Report Issue

  PART 1- Submitting your manuscript –  Research procedures for submitting a manuscript for a specific journal. Discuss your findings with your team. 

PART2- OBEDIENCE AND ETHICS-  

The Culture of Shock See Article In Resources

Milgram’s and Zimbardo’s studies have gained a resurgence of interest. Can you think of recent events that might have caused this? I have attached an article from Scientific American. I apologize that it is upside down and you will have to print it to read it. 

Also, my most recent issue of Monitor on Psychology there is a short review on Milgram Redux. Researchers from Poland (we couldn’t get this approved in the US) replicated the study and found the same results – 90% of participants were willing to administer the highest shock level

Let me know what you think and how Milgram’s and Zimbardo’s studies might still find some applicability today.

RESOURCE for this assignment

For most people, the nightmare of the Holocaust was a gross pathology, a social sickness brought about by specific circumstances: the brutality of the Naziregime or certain traits in the German character. But in the 1960s, a young American psychologist,Stanley Milgram, had a different theory.

00:05:43
Rather than being pathological,supposing the concentration camps were just an example of normal behavior in extreme circumstances?
– What he was particularly interested in was,under what conditions will people follow instructions which will result in harm to somebody else, in suffering to somebody else?
And beyond that,he was interested in whether the responses to instructions to do harm,the pressure to obey are normal,whether normal people,any average person,would respond.
– To test these theories, Milgram devised a series of experiments, experiments that were to change the face of psychological research forever.
Imagine you’re one of Milgram’s volunteers.

 You’ve answered an a din the paper to take part in a psychological experiment.
You’re told it’s about testing whether giving mild punishments in the form of electrics hocks will improve the memory of the subject.
You find yourself playing the role of teacher,and you’re introduced to someone you’re told is the learner.
– The learner was then subjected to electric shocks every time they made a mistake in the learning process.
And because it appeared they weren’t very smart, the instructions required that you keep increasing the level of shock.
So each time the learner made a mistake,the shock level had to rise.
And potentially,it could go up to, apparently,450 volts.
– And the question was how far they would go up the scale, how far they would respond to the screams and the ultimately the silence of the person that was listening to– who was answering the questions.
– Every time they expressed some reluctance about carrying on,the experiment would say,”No, the instructions require that you continue.” So Milgram was interested to see how far people would go under those circumstances.
At what point would they say, “No, I’m not going to give any more electric shocks.
I’m not going to increase the voltage.” – So how far do you think you’d have gone if you’d have been a teacher Perhaps further than you think.

The results of these experiments surprised even Milgram and his research team.
– He asked a large number of students and psychiatrists before the research took place,how far did they think the participants would go?
And the average was about 120,150 volts.
And nobody was predicted to go beyond 300 volts.
In the event,everybody went beyond 300 volts.
And 2/3 of them, as we now know,went all the way.
And even when there was no answer from the person next door,still they went on.
And remarkably, a lot of people were prepared to continue shocking to the point where it appeared they’d killed the other person.
– What Milgram concluded that this revealed about obedience is that it’s not unnatural that practically anybody can be induced to obey authority and to do things which you might regard as inhumane, cruel, sadistic, and yet with not any sadistic intent but simply in order to abide by the instructions given to them by a legitimate authority.
And the conclusions seems to be, or at least the conclusion that many people took from this research is that people’s inclination to unconditional obedience is very high
– Milgram’s research threw new light on the Holocaust and the question of how ordinary German citizens could have been turned into mass murderers in such a short time.
It seemed that the phrase”only obeying orders” had rather more to it than most people believed at the time.
– To many of them, they were obeying orders.
The orders were clear
So if you wish to believe you were obeying orders, you can
And it was a very rigid hierarchy. And people who showed sympathy were exterminated too.
– To some, Milgram’s experiments were amongst the most important ever done in psychology. But others were very critical, arguing this research should never have been done,because it was completely unethical.

PART 3-  

The Malleability of Memory

View the video on Elizabeth Loftus and discuss memory. THIS VIDEO CAN BE FOUND ON YOUTUBE

PART 4–  Read the article The Perfect Poster and post your thoughts. The article is in the Resources . HERE IS THE ARTICLE: THE PERFECT POSTER

 Poster sessions offer a chance for many eyes to see your hard work — and some of those visitors may open doors to interesting research collaboration, postdoc or career opportunities. The trick is making your poster stand out among the hundreds of others.

