PROPOSAL ELEMENTS EXAMPLE The Proposal Elements are required in General Education 610: Educational Research Interpretation. You are mastering a process. Topic content is a mere vehicle for applying the elements. The exemplifying content is NOT complete. Your proposal sections will be developed. This draft is intended to provide students with a working guide for preparing the first three chapters of their field project or thesis. It is the student‟s responsibility to develop a viable and meaningful research topic. This document provides you with scaffolding; you build the topic. Chapter I is organized from the general to the specific. Students develop the general topic, then the purpose of the study, next the problem statement, and ultimately the research questions. Pay particular attention to delimitations and the significance of the study. The limitations will be revisited in several parts of Chapter III. Other faculty members may prefer a different organizational structure in Chapter I and Chapter III. The research questions are presented in Chapter I and revisited in Chapter III. Operational definitions and hypotheses do not appear in Chapter I, but are detailed in Chapter III. Operational definitions lead to variables and hypotheses are embedded within specific research designs and statistical analyses tools that are integral to Chapter III. Some of the details to be considered in Chapter III may not be relevant to your proposed study, but many will be relevant. You will address adequately each consideration that you‟ve found to be an issue in your review of the literature. You will discuss all sections, but some may be dismissed with a sentence or two. Understanding your research problem, the research questions, definitions, hypotheses, and all aspects of the methodology, design, and analysis help you avoid potential problems and many threats to internal validity. Do not consider the details to be trivial; they are essential to your success. You will develop all instruments, protocols, and procedures. Discuss these in Chapter III and place the full documents in Appendices. Note that instruments are the concrete embodiment of your operational definitions and they provide the data using as variables in your study. How do you find research information to address all of the elements in Chapter I and Chapter III? You use this draft as a set of advanced organizers when you read, analyze, and summarize research in your review of the literature. (I conceive of the “review of the literature” as an active cognitive process, not a mere chapter in your study.) Your organization of Chapter III will control, and typically cause a rewrite of, Chapter I. Chapter III is about the doable and the doing of your research. The learning and writing processes are iterative with feedback and feed-forward. Feedback provides the information for you to move forward. Get the draft written. Let‟s talk. CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Introduction (don’t label this introductory section) Write a few paragraphs that introduce the research topic. Your introduction to the topic focuses the reader‟s attention on the domain of interest. What is the real world context of your topic? This will lead to the next section. Major aspects of research directed toward the explication of the educational attainment process have involved analyses of the causal relationships obtaining between background, intervening variables, and adult achievement (Reiss, Duncan, Hatt, & North, 1977; Blau & Duncan, 1967; Sewell & Shaw, 1967; Alexander & Eckland, 1974, 1975; Boudon, 1973; Coleman, et al, 1966; Duncan, Featherman, & Duncan, 1972; Treiman, 1977). Most of the studies have been limited to white males residing in suburban or urban settings; a few researchers focused attention on blacks, females, rural populations, immigrants, and cross national comparisons (Duncan & Duncan, 1968; Alexander & Eckland, 1974; Portes, McLeod, & Parker, 1978; McClendon, 1976; Hout & Morgan, 1975; Gottfredson, 1981; Garrison, 1982; Featherman & Hauser, 1976; Kerckhoff, 1977). Rural and minority students in the sparsely populated Southwest have been underrepresented in these studies. The role of minority students‟ home language has not been studied adequately. Purpose of the Study This component provides the reader with a more detailed introduction to the research and discusses the purpose of the research. This section provides the reader with an introduction to the rationale of the study within a background or context. This “overview” or “background” typically includes a brief review of the literature (a paragraph or two to a few pages) that describes who has done relevant research in the past and what has been learned. The general goal of this study is the investigation of the educational attainment process in terms of the relationships between a set of six background and three intervening variables and post-secondary educational plans of high school students in a rural New Mexico school district. Prior research will be replicated by using a causal attainment model that has been employed successfully with other populations. Rural Spanish origin students are the focus of this study. The background variable of home language is introduced into the model. Problem Statement The problem statement clearly and concisely presents the goal of the research, i.e., the nature of the problem that requires additional research. Earlier sections (see above) frame and outline the problem. In this section you identify the exact problem(s) you will address in this study. Explicate the need for your research (its significance and meaningfulness related to prior research) beyond reasonable doubt. Don‟t research problems where current solutions are adequate or where the problem is going away on their own. The first major problem to be studied focuses on the