You can still conduct original research for your paper even if you don’t have time in one semester to conduct a school or community based ethnography or survey 100 people .
Here are some ideas of original contributions you can make:
1. Compile descriptive statistics about a phenomenon:
Here is a chart I’ve compiled as part of a Sheff Coalition report on PreK in the Hartford area.
2. Create a map locating a certain social phenomena. Here is a map I am working on about economic diversity in Public Montessori schools.
3. Write an autoethnography to use your own personal experience to systematically analyze broader social experiences. If you do this, please read the article by Ellis, Adams and Boechner, 2011.
4. Collect a certain number of media documents (newspapers, websites) and analyze them. In sociological terms, this is called “discourse analysis” of social texts.