“A good poster is not just tacking a standard research paper on poster board,” says Kathryn Tosney, PhD, a neurobiologist and chair of the biology department at the University of Miami who created a poster-making guide to help her own students. “An effective poster helps you engage colleagues in conversation and gets your main points across to as many people as possible.”

Here are a few hints to draw a crowd:

PART5-ETHICAL STANDARD SUMMARY-  

  1. Write a 500- to 750-word summary of the ethical issues that affect your selected research question and methodology, including the following:
    • Write a brief statement of the research question.
    • List the possible ethical issues, such as consideration of characteristics of your sample, type of data collection, potential for bias, and so forth.
    • Identify and cite the APA ethical standard concerning the issue.
    • Respond to each issue, specifying how you, the researcher, will minimize or eliminate it.
    • Format your summary consistent with APA guidelines.

PART6- RESEARCH PROPOSAL- 

Write a 1,400- to 1,750-word research proposal including the following:

Format your research proposal consistent with APA guidelines.

 RESOURCE FOR THIS ASSIGNMENT:  

Chapter 13 Writing a Research Proposal

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN ABOUT IN THIS CHAPTER:

If one of the requirements for this class is to write a research proposal, then you have come to the right place. This chapter will lead you through the process you need to take to write a research proposal. Even if you are not required to write a proposal for class, stick around anyway. What you learn here will be helpful in your research endeavors. You will learn what distinguishes acceptable proposals from unacceptable ones. You will also learn the importance of framing a question in a clear, logical manner so that it is easier to answer. In Chapter 3, there was a ton of information about reviewing the literature—both on and off line—an important part of preparing any research proposal. If you need to, review that now.Writing a proposal is not an easy task for anyone, and it may be especially difficult if you have not written one before or if you have not done much writing. The job takes diligence, commitment, and hard work, but all the hard work is well worth it. You will end up with a product of which you can be proud, and that is only the beginning. If you actually follow through and complete the proposed research, you will be making a significant contribution to your field. With these words of encouragement, the following are the major steps to follow in the writing of a proposal, beginning with what a proposal looks like.

The Format of a Research Proposal

Knowing how to organize and present a proposal is an important part of the research craft. The very act of putting thoughts down on paper will help you clarify your research interests and ensure that you are saying what you mean. Remember the fellow on the television commercial who said, “Pay me now or pay me later”? The more work and thought you put into your proposal, the easier it will be to complete the research later. In fact, many supervising faculty suggest that a proposal’s first two or three chapters be actually the same as the entire finished thesis or dissertation—putting you way ahead of the game.The following is a basic outline of what should be contained in a research proposal and a few comments on each of these sections. Keep in mind that proposals can be organized differently and, whatever you do, be sure that your professor approves of your outline before you start writing.

If you have looked at someone else’s thesis or dissertation, you might notice that this outline is organized around the same general sequence of chapter titles—introduction, review of literature, methodology, results, and discussion. Because this is only a proposal, the last two sections cannot present the analysis of the real data or discuss the findings. Instead, the proposal simply talks about the implications and limitations of the study, and the last part (V) contains all the important appendices.The first three sections of the finished proposal form a guideline about what the proposal should contain: introduction, review of literature, and method. The rest of the material (implications and such) should be included at your own discretion and based on the wishes of your adviser or professor. Keep in mind that completing the first three sections is a lot of work. However, you will have to gather that information anyway, and doing it before you collect your data will give you more confidence in conducting your research as well as a very good start and a terrific road map as to where you are going with your research.

Appearance

Although the words in your proposal are important, the appearance of your proposal is also important. What you say is more important than how you say it, but there is a good deal of truth to Marshall McLuhan’s statement that the medium is the message. Here are some simple, straightforward tips about proposal preparation. If you have any doubts about presentation (and if you don’t have any other class guidelines), follow the guidelines set forth in the sixth edition of the Publication Manual of American Psychological Association (APA, 2009), which is discussed and illustrated in Chapter 14.

Cognitive Style and Gender Differences/Salkind 15As for the format of the contents, you cannot go wrong if you follow the example given in Chapter 14, which is written using the APA guidelines for manuscript presentation. There are some differences between what you are reading here and what you will see in Chapter 14, but nothing major. For example, APA guidelines do not require the author’s name on each page because the review for journals is “blind.” Your professor, however, needs your name on each page.

