UP504 • Final Project

last updated: Monday, April 14, 2008

STUDENT PROJECTS: PROPOSALS AND RESULTS [links to be added later in the semester]

Assignment Six

due in stages: Feb 22, Mar 19, Apr 18

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The object of this assignment is to give you the opportunity to combine several of the skills from this course to develop and answer a research question of your choice. You are to work in teams of two students. (Note: in group projects, you are to turn in a single, integrated write-up. All group members receive the same grade.)

The project consists of several steps:

  STEPS Format Due Date
6a Draft Outline of Proposed Research Project paper Friday, Feb 22
6b Final Outline of Proposed Research Project web (html file on your ifs space) Mar 19
6c "Virtual Poster" of Results (to be presented Apr 2, 7) web (html files with .gif images on your ifs space) Apr 2
6d Written Version paper Apr 18 (5pm) (revised)


STEP ONE: A one page outline of your proposed project (DRAFT VERSION) -- due Feb 22 -- please turn into Prof. Campbell's mailbox (2nd floor)

Format:  paper

Briefly outline your

Do emphasize methodology -- how you will actually do the project.

[start early so you can discover whether the data is available]

Finding data: you may use either primary data (e.g., from your own survey or observations), or secondary data. For sources, please see the advice for the graphing assignment (Assignment 3):


In-Class Work Session: Feb 20

This is an interactive "Work Session" for your final projects. This is an opportunity to articulate your project goals and challenges, get advice from others, and discuss common challenges and solutions.

For class, each project should come ready to answer these questions:
1. What is your research question (RQ)?
2. What you expect to find (i.e., a concise hypothesis linked to the RQ)?
3. What major methodological problem have you encountered?
4. What you have done so far to address these problems (change data set; alter unit of analysis; change method; etc.)
5. Is there a good fit between your RQ, your data and your methodology? (the 3 points of a good proposal).

for some guidance on proposals, see:
Locke, Lawrence F. Waneen W. (Wyrick) Spirduso, Stephen J. Silverman "The Function of the Proposal," in Proposals that Work. 4th edition, Sage, 1999,2000, pp. 3-24. [electronic reserves]

STEP TWO: A one page outline of your proposed project (FINAL VERSION) -- due Mar 19

Format:  web page.
web address to use:  www-personal.umich.edu/~youruniquename/up504/assign6/proposal.html

see example of a prototypical research proposal outline

For guidelines and tutorials for web page creation, see this page of web page design advice and the linked resources.


STEP THREE: "Virtual poster": a web-based presentation of your results (complete web page due April 2, regardless of whether you are presenting on Apr 2 or 7)

link to results page

We will present results in class on April 2 and 7. This web page can be short, including a modest amount of text (e.g., a few key findings in bullet-point format), and one or more visuals (table, graph, and/or map). Be creative, brief, visual -- you might view this project as a "virtual poster."

Format:   web
web address to use:  www-personal.umich.edu/~youruniquename/up504/assign6/results.html

(you should also link your proposal page and your results page)


>>> see a few examples from a previous year:  


STEP Four: Written version of Final Project -- now due FRIDAY, April 18 (5:00 pm)

Format:    paper 
optional:  you may, in addition, also update your web page to include your final project, but this is not necessary)


Required Elements of Project (in full-sentence narrative where appropriate)

An Example:

Develop a research question: "Do carpool lane programs significantly reduce traffic congestion in cities that use them?" Set this question in its context. Describe your methodology. Explain your measures and how they relate to your larger concepts. Gather data. Input into Excel and/or SPSS. Run some basic charts and statistical analysis (e.g., regression). Do any necessary tests of significance. Write up results.

A few other questions: What is the relationship between housing prices and K-12 school performance? Do enterprise zones raise the level of local economic development? Do higher gas prices lead to less automobile use? Are we, in fact, a more globalized economy than we were 20 years ago? What are the determinants of whether a person will buy or rent a home? What explains the larger increase in a metropolitan area's built land coverage in the 1990s than in its population growth? Do cities with high percentages of immigrants have higher or lower levels of unemployment? Do World Bank investments favor democratic or non-democratic countries? What are the key determinants of housing costs in Ann Arbor? Is there a gender or racial pay gap among urban planners? etc.

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