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SOC391/FAS361: Research Methods Visconti

PROPOSAL PROJECT OVERVIEW
PROJECT OVERVIEW
Throughout this course you will gain experience as a real-life researcher by developing parts of
your own research proposal! A critical piece of the research process is obtaining funding, but
only proposals that convincingly justify the merit of a study are funded. Accordingly, you will
complete a series of assignments throughout the course based on the hypothetical call for
proposals described below. Each of the assignments will contain multiple goals, representing a
section of your final proposal. These assignments will build into a final research proposal that will
be presented to a board of your peers to review (acting as a peer reviewer will also be part of
your grade!). In this document, you will find the call for proposals, describing the purpose of the
research proposal, and a brief overview of each assignment. Specific instructions and grading
criteria will be provided for each assignment.

THE CALL FOR PROPOSALS
Overview

ASU needs your help! The Office of Academic Success wants to better understand what leads
to success in college and wants to hire a research professional (that’s you!) to come up with and
conduct a study to address this question. They have put out a call for research proposals. Each
proposal should outline a clear plan to provide research-based evidence of something that
relates to academic success among undergraduate college students. But what that plan
consists of will be up to you!

Many things may be related to success in college. Is it the way you were raised as a child? Is it
your experiences as a high school student? Is it the way that you approach your classes as a
college student? It is up to you to determine what set of variables will be most important to
examine!

Cost

The Office of Academic Success is willing to provide a budget of $50,000 to fund the selected
research proposal. As such, the study that you describe must not exceed this cost! You will be
asked to construct a budget that includes costs related to data collection, travel, participant
incentives, etc. You will be given figures to use in your budget, but how you utilize these values is
up to you! Remember, it is important to balance cost with the quality of the study and this will
be taken into account when your proposals are evaluated by the ASU panel.

Timeframe

Proposed studies can be cross-sectional or longitudinal, spanning any length of time. However,
keep in mind that you need to provide a clear justification of your choice and it must fit into the
allotted budget. There are trade-offs! Longer studies may provide stronger evidence for your
hypothesis, but are also more costly! Cross-sectional studies present challenges in drawing
conclusions, but are more cost effective and may allow you to allocate your resources to a
larger sample size!

SOC391/FAS361: Research Methods Visconti

ASSIGNMENT OVERVIEW
You will complete a series of assignments throughout the course that will build into a final
research proposal that will be presented to a board of your peers to review (acting as a peer
reviewer will also be part of your grade!). Each of the assignments will contain multiple goals,
representing a section of your final proposal. Specific instructions and grading criteria will be
provided for each assignment. A brief overview of the assignments is provided below:

The first assignment focuses on presenting the overarching theme of your proposal. Specifically,
in the first assignment you will create the following section of your proposal:

1. A proposal introduction that clearly outlines the purpose of the proposal, the specific
variables that will be examined, why they are important, and how this relates to the
stakeholder’s goals. The introduction should be 1-2 pages in length, double-spaced.

In the second assignment, you will provide important information about the structure of your
research study, including outlining the ethical procedures you will follow, describing who your
sample will consist of, and explaining the research design that you will utilize to explore your
hypotheses. Specifically, in the second assignment you will create the following sections of your
proposal:

1. An overview of ethical procedures that will be followed in the research study and an
informed consent form. The research ethics section should be 1-2 pages in length.

2. A detailed participants section, describing who the study sample will consist of, including
target sample size and demographic information, and how sampling and recruitment will
occur. The participants section should be 1-2 pages in length, double-spaced.

3. A description of the specific design of the research study, including the number of data
collection points (for example, will the study be cross-sectional or longitudinal?). The
design should also outline whether the study will be experimental or correlational, and
where data collection will occur (for example, in a lab-setting or somewhere else?). The
research design section should be 1-2 pages in length.

The third assignment will dive into more detailed information about how you will collect the data
necessary to address your research question and explore your hypotheses, describing two
distinct methods of data collection that will be utilized, and a budget that outlines how the
budgeted funds will be allocated. Specifically, in the third assignment you will create the
following sections of your proposal:

1. A semi-detailed overview of one methodology that will be used to collect data on a
variable of interest. You may choose from survey, observation, or interview. This
section should include an overview of the method, a justification of the choice of
method, and a separate sheet that outlines the specific procedural element of the
method. This may include a survey, an observational coding procedure, or an
interview script. This section should be 1-2 pages in length, double-spaced, plus an
additional addendum that outlines the specific procedural element.

2. A semi-detailed overview of the second methodology that will be used to collect
data on a variable of interest. Again, you may choose from survey, observation, or
interview, but the second method must be different than the first method described
in this section. This section should be 1-2 pages in length, double-spaced, plus an
additional addendum that outlines the specific procedural element.

SOC391/FAS361: Research Methods Visconti

3. A budget worksheet that outlines the specific costs of the project. You will be given
set costs for different items and will need to determine how best to utilize the funds
while most efficiently designing your study. You will create a budget justification that
outlines these costs and why they are important. The budget justification should be
approximately 1 page in length, double-spaced. You will also turn in the budget
worksheet itself.

The fourth assignment will consist of your completed proposal. You will receive feedback for
each of the first three assignments that should be integrated into your completed proposal. In
addition, you will add a compelling conclusion to your proposal that lists specific hypotheses
and reiterates the value of the research and the specific methodology that will be used. The
conclusion should be one page in length, double-spaced. Your final, completed proposal will
be posted to a small-group discussion board, in which you and your peers will serve as proposal
reviewers.

Your final assignment will be to serve as a proposal reviewer! You will be assigned to small group
discussion boards consisting of 3-4 students. Each student will post their complete, polished
proposal. You will then review each of your group member’s proposals and ask them one
question on the discussion board. These questions should serve to have the proposal author
clarify or elaborate on their choices. You are required to then answer the questions that have
been posed to you. Finally, you will complete a one-page review form on each of the posted
proposals and write a brief justification that outlines which proposal you would choose to fund
and why. The review forms will be turned in to the instructor, not to the proposal author.

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