Evaluating the Studies You Read

When you begin to go through research articles in preparation for writing a proposal (or just to learn more about the research process), you want to be sure that you can read, understand, and evaluate the content.As a beginning researcher, you might not be ready to take on the “experts” and start evaluating and criticizing the work of well-known researchers, right? Wrong! Even if you are relatively naive and inexperienced about the research process, you can still read and critically evaluate research articles. Even the most sophisticated research should be written in a way that is clear and understandable. Finally, even if you cannot answer all the questions listed below to your satisfaction at this point, they provide a great starting place for learning more. As you gain more experience, the answers will appear.So what makes good research? B. W. Hall, A. W. Ward, and C. B. Comer (1988) asked that very question about 128 published research articles. Among a survey of research experts, they found the following shortcomings (in order of appearance) to be the most pressing criticisms. Even though this article is almost 16 years old, the findings are still relevant to any proposal.

This is quite a series of pitfalls. To help you avoid the worst of them, you might want to ask the following set of questions about any research article.

Criteria for Judging a Research Study

Review of Previous Research

Problem and the Purpose

Hypotheses

Method

Sample

Results and Discussion

References

General Comments About the Report

In my class, students are required to answer all 33 of these questions for a research article that reports about an experimental study in their discipline.

Planning the Actual Research

You are well on your way to formulating good, workable hypotheses, and you now know at least how to start reviewing the literature and making sense out of the hundreds of available resources. But what you may not know, especially if you have never participated in any kind of research endeavor, is how much time it will take you to progress from your very first visit to the library to your final examination or submission of the finished research report. That is what you will learn here.Although you still have plenty to learn about the research process, now is a good time to get a feel for the other activities you will have to undertake in order to complete your research project. It is also helpful to get a sense of how much time these activities might take.First the activities. Table 13.1 shows an example of a checklist of activities you probably need to complete in order to complete your proposal (or research). The activities are grouped by the general headings previously discussed.Now for computing how much time the process will take. One effective way to do this is to estimate how much time each individual activity (writing the literature review, collecting data, etc.) will require, using some standard measure, such as days, keeping in mind that sometimes things go

Now take the average of these values. To be more precise, let’s break workdays into 4-hour chunks (for morning and evening) and call each chunk one unit of time. There are then 10 units of time in 1 week. If you enter Table 13.1 as a spreadsheet (using a program such as Excel), you can easily sum the columns as you fiddle and tinker with the amount of necessary time.

Table 13.1 A checklist of activities to help you complete your proposal or research

ActivityTime EstimatesWhen Things Go Just as PlannedWhen Things Don’t Go Exactly as PlannedWhen Things Don’t Go Well at AllIntroduction

______________________________________________________Review of the Literature

______________________________________________________Methodology

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Results

______________________________________________________Discussion

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________For example, let’s look at a search through primary sources (as part of the literature review) and estimate that it will take you

Once you have these estimates, average them for the activity, and you will have a singular estimate of how long any one activity should take, such as,( 8 + 12 + 16 )3  = 12  unitsor 6 days, which is about one very full week’s work (if you work on Saturday or Sunday).If you want to be even more precise, weight the estimates. For example, let’s say that you anticipate having trouble finding a sample, and at best you can expect things to go only okay. Writing the descriptive section, though, should be a snap. You should weight the “not as well as planned” estimate two or three times greater than the others.These estimates can be computed for all the activities you see in Table 13.1 and then summed to get an estimate for the overall activity. Keep in mind that everything takes longer than you initially think, so be generous, even for your most optimistic estimate.

Selecting a Dependent Variable

You have read at several places in this volume how important it is to select a dependent variable or an outcome measure with a great deal of care. It is the link between all the hard preparation and thinking you have done and the actual behavior you want to measure. Even if you have a terrific idea for a research project and your hypothesis is right on target, a poorly chosen dependent variable will result in disaster.The following nine items are important to remember when selecting such a variable. Use the following as a checklist when you search through previous studies to find what you need.

