Here is an outline of what to include in your final paper (it is a research proposal–you are NOT expected to actually conduct the study you propose). Page guidelines are approximate; you are not bound by them. But make sure to include some discussion of each point on this outline in your paper, unless you have checked with me beforehand and specifically been informed (in written comments or email) that omitting one or more of them is OK.
Note that in your paper, you cannot use playing violent vs. non-violent video games as your independent variable, or the aggressive content of stories as your dependent variable (this is to ensure that your learning goes beyond what has been presented to you).
PLAGIARISM WARNING: Make sure the work you hand in is consistent with Rutgers Academic Integrity Policy: http://academicintegrity.rutgers.edu/academic-integrity-policy/ And to learn how to avoid plagiarism, all students in this course are asked to study the examples of word-for-word plagiarism and paraphrasing plagiarism here, and are expected to take and pass the undergraduate level Indiana University Plagiarism Certification Test
at https://plagiarism.iu.edu/mainLogin.php YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR AVOIDING PLAGIARISM IN YOUR RESEARCH PROPOSAL DRAFT AND YOUR PROPOSAL REVISION—PLAGIARISM CAN RESULT IN SERIOUS ACADEMIC PENALTIES. Additional note: You should avoid quoting whenever possible; instead put things into your own words (while at the same time carefully also acknowledging when other people’s ideas that are expressed in your words—see examples on Paraphrasing in the Indiana University Plagiarism website). Higher grades will be given for ideas expressed in your own words, with the sources of ideas properly cited.
WHAT SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN YOUR PROPOSAL DRAFT AND PROPOSAL REVISION: Examples below are adapted from Bushman, B. J., & Anderson, C. A. (2002). Violent video games and hostile expectations: A test of the general aggression model. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 28, 1679-1686. If you want to examine that paper, you can find it here or under Resources on Sakai. Several of these examples have been abbreviated due to space constraints. You should write as much as is necessary to fully address each point in the outline below.
Draft of the Research Proposal is due via Sakai by 11:55pm Saturday November 21
Revision of the Research Proposal is due via Sakai by 11:55pm Saturday December 12 (note that the revision
should include changes based on the feedback you were given on the draft from your instructor) Abstract: 250 words maximum
The abstract should be a very brief summary stating:
your essential research question, including the main variables being studied, and the hypothesized relationship(s) between them
e.g., Does playing violent video games (rather than non-violent games) increase aggressive expectations among college students?
the essential features of the method you will use to answer this question (who will be the participants, and how the main variables will be manipulated or measured)
e.g., Undergraduates will play either a violent or a non-violent video game for 20 minutes, then read ambiguous stories about potential conflict situations and write what happens next. Their story completions will be rated for aggressive content: actions, speech, thoughts, and feelings.
the theoretical and/or practical importance of the knowledge to be gained from this study, or from applying that knowledge
e.g., If results show that even briefly playing violent video games leads college students to expect that people will respond aggressively in potential conflict situations, then repeatedly playing such games could make people likely to expect aggression and be aggressive in their everyday lives.
Introduction: What do you want to find out, and why? (approximately 4 to 8 pages)
What exactly is your research question? Clearly specify the main independent (or predictor) variable, the dependent (or outcome) variable, and the hypothesized (predicted) relationship between them. Only 1 independent or predictor variable, and 1 dependent or outcome variable is needed. If it is really important for your research question, you can also include either a second independent variable or a mediating variable or a moderating variable.
For this paper, you should also state the theoretical range of variation (possible values) of each variable in your hypothesis. And you should specify which value(s) of the independent (or predictor) variable you expect to be associated with which value(s) of the dependent (or outcome) variable.
e.g., Research question: Does playing violent video games (rather than non-violent games) increase aggressive expectations among college students?
The independent variable is Type of Video Game Played: non-violent / violent The dependent variable (on the theoretical level) is Aggressive expectations: none…many. My hypothesis is that playing violent video games will lead to more aggressive expectations than playing non-violent video games.
Why is answering this question important (briefly)?
e.g., Aggression is a serious problem, with more than 110 million people killed in wars during the past century (Myers, 2013) and more than 800,000 victims of violent crime in the U.S. in 2009 (FBI, 2011, cited in Myers, 2013). To help reduce this deadly problem, it is important to find out what influences people to choose aggressive methods for dealing with potential conflict situations.