determination of the proportion of variance that can be explained in a set of intervening variables and a final outcome variable by a prior set of background variables used in the causal attainment model. Does gender play a role in determining the proportion of variance explained in the model? The second major problem to be studied focuses on specifying a causal model of students ‟ educational attainment process that is based on prior research. What are the relationships between students‟ plans for college and the background and intervening variables in terms of direct and indirect effects? An important aspect of this study will involve the determination of the role played by home language in the model of the causes of the college plans of the students. Another aspect of this study will be to determine the sex-related relationships inherent within the model of the causes of the college plans held by the students. Findings will be compared to prior research. Research Questions State the specific questions to be studied. Each question is singular in subject. Identify all constructs and variables to be employed with each research question. For all students, female students, and male students, what is the proportion of variance accounted for in intervening and outcome variables by prior variables in the model? For all students, female students, and male students, what are the decomposed direct and indirect components or effects and relationships of background and intervening variables on the outcome variable? Delimitation What are the limits or boundaries of your study? The replication of the basic educational attainment model is applied to the high school population (census) of one rural, predominately minority, school district in New Mexico. The basic design is a replication of the basic causal model employed in status attainment research during the past fifty years. The notions employed in the causal model should not be taken to represent strict ontological, or even experimental, notions of causality. “At all times, statements about the „causes‟ of a variable will refer to the particular model under discussion and are not intended to have any special ontological validity with respect to the real world” (Duncan, Featherman, & Duncan, 1972, p. 8-9). The terminology associated with variables used in causal models may be different from conventional or other common uses. The background variables are exogenous variables and the intervening variables are endogenous variables. Endogenous or intervening variables may be treated as dependent or independent in relation to other variables in a causal model. Kerlinger & Pedhauzer (1973) say that “no attempt is made to explain the variability of an exogenous variable or its relations with other exogenous variables. An endogenous variable, on the other hand, is one whose variance is explained by exogenous or endogenous variables in the system” (p. 308). Limitations State known or assumed weaknesses or flaws in the study. State assumptions about variables used in the study (if any). It is assumed that the students‟ and parents‟ responses on the survey instrument represent honest and true descriptions, opinions, and attitudes. It is assumed that the student data derived from school district records are accurate. The data appear to meet the assumptions necessary to employ multiple regression analyses and path analyses. The number of participants (students with scores on the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills) will limit conclusions drawn from these data to the population studied and possibly similar populations. Significance of the Study This is similar to the “significance and meaningfulness” stated above , but specific to this research. How does your research contribute to theory or to applied practice grounded in theory? What are the benefits of this research and for whom? This can‟t be trivial. The significance of this study is that its execution extends the basic educational attainment process model to include rural Spanish origin ethnic minority students whose home language often is not English but is Spanish. Research attention is focused on background and intervening variables that may affect the educational attainment process of many rural minority students in New Mexico and the Southwest. The explication of the basic educational attainment process of minority students will facilitate the identification of variables that may be manipulated to enhance the educational attainment of minority students within the Southwest and New Mexico. Organization of the Remainder of the Study Briefly summarize your study and describe the contents of the remaining chapters (this is like a Table of Contents in paragraph form). In Chapter I the introduction is presented. The purpose of the study, the problem statement, and the research question are discussed. Delimitations and limitations are specified. The significance of the study, including the research contribution to theory or applied research, is developed. In Chapter II the review of the literature is presented. The review of the literature is organized into four sections: (a) the attainment process from the perspective of mobility and stratification within society, (b) minorities and the attainment process, (c) language and the attainment process, and (d) a summary. In Chapter III the research methodologies employed in the research are presented. The research question is restated. Operational definitions are presented that connect the research question to the hypotheses. All variables are defined. Null and research hypotheses are specified. The alpha level for rejecting the null hypothesis is stated for each null hypothesis. The population and sample are discussed. The research design is specified and its appropriateness for the study is explained. All instrumentation is developed