This course is organized around a survey project that gives you hands-on experience in designing and
programming a small-scale survey, and then analysing the resulting data. Completing all of the
elements of the survey project in sequence and on time is essential to learning in the course; students
who do not complete one or more of these elements on time will be assigned an F grade in the course
Proposal check-in with the TA
Proposal & Analysis Plan
st Draft Questionnaire
Evaluation of peers’ Draft Questionnaires
nd Draft Questionnaire & Rationale for changes
Evaluation of peers’ feedback on your Draft Questionnaire
Completion of other students’ questionnaires
Report check-in with the TA
Submission of final processed & labelled SPSS dataset
More information about each of the elements of this project is available below.
Data collected for this project may not be used for any other purpose outside this course.
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Proposal check-in with the TA (2%)
Select a research question that is sociologically-relevant and that you can collect information about
using a survey. Your research question should relate to a sociological concept or a key sociological
theme (e.g. inequality, socialization, etc.). You will distribute your survey to other students in your
class, so the information that you propose to collect should be relevant to students registered in
SOC481. Do not select a question that relates to topics that others might perceive as sensitive (i.e.
illegal activity, sexual practices, drug or alcohol use). While the surveys will be completed
anonymously, avoid topics that might elicit psychological or emotional distress from a respondent. The
professor will revise or remove inappropriate questions from student surveys before distribution.
Next, develop two bivariate research hypotheses that you want to test, that will help you to answer
your research question. Each hypothesis should make a claim about the expected relationship between
two variables from the survey data, in the population. Start thinking about the variables that you will
use to test each research hypothesis, and the survey question you will ask to create each variable. At
least one of the two hypotheses must incorporate a ratio-level variable. Note that your null hypothesis
is not considered a research hypothesis; you need two distinct research hypotheses.
The TA will hold proposal check-in appointments between February 5-11. Sign-up for one of these
appointments by February 3 to receive feedback before you move on to the next steps. You must email
your draft research question and your two distinct research hypotheses to the TA at least 48 hours
before the check-in. During the check-in, the TA will discuss your draft material with you and provide
You will be graded on:
Signing up for a check-in appointment by February 3
Preparing for the check-in appointment by emailing your draft research question and two
research hypotheses to the TA at least 48 hours before the check-in
Attending and participating in the check-in during the designated time
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Proposal & Analysis Plan (20%)
length: 8-12 pages, double-spaced
Your proposal should include the following components (use subheadings for each section):
1) Analysis Plan: Complete an analysis plan using the Word template provided on D2L (3-4 pages).
Identify your research question and hypotheses, the variables you will use to test each
hypothesis and the survey question(s) used to generate each variable. State the level of
measurement of the variables in each hypothesis, and the statistical procedures you will use to
assess the magnitude and reliability of each bivariate relationship. Note: For the purpose of
statistical significance testing, you will pretend that you have a randomly selected sample from
a population of university students. Use the completed analysis plan instead of a title page for
2) Justification for Research Question/Hypotheses – Use current, scholarly social science
literature to justify your research question and each of your two bivariate hypotheses. Using
the results of published research, explain why and how you expect that each pair of
variables will be related to each other. Personal experiences or beliefs about the
relationship are not a valid justification. Be sure to incorporate literature that refers to
Canada (or North America) and that uses sociological concepts and theories. (2-3 pages)
3) Description of Question Design: Describe the choices you made around the design of each of
the survey questions that will be used as variables in your hypotheses (i.e. the 3 or 4 survey
questions from 3b, 4b, 7b and 8b in your Analysis Plan). Be sure to discuss your decisions
around how to word the question and your selection of response options. Use the course
readings to provide a rationale for your decisions. For questions sourced from elsewhere,
identify the question source and explain why you selected it, as well as any adaptations you
made. For questions from the demographic survey, state whether or not you would have
preferred to ask the question differently (and if so, the changes you would make). (3-4 pages)
Include a Works Cited page at the end of your proposal.
The proposal will not be graded until after the 2nd Draft Questionnaire and Rationale for changes are
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1st Draft Questionnaire (3%)
Length: no more than 10 questions
Develop a draft questionnaire that includes survey questions that will generate the variables that you
need to test your hypotheses. Your questionnaire may include questions sourced from elsewhere (or
adapted from other surveys), as well as questions that you develop yourself following the guidelines in
the readings. You may also need to include screener or contingency questions. Hint: At this stage, be
sure to include a few more questions in your survey than those that you plan to use in your hypotheses,
so that you will still be able to complete an analysis if some questions don’t work out as planned.
