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Research Proposal on Psychological Research Methods Course

Overview of the Course

The field of psychology is built upon rigorous research. Theories are constantly proposed, tested, supported, and invalidated through research studies that are communicated to the field via peer-reviewed research papers. As such, individuals in the field of psychology must be both informed consumers and educated producers of psychological research.

This course is the first in the sequence of two research methods courses. In this first course, you will create a research proposal centered on a testable research question. In the second course, you will actually conduct research around your research question, guided by your proposal, and using your classmates as your research participants. Keep in mind when creating your research question and proposal that the topic must be one that is approachable and able to be answered by your colleagues. The project is divided into four milestones, which will be submitted at various points throughout the course to scaffold learning and ensure quality final submissions. These milestones will be submitted in Modules Two, Four, Six, and Eight. The final product will be submitted in Module Ten. 

This assessment addresses the following course outcomes: 

1.Evaluate research designs in published studies for their appropriateness in addressing psychological research questions

2.Synthesize peer-reviewed research in psychology for supporting testable research proposals

3.Propose data collection strategies for developing methodologically sound research proposals

4.Select appropriate data analysis methods for informing valid and reliable research results

5.Apply the American Psychological Association’s principles and standards for creating professional, ethically sound research proposals

For this assessment, you will create a research proposal centered on a testable research question and hypothesis, substantiated with peer-reviewed research. In the following course, Research Methods II, you will actually conduct research around your research question, guided by your proposal. You are required to use your Southern New Hampshire University classmates as your research participants, so keep in mind when creating your research question and proposal that the topic must be one that is approachable and able to be answered by your colleagues. 

Specifically, the following critical elements must be addressed: 

I. Problem Statement: Describe the general topic you will address and its importance and relevance to real-world issues. 

II. Literature Review: In this section, you will use existing research on your subject and draw conclusions for informing your research proposal

a) Summarize existing, applicable research in the field around your topic, utilizing peer-reviewed sources.

b) Identify the different research designs that have been used to generate knowledge on this topic, and describe how they differ.

Assessment Objectives

c) Differentiate between the research designs for their advantages and disadvantages in addressing the research questions, providing specific examples from the research.

d) Evaluate the appropriateness of the research designs to the research questions, providing justification for your assertions. Which design seems most appropriate in addressing the question and why?

e) Summarize what is unknown or uncertain about your topic, synthesizing the applicable existing research on the topic.

f) Discuss the appropriateness of the data analysis procedures used in the literature as they relate to the American Psychological Association’s principles and standards. Consider the assumptions made and presentation of data.  

III. Research Question and Hypothesis

a) Based on your research about the topic, create a testable research question.

b) Create a testable hypothesis based on your research question and research about the topic, explaining the extent to which the research supports your hypothesis.

c) Describe the variables that will be measured and/or manipulated in your study, and explain the selection of variables. Specifically, what independent and dependent variables will be used to test your hypothesis? 

IV. Proposed Methodology

a) Outline who you plan to use as participants and how many participants you will need, providing justification.

b) Describe the materials (surveys, etc.) that will be used in your study and why these materials are most appropriate for your proposal, justifying claims with resources.

c) Describe the procedures you will use to collect your data and how these will appropriately address your research question.

d) Discuss the ethical concerns involved in your study and the steps you will take to remedy them. Consider who will be studied, what risks they will be exposed to, and what steps will be taken to maintain the confidentiality of their responses and to obtain informed consent. 

V. Data Analysis Plan

a) Explain what procedures you will use to prepare your raw data for analysis. If you have open-ended questions, how will they be coded? If you collected responses to multiple survey questions, how will the data be aggregated for analysis?

b) Propose general analytical procedures that you will use to analyze your data, and explain how these procedures will help obtain valid and reliable research results.

c) Describe which descriptive statistics that could be obtained from your data would be most informative in answering your research question and why.

d) Discuss how your proposed data analysis methods are ethical and aligned to the American Psychological Association’s principles and standards. 

VI. Anticipated Results: What do you expect the results of your study to be, and how do your expected results complement or contradict the results in previous literature? 

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