Experimental psychologists write two type of documents most often: (a) Research

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Experimental psychologists write two type of documents most often: (a) Research reports of studies just conducted (e.g., the Stroop Lab paper) and (b) Proposals to conduct future research. Such proposals can be used to secure IRB approval and/or funding “intramurally”–from the institution where the researcher works (e.g., university, college, corporation, school district, hospital) or “extramurally”–from elsewhere (e.g., Federal agencies: National Institutes of Health, Veteran’s Administration, U.S. Army; state agencies; or private foundations: Spencer, Mellon, Gates). Your task is to write a 7-10 page paper in which you propose a scientifically convincing and feasible experiment, quasi-experiment or correlational study based on a recent issue investigated in Clinical Psychology.
If you decide to propose an experiment or quasi-experiment, you will need to specify two independent variables with at least two levels. These variables can be manipulated within-participants, between-participants or one of each. You will also need to devise a dependent variable that measures the behavior of interest and be mindful of variables that you need to control.
If you decide to propose a correlational study, you will need to specify two predictors and a measured outcome criterion (independent and dependent variables when used in correlational designs, respectively), and likewise be mindful of variables that you need to control.
Your proposal will be written in APA Style, but mostly in the future tense (“will”) and future subjunctive tense (“would”) —except, of course, when you are presenting your literature review in the Introduction and Discussion sections. To help focus and formulate your interests and to facilitate writing the literature review, you need to cite no fewer than five articles from the relevant literature (using database website to download pdfs; I recommend searching for only the last 2-5 years).
Your proposal will consist of a Title page, Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion. IMPORTANT: You will not be actually collecting data for your proposal. So, for the Results section, you will simply (a) identify what the data would be in your study if you actually conducted it, and (b) how you would analyze those data: (e.g., t-test for matched-samples, Analysis of Variance—F test, Pearson Product Moment correlation—r test, Chi-Square). A predicted graph for your hypotheses (i.e., H1, H2, but not Ho) is also a good idea. You can refer to this graph in the Introduction and then again in the Results section.
So, in summary and review:
This paper is a proposal; you are not actually conducting the study.
The Abstract is a summary of the proposal; as such, it is comprised of 1-2 sentences that summarize each major section of your paper.
The Introduction consists of:
Statement of problem of interest
Review of relevant literature: What have earlier studies investigated? What have they done incorrectly or missed that you think is important to understanding the problem of interest?
Statement of purpose of your study: Experimental, quasi-experimental or correlational?
State of hypotheses (prediction of whether your variables/predictors will be influence/be related to your dependent variable/outcome criterion measure) (Insert predicted graph)
The Method section consists of:
Participants: How many? (usually 30-100). Where obtained? (e.g., undergraduates), Demographics? (e.g., #males/#females, ethnicity(#Hispanics/Latinos,# African Americans, #Asian Americans, #Native Americans, #Anglos). How compensated? (e.g., $, course credit).
Materials: What are the stimuli to be used? Any surveys? List names and sources.
Apparatus: Using a computer to present stimuli or surveys and to collect responses (either in a lab or on the internet)?
Design: What are your two independent variables/predictors and dependent variable/outcome criterion?
Procedure: How will you instruct your participants? What will their tasks be (e.g., pressing a button/keyboard key; filling out a survey)?
The Results section consists of:
Statement of data for analysis (e.g., participant responses to a survey). AGAIN, you are not collecting real data for this proposal so you are not actually conducting analyses.
Name of statistical procedure you would use if you had data (e.g., t-test, correlational analysis—r test, F test)
The Discussion section consists of:
Restatement of hypotheses from Introduction
Discussion of what your hypothesized results would mean to the existing literature on your stated problem of interest in the Introduction (e.g., support, bring into question, etc.)
Discussion of possible weakness/limitations in your study (e.g., better survey, broader demographic spectrum of participants, need to assess reliability of survey, etc.)
Present an idea for a follow-up study to yours (fixing limitations just listed or extending what you initially proposed).
References you cited.
Appendices: Example items of scales you may have developed for your proposed study.

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