The Final Project is worth 30% of your total grade for this course.
After completing this module, including the learning activities, you will submit your research report on the topic that was the focus of your research proposal.
Your research report should have a title that speaks clearly to your topic, and that indicates a clear aim, purpose, and direction. Your research report should examine selected aspects of your topic by doing two things:  convey a detailed and sound grasp of the research findings, and  relate these findings to a wider theoretical context or explanatory framework that makes sense of the facts. That is, the report should not consist of a simple recitation of information, but should say something meaningful about the topic that advances understanding beyond the mere facts of the case. Two really good, if general, questions that you would do well to ask yourself are, first, “Who cares?” and, second, “What does it all mean?” These are questions you should reflect on regularly as you work on your project, and they are also questions that your Open Learning Faculty Member will be asking her/himself while reading your report.
In sum, complete your final report that distills your research findings, presents a clear and concise statement of findings, and analyzes the data upon which those findings are based. It should also adhere to the following:
- Include a description and discussion of your research questions and objectives.
- Show how your research builds on existing knowledge in your particular area. A brief overview of the pertinent literature, and what others have said about your topic or area of investigation, is important.
- What evidence do you have that speaks to your research questions or objectives? Describe your methods and methodology in gathering this evidence.
- Outline the approach you used. What kind of already published data was useful to your study? What specific instruments did you use?
- Demonstrate how the data you gathered addresses your research questions and objectives.
- Provide a rationale for the methods that you used [i.e., your methodology].
- Describe the contribution your project makes to our understanding of your topic/area/community. Do your findings shed new light on things? How? What are the implications of your findings?
You will need to obtain informed consent for your research. Informed consent refers to the practice of securing consent from research participants by first offering full disclosure of the nature of the research in which they are to participate. Doing so secures participants’ awareness of their participation in the research, and underscores their right to withdraw their consent at any time. Consent can be obtained through verbal or written form. If obtaining consent verbally, be sure that you have read the entirety of the consent form to the participant and that the participant understands what he or she is agreeing to.
Be prepared to provide signed consent forms to your Open Learning Faculty Member if requested.
The notes you prepare from the interview must anonymize the participants [i.e., obfuscate their true identities, such as by using a pseudonym], and must be securely stored in a password-protected file. Questions prepared and asked during the interview are to be appended to your assignment.
See the Forms tab to access and download the following two forms to complete this assignment.
What You Need to Submit for This Assignment
For this assignment, submit a 5200–6000 word paper, using one-inch margins, Times New Roman 12-point font, and double spacing. The cover page should include your name, your Open Learning Faculty Member’s name, the course name and number, the date of submission, and the title of your study.
Organization and Style
Keep in mind the following elements of organization and style as you prepare your report:
- A research report of any kind typically contains an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. These three parts should be well integrated.
- The introduction informs the reader of your topic, the argument that you will be setting forth, and the conclusion at which you will arrive. All these things need to be stated at the outset of a scholarly piece of writing. It is quite vexing for a professor to pick up an essay or report, read halfway through it, and still be guessing what the argument is supposed to be. The introduction should be between ½–1 ½ pages, depending on the length of the paper.
- The body should consist of an exposition of the data necessary to support your argument, which you demonstrate, through careful interpretation or explanation, to be plausible. In other words, your data and argumentation should fit within an explanatory framework. The body of an essay or report is the longest part, and consists of numerous paragraphs of varying length, each one encapsulating a distinct aspect or element of the wider argument.
- The conclusion reiterates your argument in concise terms, and informs the reader of the significance of what you had to say. A conclusion should be between 1–1 ½ pages in length.
- In addition to containing a coherent argument, an essay or report needs to be clearly written and grammatically polished. Poor syntax, vague language, and grammatical errors all reduce the quality of a piece of writing, and will result in a lower grade. Employ formal language, and express yourself clearly. Use jargon only where necessary, and always avoid colloquialisms. Also, avoid hackneyed phrases and clichés, and do not use contractions. Write economically, and do not use three words where one would suffice.
- Your writing should employ a clear expository style. Therefore, limit your use of imagery and metaphors, and avoid writing pretentiously—better a boring paper than a pretentious one! Ask yourself the following: Did I use concise language? Is my argument clear? Are there any grammatical errors? Did I make good use of published sources? Did I support my claims with evidence? Have I contradicted myself at any point? Do my conclusions follow from my arguments? Remember to get a second opinion, and have a friend read your paper. If that person has trouble understanding your argument, your Open Learning Faculty Member likely will too.