Final Research Proposal Paper, SOP 4230
For the final proposal paper, you will create a study that you would like to conduct based on
what you have learned thus far in the course. You will need to choose a theoretical framework
to work with, generate hypotheses, a study design, and the expected results. Your paper will
need to have the same components as a full, APA style paper minus the discussion section, and
with the additional of Appendix. Below is a description of each of each component of the paper
and what it should contain.
Important notes about the research proposal paper:
Use of quotes:
When writing your lab report paper, you should not need to include
quotations from any of the theory papers I give to your groups in a class, nor any others.
When referencing a paper in APA style, one should describe what they want to say
based on the paper in their own words with an APA style citation. If you have not
written in APA style before, you can refer to the APA style sample paper posted on
Canvas and use the APA style library resources referenced in the syllabus. Excessive use
of quotations is a common mistake in APA style papers among undergraduates and can
sometimes constitute plagiarism.
This is a college level course and college level writing is expected.
Sentences and paragraphs should follow a readable and correct grammatical structure.
The paper should be free of typos and misspellings. A component of your lab report
paper grade will be devoted to writing quality. Components of the paper suffer from
unclear, grammatically incorrect writing and/or typos may be docked points in addition
to the portion of the paper grade devoted to writing quality.
Use of headings and subheadings:
Each component of an APA style papers has
headings. The headings for each section are “Abstract” the title of your paper (this is the
heading for the introduction section), “Method”, “Results”, “Discussion”, and
“References”. These are centered and bolded. The title page and abstracts are on
separate pages. The introduction through the discussion section are one continuous
document. References and figures are on separate pages. The paper is in 12-point Times
New Roman font and is double spaced with one-inch margins. I highly recommend that
you use subheadings within each major section of your paper for organization and
Theory development/hypothesis generation:
You will need to generate specific
hypotheses for your paper using one or more theories you have learned about in class.
A good way to do this is to think about a social phenomenon that interests you (feel free
to focus on current events) and think about what theories might explain it. Identify the
specific variables (independent and dependent variables) you think are at play in the
phenomenon based on the theory. You can then generate specific hypotheses about
how your independent variable(s) and dependent variable(s) are related and devise a
methodology to test your hypotheses. If you choose to use only one theory, you will
need to use that theory to generate your hypotheses. If you choose to integrate/make
predictions based on two theories you can provide a description of how the theories in
combination lead to your hypotheses. You may select from any of the theories we have
discussed in class, as well as other theories from social and personality psychology.
Below is a list of some of the theories/phenomena that we have covered, and a website
with a list of prominent theories in social psychology.
Correspondent inference theory
Two factor theory of emotion/misattribution of arousal
Milgram’s Agency Theory
Social Facilitation Theory
Evolutionary Theories in Psychology
The Stereotype Content Model
Models of stereotype threat
Cognitive Dissonance Theory
Moral Foundations Theory
The Self-concept broadly
The Dyadic Model of Morality
The Big Five Personality Inventory
Theories on mind perception
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For your method, you should create a realistic set of procedures (procedures
that could actually be implemented) to test your hypotheses. Your method can be
experimental or correlational. Depending on your hypotheses, you may hypothesize
that two or more group averages will differ from one another, that two or more
variables will be correlated with one another, or that the effect of one variable on the
dependent variable depends on the value of the other independent variable.
There are a wide variety of ways you could choose to measure and/or manipulate your
predictor(independent) variable(s). You will need to create an appendix with all the
materials for your proposed study. If you decide to propose an experiment in which
participants are placed randomly into any number of conditions, you will need to create
the specific experimental manipulations that you propose to use and include them in
the appendix. Any survey measures or scale items used to measure predictor variables
and/or dependent variables will also need to be included in the appendix.
For your expected results section, you will need to specify which
statistical test you propose is appropriate to test your hypotheses. Some basic
guidelines are below:
For differences between two groups – between or within subjects t-test,
depending on the study design.
For differences between three or more groups – One-way ANOVA, between or
within subjects depending on the study design.
If you propose an interaction in which the effect of one IV on the DV depends on
the value (level) of the other IV – Two-way ANOVA, between, within, or mixed
depending on the design.
