The written research proposal will be created based on a narrowly defined aspect of the topic selected in Week One. A research proposal is a detailed plan for a specific study to be conducted at a future time. It is the document which potential researchers typically submit to an institutional review board (IRB) for ethical review and approval, and/or to funding agencies to secure financial support for a research effort. Because it is a plan for research which has not yet been conducted, the Methods section should be written in the future tense and should not contain any hypothetical results. The paper must address all of the components required in the Methods section of a research proposal. The following actions must be completed.
- State the research question and/or hypothesis.
- Briefly compare the characteristics of the major research paradigms used in previous studies on the chosen topic. Introduce the specific approach (qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods), research design, sampling strategy, data collection procedures, and data analysis techniques to be used in this study. Provide a short explanation as to why the selected procedures are more feasible than other alternatives for the research topic.
- Describe any relevant variables, measures, and statistical tests.
- Apply ethical principles and professional standards to the proposed psychological research. Provide an analysis of any ethical issues that may arise and explain how these issues will be resolved.
The following headings for the required sections and subsections must appear in the paper. In accordance with APA style, all references listed must be cited in the text of the paper.
- Introduce the research topic, explain why it is important, and present an appropriately and narrowly defined research question and/or hypothesis.
- Literature Review
- Evaluate the published research on the chosen topic including a minimum of three peer-reviewed articles. Summarize the current state of knowledge on the topic, making reference to the findings of previous research studies. Briefly mention the research methods that have previously been used to study the topic. State whether the proposed study is a replication of a previous study or a new approach employing methods that have not been used before. Be sure to properly cite all sources in APA style.
- Design – Create a feasible research design that incorporates appropriate methods to address the topic. Indicate whether the approach of the proposed study is qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods. Identify the specific research design, and indicate whether it is experimental or non-experimental. Evaluate the chosen design and explain why this design is feasible and appropriate for the topic and how it will provide the information needed to answer the research question. Cite sources on research methodology to support these choices. Include a minimum of two peer-reviewed sources.
- Participants – Identify and describe the sampling strategy to be used to recruit participants for the study. Estimate the number of participants needed, and explain why this sampling method is appropriate for the research design and approach.
- Procedure/Measures – Apply the scientific method by describing the steps to be taken in carrying out the study. Identify any test, questionnaire, or measurement instrument to be utilized. If an existing published instrument will be employed, briefly describe it and cite the source. If an original questionnaire, survey, or test will be created for the project, describe the types of information that will be collected with it and explain how the validity and reliability of the instrument will be established. If such an instrument will not be used, describe how the data will be collected for the study.
- Data Analysis – Describe the statistical techniques (if quantitative) or the analysis procedure (if qualitative) to be used to analyze the data. Cite at least one peer-reviewed source on the chosen analysis technique.
- Ethical Issues – Analyze the impact of ethical concerns on the proposed study, such as confidentiality, deception, informed consent, potential harm to participants, conflict of interest, IRB approval, etc. After analyzing the ethical issues that apply to the project, indicate what will be done to handle these concerns.
- Briefly summarize the major points of the paper and reiterate why the proposed study is needed.