and includes: (a) measurement scales, (b) validity, (c) reliability, (d) permission letters, and (e) pilot testing of instruments and procedures and revisions, if necessary. Procedures are discussed and the reader is referred to an Appendix for complete documentation of procedures. All data analyses are described and explained and include: (a) data collection, coding, and computer entry; (b) missing or spurious data and how and why these will be handled; (c) data transformations and which, why, and how; (d) outlier detection and handling; (e) statistical conclusion validity (specific statistical techniques and the assumptions for using the statistical techniques and how these assumptions are met, how will you answer the research questions or statistical hypotheses, what comparisons or contrasts or differences or relationships or interactions are addressed by using your statistical techniques, and is collinearity an issue and how addressed); (f) power is considered and analyzed, and (g) effect size is discussed and included in the study. CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE Introduction (don’t label this introductory section) Write a few paragraphs that introduce the literature review relevant to the research topic. Identify the various streams, branches, or traditions of research or thought grounding your study. Identify the major theories and controversial topics (if any) relevant to your study. Include all subtopics to be reviewed below (these will be the organizational structure of the review of the literature). There is not a specific format. You must plan, design, and construct a literature review structure that grounds and exemplifies your study. Your reading of relevant primary research (even some secondary or meta studies) will help you place your study within the larger and prior research domain. Don‟t expect to “see” this structure before you become versed in the prior research literature. You will organize the review so that your study “steps out of” or follows from prior research. The literature reviewed must be woven into a logical and sequential pattern leading to the point at which knowledge lacks or is conflicted in practical or theoretical answers related to your study. You will summarize, not string together quotes of prior research. You will use primary research and you will cite all quotes and paraphrases. The citations will be detailed. Use secondary sources if and only if the primary sources are not available (in any meaningful manner and time). The review of the literature includes research conducted regarding the processes of occupational attainment and educational attainment. Previous research efforts, both cross-sectional and longitudinal, have identified important causal links in the attainment process. The review of the literature includes four sections: (a) the attainment process from the perspective of mobility and stratification within society, (b) the minority attainment process, (c) language and the attainment process, and (d) a summary of the review of the literature. Organizational Sections (you plan, design, construct, and organize) In each section you will tell a story with the literature reviewed. It directly contributes to you study. Identify relevant researchers, theories, studies, constructs, methodologies, populations and subjects, analyses, compiled data, instruments, findings or results, and the relevance to and implications for your study. The review must be objective, comprehensive, timely, and historical (as needed). Don‟t look for and find only that which you want to see; be balanced and objective. The Attainment Process From the Perspective of Mobility and Stratification Within Society The phenomena of mobility and stratification have been major concerns to educators, sociologists, psychologists, economists and others for a number of years. Status and achievement have been central to intergenerational and intragenerational mobility and stratification research during the last fifty years. Status attainment research, as an aspect of stratification research, has been described as an “inquiry into factors affecting the success/failure of individuals with different resources and abilities competing within an open opportunity structure” (Horan, 1978, p. 538). Minorities and the Attainment Process Duncan and Hodge (1963) found that education was central to understanding the relationships of background with occupational socioeconomic status in 1940 and in 1950. Education was more important in determining occupational achievement than father‟s occupation, and it accounted for an important part of the effect of father‟s occupation on the son‟s occupational achievement (p. 637). The relations of background and outcomes or social rewards a person gained were important because of equality and inequality. This held equally for education, occupations, and income. Coleman (1973) stated that if “all sons from high-income families come to have high income, and all sons from low-income families come to have low income, then there would be high inequality in this…sense. This is what is meant by „inequality of opportunity,‟ and it is…the source of recent equalizing movements….” (p. 130). Language and the Attainment Process The review of the literature pertaining to the role of language in the attainment process, though limited, suggested the importance of language for many minorities and immigrants. The level of English language usage or background appeared significant in the basic attainment process. Faia (1981), in a study using data from the 1977 National Opinion Research Center (NORC) General Social Survey, reported educational attainment figures for a representative sample of English-speaking, noninstitutional adults in the United States. Faia (1981) found that “fully 26.3% of the 950 respondents included…held no diploma at all (p. 