research proposal 168



Prior to beginning work on this assignment, review the Example Research Proposal provided in the course materials. Note that all instructor feedback from your previous activities should be applied in preparing your proposal.

Your Research Proposal is a six- to seven-page plan for a new study on your research topic. Incorporate at least four scholarly/peer-reviewed journal articles in addition to the course text to support your proposed study.

Proposed study in BOLD LETTERS within a discussion that I wrote in an assignment: “Parents are essential informants in the diagnosis process, and past research suggests that certain parental characteristics may influence how they report information about their child. The topic hits close to home for me as my oldest son was diagnosed with Autism at a young age due to premature birth. He went through extensive testing by three different specialist before agreeing the diagnosis. This disorder is commonly misinterpreted by parents, caregivers, schools, etc. Topics regarding autism disorder (ASD) are still ongoing and I feel any research on the topic will aid toward further understanding of the disorder. I currently finished research on ASD and would like to further investigate the disorder itself.”

“Behaviorist John Watson (1913). stated ‘Psychology should be the science of observable behavior.’ His beliefs stand with prediction and control of behavior. The reason I bring the father of behaviorism into context is because I want to continue research on the effects of the maternal parent who suffers with depression and how that parent reports on the child’s ASD behaviors and symptoms. Does the maternal informant’s depressional state conform and affect the child’s ASD behaviors? And does it affect the reporting of the child’s symptoms and behavior? This is extremely important because mis-diagnosis of behaviors and symptoms from the parent can create wrongful information, which then can lead to wrongful findings, which lead to no help with the disorder or the child’s treatment. My choices of topic’s research areas that align with the most are clinical and social psychology. However, it could possibly be all domains of research. I am open for ideas and thoughts.” (Manlove, Chrissie 2019).


Newman, M. (2016). Research methods in psychology (2nd ed.). San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

  • Introduction – Introduce the research topic, explain why it is important, and present your research question and/or hypothesis.
  • Literature Review – Summarize the current state of knowledge on your topic by citing the methods and findings of at least two previous research studies. State whether your proposed study is a replication of a previous study or a new approach using methods that have not been used before.
  • Methods
    • Design – Indicate whether your proposed study is qualitative or quantitative in approach. Select one of the research designs you have studied in the course, and indicate whether it is experimental or non-experimental. Evaluate why this design is appropriate for your research topic. Cite the textbook and one other source on research methodology to support your choice.
    • Participants – Identify the sampling strategy you would use to recruit participants for your study. Estimate the number of participants you would need and explain why your sampling method is appropriate for your research approach.
    • Procedure/Measures – Apply the scientific method by describing the steps you would use in carrying out your study. Indicate whether you will use any kind of test, questionnaire, or measurement instrument. Cite the source of any instruments to be used.
    • Data Analysis – Describe the statistical techniques (if quantitative) or the analysis procedure (if qualitative) you plan to use to analyze the data. Cite at least one source on the chosen analysis technique.
    • Ethical Issues – Analyze the impact of ethical concerns on your proposed study, such as confidentiality, deception, informed consent, potential harm to participants, conflict of interest, IRB approval, etc. Explain how you would address these concerns.
  • Conclusion – Briefly summarize the major points of your research plan and reiterate why your proposed study is needed.





Keep these objectives in mind as you go through this week’s learning activities.

In a real life situation, a person wanting to do research with living participants must make a detailed and coherent plan for the study, and get approval from an ethics review board or committee. The research proposal is a document that explains the need for the research, what will be done in the study if it is approved, and how the rights and wellbeing of the participants will be protected.

A research proposal is NOT a report of a completed study, a work of fiction, or a critique of a previously published study. It is a plan describing how you would design and conduct a study to address your research question if approval is given by the appropriate authorities. It should demonstrate that you know what was covered in this course – how to formulate a research question (and a hypothesis if quantitative methods are proposed), how to find and evaluate previously published studies on the topic, how to select appropriate methods to investigate the research question, and how to assess ethical concerns that may come up in the proposed research.

The specific sections of a research proposal are an Introduction, a brief Literature Review, a description of the proposed Methods including ethical considerations, and a Conclusion that summarizes the plan and reiterates why it is important for the study to be done.