If you propose that two or more continuous variables will correlate with one
another – Pearson correlation or multiple regression, depending on the design.
The title page should contain the following elements:
The paper is titled
The title should be centered on the page
The author and institution should be under the title
The running head is at the top of the page and all subsequent pages
Each page is numbered in the upper right-hand corner on the same line as the running
The goal of your abstract is to provide a 120-word summary of your study so that readers know
what your study is about and what you did. It should contain the following elements:
A very quick statement capturing the essence of the theory you are using.
A statement of your hypotheses based on the theory.
A very brief synopsis of how you plan to test your hypothesis.
A brief, and very specific description of the expected results.
The goal of a paper introduction is to describe the purpose of your research, describe the
theoretical perspective driving your hypotheses, conceptually describe your variables, both
independent and dependent, and lead into your specific hypotheses. The introduction should
contain the following elements. I suggest a paragraph for each one.
A broad introductory statement. This statement should be an example of a real-world
situation, or a general observation that may reflect the truth. This statement contains
elements of the variables to be examined in the study and gives a sense of how they
might relate in the real world. This should include a lead in sentence leading to the next
A condensed explanation of the theory the paper is based upon. This explanation should
give the reader a good idea of the theory and provide some context for the descriptions
of the independent and dependent variables. If you are using more than one theory to
generate your hypotheses, you should describe each theory in a condensed fashion and
add a paragraph about how they relate to one another. The reader should be able to tell
at this point what your independent variables will be.
Paragraph(s) giving a conceptual description (not how you specifically measured them in
your study) of the independent variable(s).
Paragraph(s) giving a conceptual description (not how you specifically measured them in
your study) of the dependent variable(s).
A paragraph describing specifically how you think your independent and dependent
variables should relate to one another.
A specific statement of your hypotheses. This should be very specific, for example: “We
expect that as the quality of schools in an area, defined by the average GPA of students,
increases, that the housing values in area will also increase”. Or in the case of an
interaction – “We expect that as the quality of schools in an area, defined by the
average GPA of students, increases, that the housing values in area will also increase,
but only in urban areas.
The goal of the method section is to describe what you will do in your study very specifically.
The goal here is for the reader to have enough information that they could run your study with
the information provided. The method section should contain the following elements. Break
these up into separate paragraphs.
A description of the proposed participants in APA style. See the APA style example
paper for an example of a participants statement. You do not need to include your
average age or a gender breakdown of your group.
A concise overview of the entire procedure, including a description of your independent
variable(s) and dependent variable(s), and the order in which the materials will be
presented. This should be under a subheading called “Materials and Procedure”
A specific description of all independent and dependent variables. These should be
under subheadings called “Independent Variable(s)” and “Dependent Variables”. If you
have designed an experiment, you need to describe the independent variable(s) and the
study conditions, as well as how participants will be assigned to conditions. For survey
items, these should include a description of each measure, the specific items to be used,
and a description of how each item will be measured. When scale ratings are used, a
statement about the scale endpoints needs to be made (e.g. “all items were rated on a 1
(not at all) to 7 (very much) scale. Refer to your appendix (e.g. Appendix A) during your
description of the study design to give readers a roadmap of your study.
The goal of your anticipated results section is to report the expected findings of your study and
to interpret them. After reading this section, a reader should know what statistical results you
plan to see and what they will demonstrate. This section should contain the following elements.
Each analysis can be described in a separate paragraph.
A description of each analysis you will conduct.
Each analysis needs to contain a succinct verbal description of the test that will
be conducted as well as a succinct description of the expected results.
Each specific test you plan to use should be described in a different paragraph
and should contain the elements in the bullet point above.
Each description of a proposed statistical test should reference either figure at
the end of your paper demonstrating the proposed results in the case of t and
ANOVA tests, or a description of the direction of expected correlational results.
You should include an APA style reference section in your paper.
At the very end of the paper you need to include your figures with the appropriate
The very last page of your paper should be an appendix containing all the materials you
have created for your study including experimental manipulations and survey questions.
These materials should be clearly labeled and referenced in your paper so a reader can
understand exactly what you would do in your study. For examples of an appendix for
an experimental study see Example Appendix A on Canvas. For an example of an
appendix for a correlational study, see Example Appendix B on Canvas.
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