1101). This may have been representative of the United States in general, but it does not appear to be representative of the minority population in New Mexico who may be affected by a limited level of English language usage. Knowledge of English was an important determinant of educational, occupational, and income aspirations of recent Mexican immigrants. But for Cubans it was a significant determinant of only educational aspirations (Portes, McCleod, & Parker, 1978, p. 253-254). Peng (1982) found that there were large differences among Hispanic groups. Sophomore Mexican-American home language usage indicated the 36% were English monolingual, 32% were English- dominant bilingual, 21% were Spanish-dominant bilingual, and 11% were Spanish monolingual. Sophomore Cubans indicated that their home language usage was 29% English dominant, 10% English-dominant bilingual, 37% Spanish-dominant bilingual, and 24% Spanish monolingual (p. 4). Mercer (1973) found that five variables accounted for 13.7% of the variance of the intelligence scores in Mexican-American children. The five most important variables in accounting for intelligence in these children were: less than 1.4 persons per room in the dwelling, mother expected some college for the child, head of household had nine or more years of education, English was spoken all or most of the time in the home, and the family owned their own home (p. 239). Summary This is a concise conceptual condensation of the contents of the chapter. Even within the basic model there were different results associated with quite similar variables. During the past five decades researchers have identified the basic process of differential attainment. Background variables (socioeconomic status, sex, ethnicity , age, family size, home language, and ability) have been shown to influence intervening variables (significant others, grades, and academic achievement test scores). It has been shown that these background and intervening variables in turn influenced educational plans and then together they all influenced ultimate educational attainment and later occupational attainment. Different results were due, in part, to the different populations studied, differences in the composition of the basic variables, and urban-rural and geographic or regional differences. Most American researchers have focused on urban and suburban majority males, and only infrequently on females, minorities, and rural populations. Yet virtually all researchers employing the basic model of stratified or differential attainment demonstrated the same basic pattern. Refinements were realized through continuing replication of the basic attainment model using different populations and similar intervening variables. Refinements of the basic model in this manner were activities within normal science as described by Kuhn (1962) reflect the power of this paradigmatic model (Porter, 1974; Kuhn, 1962). CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY Introduction (don’t label this introductory section) Write a paragraph that introduces the chapter and the sections to follow. Restatement of the Research Questions This restatement provides the reader with a concise reminder of the specific nature of your study. This focus leads to the sections below. For all students, female students, and male students, what is the proportion of variance accounted for in intervening and outcome variables by prior variables in the model? For all students, female students, and male students, what are the decomposed direct and indirect components or effects and relationships of background and intervening variables on the outcome variable? Definitions State all constructs and the corresponding operational definitions for all variables to be used in addressing the research questions. Do NOT use constitutive (dictionary) definitions, abbreviations, or filler not directly pertaining to the variables and the research questions. Do NOT insult your readers with information that is not directly relevant to the specific research questions. The scales utilized assessed parental occupational status, parental educational level, home language, family size, student self-reported cumulative grade point average, student total battery score on the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills, the perceived influence of significant others, and the college plans held by students. Each of these constructs will be defined operationally. Variables employed for sorting and testing of the model will be defined operationally. The sex of the students will be determined from school records and will be reported by students on the Superintendent-mandated survey of students and parents. Females will be coded 0 and males received the code of 1 for sex. The ethnicity of each student will be determined from school records and the survey of students and parents. The survey question of “Which ethnic group do you belong to?” had three possible responses: “Anglo,” “Hispanic,” or “Other.” Anglo students will be coded 1, Hispanic students received the code of 2, and Other students received the code number 3. The home language of each student will be determined from each student‟s response to the survey question that asked “What is the amount of Spanish and English spoken by parents, grandparents, etc. in your home?” Responses will be coded on a Likert scale. A response to “All Spanish and no English” will be coded with the number 1. A response to “Almost all Spanish and almost no English” will be coded with the number 2. A response to “Mostly Spanish and some English” will be coded with the number 3. A response to “Equal amounts of Spanish and English” will be coded with the number 4. A response to “Some Spanish and mostly English” will be coded with the number 5. A response to “Almost no Spanish and almost all English” will be coded with the number 