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For the culminating project of the semester, students must complete a literature review and propose a plan for further research. As this project is intended to assess comprehension of the research process, students are required to complete multiple steps that represent the numerous topics we discussed and analyzed in classroom discussions. This project mirrors what is regularly expected of academic researchers prior to embarking on any new project that requires institutional support in the form of grant funding, travel leave, research leave, or approval to work with human and/or animal subjects.
Students must complete the following steps:
Identify a topic of interest in the sport industry and develop a specific research question that you would be interested in exploring further.
Conduct secondary research to assess what has already been written on your research question or in response to similar research questions. Review at least 20 relevant scholarly sources to ascertain what has already been argued and published related to your question.
Analyze these sources to identify how the arguments are different or similar to your question, how the arguments may be useful to continuing research, what the researchers did well, and what the researchers could have done differently.
Revise your question based on the secondary research you conducted. Scholarly research is to be original. In your secondary evaluation, if you find that researchers have already conducted research on your question, you will need to revise your question so that your work is not redundant. (The vast majority of research questions change throughout the secondary research process. Do not expect to end with the question you started with.)
Compose a literature review. Please note the difference between a literature review and an annotated bibliography. Annotated bibliographies are excellent tools for organizing sources as you review them. They should remain behind the scenes. Use at least 15 scholarly sources in your literature review.
Plan how you would conduct original research to answer your research question. Be specific in what methods you would utilize as well as how you define the scope of your project. For instance, if you analyze media images, what magazines or websites would you use? Over what time period? If you engage in participant observation, what is your field? How long will you occupy it? Consider the unique requirements of each method you plan to utilize. In addition, explain how your work will be qualitative and/or quantitative in its composition. Use course readings to aid your description of how the method will be useful in your research project. (These readings are not included in the required 15 scholarly sources.)
Indicate your ethical decisions, if you intend on using human subjects. What efforts will you undertake throughout the research process to ensure their physical and material safety and/or to ensure that potential risks of participation are minimized?
Make an argument that explains why and how your research will be relevant. Note: you are not identifying a thesis. Without having yet completed the research, you are unable to have an argument derived from your data. But you can explain what you hope your research will add to the field, (i.e., sport industry, sport sociology, sport history, sport management, etc.). Why does your work matter? (The “so what” question.)
Select which citation system you will use, APA or Chicago, based on the nature of your research; different academic fields expect specific citation systems. This decision impacts the format of the reference sheet or bibliography, as well as how you cite the sources in the body of your work as endnotes, footnotes, or in-text citations.
Students must then submit their final proposals. Included in this proposal must be: your final research question (do not submit the question you first came up with), the literature review that includes 15 relevant scholarly sources, the research design, an explanation of the ethical decisions and your plan to protect human subjects, an explanation of the project’s relevance, and accurate citations. Do not include an abstract; because the original scholarly research has not yet been completed, an abstract is inappropriate. The final project in total must be at least 12 pages, double-spaced, Times New Roman font, and have one-inch margins. Note: If you do not meet the minimum requirements, the highest possible grade is a C.