COM 401 Final Assignment: Research Proposal

Posted on: 9th May 2023


The research topic that needs to be covered is the the digital divide(the gap between those who benefit from the Digital Age and those who do not). Specifically how the digital divide affects people in society.

COM 401 Final Assignment: Research Proposal


            For your final assignment, you will use the methodological knowledge and skills you have built throughout the course to construct a formal research proposal.  This will essentially mean constructing a complete plan for a full-scale scientific research project that you can use in your future studies.  The objective of the assignment is for students to demonstrate their ability to formulate a plan for applying social science methods to a specific research objective in a formal paper.   Please read and closely follow these guidelines for completing the assignment:


1.      You must choose one of more of the methods that we have covered in this class so far and apply it to a specific research objective.

2.      Your paper should clearly demonstrate the use of social science methodology.

3.      You must include all of the basic elements that are included in a typical research proposal, such as:

a.       An abstract

b.      An introduction and conclusion

c.       A literature review

d.      A statement of the problem and/or purpose of study

e.       A statement of significance of your issue/topic

f.        Clear research questions or objectives

g.      A methodological statement and explanation of your research design, including sampling, data analysis, etc.  

                                                              i.      All projects must propose a sampling method that is more rigorous and systematic than convenience sampling.  Unless there is no other way to propose data collection, students may not propose convenience sampling.

h.      A statement regarding how any ethical or safety concerns would be managed.

i.        A provisional research instrument (e.g. survey, interview guide, coding scheme, etc.)

                                                              i.      This may not apply if you are doing an observational study.

j.        Preliminary hypotheses (if doing deductive research)

k.      A statement of limitations/partiality of the study

l.        References and citations.

4.      All of the above need not be delineated sections of your paper, but they should be included as elements of the proposal in some manner.

5.      Use headings to denote the various sections of your paper.

6.      There is no required length, but 8-10 pages is the recommended length.

7.      You must include at least 12 academic sources in your literature review.

8.      Remember to use citations and references in all appropriate sections.

9.      Please use ASA style to format your proposal (no cover page is required though).  If you prefer, you may use another disciplinary style, but please confirm with the instructor.

10.  I have supplied several documents on constructing proposals in the resources folder as well.  You may use these as supplementary guides for further advice on how to complete this assignment.  However, please keep in mind that not every element of these documents will necessarily pertain to your research project.  The necessary components and standards of a research proposal vary according to the research objectives and methods being applied.  However, the most important thing to keep in mind is to be as thorough as possible in this proposal.  Make sure to address every methodological element necessary.

11.  Do not hesitate to approach the instructor with questions.  Since this is the first research proposal many of you have written, it’s to be expected that you will need further clarification of some elements of this assignment.

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COM 401 Final Assignment: Research Proposal

Research question: How does the gap between those who benefit from the digital age and the illiterate ones affect people and solve the problem in society?


The main reason for this research is to look at individuals who benefit from the digital age as well as the illiterate ones. The research will mainly focus on looking at the gap created in society because of digital inequalities and their effect going forward in the future. Additionally, the gap between the two groups has created classes in society; thus, through different methodologies, the paper will look at what led to the significant growth of inequality among people in society during the digital age. Given the effect of the digital age in society, this paper will try to guide what needs to be done in order to close the inequality in society that has existed due to the digital age.


The paper aims to give an overview of technological effects in society and the solution that can rectify the issue. The technological revolution in 21st is something that everyone has embraced. People in the current society have been relying on technology to conduct their daily business. Although the advancement of technology plays a significant role in society today, it builds inequalities. The digital divide has been attributed to underdevelopment, making people view it as something temporary with the hope that it will disappear with the popularization of technology (Hanna, 2021). However, this was not achieved even after wide internet access. Different factors contributed to the digital divide, from the high price of the devices to the lack of knowledge about their use. Furthermore, individuals in society such as the low-income, elderly, Native Americans, and rural populations are disproportionately affected by the digital divide. The digital divide affects the above groups because of structural realities that include economic, political, and social disparities. This study will look at the impact of the digital gap on society and why it is a human rights and social justice concern. In order to analyze the topic in a significant way, there’s a need to avoid it; they will need to formulate strong views on the richness and complexity of social life. The term "digital divide" was coined in the twentieth century to depict the separation between individuals who have a digital concept and illiterate ones, but it has taken on a new meaning in today's culture.


