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Paper 4: Study proposal
Note: There are NO EXCEPTIONS to this due date and no late papers will be accepted for any reason
For this assignment, you will propose a research study in social psychology. All of what we know about any area of psychology is due to empirical research studies that have examined the theories, principles, and effects you have read about for this class. You may focus on any of the topics we have covered (or will cover) in the class.
You will search for articles in the same manner as for paper 2:
There are several ways to search for articles:
1). Use PsycINFO via the UMass library. This is the best search engine, and you can select “Peer-Reviewed Journal” as a search option.
2). Use PsycARTICLES via the UMass library.
3). Use a Google search with your topic plus the term “scholarly articles.” This will generate a list of scholarly articles. You can then access these articles via the UMass library.
4). Use Pubmed via the UMass library. This will search for articles that are medically-relevant (e.g., if you are interested in attitudes about health-related concepts).
Papers should be 10 pages, double-spaced, normal margins, in Times New Roman (or similar) font.
All citations and references must follow APA format.
Research articles in psychology have several main components and your paper should follow the format below.
For each of these sections, I have provided a brief outline of an example. You may NOT use this example in your paper. It is only meant to help guide your thinking as you construct your proposal.
a) Clearly define your specific topic/concept/theory
b) Discuss at least 3 scholarly articles that present empirical research studies based on your topic. What do these articles demonstrate?
c) What questions are left unanswered by the available literature? What is the focus of your study and why?
d) What is your specific hypothesis?
For example: You are interested in the concept of social loafing. Next, you want to narrow it down to a specific aspect to study. So, you might find research articles investigalpting social loafing in the workplace. These studies show that social loafing in the workplace occurs in groups with more than four people. You’ll discuss these studies and the reasons the authors think social loafing occurs in such circumstances.
Next, you’ll point out that it might be interesting to see if the effects shown in these studies (social loafing in groups bigger than four) apply to students in school. That is, do students demonstrate social loafing when placed in groups with more than four individuals in a school setting? Based on previous studies, you will hypothesize that students in groups of more than four people in a classroom at school will exhibit social loafing as measured by the amount of work each person completed.
a) What population(s) will you use for your study? Adults? Children? Older individuals? Males and females to examine an effect of sex/gender?
b) Why have you selected this population? (e.g., based on previous studies? Because you want to see what happens with a different population from a previous study?)
c) What is your study method and design? (e.g., experimental, correlational, or observational design?)
c) What are your independent and dependent variables? Remember that you only manipulate IVs in experiments. Dependent variables are what you measure to see the effects of your study.
(Note: You are certainly welcome to comment on statistical analyses, but doing so is not required and will not factor into your grade)
Following the example: Your study participants will be children in grades 5-8 at an elementary school. You’ll discuss why you have chosen this population. You’ll then discuss the specific study design; in this case, you will conduct an experiment. You will manipulate the number of students per group (your IV) and will have groups of 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 students, and will measure how many math problems each student completes (your DV) in 30-minutes.
a) What do you hypothesize that your study will show? In other words, what are the expected results?
b) What are some other possible likely outcomes of your study?
For example: You have hypothesized that social loafing will occur in school children as a function of group size. That is, you expect that as group size increases, individuals will be more likely to engage in social loafing. There were fewer math problems completed in groups of 6, compared to groups of 2.
You should next discuss possible alternatives. Perhaps social loafing peaks once groups are more than 4 people, but does not continue to increase in larger groups. Or, perhaps in children, social loafing occurs whenever they are in a group, regardless of the size. Discuss whether possible alterative effects are likely or not, based on the available research.
a) Are your expected results likely to confirm your hypothesis?
b) What do your results mean in the context of the available research? In other words, does the available research support your expected results?
c) What are the real-world effects of your study?
d) What are some unanswered questions of your study?
e) What are some future directions for research based on your study?
For example: Your study participants demonstrated social loafing in groups greater than 4 members, which is consistent with previous research. Briefly discuss your reasoning for this effect. Knowing how children work in groups is key in terms of the development and implementation of school curriculums and classroom set-up. Also, children who have difficulty with attention may have particular issues with social loafing when in groups. There are several important questions this study could not address, such as how children who are younger and older than your study population work in groups. As such, future research should address how these groups engage in social loafing as a function of group size.
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