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Getting Your Research Project Started Peer-graded Assignment Solution

Instruction: Getting Your Research Project Started Peer-graded Assignment Solution

The first assignment acquaints you with the data and encourages you to develop a research question. Five codebooks are provided, and you are also free to use your own existing data. You will submit a blog entry where you tell us (1) what data set you have chosen and (2) describe the association you would like to study. You will also prepare a codebook of your own.

Review the code books for the data sets made available to you.

STEP 1: Choose a data set that you would like to work with.

Remember that one of the simplest research questions that can be asked is whether two constructs are associated. For example:

a) Is medical treatment seeking associated with socio-economic status?

b) Is water fluorination associated with number of cavities during dentist visits?

c) Is humidity associated with caterpillar reproduction?


After looking through the codebook for the NESARC study, I have decided that I am particularly interested in nicotine dependence. I am not sure which variables I will use regarding nicotine dependence (e.g. symptoms or diagnosis), so for now I will include all of the relevant variables in my personal codebook.

At this point, you should continue to explore the code book for the data set you have selected.

After choosing a data set, you should:

STEP 2. Identify a specific topic of interest

STEP 3. Prepare a codebook of your own (i.e., print individual pages or copy screen and paste into a new document) from the larger codebook that includes the questions/items/variables that measure your selected topics.)

Example continued:

While nicotine dependence is a good starting point, I need to determine what it is about nicotine dependence that I am interested in. It strikes me that friends and acquaintances that I have known through the years that became hooked on cigarettes did so across very different periods of time. Some seemed to be dependent soon after their first few experiences with smoking and others after many years of generally irregular smoking behavior.

I decide that I am most interested in exploring the association between level of smoking and nicotine dependence. I add to my codebook variables reflecting smoking levels (e.g. smoking quantity and frequency).

During a second review of the codebook for the dataset that you have selected, you should:

STEP 4. Identify a second topic that you would like to explore in terms of its association with your original topic.

STEP 5. Add questions/items/variables documenting this second topic to your personal codebook.

STEP 6. Perform a literature review to see what research has been previously done on this topic. Use sites such as Google Scholar ( to search for published academic work in the area(s) of interest. Try to find multiple sources, and take note of basic bibliographic information.

STEP 7. Based on your literature review, develop a hypothesis about what you believe the association might be between these topics. Be sure to integrate the specific variables you selected into the hypothesis.


Following completion of the steps described above, create a blog entry where you tell us what data set you have chosen and describe the association you would like to study (e.g. the two variables or topics you have chosen). Create a personal code book with only the variables you have chosen and keep this handy as you will use it extensively during each week of the course.

Review Criteria: Getting Your Research Project Started

Your assessment will be based on the evidence you provide that you have completed all of the steps. When relevant, gradients in the scoring will be available to reward clarity (for example, you will get one point for having a research question presented in an unclear fashion, but two points for being clear). In all cases, consider that the peer assessing your work is likely not an expert in the field you are analyzing. You will be assessed equally on your reflection of the literature you’ve discovered and the project you are proposing.

Specific rubric items, and their point values, are as follows:

  • Has the learner selected a data set and indicated that selection? (1 point) 
  • Has the learner clearly stated a research question and hypothesis? (2 points) 
  • Does the literature review include clear information about search terms used? (1 point) 
  • Does the literature review clearly identify references used? (2 points) 
  • Does the literature review clearly present a summary of findings (e.g., variables considered, patterns of findings, etc.)? (2 points)

I hope this Getting Your Research Project Started would be useful for you to learn something new from this Course. If it helped you then don’t forget to bookmark our site for more peer graded solutions.

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