Summarily, the internal assessment is a research paper, that is, a systematic process of collecting and analyzing primary data in order to answer a question about the social world. It is much more than library and internet research (secondary sources)!
The Research Process
Social research is a type of structured and systematic research carried out by social scientists about the social world (Neuman, 2000). The research process is an interactive one which according to W.L. Neuman (2000) involves seven main steps. Each step has to be taken with the other six steps in mind in order to ensure that the decisions made are compatible with each other.
The research process and your Internal Assessment
Step one - Choose a Topic
Here you identify a theme for your research paper. A theme is a broad area of study such as crime, technology or health. Pages twenty three to twenty five of the syllabus outlines the themes from which your topic must be chosen.
Criteria for topics selected
• It must be pertain to Caribbean society;
• It must be reflected in the syllabus;
• Must be practical, current; relevant/necessary – justifiable;
• Must be of some interest to you as a student and an individual;
• Should not be a social studies or sociology study title. At this level, a fifth form study is unacceptable.
Step two – Narrow/focus the research
The result of this process is the formulation of a problem statement and a statement of the problem. This will be recorded in “introduction and purpose of the research” worth fifteen marks (see research paper outline).
How to focus the research
o After identifying the topic of interest, familiarize yourself with the existing literature. This includes theories about the topic, studies done on the topic, facts reported in the news and other acceptable media.
o Sources of information include text books, journals, previous studies, archives and internet sources.
o All sources must be evaluated for relevance, authority, authenticity, credibility, currency/datedness,
• Reading allows you to determine;
o What is already known and what we don’t yet know;
o Current, relevant problematic dimensions of the topic worthy of study;
o sources, and methods for primary data collection;
• Essential Tasks
o Formulate a problem statement – should identify the issue/variables of the study, the universe to be covered, the nature of the relationship to be examined and the likely method to be used. This can be written as a statement or a question.
o Outline the issues of the study – write the statement of the problem
▪ Background (Describe the problem/issue with statistics and other evidence highlighting why it is worthy of attention)
▪ Major objectives of the study
▪ Research questions (major questions which must be answered in order to fulfil the purpose of the study);
▪ Hypotheses - tentative statements about the relationships or associations between two or more variables. These should be informed by your literature review and your prior knowledge of the population under study.
• General hypothesis – “a statement which suggests the possible answer to your problem statement”.
• Specific hypotheses – tentative answers to the research questions.
▪ Educational value of the study (value to you and other students and the relevant academic community)
▪ Operationalization of key concepts (define key terms according to how they will be used in the study)
▪ Delimitations of the study (brief note on the scope of the study)
o Write literature review - a succinct...