Reviewing a Test

What follows is more about selecting dependent variables (or screening measures for assignment to groups as independent variables). At best, with all things going in your favor, it is difficult to find exactly the test you want to use to diagnose, evaluate, determine effects, use as a placement tool, and so on. The dependent variable you select may not even be a test in the formal sense of the word. But if it is, you need to be concerned about many different characteristics and qualities of the instrument.With that in mind, the following outline of criteria will help you compare and contrast various tests. For each test you want to consider, complete the outline to the extent possible and then use this information to make a decision. Be sure to weigh each of the criteria accordingly. For example, although a test might be appropriate as far as its design and purpose, if it is prohibitively expensive or requires special training (which you do not have) to administer it, it is not likely that you will be able to use it.

Basic Information

General Test Information

Design and Appearance

Reliability

Validity

Norms

Evaluation

Selecting a Sample

Many researchers feel that there is nothing more important than selecting a sample that accurately reflects the characteristics of the population they are interested in studying. Yet sample selection can sometimes be a risky business, with all kinds of questions needing to be answered before you can make any moves toward the sample selection process. Here is a list of factors to keep in mind:

Similar to the previous point, the population must match the characteristics of those groups you want to study. It might go without saying (but I’ll say it here anyway), but selecting a sample from a poorly identified population is the first major error in sample selection. If you want to study preschoolers, you cannot study first graders just because the two groups are close in age. The preschool and the first-grade experience differ substantially.The type of research you do will depend on the type and size of sample you need. For example, if you are doing case study descriptive research, which involves long, intense interviews and has limited generalizability (which is not one of the purposes of the method), you will need very few participants in your sample. If you are doing a group differences study, you will need at least 30 participants for each group.A highly reliable test will yield more accurate results than a homemade essay exam. The less reliable and valid your instruments, the larger the sample size that will be required to get an accurate picture of what you want.Consider the amount of financial resources at your disposal. The more money (and resources in general) you have, the more participants you can test. Remember, the larger the sample (up to a point) the better, because larger samples come closer to approximating the population of which they are a part.The number of variables you are studying and the number of groups you are using will affect the sample selection process. If you are simply looking at the difference in verbal skills between males and females, you can get away with 25–30 participants in each group. If you add age (5- and 10-year-olds) and socioeconomic status (high and low), you are up to six different possible combinations (such as 5-year-old girls of high socioeconomic status) and up to 6 × 30, or 180, subjects for an adequate sample size.

Data Collection and Analysis

If you are following the steps in this chapter, you can do the following:

Now you are ready to begin the data analysis stage.In Chapters 7 and 8, you learned how to use some basic statistical tools to describe the characteristics of the data you collect during the early stages of your research.At this point in your proposal, you want to address the following tasks and ensure that they are completed before you continue:

Selecting an Inferential Statistic

Selecting an inferential test is a task that always takes care. When you are first starting out, the choice can be downright intimidating.You can learn about some of the most common situations, such as testing the difference between the means of two or more groups and looking at the relationships between groups. In both cases, the same principles of testing for the significance of an outcome apply.Now, do not think for a minute that (a) you can substitute a chart like the one you saw in Chapter 8 for a basic statistics course, or that (b) this is a statistics course (and this is a statistics book). Instead, that chart you see on page 187 offers some simple help to guide you toward a correct selection. You got a little bit of the why of inference in Chapter 8, but to get all of the why, enroll in that Statistics 1 class and make your adviser (and parents) happy.

Protecting Human Subjects

As you learned in Chapter 2, most organizations that sponsor research (such as universities) have some kind of committee that regularly reviews research proposals to ensure that humans (and animals) are not in any danger should they participate.Before investigators begin their work, and as part of the proposal process, an informed consent form is completed and attached to the proposal. The committee reviews the information and either approves the project (and indicates that human subjects are not in danger) or tries its best to work with the investigator to change the proposed methods so that things proceed as planned.

Summary

When it comes time to write a proposal, here is the quote you want to paste over your desk:

And that is the truth. Successful scientists will tell you that if you start out with a clear, well-thought-out question, the rest of your proposal, as well as the execution of your research, will fall into place. On the other hand, if your initial question is unclear, you will find yourself floundering and unable to focus on the real issue. Work on writing your proposal every day, read it over, let it sit for a while, have a friend or colleague glance at it and offer suggestions, write some more, let it sit some more. Get the message? Practice and work hard, and you will be well rewarded. 

