Assignment: Research Proposal – Draft of Method Section
This Assignment is part of the Final Project’s Research
Proposal that will be turned in at the end of Unit 9. In light of the
fact that this Assignment will be part of your MSP portfolio and should
represent the very best of your writing, the Assignment has been
designed to be completed in portions to permit feedback and revision.
The Assignment for this unit will produce a draft of your Method
section; the Unit 4 Assignment was a draft of the Introduction section;
and the Final Project in Unit 9 will incorporate revisions of both of
these earlier assignments as well as an abstract.
As noted, this Assignment represents the Method section
of your Research Proposal. It should have a title page and references
page but should be formatted per the APA Publication Manual’s outline of
a Method section (see page 44 of the APA Publication Manual for a
graphic and description of the formatting). When it is revised for
inclusion in the Final Project, some changes will need to be made, but
if you have done well here, those changes will be minor.
The Method section of a Research Proposal is like the
instructions portion of a recipe. It outlines in very specific terms
everything that is necessary to cook the dish (to perform the research
and collect the data). This includes describing the ingredients in very
specific detail (describing the participants and how they are recruited,
describing any apparatus or other materials necessary for the research
to move forward) and then giving very detailed instructions on how make
the dish (the procedure…how one will do the actual research). As with
any other recipe, if anything is vague or left out of the description,
the result will NOT be what was intended.
The Method section for the Research Proposal in this
course will have five subsections, arranged in this order: Participants,
Apparatus/Materials, Measures, Procedure, and Ethical Considerations.
Apart from these subsections, there should be no other material in the
Under “Participants,” the population to be sampled from
should be clearly described and the method of sampling (random,
stratified, etc.) described along with the rationale for why that method
will be used and how the actual recruitment will be performed.
“Apparatus/Materials” will describe any equipment or
other materials that will be needed for the research. If you intend to
use a questionnaire or inventory, it should be clearly identified here.
The “Measures” subsection describes the variables being
assessed in the study. Describe the independent and dependent variables,
how they will be analyzed, and how you will assess the reliability and
validity of the measures.
The “Procedure” subsection must be completed in enough
detail to ensure that someone else reading it could replicate the
experiment exactly as proposed. Referring back to the recipe metaphor:
if the recipe doesn’t clearly and exactly describe every step, each
person using the recipe is likely to wind up with a very different food
at the end. The procedure section should also clearly indicate what type
of experimental design is being used (“quantitative, between-subjects
The final subsection, “Ethical Considerations” will
discuss appropriate ethical issues that might arise from performing the
research: informed consent, privacy issues, etc. Don’t simply give a
laundry list of the APA standards; discuss them in terms of your
proposal and how you will ensure that you are in accord with the
guidelines. If there are BACB guidelines that might also come into play
here, they should also be discussed.
To recap in an outline format:
- Formal title page (this title page will not be included in the Final Project)
- Method section
- Participants subsection (describing population to be tested, describing sampling plan)
- Materials subsection (describing all equipment and materials needed)
- Measures subsection (describing variables to be controlled/measured as well as a discussion of reliability and validity)
- Procedure subsection (detailed description of how the research is to
be done, sufficient to permit replication. Clearly label research
- Ethical considerations subsection (discuss APA ethical guidelines
with respect to how they must be implemented for the research. ABA
students should also discuss anything relevant from BACB guidelines.)
- References (materials from this page and the Unit 4 Assignment’s references page will be concatenated in the Final Project)
The Assignment should:
- Follow Assignment directions (review grading rubric for best results).
- Use correct APA formatting per the APA Publication Manual, 6th Edition.
- Demonstrate college-level communication through the composition of original materials in Standard American English.