The current society would not be reliable without rapid access to the Internet. The wide topic of the “digital divide” is always about the unfair distribution of resources associated with communication technologies among countries or societies. Basically, digital inequality most of the time is used to describe inequalities in accession and use of technology and content. Digital gap inequality is evident between educated and uneducated or between developing countries and undeveloped countries. The difference in opportunity access among the people always contributes to the split of people in the society, thus creating inequality (Sorj, 2018). Although new technologies create growth and bring new opportunities in society, they have been a wide negative part of technology, including heightening economic inequalities and sharpening social division. According to the studies and reports, today’s society is much affected by digital divides. The 2019 report shows that around 5 million rural American households and 15.3 million urban still do not access broadband internet. From different reports, it is evident that technological discrimination among society is a form of poverty and social inclusion. The digital divide denies some people in the society access to essential resources, thus making them feel discriminated against in the society.

Literature Review

Based on the different literature reviews I have evaluated, the “digital divide” has created a wide political and economic equality gap. The term digital divides have been in use since the 1990s, with its main aim is explaining the difference between the elite of technological use and accessing it easily and illiterate. According to Margaret Rouse, the digital gap is still a concern in the twenty-first century. The digital gap is the societal division between those who cannot access new communication and information and the ones who have access (Techopedia, 2021). Although the term originated in the early 1990s, it still affects the current society. For instance, the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic indicated the effect negative consequences of the digital divide globally. The pandemic outbreak led to the lockdown of many countries, something that needed people to work from home (Lythreatis et al., 2021). During this time, many people experienced hardship working from home due to their inability to operate their smartphones and join online meetings. However, according to the United Nations recommendation, in order to bridge the gap of digital inequality in society, there’s a need for the government to work with the private industry to educate people in the society importance of ICT technologies investing in broadband and support development of ICT skills in non-discriminative manner. In addition, the literature review of the different articles shows that more needs to be done to bring equality to society as that will help minimize the cases of digital inequality (Taylor, 2021). The government and other stakeholders need to make sure that every individual in the society knows the importance of the internet in their life that will help the government and other stakeholders need to mitigate the issue of inequality in society. According to Cynthia Sanders, the advancement of technology in the 21st came up with an evolution of need. In the current society, computers and smartphones have made it easier for a person to access the internet, impacting society in a wide range (Sanders & Scanlon, 2021). It is evident that access to the internet has helped people socialize, pay bills and shop in the shortest time possible. In addition, the current society uses the internet as an avenue for accessing healthcare and finding employment. But those who lack the internet in society are deprived of the vital knowledge that can help them thrive in life as with the internet; they can access important information and lower consumer prices. Therefore, from the article’s view, I found that digital exclusion amounts to social exclusion as people are denied access to important information that can be vital for their lives (Taylor, 2021). For that reason, lack of equality in society negatively impacts political, economic and personal capabilities. Thus, it is important for everyone to equally access the internet to help everyone feel part of society.

In addition, according to Cynthia, forming an advocacy structure is a significant way to help overcome the digital divide. Also, legislation is a vital factor that can help solve the digital divide. Moreover, given the wide increase of technological differences in society, there’s a need to enhance solutions to close the margin of the digital divide both in America and globally. Given the increase in internet use, there’s a need for universal access that makes every individual in society. The policymakers should ensure that every community member can get access to available resources as that will create equality among members of the society (Sanders & Scanlon, 2021). Like basic phones and refurbished computers available in the market, the government should subsidize internet access for low-income households to help reduce the digital divide gap.

Purpose of the Study

In every research, study purpose is important because it always illustrates what the research will do and indicates what the study should include in concluding. Given that my research is focused on studying the “digital divide,” it signifies the main purpose was to show the gap created due to technological inequality and how the gap of digital inequality affects society. For instance, even though access to the internet and computer has continued to grow, the “digital divide” also grows at an alarming rate to the following research. The main focus of this study paper is to view the effect of the digital divide on society and how this effect can be rectified (Francis, Ball, Kadylak & Cotten, 2019). For instance, the research finding shows that the factors like gender, social and universal have to be looked at to create equality in society.

Also, the research has analyzed how causes of digital divides such as education, income levels, digital literacy, and other factors can be looked at to minimize inequality in society. Looking at how the digital divide has impacted the U.S, it is significant to analyze what needs to be done in the current society in order to make every individual in the United feel like part of the country (Hanna, 2021). Any factor that helps people stay in equal capacity is important because it helps reduce the issue of inequality, thus making society embrace togetherness. But to achieve digital equality, the research was significant in making sure that it creates a solution that would make everyone feel part of the society.