6. A response to “No Spanish and all English” will be coded with the number 7. A response to “Another language that‟s neither Spanish nor English” will be coded with the number 8 (there were no responses to this response option). Each student reported his or her grade point average (GPA) in response to the survey question “What is your total (cumulative) school grade point average?” In the instances where letter grades were reported, instead of the continuous interval scale score, the letter grades will be converted to the 4-point scales utilized in the school. An “F” received the code of 0, “D” received the code of 1, “C” received the code of 2, “B” received the code of 3, and “A” received the code of 4. The Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills (CTBS) score will be each student‟s CTBS Total Battery score. The normal curve equivalent score for each student will be recorded from school CTBS class source documents. The students‟ educational plans will be ascertained from the survey item that stated “I plan on going to college after high school.” Responses will be on a Likert scale with 1 meaning “Very Strongly Agree” and ranging to 6 meaning “Very Strongly Disagree”. The influence of significant others perceived by the student will be the unweighted sum of responses to three Likert survey items. The three significant others college plan survey items are: “My best friends plan on going to college after high school,” “My parents plan on me going to college after high school,” and “My teachers plan on me going to college after high school.” Each response will be coded on the scale where 1 means “Very Strongly Agree” ranging to 6 meaning “ Very Strongly Disagree”. Father‟s education will be coded as the actual number of years of school completed and recorded by the father on the survey. The survey item will be “What is the total number of years of all formal school or education completed by the father (for example, high school graduation = 12 years, high school + 2 years college or business school = 14 years)?” Mother‟s education is coded as the actual number of years of school completed and recorded by the mother on the survey. The survey item is “What is the total number of years of all formal school or education completed by the mother (for example, high school graduation = 12 years, high school + 2 years college or business school = 14 years)?” Family size will be coded as the actual number of persons indicated by the parent or parents responding to the survey. The survey item is “What is the total number of family members (parents, children, and others) living in your home?” Father‟s job will be determined from parent responses to two items on the survey. The survey items are: “What is the name of the job or career held by the father most of the time during the past five years? (name of the job or career)” and “What kind of things does the father do in his job or career? (describe).” The open-ended responses will be coded into scores on the Duncan Socioeconomic Index (SEI) scale, revised on the basis of the 1970 Census categories (Featherman & Stevens, 1982, p. 141-181). Featherman and Stevens named the revised scale the MSEI2. Mother‟s job will be determined from parent responses to two items on the survey. The survey items are: “What is the name of the job or career held by the mother most of the time during the past five years? (name of the job or career)” and “What kind of things does the mother do in her job or career? (describe).” The open-ended responses will be coded into scores on the Duncan Socioeconomic Index (SEI) scale, revised on the basis of the 1970 Census categories (Featherman & Stevens, 1982, p. 141-181). The revised MSEI2 is based on 426 occupational titles from the 1970 census occupational classifications and has a minimum score of 11.13 and a maximum score of 88.65. The correlation coefficient of the original Duncan socioeconomic index and the revised MSEI2 of occupational standing of current occupations of men in the United States aged 25-64 as of March 1973 was 0.942 (Featherman & Stevens, 1982, p. 152). Featherman & Stevens (1982) observe that the MSEI2 explains “more variance in current occupational differences for women (as well as for men) than any other index. The same observation applies if one argues that a common rather than a sex-specific scale should be used in sex comparative analysis (p. 163). The coding of father‟s occupational status and mother‟s occupational status into the revised MSEI2 scores matched job or career names and descriptions to the occupational titles in the MSEI2 list. Hypotheses State each null hypothesis in declarative and symbolic form for each research question. Then state each corresponding research hypothesis in declarative and symbolic form. There must be a one-to-one correspondence between research questions and hypotheses. State the alpha level for rejecting the null hypotheses. Four null hypotheses are derived from the first research question: Ho01 through Ho04. Each of these null hypotheses are tested for all students, female students, and male students. Thus these four null hypotheses are repeated for a total of twelve null hypotheses that correspond to the first research question. The null hypotheses in their general form state that the multiple regression proportion of variance accounted for is zero. Symbolically these null hypotheses are: Ho: R2 = 0. Alpha for rejecting the null hypotheses is set to 0.005. Four research hypotheses are derived from the first research question: Ha01 through Ha04. Each of these research hypotheses are tested for all students, female students, and male students. Thus these four research hypotheses are repeated for a total of twelve research hypotheses that correspond to the first research question. The alternative or research hypotheses in their general form state