THE RESEARCH PAPER
Your Research Paper is the final “write-up” of your research project. It is the main
piece of written assessment for the unit and should be structured as an academic research
article. It will contain the following sections the cover sheet:
- Title Page
- Literature Review
- Discussion and Conclusions
- Tables and Graphs
With the exception of the abstract, the number of words for each section is provided
as a rough guide only. However, unless you have strong reasons for doing otherwise,
you should stay reasonably close to the recommended word limits for each section.
1. Title page. This is the first page of your paper. It should contain the title of your
paper and your name and student number.
2. Abstract (approximately 100 words). This should be presented on a separate
page and should briefly summarise the topic, methods, results, and conclusions
of your research. You need to present all required material concisely and clearly
to obtain high marks for this component.
3. Introduction (approximately 150 – 300 words). This section should begin on a new
page from the abstract. It should introduce and describe your research topic in
precise detail, indicate why it is important and describe the structure of your
paper. You need to clearly and precisely specify your research question, its
significance and describe the structure of your paper to obtain high marks for this
4. Literature Review (approximately 500 words). This section of your paper should
review some of the relevant theoretical and/or empirical literature. In writing this
section, you should avoid simply describing one piece of research after another.
This makes for boring and uninformative reading. Instead, you should attempt to
structure the literature review thematically, by focusing on common themes in the
research literature that relate to your research topic. Common themes may
represent a common set of theoretical concepts, or arguments, a common set of
research findings, a series of contradictory findings in an area, or a common set
of research methods. You should structure your literature review around these
themes and only refer to existing literature in the context of your research
themes. You may define specific concepts in your literature review, or you may
restrict definitions to the following section. Your literature review should begin
fairly generally and become more specific as you focus in on your topic. You
should aim to write your literature review so that your research problem and
methodology come to appear as the most logical way to proceed to carry out
further research in your field. You do not have to call this section “Literature
Review”. Indeed it is probably better to give it a more informative and interesting
section title. You need to provide a clear coherent, well-structured description of
relevant literature to obtain high marks for this component.
5. Methodology (500 – 600 words). This section describes your data sources and
methods of analysis. You should define the data source, in terms of the sample,
population and method of survey administration (e.g. telephone or mail). You
should indicate how key variables are defined, referring if necessary to question
wording, the method of index construction, and so on. You should also describe
your analytical strategy, that is, what statistical techniques you are going to use,
and why these are appropriate. It is very important to describe your analytic
strategy, relate it back to your topic, and justify your choice of strategy and
methods. You need to provide a clear, comprehensive description and defence of
all relevant aspects of your methodology to obtain high marks for this component.
6. Results (approximately 1,000 words). This section is the main part of your paper.
It contains the empirical evidence that you have gathered in relation to your research
problem (i.e. tables and graphs), and your written description of what this evidence
says. For the purpose of the paper, it is fine for the Results section simply to
contain written text describing what your tables and figures (graphs) show. You
can then present the tables and figures separately at the end of your paper after
the References. From the point of view of preparing your manuscript, this is much
easier than attempting to integrate tables and figures into the written text of the
document. To indicate to the reader roughly where in the text tables or figures
should occur, you can say “Table 1 about here” or “Figure 1 about here” in the
place in the text where the table or graph would appear if it was integrated into
the body of the report. (This is in addition to referring to the table or figure number
in the text describing the table or figure). Note, for a Research Paper of this size,
you will not be able to deal satisfactorily with more than about six to eight tables
and figures in total. Ten tables and graphs in would probably be the maximum
upper limit. The trick is finding and presenting the most appropriate ones for your
research topic. In this section you need to make sure you spend enough time
talking about each of your tables. For each one, you should indicate which table
you are talking about, what the table deals with (e.g. a cross-tabulation of gender
by voting intention), which figures in the table you are referring to (e.g. column
percentages, cell means), and what the numbers mean. You need to provide a
clear, comprehensive, accurate account of your results to obtain high marks for
7. Discussion and Conclusions (500 – 700 words). This section of the paper
summarises your main findings and relates your empirical results to previous
research and to your research themes. It highlights any problems or difficulties in
your empirical analysis (such as a lack of suitable data or problems of validity
with existing data), may suggest directions for further research, and concludes
the paper. This section needs to be more than just a summary and restatement of
your findings. It should link your results to the literature you began with, identify
problems and say where the research might go from here. You need to say
clearly how your findings relate to your research topic or to other research in
the area to obtain high marks for this component. You also need to provide
evidence that you have thought about possible problems/limitations of your own
research, and directions for further research.
