Research Proposal

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Title Page
Introduction {4-6 pages total}
Statement of the problem
Review of current relevant literature (4 empirical studies*)
Conclusion of literature review and Rationale: including your research question (qualitative) or hypothesis and independent/dependent variables (quantitative)
Methods {~1 page}
Materials and Measures
Design & Procedure
Reference Page


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*Follow model – Each study that you present in the literature review must meet reference requirements and provide the following information:

Authors and year (adhere to APA citation)
Purpose of study
Participants information
Study type
Relevant measures


Detailed Guidelines


Title Page: Strictly adhere to APA format to construct a Title Page for the proposal.



Statement of the problem: This section will be approximately one to two paragraphs and should provide background information. Provide a logical explanation of why the reader should be concerned with the issue your proposal wishes to examine. Facts and statistics are appropriate here. Personal anecdotes or opinions are not appropriate. Conclude this section by outlining the organization of the theory and literature.

Review of current relevant literature: This section will review the two empirical studies you collected after the two completed together in class. For each study that you present in the literature review you need to provide the following information:

Authors and year (must meet requirements below)
Purpose of study
Participants information (how many, age, where from, etc.)
Study design (e.g., longitudinal, cross-sectional)
Relevant measures
Results – major findings that are relevant to your study. This is the most important piece; it is the evidence that you are using to support your research proposal. You do not need to include the statistics, just the general results. Whereas the information in 1-5 above should be stated in 2 to 3 sentences, the results should be clearly explained and may take up to a paragraph or more.
Analysis of results – “analysis is the job of systematically breaking down something into its… parts and describing how they relate to each other – it is not random dissection but a methodological examination” (Hart, 2000, p. 110). A good place to start is the sample size and participant details. Ask yourself, what results might be expected with a different sample? In addition you might analyze the methodology used. Are there any disadvantages to the method used and did the authors address them?Was the study conducted in a lab or in the field (a real world setting) and might this influence the results? Other subjects that you could analyze include demand characteristics, experimenter bias, reactivity, social desirability, validity, reliability, confounding variables. Be sure to be specific and detailed with your analysis. This part of the paragraph(s) will vary in length from approximately 2 to 5 sentences on average.
Transition – transition to the next study to be reviewed. For example, if this study used a quantitative method and the next study uses qualitative you might end the paragraph saying, “While the results of this large study are promising additional insight would be gained from qualitative data on the subject.”



Literature review references must meet the following requirements:

Each source MUST be published in the year 2010 or later.
Sources MAY NOT be dissertations or Theses.
Sources must be from a peer reviewed journal.
Sources must be empirical studies (not review articles or response papers). If you are not sure if it is a study, ask.

Any reference that does not meet the requirements above will not be counted as a required source.

Conclusion of literature review and Rationale: This section will include a paragraph summarizing the findings from previous research and what they might mean for your proposed study. Remember the literature review will only include information from Methods and Results sections of the empirical studies you collected and read. Information found in the introduction and discussion do NOT belong in your literature review.


The rationale will also include a paragraph that will identify the study’s research question and hypothesis. You will need to connect the research hypothesis to the prior research and the current study design. Explain why the hypothesis is being examined by this study. Be sure to address each of the following in your rationale paragraph:

A summary of previous research and what it means to your study
The research question under investigation
The specific hypothesis (include a sub-hypothesis). Remember a hypothesis is an educated guess declared in formal academic language
Identify the independent variable(s). Specify the levels or groups of IV. Provide the specific operational definition.
Identify the dependent variable. Provide the specific operational definition.


Methods – Since the study has not yet been conducted the method section should be written in the future tense for the proposal.

How many participants
Demographics of participants – age/grade, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, etc.
Any special considerations (e.g., second language learners, children of migrants, single-parent homes, etc.)
How participants will be recruited
IRB approval and participant consent/assent
Attach copy of consent form
Be sure to include course vocabulary where appropriate. For example: attrition, cluster sampling, cohort,
Participants: This section will include one to two paragraphs and will address the following:


Materials and Measures: This section will include a paragraph describing any materials needed to conduct the study and measure (dependent variable) that you plan to use. Provide a citation and evidence of reliability and validity for pre-existing measures. Explain what the measure actually measures. In other words, how does it define the variable you are interested in studying? What concepts/behaviors/issues does it study specifically? Why is this measure (dependent variable) preferable for this study and what will it add to our understanding of the research question? In other words, why is this variable one worth considering? You will want to include lots of the new vocabulary you’ve learned in the class such as: ceiling effect,


Design: This section will include approximately two paragraphs detailing the type of research design that will be utilized. You must reach back into the course content. Review the textbook and lecture notes. This section will be your opportunity to use all of the new vocabulary you’ve learned in this class and may include some of the following terms (for example): ANOVA, archival research, baseline, between-subjects or independent groups design, within-subjects or dependent groups design, case study, coding system,


Procedure: and second how the dependent variable data will be collected. Describe step by step what will happen. This is where you will be able to demonstrate your understanding of research methods as you incorporate language from this class to describe the type of study and how it will be conducted. Specifically, I would like you to detail exactly what type of study you plan to conduct and incorporate vocabulary from the text. Be sure to describe the debriefing process you plan to use following the completion of the study. Include relevant vocabulary where appropriate. For example: carry-over effect,


Reference Page: Strictly adhere to APA format to construct a Reference Page for the proposal. Be sure to include all sources that have been cited.

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