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This week you are going to put together all the skills and knowledge from this semester to write a proposed Method section. You’re going to present a hypothesis and method, and tell me what statistical analysis you would use to evaluate your hypothesis. You or in PSY 401. But please note there’s no guarantee that a PSY 401 instructor will allow you to use your proposal for their class.
Your proposed study should represent psychological research. In at most a few sentences, propose a hypothesis about a relationship between two variables. The variables should be clearly identified and operationalized. Remember the properties of a good hypothesis from earlier in the semester as well. Hint: It’s ok to use a hypothesis you developed in a previous lab. But I strongly discourage using a hypothesis using a factorial design. Keep things simple. 3pts
Your Method section should be 1-2 pages in length. (If you go more than two pages, you’re doing too much!) You should follow all the rules for APA style in terms of font, spacing, citation, etc. The Method section should include subheadings for Participants, Materials, and Procedure, in that order. If you are proposing a study that relies primarily on surveys, most of your Method section should be a Materials subsection. Alternatively, you can combine the latter two into a Materials and Procedure subheading, if you are proposing a survey design. This is increasingly common.
Remember that the goal of the Method section is to provide enough detail that someone can read your it and fully evaluate as well as replicate your study. It is therefore better to have too much detail rather than too little. See examples I have posted, as well as other posted articles from earlier weeks, to get an idea of the structure. Regarding the individual sections and associated points:
Participants: Include how many participants you expect to recruit, and how you would recruit them. Report what your sample might be expected to look like demographically, including at minimum age, gender, and ethnicity. Make educated guesses based on who you are recruiting and how. Discuss whether participants will be compensated for their participation as well. 3pts
Materials or Apparatus: Specific details about what instruments/inventories/measures you plan to use. Essentially, describe everything you will expose your participants to. If you propose to use a published measure (e.g. a personality measure), or a methodology based on another paper you MUST CITE the paper you got the method or idea for the method from! Make sure to discuss evidence for reliability and validity of any measures or equipment you propose to use. You should provide example one or more example questions if you propose developing your own survey, as well as the response scale. But you need not develop or provide your full survey. 5pts
You may combine Materials and Procedure subheadings into a single Materials and Procedures subheading if you wish. This is common in survey research.
Procedure: This should essentially be a step-by-step breakdown of all the steps of the study, from recruitment to the experiment itself to data storage and ethical considerations. Again, provide enough detail for replication. Details about questions should go in Materials. Make sure to mention informed consent, debriefing, and how you would protect participant data and maintain their anonymity. 5pts
Based on your design, explain what statistical test you would use to evaluate your hypothesis. Remember that this will depend on your design, including the types of variables and how they are operationalized. Section 15.4 will be helpful for this. 4pts
APA Style and Grammar/Writing
This includes whether you followed the rules of APA style. I don’t expect everyone to be award-winning writers, but you should strive to be clear and easy to understand. 5pts