1. Identify a topic of human behavior, emotion, or cognition that interests you; we encourage you to choose a topic that is related to your concurrent 400 level psychology course (if you are taking one), but it is not required.
2. Turn your topic of interest into a research question. Be sure your question can be answered by conducting an empirical study and that it is not too broad or too narrow.
3. Design a potential study that could help answer your research question. Your study’s design must include EITHER (1) a correlation of two variables OR (2) a two-group experimental comparison.
4. Once you have your question, write a formal research study proposal that will help answer your question
5. Your final research study proposal should include the following APA sections: a. Introduction b. Method c. Results d. Discussion e. References f. Figures
* Introduction (~2 – 2.5 pages):
* Put your title, centered, in bold, to start your paper (i.e., do not use the term Introduction for a header).
* Articulate your research question and explain why it is important to the advancement of science and/or to real-world applications.
* Review 4 – 5 research studies that support your research question. For each study you review, do the following:
* Briefly summarize the participants (just the gist, e.g., “British college students, “first-generation U.S. immigrants”)
* Briefly summarize the methods (e.g., “researchers conducted a survey looking at perceived feelings of belonging and GPA,” “researchers conducted an experiment in which participants were exposed to either discriminatory or supportive messages about immigrants, and then their cortisol levels were measured”)
* Briefly summarize the results (e.g., “results showed that feelings of belonging and GPA were positively correlated,” “the study found that participants in the discriminatory condition had elevated cortisol levels compared the supportive condition, indicating greater stress”)
* Briefly explain how the results relate to your research question (e.g., “these results support the idea that feeling connected to your college campus is related to higher academic performance,” “the study findings indicate that discrimination does in fact contribute to physiological stress and illness”)
* At the conclusion of the Introduction, present your study briefly with ONE clear hypothesis statement that is (1) supported by the literature review you provided and (2) is testable with a correlational OR experimental research design.
* Method (~1.5 – 2 pages):
* Include the following three subsections in your Method:
* Participants subsection must describe who the participants will be, including:
1. demographics (e.g., percentages of gender, race, age, any other relevant demographic(s) for your study such as SES, parenting status, etc.)
2. how many participants will be in the study
3. how/where you will recruit your participants
* Materials subsection must describe any materials used to conduct the study, including:
1. Survey measures: measures should come from existing sources whenever possible (e.g., from one or more of the research articles reviewed in the Introduction). For survey measures, provide an example item from the questionnaire. If you are using multiple items for one variable, explain how you will combine them to create a single measure for that variable (e.g., sum of two scores, mean of all items, etc.)
* For a correlation study: You must collect data on two continuous variables (e.g., participant’s GPA and number of hours studied).
* For an experiment study: You must collect data on one variable from participants who were randomly assigned to two different conditions (e.g., grades from low study group and high study group).
2. Any physical materials, such as electronics, paper surveys, items used in experimental procedure, etc.
* Procedure subsection must describe a study that is EITHER correlational OR experimental in nature
* Your study’s design must be described in enough detail that it can actually be conducted (or replicated).
* What is the setting of the study (e.g., if it occurs in a lab, what does the room look like?)?
* What is the study’s process of collecting data (e.g., participants are exposed to each experimental condition, then they take surveys)?
* Who and what is the experimenter doing (e.g., A middle aged, Latino, male, research assistant will distribute the surveys).
* Results (~.5 page):
* For this section, imagine you actually conducted your study and collected data that will support your hypotheses. You will NOT conduct statistical tests for this assignment. Instead, you need to communicate an understanding of what hypothetical statistical results would support your hypothesis.
* For a Correlation Proposal: State the appropriate statistical test. Provide your anticipated correlation coefficient. State the correct direction of the correlation and an appropriate size of the correlation that would support your hypothesis.
* For an Experiment Proposal: State the appropriate statistical test. Provide your anticipated mean differences for the experimental conditions that would support your hypothesis. State the expected p-value that would provide evidence your groups are significantly different.
* Construct a graph, called a Figure in APA style, to illustrate your anticipated (imagined) data. The Figure should be appropriate for your study’s design and the statistics used (i.e., either a Scatterplot Graph for correlations or a Bar Graph for experiments).
* For your Results section, please use the Excel templates below to create your figure/graph. Figure Template: To Be Used For Experiment Figure Template: To Be Used For Correlation
* Refer to your Figure in the main body of your results section (e.g., See Figure for a display of the anticipated results) when presenting your results.
* The Figure should occur at the end of your Results section. The Figure should NOT be on its own separate page. Rather, put the Figure in between the Results and Discussion without any additional breaks.
* Be sure to include an appropriate header (Figure 1, in bold), title (in italics below header), and axis titles (in your graph).
* Discussion (~1.5 – 2 pages):
* Summarize your anticipated results in ordinary language (i.e., do not use statistical language).
* Elaborate on the meaning or importance of your study. Provide at least one explanation (i.e., cause) for your anticipated findings, and then address the significance of your results. That is, what are the larger implications of your proposed study’s findings?
* Connect your anticipated findings with some of the earlier research that you presented in the Introduction. Cite at least 1 study again in your discussion.
* Identify some limitations or concerns about your study (e.g., weakness in how you measured constructs, generalizability of your findings)
* Suggest a future direction of a NEW study (not the same study with more participants). For example, if you proposed a correlational study, you could suggest an experiment to try to determine causality. If you proposed an experiment, you could propose a new study that draws from a different population or uses a different means of measurement (e.g., instead of a survey, measure neural activity, hormones, behaviors, etc.)
* The References occur on their own, separate page(s). For this section, include an alphabetized list of each source used in your paper. You need at least 4-5 sources. Adhere to APA formatting standards
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