The purpose of the assignment “Methods and Data Sources” is to write a preliminary draft of your research methods for your final project.
This paper will be at least one page double-spaced but will not exceed 2 pages. As a general rule, the first page will describe the research design of your final paper while the second will describe the data sources from which you’ll get existing data and statistics on issues related to your topic.
Part 1: What is your research design?
Is your research:
A mix of different types above?
Is your research quantitative? Obviously yes! But be sure to state it.
Is your research cross-sectional or longitudinal? (Clue: we don’t have time to conduct a longitudinal project!)
If applicable, what years does your research project cover?
Is the study about the United States or other societies? Is it a global scale study?
Other details you deem important?
Part 2: DATA SOURCES:
What data will you use?
NOTE: YOU ARE NOT INTERVIEWING PEOPLE IN THIS PROJECT. DATA WILL BE EXISTING DATA OR STATISTICS!
*I want to see some existing data or statistics.
Where did you get the data? The name of the governmental agencies, community organizations (etc.) from which you got the data and statistics?
When were the data collected? What years, timeframe. Specify all this in your methods section.
What are the strengths and limitations of using the data you collected?
What aspects are covered by the data and the statistics? Which ones are not covered? Data are never complete, and researchers must deal with this constantly.
Collect data from at least two (2) different sources:
DATA SOURCE 1: U.S. Census (census.gov)
Statistical Abstract –
Go to: https://www.census.gov/library/publications/2011/compendia/statab/131ed.html
This link above provides US Census data on over 30 different topics. Important: There is a lot of information in this Statistical Abstract, and it may be challenging to browse through all of this for the first time. Don’t panic and do your best to navigate through the data available.
Find one (1)Table of statistics that displays numbers on a variable that could be relevant to your final paper project. If you are struggling to find a table related to your topic, then you can choose a table on more general population characteristics. The purpose of this exercise is to become acquainted with official statistics, how to find and use them.
Once you picked a table. Download the file in Excel. Attach it to your methods and data sources assignment.
Be sure to save it for the final project too!
Write a short paragraph describing the following:
What type of information is recorded in the table? Don’t analyze the numbers yet, just describe what is available. What years are covered?
DATA SOURCE 2:
Browse the web to see if there are organizations that publish any numbers or statistics on your topic.
Once you found your second data source, describe the type of information, statistics available and how you intend on using some the data and statistics in your final project. Be sure to identify the name of the agency, organization, the years, areas that are covered, or any additional information you find useful to note.
Examples of sources of existing data or statistics (see also hyperlinks in PowerPoint slides on “Using Available Data”)
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Data on Education in America
Adoption, foster, care, child maltreatment statistics:
Link to the General Social Survey (GSS) 1972-2018
You can run statistical analyses online with the processed GSS data on this website.
FBI Uniform Crime Reports (available on the FBI website)
Crimes in the United States
Hate Crime Statistics
Law Enforcement Officers Killed or Assaulted
Persons arrested by race, gender, age, etc.
And of course, much more!
FBI Supplementary Homicide Reports (SHR)
You can run online statistical analysis using the variables in the SHR to generate tables of homicide victims and perpetrators, weapons, age, sex, race, victim-offender relationship
National Crime Victimization Survey from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (bjs.gov)
Scroll all the way down to get to “Criminal Victimizations” hyperlinks to get annual reports on crime victimizations the United States.
You can also search topics using keywords in the search box
Special reports on identity theft victimization
Sex and human trafficking
Violent crime victimization
And much more!
Data on people killed by the police 2015 and 2016 (Excel file on Moodle) See also https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/ng-interactive/2015/jun/01/the-counted-police-killings-us-database
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