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PSYC 365 Research Project

Research Project Instructions

The Research Project consists of two parts: 1) a 5-page research paper, and 2) a 5-page research experiment.  Both parts of this Project will address a single topic, share an abstract and a reference page, and will be submitted together in a single document.  The research paper will focus on synthesizing various scholarly sources to support a thesis statement and will conclude by posing an original research question for further study.  The research experiment follows directly from the conclusion of the research paper by explaining a plan for answering the proposed research question.  The experiment may be hypothetically explained based on educated predictions, or it may be literally conducted and recorded.  If you want to literally conduct the experiment, then you will need to plan in advance.

See the Sample APA Paper for an annotated example of this Project.

Research Paper

The research paper should be at least 5 pages long and should incorporate information from the textbook, the Bible, and at least five scholarly sources.  By the time you begin writing your paper, your topic should be well defined and the information from your research sources should be clearly integrated into your outline.  The paper serves the following three purposes for this course:  1) to increase your knowledge in a specific area, 2) to make you more proficient in forming and expressing knowledge, and 3) to help raise your grade in the course by providing an alternative to the tests.  Since this course covers a large amount of content, it is impossible to become expert in every area, but by focusing your research and writing in the area of your greatest interest, you can gain some level of expertise and sophistication.

A good 5-page paper will probably have about 5 sections: an introduction, 3–4 main points, and a conclusion.  The paper should summarize and synthesize what you found while researching other authors’ writings and studies; thus, your paper should not contain any direct quotes, but should properly and eloquently paraphrase your sources.  Cite the source for every idea stated in the paper, using this format: (Brown, Smith, & Young, 2000).  Use a new citation only when the source changes; do not repeat a citation until the source is cited again after a change of source.

Begin the paper by introducing the learning problem and presenting some background information.  Then, discuss about 3–4 main points about your topic/problem and what the latest research is saying about it.  At least one of the main point sections should include an application of one of the theories presented in this course and a discussion of how it relates to, explains, and/or helps to solve your chosen learning problem.  The final paragraph of your paper should point to your original research experiment by exposing a lack of research in a specific area and posing a research question that you would like to solve through your original research experiment.  You can either state formal hypotheses or informal intentions for research.

Research Experiment

The original research experiment should be a 5-page report, describing and explaining a test or survey that could lead to original research for your chosen topic.  The original research articles that you use for the research paper are examples of research experiments.  Every published research article was originally someone’s idea for gaining more information, and it was gradually refined to its published form.  You will with an idea for a paper, and then conduct some original research to further investigate your topic. 

You do not literally have to conduct your experiment—it can be hypothetical or literal.  If you only propose a hypothetical the research experiment, then you can make it as large and scientific as you like.  For example, you may propose collecting data from hundreds of people in several states and countries to avoid levels of bias.  If you plan to literally collect data from real people, consider the time and expense involved in contacting the people.  The easiest way to perform data collection for an 8-week class is to use a survey format.  Give a survey to people around you or email surveys to friends, family members, classmates, and acquaintances.  If you choose to conduct the actual research for this project, use the Sample Permission for Research form.

Since you are not required to literally conduct the experiment, you are only responsible for your description of the experiment, not the results.  In other words, you must create a design for the experiment (in your Methods section), record the results––whether from your completion of the test, or based on your best hypothetical projections from your research––(in the Results section), and then discuss what you found and where more research could be done (in your Discussion section).

Carefully plan the people (Subjects) you will test, the instruments (Materials: e.g., survey, scores, game, test) you will use with the subjects, and the time, place, and steps involved in the Procedure.  Describe these aspects of the Method in minute detail; this will likely use the minimum page requirement and it will give more complete information for the Discussion.  The Results should only state the numbers, scores, or other responses without comment or explanation.  The Discussion should explain the Results by means of the research sources cited in the research paper and in the References.  These sources will give credibility to your explanation of why the Results exist, based on the Subjects who were chosen, the Materials that were used, and the Procedure that was followed.  The Results would change if parts of the Method were changed.  That is why you are more responsible for choosing and reporting the Method, and less responsible for the outcomes of the Results.  The goal of this assignment is to make you more analytical in your own thinking and in the acceptance of the articles and information published by others.

Even though there will be some bias, you may still compose your own survey.  It will not be valid or reliable, and you must state that bias in the Discussion.  Your survey items must be based on information in your research sources; you must cite the source of the information in those items in the Materials section of the Method.  The instrument should have 10–15 items, usually in a forced-choice or Likert scale format; there should be responses from 15–20 subjects.  There may be additional items of demographic, or background, information which may become the independent variables.

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