What is known and what is not known about the answer to your question? (Here you should cite reviews of the literature and studies from the psycinfo database that address your specific question, and what they have found that is relevant to whether or not your study should be done, or done in a particular way.)
e.g., Previous research has shown that watching violent movies and TV programs can increase aggressive behavior (Bushman & Anderson, 2001). Research has also shown that people (including college students) who act aggressively tend to believe that others who have harmed them did so intentionally (Dill, Anderson, Anderson, & Deuser, 1997); and that briefly playing violent video games can make people faster at recognizing aggressive words (Anderson & Dill, 2000).
But it is not known whether briefly playing violent makes people expect that others will act aggressively in potential conflict situations.
What is your hypothesis (or hypotheses, if you have more than one), and is each hypothesis plausible, yet uncertain? (Remember, a hypothesis is one possible answer to your research question— the one you will be testing in your proposed study)
e.g., Bushman and Anderson’s hypothesis was that playing violent video games will cause players to expect that people outside of the game context will behave aggressively. They think it is plausible (reasonable), based on the results of prior research. Since Anderson and Dill (2000) found that playing violent video games can make people faster at recognizing aggressive words, it is reasonable to suppose that playing violent video games brings aggressive thoughts to mind. Such aggressive thoughts might include the expectation that other people will behave aggressively in conflict situations (which could then increase a player’s likelihood of also behaving aggressively to prevent or defend against expected aggression from others).
However, it is also plausible that playing violent video games only affect expectations about what will happen in the game (where the violence is occurring). Since it is plausible that playing violent video games might NOT affect expectations about how people will behave outside the game context, Bushman and Anderson’s hypothesis is also uncertain (there is reason to believe it might not be true).
Therefore research is needed to test whether playing violent video games will actually influence people’s expectations about what others are likely to do in conflict situations (outside of the video game).
III. Method: How will you try to find out the answer to your question, and why will you proceed in this way?
(approximately 6 to 12 pages)
Who will be the participants in your study? Include their major demographic characteristics, such as age, sex, ethnic or racial group, and occupation (e.g., college students enrolled in psychology courses at an urban state university; data entry operators in a state government welfare agency); and any special demographics that are relevant to your particular study (e.g., inpatients in 2 private psychiatric hospitals diagnosed as having Bipolar Disorder; Spanish-speakers who came to the U.S. in the past 5 years).
Why you chose people with these characteristics to be in your study
The procedures you will use to recruit participants; what incentives, if any, will be used; and why you think people will agree to participate.
How will you manipulate (or measure) your main independent (or predictor) variable? Specify this in as much detail as you can—exactly what you will do or ask. Explain how this will manipulate (or measure) the theoretical range of variation (all possible values) of the variable as specified in II A (above).
Whywillyoumanipulate(ormeasure)yourmainindependent(orpredictor)variableinthisway? For each major methodological choice that you make, explain why you are making that choice. Remember that your choices should be guided by the goals of reliability and validity.
In addition to explaining your major choices as you are presenting them, once you have finished describing the manipulation (or measurement of your main independent (or predictor) variable, you should specifically discuss:
1. the overall reliability of this manipulation (or measure) 2. the validity of this manipulation (or measure)
Note that each variable in your hypothesis must be manipulated or measured separately from the manipulation or measures of other variables (for example if you used a questionnaire to measure the IV of whether a person played non-violent vs violent video games, and the DV of aggressive expectations (none…many), then you would need one set of questions to measure the type of video game played, and another set of questions to measure aggressive expectations),
How will you measure your main dependent (or outcome) variable? Specify this in as much detail as you can—exactly what you will do or ask (e.g. give questions). Make sure to describe how this will measure the theoretical range of variation (all possible values) of the variable as specified in section II A (above).
Why will you measure your main dependent (or outcome) variable in this way? For each major methodological choice that you make, explain why you are making that choice. Remember that your choices should be guided by the goals of reliability and validity.
In addition to explaining your major choices as you go, once you have finished describing the measurement of your main dependent (or outcome) variable, specifically discuss:
1. the overall reliability of this measure (specify the type of reliability from Unit 5 on Measurement; your evaluation of how reliable the measure is; and why you think this)
2. the validity of this measure (specify the type of validity from Unit 5 on Measurement; your evaluation of how valid the measure is; and why you think this)
If you have any other independent, mediator, or moderator variables in your main hypothesis, specify in detail how will you manipulate (or measure) it or them. Make sure to describe how this will manipulate (or measure) the theoretical range of variation (all possible values) of the variable as specified in section II A (above). Discuss the reliability and validity of each additional variable.
Ethical considerations: Discuss how you will protect the rights and welfare of the participants in your study (approximately 1 to 2 pages)
References: In APA format (see https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/reference_list_basic _rules.html
following the rules on that page, and reference list examples on the left of the page)
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