This week, I continue developing the research project by writing a proposal and reflecting on programmatic research design. The proposed research topic is the relationship between the partisan makeup of the state legislature and abortion restrictions. I begin by appreciating that American society is divided concerning the fate of some controversial policy topics such as abortion restrictions. Thus, the debate on abortion restrictions has taken longer than the ordinally period to settle by the congress or state legislature. Also, there is persistent partisanship at the state legislature and courts, which has impacted the enactment or vetoes of some policies. From that, I intend to answer the question: What is the relationship between the partisan makeup of the state legislature and abortion restrictions?

In the final research project, I intend to deduce that the fate of abortion restrictions lies in the partisanship makeup of the legislature. I will use the literature resources identified in the annotated bibliography assignment to develop a hypothesis. Studies show that some court decisions and voting or vetoing of some policies are at the discretion of state legislature and judicially. However, partisanship is a strong affiliation to a party system and has matured in American society to the extent of influencing the judicially and the legislature. That leads to a null hypothesis that there is a significant correlation between the enactment or repeal of abortion restrictions with the partisan makeup of the state legislature, which will help to answer the research question programmatically.

The above description – where a research question is developed from literature theories, is referred to as deductive programmatic research. My research development follows a top-to-down model of programmatic research, which has several inherent challenges. First, it is possible to misinterpret other people’s ideas and findings, and this makes inaccurate conclusions. For instance, some of the literature I will use are from disciplines outside my course domain. Therefore, a misinterpretation of statistics or findings may be fatal for this research. Secondly, the methodology does not allow room to explore emerging issues in the course of the research, since the research objective is to answer the research question using former studies. Therefore, I will neglect the implications of other studies, to only pull the findings that will back my research hypothesis. Thirdly, programmatic research is prone to bias. As mentioned in the previous discussion, I expect to face self-selection bias, sampling bias, Hawthorne effect, and effects of my predominant expectations. However, I will work around to minimize the bias by verifying the legitimacy of other scholar’s findings, comparing multiple findings, and using multiple peer-reviewed sources. I also appreciate that these challenges could have been avoided in quantitative research.

The differences between programmatic research as I intend to use it and quantitative research are as follows:

  1. Quantitative research is developed through structured experiments to make findings. On programmatic research, I will use a literature review to answer my research question as guided by the null hypothesis.
  2. Quantitative research is highly reliable, hence may be reprobated or repeated. However, programmatic research is static, and the findings are at the discretion of the researcher.
  3. The data collected in quantitative research is often statistical and analyzed using statistical methods. In contrast, programmatic research may not always entail data collection and analysis in terms of statistical methods.