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SOC 222: Social Research Methods: Research Question Development

Literature Review Assignment

Literature Review Assignment

Formulating a Research Question:

Research questions develop from a broad topic to a focused question. Oftentimes, doing a preliminary search on the general topic is helpful in the development phase. It allows you to see what research has already been done. During the development phase, ask yourself open-ended questions to help formulate a list of potential research questions:
  • Who: think in terms of demographics (gender, age, ethnicity, religious preference, special interest groups, etc)
  • What: think about concepts/aspects, sociological factors, relevant hot-topic issues, statistics, etc.  
  • Where: compare/contrast a location
  • Why/How/So What!: consider the topic's significance in relation to the reviewed literature, and weigh advantages vs disadvantages

Keep in mind that research questions can also evolve and change as you review the literature. 

Research Question Development

Broad Topic                              Sub-Topic                             Narrowed Topic                                     Research Question
Sex Safe Sex Safe Sex at College What factors contribute to the safe sex use of condoms by college students when hooking up?
Online Dating Online Dating Apps College Students Using Internet Dating Apps How do college students view the use of online dating apps to find dates on campus?
Hookup Culture College Multiple Partners How do college students view their female vs. male peers who engage in casual hookups with multiple partners?

Keywords to Try When Searching

When determining keywords to use for searches, look first to your research question. Then determine synonyms to build a bank of keywords as your search foundation.

Potential Database Keywords

  • casual sex
  • college athletes
  • college sex
  • college students
  • culture
  • hookup 
  • protected OR safe sex
  • psychological effects
  • social influence
  • stigma
  • unsafe OR unprotected sex
  • youth culture

Potential Database Subject Headings

  • college student -- sexual behavior
  • college student -- sexual behavior -- research
  • hookup culture
  • human sexuality
  • sexual behavior
  • sexual freedom
  • sexual intercourse

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