- References. This section is headed “References” and is an alphabetical listing by
author of all sources cited in the text of your paper. You should reference
correctly and consistently, and only reference those sources you have cited in the
text. You need to reference correctly to obtain high marks for this component.9. Tables and Graphs. You do not need to head this section “Tables and Graphs”.
Here you present the tables and figures described in your Results section. You
should present your tables first, one per page, beginning with Table 1. Next
present your figures, beginning with Figure 1, one figure per page. You should
follow appropriate guidelines for the presentation of tables, with tables having a
table number and title. All tables should be properly labelled and sourced. Copy-pasting
output directly from STATA’s window or log files is not acceptable. You need to present
your tables and graphs appropriately to obtain high marks for this component. (3%).
If you use footnotes to make substantive comments, these should appear at the
bottom of the page on which the footnote occurs. Do not use footnotes to acknowledge
SOME POSSIBLE RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following are some broad questions that you can use to develop a
specific topic for your Research Paper. Your own topic will probably need to
be more specific than these general questions.
1. What factors shape attitudes towards environmental issues?
2. What determines how people feel about the government?
3. Do individuals from different religious denominations have different attitudes towards homosexuality?
4. Who is satisfied with their job?
5. Who is “proud to be Australian”?
6. What is the effect of having children on men’s and women’s work hours?
Factors Affecting Attitudes Towards Environmental Issues
One of the most discussed issues in the 21st century is that of climate change and the roles of human beings towards environmental conservation. However, due to inconsistent findings and the lack of concrete evidence linking humans to climate change, people have different attitudes towards the environmental issues surrounding them. The focus of this study is to the people of Australia and their participation in environmental conservation. The research focuses on four wide issues that are hypothesized as causing different attitudes in people regarding the environmental issues. Research is carried out using questionnaires and data analyzed from the World Values Survey (2012). The researcher confirms that religion, education level, and economic status affect people’s attitudes. Political factions are dismissed as causing insignificant changes.
Factors Affecting Attitudes Towards Environmental Issues
Environmental conservation is one of the issues that have been given much weight in the 21st Century. The effects of industrialization have been seen as adverse on the environment, and Australia has not remained behind in the matter. Agencies such as the Directory of Environmental Organizations are on the forefront advocating for the conservation of the environment. However, the environmental conservation and the issues that come with it depend largely on the individual views of the citizens. Other than the initiative by the government to eliminate environmental degradation, every person has a personal responsibility towards this cause. However, the views of the people are affected by various factors in the community. The attitudes of the public largely affect its contribution towards environmental conservation, and these vary from religion, economic status, political affiliation, and education level.
This paper presents an analysis of the various factors directing the opinions and attitudes of people regarding the various environmental issues. The focus here is the different factors that shape the views of the public regarding environmental issues. Also, the paper focuses on the majority views of many citizens of Australia and how they might affect the efforts towards environmental conservation. The urgency of this research topic is that despite the government’s efforts towards environmental conservation, success cannot be obtained unless a majority of the citizens come on board. Finding out what people believe and how it affects their views is necessary for bringing them aboard the efforts to reduce environmental degradation.
Different factors affect people’s beliefs in different ways. The authors who have looked into this subject note several themes that are dominant in their presentations. First and foremost, religions or belief systems have been found to direct many people’s daily activities. As such, according to Morrison et al. (2015), people from different religions have differing attitudes towards climate change and environmental conservation. This difference is consistent in different religions even after eliminating socio-demographic factors. While still on the issue of religious influence, it is notable that most people view climate change as a theory rather than a reality. Therefore, according to Pepper and Leonard (2016), the environmental attitudes change as does the political and religious factions. These authors point toward the finding that religious affiliations and teachings may be a part of the factors affecting climate change attitudes.
