Student Behavior in the Classroom Research Proposal

Think of this as a 3 page long take home final exam essay question.

Overview: The goal of this exercise is for you to demonstrate your ability to carry out a research project using the Deductive scientific method. You will propose a research project in its entirety, but will not collect or analyze any data. The proposal will be completed in a level of detail such that any person could pick up your proposal, follow your design and implement the study with no additional information. You will choose ONE of the following data collection techniques-Observation, Content analysis; Survey. You only need to propose a study using One type of data collection. Ignore all instructions that do not pertain to your chosen method.

The entire goal is to show off how much you have learned. Even if you feel like you are stating the obvious in any section of the assignment, state it. State it using vocabulary you learned in this class. Show off all your research methods knowledge!

Step 1: Topic selection. Write a paragraph stating your research question and why it is worth researching. (You may not use a topic that you used on a previous assignment!) You will need to select a topic which is sociological in nature and that will be examined deductively. Propose a project that you could carry out in a reasonable amount of time with minimal resources. The goal is not for you to be high-brow and complicated with this. The goal is to show you learned something this semester. So simple topics similar to what I have used in class are appropriate (advising at WKU; Student attendance at athletic events…)

  1. Observation method: I highly suggest proposing observing a behavior that could be observed on WKU’s campus. Such as: Student interaction at DSU; Student/employee interaction at DSU. Student behavior in a classroom…..
  2. Content analysis method: I highly suggest proposing analysis of some readily available content. Such as songs, music videos, movies, titles of bestselling novels. In this way you can easily set a sampling frame as there are “lists” of these items on the internet. (I.e. New York Times Best seller list; Billboard Top 100 songs of 2017…)
  3. Survey research method: Same as above, something you know about in terms of WKU student life would be appropriate. Don’t try to be fancy or complicated.

Step 2: State your hypothesis. Remember that the hypothesis statement is a formal statement of how your dependent variable is related to your independent variable in the social setting you have chosen to observe.

Step 3: Describe your dependent variable and its formal operationalization. This step involves choosing a level of measurement and specifically defining your variables in a measurable way.

  1. Observation method: Explicitly describe the observational cues you will use for categorizing people’s behavior. Basically you will either count how many times (or how long) a person does something, or you will categorize their behavior. If you categorize, your operationalization should be focused on defining differences between categories. If you count, your operationalization is focused on defining exactly when the behavior you are counting begins and ends.
  2. Content analysis: What will you be observing? Will you be counting words? Length of time something is happening?
  3. Survey Research method: How will you measure your concepts.

Step 4: Describe your independent variable and its formal operationalization.

  1. Observation method: Same as above, but for independent variable.
  2. Content analysis: Same as above, but for independent variable.
  3. Survey Research method: Same as above, but fore independent variable.

Step 5: Plan your sampling protocol. The goal of this section is for you to show me what you have learned about sampling this semester. You must be very specific and you must accurately use the vocabulary learned in our chapter on sampling. For example, don’t state “I am going select a sample.” Describe exactly in detail how you are going to “use a random number generator to select a simple random sample”…. (or whatever technique you use, describe in detail) Use vocabulary such as “population” “sampling frame” “unit of analysis”

  1. Observation method: Explicitly define in writing when (what time of day) and where you will collect your data and who your sample will be. Your sampling protocol is very important as it enables other researchers to replicate your results.
  2. Content analysis method: Clearly state your sampling frame. Provide documentation of how this sampling frame is going to be created, or if it exists as a list somewhere, indicate where that list can be found (such as a web address). Then, describe how you will select your sample from the frame. Make sure your unit of analysis is clear.
  3. Survey method: Assume that you have the resources/access to respondents you desire in order to distribute your surveys according to your sampling frame –as long as it is in-line with the ethical practices you learned throughout the semester. Use all appropriate concepts and vocabulary around sampling.

Step 6: Create your data collection instrument. In this section, you will not only present your instrument, but you must discuss it. This means explain to me how your instrument measures your independent and dependent variable. You must discuss how your instrument will address reliability and validity.

  1. Observation Method: Create recording sheets. After your plan is ready, create recording sheets for structured observations
  2. Content analysis: Same as Observation sheets.
  3. Survey method: Create your survey here. Write at least 5 closed ended survey questions and 3 open ended questions that will measure your concepts. Be exactingly clear as to how each question measures a concept. Make sure you follow all the guidelines for writing “good” questions. Be sure that you specifically link each question to the measurement of an Independent or dependent variable.

Step 7: Ethics implications. Briefly explain any ethical considerations that need to be made in regards to your proposed research. Note: The answer here will never be “there are no ethical considerations.” Even if there are no considerations, you must explain, in terms of ethics language, why there is no concern. State the obvious—what are we usually concerned about with ethics and then explain why you don’t have that concern with your project.

General guidelines

This paper should be double spaced, 12 point font, one inch margins. You may use the 7 steps as headers for your document. But the document should be written in paragraph form using complete sentences and proper grammar/mechanics. You may use indentations, single spacing etc., as needed for clarity. You may use the first person pronoun “I” when referring to the steps you will take. While this assignment does not ask you to incorporate outside sources, but always be sure to properly cite anytime you use anyone else’s ideas or words. When citing, please use ASA or APA format.

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