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Click here for a U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health article on How

to Write a Research Proposal at 

This will serve as a good general overview.  Your proposal will need to comply with the

instructions below. 

By the end of Week 4 of the course term, a draft of a research study proposal is due. You will not be

conducting this research, just proposing it as a hypothetical study. The study will focus on a real world

socio-cultural issue.  You may use an existing published study from an academic journal article as a

prototype example for developing your proposal, but the study method and focus of research you

propose must be your own original research idea. The paper will consist of an Introduction, a

Literature Review, an Hypothesis, a Method section, and a References page.  The paper must be a

minimum of 14 pages (excluding Title, Abstract, and References pages).


Your research study proposal draft will include:



Topic overview

Research questions

Significance of this question to the field of study (e.g., how is it relevant to social psychology in




At least 4 brief summaries of other similar studies.  The Literature Review section must

not be merely one summary after another with no meaningful connections

between them, but rather should include, following a description of and

careful review and critique of the summaries, descriptions of how they are

related to one another.  This is done via transition statements between

descriptions of the various summaries such that the paper interweaves all

the articles into a coherent and well-articulated review of scholarly

publications related to the paper topic focus.

What is a Literature Review? 

 A brief review of the literature means that you will report (search some key words in the on-line

library in Psych Abstract or some such area) on studies that are similar to the one you propose. This

might include an old classic study that launched the field of study in your topic but should include

some background studies and at least one rather recent study into the same area as yours. For this

assignment, 4 or 5 quick reviews would suffice. The reviews are typically no more than a paragraph

explaining in simple terms, who did the research (with the APA style “year” of the study in

parentheses), what they were hoping to explore, and what the results of their study were.









What is an Hypothesis?

At the conclusion of your review of the literature you will summarize your research idea and then state

your hypothesis. A good proposal hypothesis should directly state, without reservations, the

expectations of the study. For example, “Hypothesis: The experimental group will significantly improve

their scores on the _____measure after viewing the role play of bullying behavior.” Or another

example: “Hypothesis: Subjects will show decreased empathy on a survey of compassion and

empathy for the learners that used the weakest excuses.”   Or, “Hypothesis: There will be a significant

difference between the groups with the experimental group having higher scores than the control


A METHOD Section

The Method section includes a detailed description of measuring devices to be used for data collection

(Examples: Surveys, questionnaires, individual interviews, case studies, naturalistic or controlled

observation), of the study participants, or "subjects" and of the procedures, or how measures will be

taken.  You should include three sub-sections titled Subjects, Measures, and Procedures.  Also include

a brief statement regarding how you intend to analyze the data you collect (e.g., regarding statistical

analysis of data).

Related Questions in science category

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