The Introduction section of a research proposal gives some background information explaining what the problem is and why the reader should care about it. At the end of this section, the specific research question should be presented. If the proposed study is quantitative, a research hypothesis should also be stated.

The Literature Review section of a proposal is brief. It should summarize the findings and methods of a few previous primary research studies on the topic, just enough so the reader will understand what is already known about the topic, how it has been researched before, and what aspects need further research. A more comprehensive Literature Review section would be used in a doctoral dissertation or a report of completed research.

The Methods section is the main focus of the proposal and should be the largest part of the proposal. It contains several sub-sections for the different choices that have to be made about how the proposed study would be carried out. Specific sub-sections may vary, but the final assignment for this course includes five sub-sections that are typical: Design, Participants, Procedure/Measures, Data Analysis, and Ethical Issues.

For the Design sub-section, the researcher names and describes the chosen research design. This is not a description of the process by which the researcher considered various alternatives and came to a decision about which one to accept and which ones to reject. The decision about the design must be made before writing the proposal. The focus of everything in the Methods section should be what the researcher has decided to do in the planned research. The decision should be supported by a brief explanation of why the chosen design is appropriate for the research question with one or more citations of scholarly/peer-reviewed sources about the chosen design and methods.

In the Participants sub-section, the researcher identifies the sampling strategy. Is it random sampling, another probability sampling strategy (such as cluster or stratified), purposive sampling (such as theoretical, maximum variation, or snowball sampling), or convenience sampling? There should be a description of how the recruiting of participants would be done using the identified sampling strategy. For quantitative proposals, a target sample size should be mentioned, along with any information about why that sample size was chosen. For qualitative proposals, the researcher may state a typical sample size for the research design and indicate that the final sample size will depend on when data saturation is reached.

The Procedure/Measures sub-section should contain a step-by-step description of what will be done in the study, along with information about any measurement instruments (physical or psychological) that are to be used. If the researcher is using psychometric instruments such as established tests or questionnaires, validity and reliability ratings should be included and the source of that information should be cited. If the researcher is creating a new questionnaire for the study, the questions should be provided in an appendix. It should be clear in this sub-section what the participants are supposed to do and how data about the research topic will be collected from either observing them or asking them questions.

In the Data Analysis sub-section, the researcher identifies the techniques that will be used to analyze the data collected in the study. The research design and the form of the data will determine what analysis procedure can and should be used. For quantitative studies, one or more statistical tests must be identified. Sections 3.5 (for descriptive), 4.4 (for correlational), and 5.5 (for experimental) of the Newman (2016) textbook will be helpful in identifying appropriate tests for quantitative studies. For qualitative studies, the type of coding and analysis procedures recommended for the research design should be identified. Sources of information about the data analysis should be cited in APA format.

The final sub-section of the Methods section is Ethical Issues. The researcher should be proactive by anticipating concerns that might come up and making preparations to address those issues if and when they arise. Plans for obtaining informed consent from participants, protecting their confidentiality, and avoiding potential harm to participants should be provided in detail. If the study requires any type or level of deception, this must be explained and the need for it justified. Debriefing is required when there is any deception, and plans for how the debriefing will be done must be included. Any potential conflicts of interest involving the researchers must be revealed. The IRB may request additional information about potential conflicts or other ethical issues before deciding whether or not to approve the study.

A research proposal does not have a Results or Findings section. This is because it is not a report of a study that has already been done. Recruitment of participants, data collection, and data analysis must not begin until after the Institutional Review Board (IRB) or equivalent ethical authority has approved the research proposal. In many institutions, another office in addition to the IRB must approve the proposal. The IRB focuses on the ethical issues, and the other office focuses on the research design and data sources. At Ashford University, the Office of Research and Creative Scholarship (ORCS) provides advice to faculty and staff on appropriate research procedures for proposals. ORCS also must approve the research design and analysis procedures before the proposal can go to the IRB for ethical approval.

The Conclusion section of a research proposal does not make any conclusion about the answer to the research question because there are no results yet. There is no Discussion section in a research proposal, either, because the Discussion section of a research report explains the results of the analysis and connects the results or findings with the original research question. In a research proposal, the Conclusion section summarizes the main points of the research plan and reminds the reader of why this proposed research matters and should be allowed to be conducted.