 Submitting Your Manuscript


Report Issue

  PART 1- Submitting your manuscript –  Research procedures for submitting a manuscript for a specific journal. Discuss your findings with your team. 

PART2- OBEDIENCE AND ETHICS-  

The Culture of Shock See Article In Resources

Milgram’s and Zimbardo’s studies have gained a resurgence of interest. Can you think of recent events that might have caused this? I have attached an article from Scientific American. I apologize that it is upside down and you will have to print it to read it. 

Also, my most recent issue of Monitor on Psychology there is a short review on Milgram Redux. Researchers from Poland (we couldn’t get this approved in the US) replicated the study and found the same results – 90% of participants were willing to administer the highest shock level

Let me know what you think and how Milgram’s and Zimbardo’s studies might still find some applicability today.

RESOURCE for this assignment

For most people, the nightmare of the Holocaust was a gross pathology, a social sickness brought about by specific circumstances: the brutality of the Naziregime or certain traits in the German character. But in the 1960s, a young American psychologist,Stanley Milgram, had a different theory.

00:05:43
Rather than being pathological,supposing the concentration camps were just an example of normal behavior in extreme circumstances?
– What he was particularly interested in was,under what conditions will people follow instructions which will result in harm to somebody else, in suffering to somebody else?
And beyond that,he was interested in whether the responses to instructions to do harm,the pressure to obey are normal,whether normal people,any average person,would respond.
– To test these theories, Milgram devised a series of experiments, experiments that were to change the face of psychological research forever.
Imagine you’re one of Milgram’s volunteers.

 You’ve answered an a din the paper to take part in a psychological experiment.
You’re told it’s about testing whether giving mild punishments in the form of electrics hocks will improve the memory of the subject.
You find yourself playing the role of teacher,and you’re introduced to someone you’re told is the learner.
– The learner was then subjected to electric shocks every time they made a mistake in the learning process.
And because it appeared they weren’t very smart, the instructions required that you keep increasing the level of shock.
So each time the learner made a mistake,the shock level had to rise.
And potentially,it could go up to, apparently,450 volts.
– And the question was how far they would go up the scale, how far they would respond to the screams and the ultimately the silence of the person that was listening to– who was answering the questions.
– Every time they expressed some reluctance about carrying on,the experiment would say,”No, the instructions require that you continue.” So Milgram was interested to see how far people would go under those circumstances.
At what point would they say, “No, I’m not going to give any more electric shocks.
I’m not going to increase the voltage.” – So how far do you think you’d have gone if you’d have been a teacher Perhaps further than you think.

The results of these experiments surprised even Milgram and his research team.
– He asked a large number of students and psychiatrists before the research took place,how far did they think the participants would go?
And the average was about 120,150 volts.
And nobody was predicted to go beyond 300 volts.
In the event,everybody went beyond 300 volts.
And 2/3 of them, as we now know,went all the way.
And even when there was no answer from the person next door,still they went on.
And remarkably, a lot of people were prepared to continue shocking to the point where it appeared they’d killed the other person.
– What Milgram concluded that this revealed about obedience is that it’s not unnatural that practically anybody can be induced to obey authority and to do things which you might regard as inhumane, cruel, sadistic, and yet with not any sadistic intent but simply in order to abide by the instructions given to them by a legitimate authority.
And the conclusions seems to be, or at least the conclusion that many people took from this research is that people’s inclination to unconditional obedience is very high
– Milgram’s research threw new light on the Holocaust and the question of how ordinary German citizens could have been turned into mass murderers in such a short time.
It seemed that the phrase”only obeying orders” had rather more to it than most people believed at the time.
– To many of them, they were obeying orders.
The orders were clear
So if you wish to believe you were obeying orders, you can
And it was a very rigid hierarchy. And people who showed sympathy were exterminated too.
– To some, Milgram’s experiments were amongst the most important ever done in psychology. But others were very critical, arguing this research should never have been done,because it was completely unethical.

PART 3-  

The Malleability of Memory

View the video on Elizabeth Loftus and discuss memory. THIS VIDEO CAN BE FOUND ON YOUTUBE

PART 4–  Read the article The Perfect Poster and post your thoughts. The article is in the Resources . HERE IS THE ARTICLE: THE PERFECT POSTER

 Poster sessions offer a chance for many eyes to see your hard work — and some of those visitors may open doors to interesting research collaboration, postdoc or career opportunities. The trick is making your poster stand out among the hundreds of others.

