Here is your chance to try your hand at building a research proposal.
In this exercise, you will employ the steps of the scientific method to create a proposal. YOU WILL NOT ACTUALLY CONDUCT THIS RESEARCH. Instead, you will tell me how you would do it, listing the steps of the method and filling in your information as follows. I PROVIDED EXAMPLES, LOOK!! This should take up about 1/2 a page. Do not stress about it–it’s not too difficult! If you complete it, you will earn 5/5 points.
1. Defining the problem
-What are you going to research? Phrase this in the form of a question to simplify measurement. Then operationalize your concepts–make them measurable by defining them.
-example: Does getting a good night’s sleep affect performance on exams in sociology? I can operationalize “good night’s sleep” as 8+ hours of uninterrupted sleep, and “exam performance” as the grade earned on an exam.
2. Literature review
-provide three terms that you would use in a search for information in a library database.
-example: sleep and concentration, sleep and academic performance, memory and test taking…
3. Formulating the hypothesis
-What do you think you would find if you performed this study, and why? What are the independent and dependent variables for your study? Are there spurious variables?
-example: I believe that having 8 hours of sleep before an exam will improve focus, concentration, and information retention. In my study, the independent variable is amount of sleep, because I think it affects the dependent variable (outcome), exam performance. Spurious variables that might affect my study could include student employment, illness, sleep disruption, etc.
4. Data collection and analysis
-How would you collect data on this problem? Which data collection method (survey, experiment, observation, or secondary analysis) is most appropriate and why? Who would you sample, and how? Are there ethical concerns?
-example: I would conduct an experiment using a random sample of Moreno Valley College students. I would split my group in half and send one half to the Mission Inn for a great night’s sleep. 😉 The other half would be awoken frequently while sleeping, Then I would compare the average results of both groups. There are no real ethical issues because this research will not damage the health or safety of the participants.
5. Developing the conclusion: all you have to say is, “my hypothesis was supported.” You’re all done!