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PSYC 515

Research: Intro and Method Assignment Instructions


This is the first written component of your research project. Review all relevant files / presentations as listed in the
Research Project Overview and this document. This project will refine your graduate level writing abilities and allow you to practice scientific writing skills. It also requires you to locate and read many research articles over a specific topic, discern which are most relevant, and use them to provide a review of literature while simultaneously building an argument for your proposed research study. This type of writing takes many revisions, so do not wait until the last minute to begin work on this assignment. (You are turning in a “final version” – not a draft!).


By this stage you should have already been approved to use your survey to collect data. You will now write the introduction and method sections of your research Document, transcribe your data to an SPSS file, and submit both for instructor feedback. Please read this document in its entirety before beginning this portion of your research project. There are three stages to this assignment as detailed below. This is the ONLY assignment in which you submit two separate files – you will also submit your SPSS data file within a single submission in Canvas. The entire assignment is worth a total of 60 points: up to 42 points are awarded based on correct content in both the word document and SPSS data file, and up to 18 points are awarded for structure in both the word document and SPSS data file. Submission instructions are reiterated at the bottom of these instructions.

The following stages are provided to help guide you through this assignment.

Stage 1: Read articles to locate the most relevant ones specific to your research project. You’ve already designed your survey based on previously validated scales or approved variables and copied the Reference entries from the Survey Instructions document. You can now locate those articles in the Jerry Falwell library to read to better understand those variables. (Note: for the first variable there was a citation – Hodge, 2003, Underwood, 2011, or Pargament et al., 2011; not all second variables had a reference provided).

In addition to the 1 – 2 articles used to validate your survey, you will need to find a minimum of FOUR additional articles that provide sufficient background to justify your research study. Thus, you will have a minimum of 5 – 6 articles discussed in your Introduction and included in your References for this phase. For the four articles you must find on your own:

· All should be from peer-reviewed journals. For a description of types of articles, please review Section 1 in the APA Manual.

· At least three of the articles should report primary, empirical, quantitative research; no more than one can be a literature review/theoretical/ or meta-analysis article. Discussion of the articles must include enough information to clearly identify what type of article is being discussed.

· All four articles should be used to provide context and justification for your study – thus, their relevance to your study must be clear. Each article does not have to be related to both of your chosen variables and they do not have to use the same scales as the ones you selected, but each should be clearly related to at least one of the constructs of interest in your study. All should be discussed in such as a way that methods and results are sufficiently described and relevance to your study is clear. Conclusions from the four studies you selected must form a foundation for understanding the merits of your study.

Stage 2: Write the following portions of your research Document: Introduction, Method, References, Appendix. Make sure you follow the APA guidelines for a
professional Document.
The following steps outline the systematic organization of the body within each of these sections.

1) Introduction: remember you use the title of the Document in title case, bold, and centered (2.11; Figure 2.4). Also include a running head and page numbers. Note both the title and running head should reflect your study’s topic – NOT that is it a phase or part of a class. You are already expected to be able to write at the graduate level in terms of grammar, syntax, and using your own words (no quotes or just switching out a few words – you must reword ideas and summarize other research). However, we are now also honing scientific writing skills. Thus, there is no page or word minimum. Be concise yet detailed. Do not be redundant or opinionated. There is a specific flow to all quantitative research articles. The body of your introduction should contain the following information IN THIS ORDER:

a. Frame the importance of the problem (3.4) – begin by clarifying the objective – whether it be theoretical, potential application, input for public policy, et cet..

b. Discuss at least 5 relevant articles (1 – 2 related to your survey; four selected by you).
Quotes are NOT allowed in this course – use your own words. This is to:

i. Provide a scope of the problem and its context

ii. Theoretical or practical implications

iii. Emphasize pertinent findings and major conclusions (make sure you use in-text citations and that all citations are included in the Reference section).