Statement of significance

The statement of significance is important to any research as it explains the reason for the research and why the research is important. This part plays a significant part in research because it explains its importance and how it contributes to new knowledge. As part of my research, the significant statement of my research was on how to narrow the digital gap. Based on the different reports, factors like education have magnified the digital divide because people with high education in society are the only one who is to work with the computer compared to the illiterate. For that reason, there’s a need to make sure that bridging is done to curb the digital divide. The proponents for bridging the digital divide include part of those who think they need to improve democracy, social mobility and economic growth (Soomro et al., 2020). As can be seen from the research topic, the goal of this research was to gain a better knowledge of the reasons for the technological disparity. It is essential because knowing the cause of the digital divide help solve the problem to come up with a significant solution. More importantly, my research viewed what can be done to make sure that technological advancement can embrace equality by providing an equal platform for everyone in society. Like in America, rectifying technological inequality creates the greatest opportunity for low-income people to feel equal among the wealthy in society. 


Given that my research was focused on finding the effect of inequality and the way in which the problem can be solved. Being a wide topic that needed to find the effect and solution of the problem using social scientific concept made my research authentic (Henry, 2015). Using the social scientific method helps build a foundation on what needs to be accomplished at the conclusion of the study. Therefore, from the social scientific methodological concept, I was able to carry out the research in both qualitative and quantitative design. With social scientific methods, I was sure the information I would gather about the effect of inequality is authentic and can help come up with a solution that can minimize the effect of the digital divide in society (Van Dijk, 2015). For instance, after carrying deep research, I found that inequality in society affects people’s economy and social development. With the use of the qualitative method, I have addressed deeper the “digital divide” issues.  Therefore, the social science method is important in the research as it provided me with a significant way of analyzing the effect of the digital divide in society.

Management of ethical and safety concerns

In addition, like any research, my research tends to experience ethical issues that I think need to be addressed ethically to avoid the harm of any group in society. Therefore, given the ethical issues that may occur during research, there is a need for guidelines before researching to help manage issues that may arise. For instance, in the current research, the issue of racism and class seems to have taken a wide range of my research findings how; the way I have addressed them is ethical because they are needed to have an equal society that is not divided (Miranda et al., 2014). The suggestion of coming with problem-solving to the effect of the digital divide is part of the ethical management of the research. For instance, to mitigate the digital divide, there’s a need to change public attitude regarding technology as that helps are solutions to build an equal society.


According to the research definition, the phrase "digital gap" is used to indicate socioeconomic disparities that exist among persons in society. Thus, equality will lead to socioeconomic growth, making society more sustainable and equitable. Also, the study has shown that the introduction of new technology has significantly contributed to existing social inequalities (Sorj, 2018). For a long-time, society has been divided in race and ethnicity, but the introduction of digital access has increased this division because it has created inequality among people. For that reason, it is good for society to make sure that nobody is marginalized within the society. Society has to embrace; thus, it has to be inclusive rather than exclusive. To tackle the problem of digital inequality, society needs to create a humble environment for all people and encourage everyone within society to use the internet in their lives (Ragnedda, 2017). Therefore, to make society an important place, there needs to advocate for a community that embraces equality among themselves. More crucially, closing the digital divide necessitates bringing every member into the digital age, where everyone has access to critical societal resources.



Francis, J., Ball, C., Kadylak, T., & Cotten, S. R. (2019). Aging in the digital age: Conceptualizing technology adoption and digital inequalities. In Ageing and digital technology (pp. 35-49). Springer, Singapore.

Hanna, K. T. (2021, August 11). What is the digital divide, and how is it being bridged? Retrieved December 14, 2021, from

Henry, P. (2015). Rigor in qualitative research: Promoting quality in social science research. Res J Recent Sci ISSN2277, 2502.

Lythreatis, S., El-Kassar, A. N., & Singh, S. K. (2021). The digital divide: A review and future research agenda. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 121359.

Miranda, I., Cruz-Cunha, M. M., Varajão, J., & Simoes, R. (2014). The impact of the digital divide on the perceived interest of an e-Marketplace to support healthcare and social care services. Procedia Technology16, 1471-1476.

Ragnedda, M. (2017). The third digital divide: A Weberian approach to digital inequalities. Routledge.

Sanders, C. K., & Scanlon, E. (2021). The digital divide is a human rights issue: Advancing social inclusion through social work advocacy. Journal of Human Rights and Social Work, 1-14.

Soomro, K. A., Kale, U., Curtis, R., Akcaoglu, M., & Bernstein, M. (2020). The digital divide among higher education faculty. International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education17(1), 1-16.

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