Make sure that there will be variation in people’s answers to your survey questions; for example, since
the survey is being given to SOC 481 students, a question about people’s ‘level of education’ would elicit
the same response (undergraduate) from everyone.
Program your questionnaire in Google Forms, using the ‘SOC 481 Survey Template’ that the Professor
shares with you in Google Drive. Give your survey a meaningful title (not ‘Survey’) and provide a 1-2
sentence introduction to the topic. Your questionnaire should include no more than 10 questions,
plus the pre-existing Respondent ID# question on the template (each row of a matrix question counts
as one question, as does each part of a multi-part question).
Some questionnaire guidelines:
Do not “require” an answer to any questions except the Respondent ID# question.
Do not include more than one open-ended question where respondents are expected to
type out words in response to a question; ‘other, specify’ responses to closed-ended
questions do not count towards this limit, nor do numeric entry questions.
Do not include your name on the questionnaire.
You must submit your 1st Draft Questionnaire in two ways:
1) Use the ‘…’ menu, select print, and print the file as a .pdf. Submit the .pdf document on D2L
along with your proposal.
2) Use the ‘…’ menu, select print, and then COPY the survey title, description, and the text of
the survey questions from the print window. Paste this text into the ‘create’ stage of
peerScholar. Edit the pasted text to make it easy to read for the people who will evaluate your
draft (i.e. remove all the extra spaces/lines that are created).
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Evaluation of peers’ Draft Questionnaires (mandatory)
Using the rubric and annotation tools provided in the ‘Assess’ stage of peerScholar, you will
anonymously evaluate and comment on the draft questionnaires of three other students in the course.
Based on what you have learned about evaluating survey questions, provide detailed feedback on how
to improve their questions and/or response options. Be sure to note any questions that are unclear, or
that you are unable to answer, and explain why. Your peers will anonymously evaluate you on the
quality of the feedback that you provide to them (worth 3%).
nd Draft Questionnaire & Rationale for changes (5%)
2-3 pages, double-spaced, plus draft questionnaire
Your submission should include the following components:
nd Draft Questionnaire: Update your questionnaire in response to the feedback that you
received from your peers. After updating, print your questionnaire as a .pdf file and submit it on
2) Rationale for changes: Describe the changes that you made in the 2nd draft questionnaire,
compared to the 1st draft questionnaire. Explain what prompted you to make each change and
explain why the change is an improvement. Support your assertions with direct
quotes/examples from the feedback that you received from your peers (2-3 pages)
Evaluation of Peers’ feedback on your draft questionnaires (mandatory)
Using the ‘reflect’ stage of peerScholar, You will anonymously rate the quality of the feedback you
received from each of your peers, and how useful it was for helping you to improve your
Final Questionnaire (5%)
Carefully read the instructor/TA feedback on your graded Proposal and 2
nd Draft Questionnaire, and
make the appropriate updates in response (you do not need to resubmit or make changes to your
Proposal or Analysis Plan). Submit a .pdf copy of your final questionnaire to D2L by the deadline. Once
the deadline passes, you will not be able to make any changes or print/save your questionnaire (you
will be locked out by Google Forms), so that data collection can proceed. The final questionnaire will be
graded at the same time as your final report.
Completion of other students’ questionnaires (mandatory)
You will complete the questionnaires created by other students in the course, in order to generate
data for analysis. You will be given a list of surveys to complete and a Respondent ID# via D2L. On your
own survey, enter your Respondent ID#, but leave the remainder of the questions blank. Students who
do not complete all of the questionnaires created by other students will be assigned an ‘F’ grade in the
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Report check-in with the TA (2%)
After processing your data, use SPSS to conduct the analyses that you proposed in your Analysis Plan.
If necessary, recode your variables in order to present your results more clearly. Determine the size
and/or direction of any relationships and test for statistical significance. For the purpose of statistical
significance testing, pretend that you have a randomly selected sample from a population of
university students (note: you do not require statistically significant results). If the hypotheses or
variables that you proposed in your initial Analysis Plan are not feasible/testable, you may change
them. At least one variable in one of your hypotheses must be a ratio-level variable.
The TA will hold report check-in appointments between April 8-15. Sign-up for one of these
appointments by April 6. At least 48 hours prior to the check-in, email the TA a draft of the two SPSS
bivariate tables/outputs (no formatting required) corresponding to your two research hypotheses and
a paragraph about how you interpret each of the results. During the check-in, the TA will discuss your
draft material with you and provide suggestions for improvement.