The environmental behaviors of different people have also been found to be informed of their educational status. The different educational levels were examined between students and parents by Eilam and Trop (2012) and the findings were that students were more pro-environmental as compared to their parents. Further, Morrison et al. (2015) discusse that the level of understanding of people regarding environmental issues may affect the way people approach the topic. These views reason that people who are more informed on a topic are more likely to take it seriously as opposed to people who just have a hint of the issue of discussion. Therefore, it is necessary to further analyze the issue of environmental conservation and its connection to knowledge.
Environmental conservation efforts, in most countries, are spearheaded by government agencies. As such, it would be necessary to understand the political connection between the government of the day and the attitudes of the people. Fielding et al. (2012) argue that climate politics plays a central role in shaping the attitudes of the people. Just the way that people’s political opinions are shaped by their political leaders, Eilam& Trop, (2012) argue that people who are politically obsessed with their leaders will follow the leaders’ views on environmental issues. Fielding et al. (2012) present the political nature of climate change discussions as the reason behind the differing views towards environmental issues. This theme also guides towards the evaluation of the political opinions of different people and how they might affect their attitudes and behavior towards climate change.
Other than the three themes identified by a majority of authors, there are other issues which authors also consider as causing a divide in the attitudes that people have about the environmental debate. For instance, Bhattacharyya (2011) blames economic development or recession for the different environmental habits. Torgler and García-Valiñas (2007) also advance a different perspective of social capital on the debate. These studies create a rich background of the study of the attitudes of people towards environmental issues. However, they lack a comprehensive compilation of a set of factors that may be referenced as causing the different attitudes of people towards the environmental issues. This prior research necessitates further research in the country to provide a solid foundation of environmental conservation attitudes.
The World Values Survey, Australia is a compilation of findings by different researchers in Australia regarding the different socio-cultural factors. The data is a production of the Australian Data Archive (ADA) and the Australian National University. The WVS provides data on a range of topics but the focus of this paper is strictly on the sociocultural factors and attitudes towards environmental issues. The number of correspondents in the survey is identified as n= 1477. A total of five questions are directed to respondents concerning the issue of environmental conservation and people’s attitudes. Therefore, this study focuses on these sets of questions as the sample study of the attitudes of the people interviewed and trying to make sense of the answers.
The question and response that this research gives much attention is the presentation of V 78 which asks the people to state whether the conservation of environment was important to them. As such, the basic question for the research will be the ranking of the importance of environmental issues by the correspondent. Further, the participation of the correspondents in environmental conservation efforts will also be determined. As such, we will ask correspondents whether they have participated in any demonstration or contribution towards an environmental cause. The belonging to an environmental organization either in the present of the past will also be researched. The research conducted using the database provided by the WVS will play the role of guiding the research process and interpreting the findings.
Other than the analysis of the data presented by the WVS (2012), questionnaires will be issued to a sample of 1477 people in Australia to determine the different demographic data and the social factors that affect their climate change and environmental issue analysis and importance. Four key points will be focused on. First is the religion of the correspondent which will be indicated on the questionnaire. The second will be their favorite political party in Australia. The correspondent will also be expected to answer questions concerning their perception of the link between economic level and the efforts towards environmental conservation. The education level will also be obtained on top of responses to questions identified in the WVS.
The data analysis process will include the review of the set of questions advanced by the researchers in the WVS (2012) to inspire the interpretation of findings. The tabling of the percentages of the data obtained will be the preferred analysis tool whereby the findings will be tabled and inferences drawn. The four main factors identified will be specified and tabled against key answers to the questions present in the WVS. The relationship between the different socio-demographic factors such as religion and the alignment with a particular ideology concerning the environmental issues at hand will then be presented in a table. Finally, a variable identifying the different belief systems and their attribution to the issue of environmental conservation will be added. Data will be analyzed considering the majority of answers in a particular category as the correct socio-cultural factor affecting the correspondents’ choices.
