1) An Introduction (i.e., literature review): This section provides the background literature and rationale for your proposed study. It should include summaries of studies related to your topic (i.e., that support the rationale for investigating your topic) with proper APA-style citations. This section should be about 4-6 pages.
2) Statement of Purpose and Hypotheses: At the end of your Introduction section, you should include a final paragraph that includes a statement describing the design and purpose of your proposed study, as well as your hypotheses (i.e., what you expect to find). For example, you might state something like: “Past research has shown … but the reasons for … remain unclear. Therefore, the purpose of the current proposal is to examine … in a (experimental or observational or survey or quasi-experimental or longitudinal, etc.) study”. You will end this section by making specific predictions: “I hypothesize that …”
3) Proposed Methods: This section of the proposal includes 3 subsections: Participants, Measures, and Procedures. The Participants section includes information about how participants will be recruited; eligibility criteria (inclusion/exclusion criteria); # of participants expected to participate; # of males/females, age range, etc; incentives for participation. The Measures section includes information about questionnaires participants would complete or equipment that they would use in the course of the study. Questionnaires should include a reference and a description of the important elements (e.g., reference to their utility/validity/reliability for the intended purpose, # of items, how it is administered; etc). If assessments involve an interview, these questions would be described here. The Procedure section includes a description of how the study would be conducted. This includes instructions to participants, how independent variables (IVs) will be manipulated, how dependent variables (DVs) will be measured, randomization procedures, descriptions of treatment, how often participants will be assessed, debriefing procedures, etc. This section should be about 4-6 pages.
4) Proposed Results: You are not collecting data for this assignment, so you have no results to report. However, in a proposed analysis section, you restate your hypotheses and explain the analyses you would use to test your hypotheses. You want to be specific about the type of analysis and which variables would be involved for each hypothesis. For example, you might say something like: “To test the hypothesis that … an Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA) was conducted with xxx as the independent variable (levels: xxx), xxx as the dependent variable, and xxx included as covariates.” This section will be rather brief, probably >1 page.
5) Potential Limitations: Although you should try your best to design the best possible study, remember that no study is perfect, and every choice we make as researchers can limit our internal or external validity. At the end of your paper, you should include some of the possible limitations of your research design. Based on your choice of design, what might be some shortcomings or possible confounds?
6) References: References must be primary, scholarly sources (largely empirical papers/journal articles) from the past 10-15 years. Plan to include at least 5-10 references. Please follow APA style for referencing.
Sibrava PSY 3001
Some important notes:
1) Be sure to check out the guides on Blackboard for writing a good Introduction and Methods section. These guides will give you lots of important guidance, and if you follow them step-by-step, you will have a great proposal in no time!
2) Please follow APA style in terms of structure of the paper as well as referencing. Your textbook has good examples of APA style, and I have put some guides on Blackboard. Other resources for this include the websites I posted on Blackboard and the APA manual, which is on reserve in the library.
3) The articles you read as part of your literature review will provide additional guidance in terms of what to include in the different sections of the proposal and how the sections of your proposal should be structured.
4) Research proposals must be typed in 12-point font, double-spaced, with 1-inch margins. In terms of the page limit, most papers should be at least 10 pages in lenght (10 pages of text, not including references), but may be longer in order to accomplish all of the goals of the proposal outlined above.