“A good poster is not just tacking a standard research paper on poster board,” says Kathryn Tosney, PhD, a neurobiologist and chair of the biology department at the University of Miami who created a poster-making guide to help her own students. “An effective poster helps you engage colleagues in conversation and gets your main points across to as many people as possible.”

Here are a few hints to draw a crowd:

PART5-ETHICAL STANDARD SUMMARY-  

  1. Write a 500- to 750-word summary of the ethical issues that affect your selected research question and methodology, including the following:
    • Write a brief statement of the research question.
    • List the possible ethical issues, such as consideration of characteristics of your sample, type of data collection, potential for bias, and so forth.
    • Identify and cite the APA ethical standard concerning the issue.
    • Respond to each issue, specifying how you, the researcher, will minimize or eliminate it.
    • Format your summary consistent with APA guidelines.

PART6- RESEARCH PROPOSAL- 

Write a 1,400- to 1,750-word research proposal including the following:

Format your research proposal consistent with APA guidelines.

 RESOURCE FOR THIS ASSIGNMENT:  

Chapter 13 Writing a Research Proposal

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN ABOUT IN THIS CHAPTER:

If one of the requirements for this class is to write a research proposal, then you have come to the right place. This chapter will lead you through the process you need to take to write a research proposal. Even if you are not required to write a proposal for class, stick around anyway. What you learn here will be helpful in your research endeavors. You will learn what distinguishes acceptable proposals from unacceptable ones. You will also learn the importance of framing a question in a clear, logical manner so that it is easier to answer. In Chapter 3, there was a ton of information about reviewing the literature—both on and off line—an important part of preparing any research proposal. If you need to, review that now.Writing a proposal is not an easy task for anyone, and it may be especially difficult if you have not written one before or if you have not done much writing. The job takes diligence, commitment, and hard work, but all the hard work is well worth it. You will end up with a product of which you can be proud, and that is only the beginning. If you actually follow through and complete the proposed research, you will be making a significant contribution to your field. With these words of encouragement, the following are the major steps to follow in the writing of a proposal, beginning with what a proposal looks like.

The Format of a Research Proposal

Knowing how to organize and present a proposal is an important part of the research craft. The very act of putting thoughts down on paper will help you clarify your research interests and ensure that you are saying what you mean. Remember the fellow on the television commercial who said, “Pay me now or pay me later”? The more work and thought you put into your proposal, the easier it will be to complete the research later. In fact, many supervising faculty suggest that a proposal’s first two or three chapters be actually the same as the entire finished thesis or dissertation—putting you way ahead of the game.The following is a basic outline of what should be contained in a research proposal and a few comments on each of these sections. Keep in mind that proposals can be organized differently and, whatever you do, be sure that your professor approves of your outline before you start writing.

If you have looked at someone else’s thesis or dissertation, you might notice that this outline is organized around the same general sequence of chapter titles—introduction, review of literature, methodology, results, and discussion. Because this is only a proposal, the last two sections cannot present the analysis of the real data or discuss the findings. Instead, the proposal simply talks about the implications and limitations of the study, and the last part (V) contains all the important appendices.The first three sections of the finished proposal form a guideline about what the proposal should contain: introduction, review of literature, and method. The rest of the material (implications and such) should be included at your own discretion and based on the wishes of your adviser or professor. Keep in mind that completing the first three sections is a lot of work. However, you will have to gather that information anyway, and doing it before you collect your data will give you more confidence in conducting your research as well as a very good start and a terrific road map as to where you are going with your research.

Appearance

Although the words in your proposal are important, the appearance of your proposal is also important. What you say is more important than how you say it, but there is a good deal of truth to Marshall McLuhan’s statement that the medium is the message. Here are some simple, straightforward tips about proposal preparation. If you have any doubts about presentation (and if you don’t have any other class guidelines), follow the guidelines set forth in the sixth edition of the Publication Manual of American Psychological Association (APA, 2009), which is discussed and illustrated in Chapter 14.

Cognitive Style and Gender Differences/Salkind 15As for the format of the contents, you cannot go wrong if you follow the example given in Chapter 14, which is written using the APA guidelines for manuscript presentation. There are some differences between what you are reading here and what you will see in Chapter 14, but nothing major. For example, APA guidelines do not require the author’s name on each page because the review for journals is “blind.” Your professor, however, needs your name on each page.