Environmental threats are very risky to the entire human species. However, not all people have similar attitudes towards the environment and its conservation. It is also evident that environmental conservation efforts differ among different people. Therefore, this section presents an overview of the findings of research in Australia and other countries as indicated by the World Values Survey (2012) and the study conducted as supplementary to that data. This section is divided into several parts which are cognizant of the various factors that may affect the people’s attitudes. Table 1 presents the participation of correspondents in environmental issues. Data obtained from the values survey indicates the level of participation by different people involved in the research through a range of methods such as demonstrations, active participation in an environmental organization, and monetary contribution to such causes.
The active participation of the correspondents was found to be very low in the demonstrations. 7.8% only of the correspondents reported having participated in demonstrations for an environmental cause. Further, regarding the participation, 86.9% reported that they had never been in a demonstration for environmental conservation. This indicates that it is possible that less than a tenth of the people of Australia have participated in demonstrations advocating for environmental conservation. Still, on participation, 29% of the respondents had given money to an ecological organization before. This figure is way below average. Also, only 4.8% of correspondents were active members of an ecological organization with another 10.7% being inactive members.
Religious beliefs and their connection to environmental conservation were also analyzed. The dependent variable here was the belief in climate change and environmental degradation while the independent variables were the different religions. Four major religions namely Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism were identified and the results presented in a histogram. The main question regarding this measure was whether the correspondents believed that climate change was happening and if it was due to human causes. The findings of the research were such that a majority of all religions believed that climate change was happening. However, the attribution to human causes or that it was natural causes presented varied results. The highest percentage of people who believed that humans were to blame for climate change was Christians at 58.1% followed by Hindus at 54.9%.
Political affiliations are also considered a part of environmental considerations. The people of Australia and other countries as well are politically oriented and act according to their political ideas. The assessment method used for this variable was the inquisition of the correspondents’ political affiliations. These political affiliations served as the independent variables while the belief in environmental conservation served as the dependent variable. The results obtained from the exercise showed that although people from different political divides had differing ideas on the issue of environmental conservation, there was no clear political delineation of the different political divides when it came to the views on environmental issues. The results of this particular survey were not tabulated as they were insignificant for the analysis as observed earlier on.
The economy of any country affects the country’s efforts towards the different socio-cultural efforts. For instance, Smith et al. (2017) found out that developing economies were keen on focusing their efforts towards environmental conservation but their contribution to the cause was relatively low as compared to the developed economies. A simple test in the questionnaires was asking the correspondents whether their financial status affected their environmental behavior was conducted. This test was considerate of the participants’ privacy and confidentiality on the issue of income levels. As such, the researcher presented results from a set of 4 questions. The number of people who associated their financial status to their environmental behavior was 22.6% of the correspondents.
The majority of the correspondents (54.6%) thought that the country’s economic status affected the government’s efforts towards environmental conservation. It was observed that a majority of the correspondents believed that the country’s economic status affected the focus on environmental issues while disregarding the personal economic status’ connection to the environmental conservation efforts. Therefore, it is safe to ascertain that it was popular belief that a country that was struggling economically was likely to neglect environmental conservation while individuals struggling financially were unlikely. This is a show that corporate social responsibility is a central focus of governments that are running a stable economy or at least developing in their development.
Environmental conservation can always be linked to the attitudes that develop through education on environmental issues (Bhattacharyya, 2011). Therefore, when checking the education levels of the different correspondents, the main aim was to form a correlation between the education level and the belief about environmental conservation. Referring back to the section of whether the environmental issues were important to the correspondent, the independent variables were identified as the four levels of education namely less than senior secondary, senior secondary, certificates I-IV, and bachelor’s degree or more. It was observed that people who had at least a post-secondary certificate believed that environmental conservation was important. However, it was observed that fewer people with a bachelor’s degree or more believed in environmental degradation as compared to those having a certificate.
The results can be summarized as shown in the tables and graphs section at the end of this paper. However, several key takeaways were noted from the data. First and foremost, it was noted that only a small percentage of Australians participate in environmental conservation activities. This percentage of people represented the number of Australians who both belief in environmental conservation as well as participating in the efforts. Secondly, it was established that Christians were more concerned about climate change than any other religious group. Another observation was that there was little or no connection between political affiliations and environmental efforts. Regarding economic activities, a majority believe that a country’s economic status affects environmental conservation while individual status does not. Further, the higher the level of learning, the more likely the concern for environmental issues.
