Developing empirical research questions

Assignment 1: Developing empirical research questions 

SOAN 355

Spring 2017

Due Date:  TBA

Objective:  Social research is a disciplined attempt to answer questions through observation–the collection and analysis of verifiable empirical data. The starting point for all good social research, therefore, is the development of clear and concise empirical questions.  This assignment will demonstrate your ability to distinguish between empirical and non-empirical questions, and it will demonstrate your ability to develop and refine empirical questions for social research. 


Write a short paragraph describing what interests you about how people understand and use forests in our region (1).  Next, make a list of possible questions (five or six) that reflect your interests and that could be explored through social research. This list is a brainstorm (2). Now settle on two of these questions to refine them into workable empirical research questions.  Show me various iterations of the questions and describe how you imagine gathering data to answer your questions (3).  Finally, take this non-empirical question:  Which type of forest is most beautiful?  From it, develop two empirical social research questions.  Remember, good empirical questions are clear and concise.  Be specific and keep it simple.  

Formatting Guidelines:  This assignment must conform to the common writing conventions for your portfolio.

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