Evaluating the Studies You Read

When you begin to go through research articles in preparation for writing a proposal (or just to learn more about the research process), you want to be sure that you can read, understand, and evaluate the content.As a beginning researcher, you might not be ready to take on the “experts” and start evaluating and criticizing the work of well-known researchers, right? Wrong! Even if you are relatively naive and inexperienced about the research process, you can still read and critically evaluate research articles. Even the most sophisticated research should be written in a way that is clear and understandable. Finally, even if you cannot answer all the questions listed below to your satisfaction at this point, they provide a great starting place for learning more. As you gain more experience, the answers will appear.So what makes good research? B. W. Hall, A. W. Ward, and C. B. Comer (1988) asked that very question about 128 published research articles. Among a survey of research experts, they found the following shortcomings (in order of appearance) to be the most pressing criticisms. Even though this article is almost 16 years old, the findings are still relevant to any proposal.

This is quite a series of pitfalls. To help you avoid the worst of them, you might want to ask the following set of questions about any research article.

Criteria for Judging a Research Study

Review of Previous Research

Problem and the Purpose

Hypotheses

Method

Sample

Results and Discussion

References

General Comments About the Report

In my class, students are required to answer all 33 of these questions for a research article that reports about an experimental study in their discipline.

Planning the Actual Research

You are well on your way to formulating good, workable hypotheses, and you now know at least how to start reviewing the literature and making sense out of the hundreds of available resources. But what you may not know, especially if you have never participated in any kind of research endeavor, is how much time it will take you to progress from your very first visit to the library to your final examination or submission of the finished research report. That is what you will learn here.Although you still have plenty to learn about the research process, now is a good time to get a feel for the other activities you will have to undertake in order to complete your research project. It is also helpful to get a sense of how much time these activities might take.First the activities. Table 13.1 shows an example of a checklist of activities you probably need to complete in order to complete your proposal (or research). The activities are grouped by the general headings previously discussed.Now for computing how much time the process will take. One effective way to do this is to estimate how much time each individual activity (writing the literature review, collecting data, etc.) will require, using some standard measure, such as days, keeping in mind that sometimes things go

Now take the average of these values. To be more precise, let’s break workdays into 4-hour chunks (for morning and evening) and call each chunk one unit of time. There are then 10 units of time in 1 week. If you enter Table 13.1 as a spreadsheet (using a program such as Excel), you can easily sum the columns as you fiddle and tinker with the amount of necessary time.

Table 13.1 A checklist of activities to help you complete your proposal or research

ActivityTime EstimatesWhen Things Go Just as PlannedWhen Things Don’t Go Exactly as PlannedWhen Things Don’t Go Well at AllIntroduction

______________________________________________________Review of the Literature

______________________________________________________Methodology

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Results

______________________________________________________Discussion

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________For example, let’s look at a search through primary sources (as part of the literature review) and estimate that it will take you

Once you have these estimates, average them for the activity, and you will have a singular estimate of how long any one activity should take, such as,( 8 + 12 + 16 )3  = 12  unitsor 6 days, which is about one very full week’s work (if you work on Saturday or Sunday).If you want to be even more precise, weight the estimates. For example, let’s say that you anticipate having trouble finding a sample, and at best you can expect things to go only okay. Writing the descriptive section, though, should be a snap. You should weight the “not as well as planned” estimate two or three times greater than the others.These estimates can be computed for all the activities you see in Table 13.1 and then summed to get an estimate for the overall activity. Keep in mind that everything takes longer than you initially think, so be generous, even for your most optimistic estimate.

Selecting a Dependent Variable

You have read at several places in this volume how important it is to select a dependent variable or an outcome measure with a great deal of care. It is the link between all the hard preparation and thinking you have done and the actual behavior you want to measure. Even if you have a terrific idea for a research project and your hypothesis is right on target, a poorly chosen dependent variable will result in disaster.The following nine items are important to remember when selecting such a variable. Use the following as a checklist when you search through previous studies to find what you need.