Discussion and Conclusion
The study involved a critical analysis of the factors that may be affecting the attitudes towards the environmental conservancy issues in the country. The research was carried out through the access to a database (World Values Survey 2012). This database provided figures presenting findings on the attitudes of 1477 correspondents towards the issue of environmental conservation. Further, a similar sample population regarding size was presented with questionnaires asking about various demographic data and the variables accompanying it. Four wide independent factors were considered including the participation, religion, political affiliation, economy, and education level. The results presented present the view that education level, economic conditions in the country, and the religion affected the efforts towards environmental conservation.
According to Pepper and Leonard (2016), different religions affected the people’s views on the issue of climate change. This fact is observed in the research whereby Christians and Hindus most believed in the human contribution towards climate. These findings go to confirm the claim by Morrison et al. (2015) that religious activity and beliefs affected the belief system of different people regarding climate change and the role of people in the environmental degradation. These results thus present the number one factor that affects the attitudes of people towards environmental issues. The belief system is seen as the one that affects the overall ideas of people, especially when there is no enough credible evidence about the issue of climate change.
The political division did not show any significant differences in the belief in environmental issues and the role of humans towards environmental conservation and change. These findings thus refute the claims by Torgler and García-Valiñas (2007) that politicians affect the ideas of people regarding their beliefs in the climate and environmental matter. However, it was noted that the collective economic development affected the way the government focused its efforts, or at least how people felt it acted towards the issue of environmental conservation. These findings confirm that the personal economic status does not affect the attitudes towards environmental issues but the government’s involvement in environmental conservation is determined by the economy (Smith et al., 2017).
Finally, when focusing on the education level, Bhattacharyya (2011) states that more educated people are capable of understanding the environmental issues and the climate change phenomenon so that they be involved more in the efforts. The findings partially confirm this since an average of 53% of people who have at least a certificate level of education believe in climate change. However, those having degrees ranked lower than those with certificates. These results lead to the confirmation that education, religion, and economy were the leading factors contributing towards the different attitudes towards environmental issues. Further studies aimed at generating more factors should be conducted using this study as a basis of the report.
Bhattacharyya, A. (2011). Attitudes towards environmental accountability in an emerging economy setting – evidence from India. Journal of the Asia-Pacific Centre for Environmental Accountability 17(2), 51-74.
Eilam, E. & Trop, T. (2012).Environmental Attitudes and Environmental Behavior—Which Is the Horse and Which Is the Cart?Sustainability 4, 2210-2246; doi:10.3390/su4092210
Fielding, S. Head, B., Laffan, W.,Western, M. &Hoegh-Guldberg, O. (2012). Australian politicians’ beliefs about climate change: political partisanship and political ideology. Environmental Politics, 21(5), 712-733. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09644016.2012.698887
Ian, M. & Juliet, P. (2013).World Values Survey, Australia, 2012. Australian National University.Pdf.
Pepper, M & Leonard, R. (2016).Climate Change, Politics and Religion: Australian Churchgoers’ Beliefs about Climate Change. Religions, 7, 47; doi:10.3390/rel7050047
Smith, T., Kim, J. & Son, J. (2017).Public Attitudes toward Climate Change and Other Environmental Issues across Countries.International Journal of Sociology, 47:1, 62-80, DOI: 10.1080/00207659.2017.1264837
Torgler, B. & Garcia-Valinas, M. (2007).The determinants of individuals’ attitudes towards preventing environmental damage.Ecological Economics, 63(2-3), 536-552. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2006.12.013
|Given money to environmental organization||29.0%||69.5%||1.4%|
|Participated in a demonstration advocating for environmental conservation||7.8%||86.9%||5.3%|
|Participated in an environmental organization||15.5%||81.3%||3.2%|
Table 1. Statistics on participation in environmental conservation initiatives
Table 2. Number of people believing that climate change is tied to human causes
Table 3. Results on whether economic statuses affect efforts towards environmental conservation.
Table 4. The relationship between the level of education and the belief in climate change.