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Oxford University Press - Online Resource Centres

Bryman: Social Research Methods: 5e

Chapter 4: Web links

This is an extremely useful site to help you get started with one of the most difficult areas of dissertation writing.  This resource was prepared by Empire State College, part of the State University of New York.  It includes a helpful tutorial on determining which sorts of topics are more likely to be productive in the generation of research questions.

Starting reading around your topic is another practical way of discovering research questions.  This is a ?limited access? site, but your own institution probably has a subscription.  The Web of Knowledge brings together a selection of online databases, such as the Social Science Citation Index and the International Bibliography of the Social Sciences, and here you can search by keyword for books and journal articles about the topic that interests you. You will need an Athens username and password, which are normally supplied by your college or university.

This site is sponsored by the Berkeley-Rockefeller African Development Dissertation Workshop Program.  It consists of bundles of tips about writing dissertation (and grant application) proposals, as well as providing numerous samples and additional external links.  The site resides on the Berkeley campus of the University of California.

Here we have a wonderful resource, in terms of its sheer practicality.  The opening page of the link lists a large number of actual proposals made to the University of Texas at Austin, including a good number of social science proposals.  Each is shown by author, title and proposed research strategies.  You can click the title to go to the individual proposal, usually in an Adobe .pdf file.  Most of these links seem to work, but not all.  Nonetheless, you are bound to find something here of interest.

Here is a helpful and practical guide to structuring your research report. Written by Professor Michael Kearl at Trinity University, Texas, this page is part of his ?Sociological Tour through Cyberspace?. It takes you through the main sections that students are expected to include in social science dissertations; from the Introduction to the Literature Review, Methods, Results, Discussion and Conclusion.

This site is hosted by the University of Birmingham. This resource provides support and guidance for personal study and to help students through the dissertation process. It deals with some of the common questions, concerns and practical issues that undergraduate students come across when completing their social science-based dissertation or final year project. One of the key elements it discusses is developing research questions. The content for the site was written by academic and support staff who have a particular interest in this area and have a great deal of experience in supervising undergraduate dissertations in the fields of sociology, anthropology, politics, criminology, social policy and social work. The site draws on the experiences of dissertation supervisors, academic research into the student and staff experiences of study and supervision, and examples of good practice in relation to designing questions. It also provides links to some other useful resources!