This task requires that you:
Study topic: Are children who play video games excessively more impulsive than those who do not?
Make decisions about the data, sampling, measures, data collection, and data analyses you plan to pretend to use for your purely hypothetical research proposal
Flex your methodological muscles by demonstrating your understanding of conceptualization, operationalization, sampling, etc.
Work out the kinks in your writing BEFORE it becomes part of your final draft
- Decide what type of methodology you want to use to answer your research question.
If this were a real research project, your choice(s) of methodology would likely be constrained by the resources you have available (as it turns out, conducting research is often prohibitively expensive and time-consuming). In this case, however, feel free to pretend that money is not an issue and that you have all the time in the world. In other words, go nuts!
- Write a rough draft of the “Methods” section of your final paper.
At this point in the semester, you have at least pretended to read a number of published research articles; pay attention to the “Methods” sections in each of those articles and use them as a model when writing your own. What kind of language do the authors use? You’ve probably noticed that the “Methods” sections look pretty similar across the articles, even if the methodology is different. Writers use concise, yet detailed and formal language to describe exactly the data and methods they used to answer their research question. In other words, it’s supposed to be painfully dry. The idea is to provide all the information about what you did (or plan to do) so another researcher could replicate your study. When writing your draft, use the standard subheadings of a published Method section, which typically include:
Data – what type of data will best allow you to answer your research question? Would a quantitative (i.e., number-oriented) approach work, or would a qualitative (i.e., interview-centric) approach be more appropriate for your research question? Why?
Sample – think specifically about who (or what) you would interview/observe, and explain why this sample is most suitable for answering your research question. Would data from this sample be generalizable to an entire population? Why or why not? This section will include technical details like exactly how many persons you would include, how you would find/recruit them, how you would obtain informed consent, and what type of sampling methodology you use (probability or non-probability based method).
Measures – What are the main concepts you are measuring in this study? Usually, this will be the primarily variables in a research question (independent and dependent), but not all projects have a specific independent and dependent variable. In that case, you will have just a list of “variables” that represent the concepts that you want to describe. For each variable, you should include conceptualization (i.e., statement or definition of what you mean by a variable name) and operationalization (i.e., how exactly you will measure or identify the presence or absence of that particular concept in your data).
Analytic Plan – How will you analyze your data once collected? Note: because this is not a statistics class, you’re welcome to make this section as vague as you see fit.
- Submit your draft (in MS Word or PDF).