You will be graded on:
Signing up for a check-in appointment by April 6
Preparing for the check-in appointment by emailing your two draft SPSS bivariate
table(s)/output corresponding to your two research hypotheses and a paragraph about how
you interpret the results to the TA at least 48 hours before the check-in
Attending and participating in the check-in during the designated time, and demonstrating
familiarity with your dataset and survey results during the discussion
Submission of SPSS data file (mandatory)
Preparing your data for analysis by importing the information from your completed surveys (generated
by Google Sheets) into SPSS, creating appropriate variable/value labels, and merging it with the
demographic dataset (which will be available on the course D2L site). Decide how you will deal with
missing data or unexpected responses.
Once your data analysis is complete, upload the SPSS data file (the .sav dataset file, not SPSS output) to
the ‘Assignments’ area of the course D2L site. Students who do not upload a data file will be assigned
an ‘F’ grade in the course.
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Final Report (35%)
14-20 pages double-spaced
In your final report, you will analyze the results of your survey and critically assess your survey
design. First, use descriptive statistics to describe the characteristics of the sample, and show the
univariate distribution of each of the variables used in your bivariate hypotheses. Then, use the
appropriate statistical tests to assess two bivariate hypotheses related to your research question.
As noted above, use SPSS to conduct the analyses that you proposed. If necessary, recode your
variables in order to present your results more clearly. Determine the size and/or direction of any
relationships and test for statistical significance. For the purpose of statistical significance testing,
pretend that you have a randomly selected sample from a population of university students (note:
you do not require statistically significant results). If the hypotheses or variables that you proposed in
your initial analysis plan are not feasible/testable, you may revise your analysis plan.
Determine whether the results of your statistical analyses support or refute your hypotheses. Use
sociological concepts and theories, supported by the research that you did for the proposal, to
interpret the findings from your hypothesis testing. Think about how your survey design influenced
Write a report that includes the following components (use subheadings for each section):
1) Revised Analysis Plan: Provide a copy of the analysis plan that you developed at the proposal
stage. Make any revisions to the plan that are needed as a result of errors made at the proposal
stage, changes to your questionnaire, or changes in approach after working with your data.
Mark any changes from the proposal analysis plan in red text, and briefly explain why you made
each change. (as many pages as needed) *Note: Only the Analysis Plan section of the proposal
(Q1) needs to be updated and resubmitted; do not resubmit the Justification for Research
Question/Hypotheses (Q2) or the Description of Question Design (Q3).
2) Description of Sample: Using variables from demographic data (and any additional
demographic variables from your own survey), describe the basic characteristics of the
people who the survey was administered to. Include specific statistics from the univariate
distributions of the demographic variables in your description. This section may include one
table or graph. (1-2 pages)
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3) Hypothesis 1 Results:
a) First, describe the univariate distribution of each the two variables in your first
hypothesis. Your description might include a frequency distribution, as well as
measures of central tendency, measures of variation, kurtosis and/or skew depending
on the variable’s level of measurement (refer to Table 4.4 on pg. 122 of Noack, Social
Statistics in Action to help you with this decision). Use one table or one graph to
illustrate a distribution in this section. Hint: do this for the distribution that is the
hardest to explain in words alone. Be sure to edit your table/graph so that it is
professionally-formatted and the results are clear; you may need to do this outside of
SPSS. (1-2 pages)
b) Present the results of your bivariate hypothesis test. Describe the magnitude and
direction of the relationship between the two variables. Include specific statistics
from your results in your description. Clearly state whether or not a relationship
between the two variables is likely to occur in the population, citing the statistical
significance test using the format presented in this course (also shown on pgs. 221-2,
253, 297-8, 339-40 of Noack, Social Statistics in Action). Use one table OR one graph
to illustrate the results in this section. Again, be sure to edit your table/graph so that
it is professionally-formatted and the results are clear. (1-2 pages)
c) Provide a sociological explanation for the results that you did/did not find, supported
by the literature/statistics that you used in your proposal, and any additional
academic literature that can help you to develop your explanation. Be sure to
incorporate sociological theories and concepts into your explanation. (1-2 pages)
4) Hypothesis 2 Results: Repeat a), b) and c) above for your second hypothesis. If you have already
presented the univariate distribution of a variable in 3a), you do not need to repeat it in 4a). (4-
5) Assessment of Survey Methods: This should include:
a) a description of the strengths and weaknesses of using survey research method to
investigate your specific research topic/questions and
b) a description of how your choices around the wording of your questions, response
options, and the question order may have influenced the results that were produced
c) a description of any changes you would make to the questionnaire if you were to repeat
this survey project, and an explanation of why you would make these changes
Use the course readings to provide a rationale for your assertions. (2-3 pages)
Include a Works Cited page that the end of your proposal.