopsis of the key problems to be addressed, the way you explored them, the kinds of information generated or the main source material employed. You should also outline what will be contained in the following chapters. You are likely to be repeating and expanding on many of the points raised in the introduction which is OK because that is the purpose, it, to provide a mini map of the whole thing.
Main body: Literature Based Project: In traditional research design this usually includes sections such as a?methodologya, a?literature reviewa, a?dataa and a?data analysisa. The content of this section will largely depend on the type of project you have undertaken.
Methodology/Research Approach: In this section you can discuss both the philosophical and ideological underpinnings of your study, i.e. if you are coming from any particular perspective and how this informs the research question and your analysis of the literature and writing style perhaps.
More practically, here you should include an account of your search strategy, an the inclusion and exclusion criteria, key sources used, how you accessed the material, the type of documents you used and how you managed your information.
Last, if you are carrying out a project involving secondary analysis of existing data sets/archives then you also need to talk about the methodology employed, including such things as research design, sampling, research design and analytical techniques.
Literature Review: You should arrange your dissertation under a series of chapters with sub headings. You may use sub headings within chapters, however, do not go over the top otherwise your dissertation may become too fragmented and start looking and reading like a policy/management report.
This section should be written as a critical literature review which means commenting upon as well as summarising and categorising the literature and relevant research data. There are no excuses for claiming that information does not exist on the subject. The lack of information may tell you a great deal about how the issue is being dealt with. For example, the existence of black users/recipients of social work services was until relatively recently (late 1970s) unacknowledged in social work text books. This immediately gives you some clues as to the location of black people and their needs in social work.
Do include material from a range of sources such as books and journals articles. One of the qualities of a skilled social researcher is their capacity to access a range of places for information.
In terms of how long this section should be depends on whether this forms the bulk of the material from which you are drawing on, in which case it should form the major part of your thesis. In this case, you will complete your thesis with a concluding chapter.
However, if your project involves secondary analysis of existing data sets/archives, qualitative or quantitative, then your literature review and data analysis sections will be roughly of equal length. You will then need to include a data and data analysis section as follows.
Data and Data Analysis: If your research is based on secondary analysis of existing data, quantitative or qualitative, you will need to present the findings using appropriate methods. In qualitative research this would be through quoting the views of authors and their research participants thematically. Quantitative data should normally be presented in statistical tables, charts or graphs. If you are using mixed methods there may be a combination of these. Clearly the relative proportions will depend on the nature of the research. You should organise your data so that it is easy to follow. Remember, what you are attempting is to condense a lot of information and discussion into a form that is clear and meaningful to the reader.
You should use this section to examine the following questions: did you answer your research question / hypothesis? Was your hypothesis proven/disproved? Did you reveal things which were unanticipated? Were your results affected by any limitations in the methodology and if so, how? What inferences can you draw/not draw from the data? What are the implications of your findings for practice…etc.?
Conclusion: It goes without saying that in this section you should attempt to pull your whole thesis together in a way that not only summarises your work but also gives a sense of completion. You should take some time to reflect upon the whole process. Briefly summarise what you set out to achieve, highlight the content, value and validity of your argument (and/or data) and draw conclusions. Feel free to state opinions, however, you must not confuse these with facts as this may discredit your research You should also take this opportunity to be self critical and talk about the limitations of your thesis. This should not be seen as accepting failure. On the contrary, self criticism is seen as a sign of maturity and self confidence. It implies that the author is mindful of the limitations of any enquiry and the need for rigour. You may want to attempt to set an agenda for further study or, if appropriate make recommendations for change of; policy, practice, perspective etc.
References: Please take care to get your referencing right. It may seem a small detail, but can carry important implications for locating your work in existing thought and literature and literature, and shows the breadth of your reading.
The Harvard Referencing system should be used as in other assignments.
Appendices: This final section should contain such things as; copies of research instruments (e.g. questionnaire, interview schedule, e