Reviewing a Test

What follows is more about selecting dependent variables (or screening measures for assignment to groups as independent variables). At best, with all things going in your favor, it is difficult to find exactly the test you want to use to diagnose, evaluate, determine effects, use as a placement tool, and so on. The dependent variable you select may not even be a test in the formal sense of the word. But if it is, you need to be concerned about many different characteristics and qualities of the instrument.With that in mind, the following outline of criteria will help you compare and contrast various tests. For each test you want to consider, complete the outline to the extent possible and then use this information to make a decision. Be sure to weigh each of the criteria accordingly. For example, although a test might be appropriate as far as its design and purpose, if it is prohibitively expensive or requires special training (which you do not have) to administer it, it is not likely that you will be able to use it.

Basic Information

General Test Information

Design and Appearance

Reliability

Validity

Norms

Evaluation

Selecting a Sample

Many researchers feel that there is nothing more important than selecting a sample that accurately reflects the characteristics of the population they are interested in studying. Yet sample selection can sometimes be a risky business, with all kinds of questions needing to be answered before you can make any moves toward the sample selection process. Here is a list of factors to keep in mind:

Similar to the previous point, the population must match the characteristics of those groups you want to study. It might go without saying (but I’ll say it here anyway), but selecting a sample from a poorly identified population is the first major error in sample selection. If you want to study preschoolers, you cannot study first graders just because the two groups are close in age. The preschool and the first-grade experience differ substantially.The type of research you do will depend on the type and size of sample you need. For example, if you are doing case study descriptive research, which involves long, intense interviews and has limited generalizability (which is not one of the purposes of the method), you will need very few participants in your sample. If you are doing a group differences study, you will need at least 30 participants for each group.A highly reliable test will yield more accurate results than a homemade essay exam. The less reliable and valid your instruments, the larger the sample size that will be required to get an accurate picture of what you want.Consider the amount of financial resources at your disposal. The more money (and resources in general) you have, the more participants you can test. Remember, the larger the sample (up to a point) the better, because larger samples come closer to approximating the population of which they are a part.The number of variables you are studying and the number of groups you are using will affect the sample selection process. If you are simply looking at the difference in verbal skills between males and females, you can get away with 25–30 participants in each group. If you add age (5- and 10-year-olds) and socioeconomic status (high and low), you are up to six different possible combinations (such as 5-year-old girls of high socioeconomic status) and up to 6 × 30, or 180, subjects for an adequate sample size.

Data Collection and Analysis

If you are following the steps in this chapter, you can do the following:

Now you are ready to begin the data analysis stage.In Chapters 7 and 8, you learned how to use some basic statistical tools to describe the characteristics of the data you collect during the early stages of your research.At this point in your proposal, you want to address the following tasks and ensure that they are completed before you continue:

Selecting an Inferential Statistic

Selecting an inferential test is a task that always takes care. When you are first starting out, the choice can be downright intimidating.You can learn about some of the most common situations, such as testing the difference between the means of two or more groups and looking at the relationships between groups. In both cases, the same principles of testing for the significance of an outcome apply.Now, do not think for a minute that (a) you can substitute a chart like the one you saw in Chapter 8 for a basic statistics course, or that (b) this is a statistics course (and this is a statistics book). Instead, that chart you see on page 187 offers some simple help to guide you toward a correct selection. You got a little bit of the why of inference in Chapter 8, but to get all of the why, enroll in that Statistics 1 class and make your adviser (and parents) happy.

Protecting Human Subjects

As you learned in Chapter 2, most organizations that sponsor research (such as universities) have some kind of committee that regularly reviews research proposals to ensure that humans (and animals) are not in any danger should they participate.Before investigators begin their work, and as part of the proposal process, an informed consent form is completed and attached to the proposal. The committee reviews the information and either approves the project (and indicates that human subjects are not in danger) or tries its best to work with the investigator to change the proposed methods so that things proceed as planned.

Summary

When it comes time to write a proposal, here is the quote you want to paste over your desk:

And that is the truth. Successful scientists will tell you that if you start out with a clear, well-thought-out question, the rest of your proposal, as well as the execution of your research, will fall into place. On the other hand, if your initial question is unclear, you will find yourself floundering and unable to focus on the real issue. Work on writing your proposal every day, read it over, let it sit for a while, have a friend or colleague glance at it and offer suggestions, write some more, let it sit some more. Get the message? Practice and work hard, and you will be well rewarded. 

 Submitting Your Manuscript

Submitting Your Manuscript

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