1. Describe similarities and differences among the research reviewed

2. Explain the relevance of each article to the proposed study

3. Discuss relevant methodological issues

c. Note: this section will be multiple paragraphs,
but it should NOT consist of an article per paragraph – use the articles you’ve chosen to provide an overview of the problem and ultimately, to justify your research idea. Always use a topic sentence to express the main idea for each paragraph (topic sentences rarely include citations). If the next paragraph does not flow easily, use a transition sentence at the end of the previous paragraph.

d. In the
final paragraph of your introduction (and NOT before this!), state the purpose and rationale for your proposed study.

i. State the problem (which is always a lack of information or contradictory findings in the field) and a rationale for further exploration. (This should be justified based on what you wrote in earlier paragraphs).

ii. End the Introduction by explicitly stating the alternate hypothesis (people do not state the null hypothesis in research articles, although remember that is what you are statistically testing!!). You also do not write the words “alternate hypothesis”. Rather, you can write something along the lines of “It is predicted that there is a relationship” or “It is hypothesized that there is a difference…”

iii. Remember “relationship” implies one type of statistical test whereas “difference” implies a different type of statistical test – so use the words to reflect what type of statistical test you’ll conduct!

2) Method: Continue with your use of proper formatting, noting that the Method does not start on a new page, rather it begins immediately after the last sentence in your introduction. Don’t forget to use the APA Manual as a guide. Level 2 headings for your Method section must include
(in this order and in APA format):

a. Participants –
include the number of participants, a description of the participants, and sampling procedures

b. Materials –
include a description of the survey questions used, including citations where appropriate (e.g., if you use spirituality you should cite Hodge, 2003). Don’t include assumed items (e.g., pencils to complete a survey).

c. Procedure –
summarizes where the study took place (e.g., church, small group, Facebook) and the experience of the participants in a detailed and organized manner – this will be very short.

d. Analysis –
state how the variables are operationally defined (e.g., responses to the seven questions affiliated with anxiety are averaged, ranging from 1 – 7, with higher numbers indicating greater anxiety), alpha value (we always use 0.05), what statistical test will be used to answer the research question (e.g., independent samples t-test), and what version of SPSS is being used to analyze the data. Hint: Due to the brief nature of the course, the statistical test is most likely one reviewed in the first few weeks of PSYC 515 that was covered also in PSYC 510.

3) References: 5-6 entries minimum following guidelines stated above. Use Sections 9 – 10 in the APA Manual for proper formatting.

4) Appendix: Include a copy of your approved survey in an Appendix as the last page of your single word document (see Section 2 in the APA Manual).

Stage 3: Data entry in SPSS

· Every single
question from your survey must be clearly labeled and entered into SPSS
in addition to your final calculated variables. Although you may not use all of this data in your analysis, it is imperative as it allows the instructor to ensure your calculations were correct.

· For instance, you may have six questions for the construct “spirituality”. However, none of these would be used in your SPSS analysis – you are to average them (per directions in the
Research Project Survey Instructions file from Module 1). In your SPSS data file, I would expect to see the individual answers to all six of these questions PLUS an averaged spirituality column. All columns must be labeled to clearly identify what they are related to (e.g, spirituality1; spirituality2; AveSpirituality). You will only use the “AveSpirituality” column for statistical analyses but all are required in this assignment to ensure the variable was correctly combined.
Failure to include all participant answers will result in a significant deduction of points on this assignment.

· Refer to the
Survey Data Compilation Instructions document in this week’s Module for an example of how to go from data collection to combining all surveys into SPSS for data analysis. This document has three completed example surveys and then pictures of how the data entry would look in SPSS in both Data and Variable Views.

· Note in this example, the survey is comprised of nine questions. All 9 questions would be individually represented in the SPSS file with descriptive names (NOT Q1, Q2, et cet). Since questions 3 – 9 in this example survey are about anxiety, they could be named Anxiety1, Anxiety2, et cet. However, all of these questions are concerning ONE construct – anxiety. In this instance, anxiety was calculated by totaling responses from all 7 questions related to anxiety and then multiplied by 2. Therefore, the SPSS data file for this assignment would need to have 10 columns of data (1 demographic, 1 for organizational religiosity, and 8 for anxiety).

Submission Instructions. You will be submitting TWO files:

1. Word document (.doc or .docx) containing an Introduction, Method, References, and Appendix (survey)

2. SPSS data file with all data from every question on the survey PLUS any reserve scored, summed, averaged, et cet variables (.sav)

Note: Your assignment will be checked for originality via the Turnitin plagiarism tool.

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