that the multiple regression proportion of variance accounted or is not zero. Symbolically these alternative hypotheses are: Ha: R2 - 0. Ha01: FathersÕ MSEI2, fathersÕ education, mothersÕ MSEI2, mothersÕ education, home language, and family size account for a statistically significant proportion of the variance in studentsÕ GPA. Ha02: FathersÕ MSEI2, fathersÕ education, mothersÕ MSEI2, mothers‟ education, home language, family size, and students‟ GPA account for a statistically significant proportion of the variance in students‟ CTBS. Ha03: Fathers‟ MSEI2, fathers‟ education, mothers‟ MSEI2, mothers‟ education, home language, family size, students‟ GPA, and students‟ CTBS account for a statistically significant proportion of the variance in perceived influence of significant others. Ha04: Fathers‟ MSEI2, fathers‟ education, mothers‟ MSEI2, mothers‟ education, home language, family size, students‟ GPA, students‟ CTBS, and perceived influence of significant others account for a statistically significant proportion of the variance in the students‟ plans for college. Four research hypotheses are derived from the second research question: Hb01 through Hb04. Each of these research hypotheses is tested for all students, female students, and male students. Thus these four research hypotheses are repeated for a total of twelve research hypotheses that correspond to the second research question. The null hypotheses in their general form state that the direct and indirect standardized path coefficients, , are < 0.05. Symbolically these null hypotheses are: Ho: < 0.05. Hb01: Fathers‟ MSEI2, fathers‟ education, mothers‟ MSEI2, mothers‟ education, home language, and family size cause the students‟ GPA. Hb02: Fathers‟ MSEI2, fathers‟ education, mothers‟ MSEI2, mothers‟ education, home language, family size, and students‟ GPA directly and indirectly cause the students‟ CTBS. Hb03: Fathers‟ MSEI2, fathers‟ education, mothers‟ MSEI2, mothers‟ education, home language, family size, students‟ GPA, and students‟ CTBS directly and indirectly cause the perceived influence of significant others. Hb04: Fathers‟ MSEI2, fathers‟ education, mothers‟ MSEI2, mothers‟ education, home language, family size, students‟ GPA, students‟ CTBS, and perceived influence of significant others directly and indirectly cause the students‟ plans for college. Population and Sample You define and describe the target and accessible populations (or census). If a sample is to be used, then you must describe completely the sampling procedures. You will describe all sources of information relevant to sampling. The population in the county was different from the average population in the state in a number of important respects. The population in the county was poorer and less educated than the average in the state. The Spanish origin population predominated in the county and the school district. The population in the school district was more rural and more influenced by their Spanish heritage than the population of the county or the state. The rural Spanish origin population in the county was poorer and less educated than the Anglo population; both Spanish origins and Anglos are poorer and less educated than the average in the state (PC80-1-C33). Nearly 49% of the Spanish origin population in the county 25 years old or over in 1980 had less than a full high school education compared to 35.6% of the Anglo population. Only 17% of the Spanish origin persons in the county who were 25 years old or over in 1980 had one or more years of college education compared to 25.2% of the Anglo population (PC80-1-C33, p. 214). There were 21,852 persons of Spanish origin living in the county in 1980. Of these, 19,925, or slightly more than 91%, were born in the state. Slightly over 73% of the Anglo population in the county was born in the state (PC80-1-C33, p. 221). The percent of persons born in the county is in sharp contrast to that for the state: 54% of all persons in the state in 1980 were born in the state (PC80-1-C33, p. 11). Del Norte is a small rural school district located in the northern part of the state. The population from which the subjects for this study were drawn is the entire high school student body of Del Norte. The sample is the census of the population. High school student performance on the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills (CTBS) was fairly stable during recent years. Student achievement reported in the State Department of Education reports is in grade equivalent scores some years and in percentile scores in other years. During the 1977-78 school year the eleventh grade students at Del Norte achieved a grade equivalent score of 10.0 on the CTBS Total Battery; 57% of these students indicated they were planning on college (Young & Yoshida, 1979). During the 1978-79 school year the mean score statewide achieved by students in the eleventh grade is at the 41st percentile, when compared with national norms. Eleventh grade students at Del Norte achieved the 27 th percentile on the CTBS (Young, 1980). During the 1979-80 school year the mean score of eleventh grade students in the state on the CTBS is again at the 41st percentile. Eleventh grade students at Del Norte were well below national norms and achieved at the 34 th percentile on the CTBS (Cavatta, 1981). Research Methodology and Design The first paragraph includes a description of the broad class of research methodology to be employed in the study, i.e., quantitative or qualitative or mixed. The research methodology is connected to your research problem and is the same as or similar to those found in the review of the literature in similar research. The following paragraphs precisely describe the research design you will employ in the study. The design will be justified by being matched to your questions. You will explain how and why the design is the best for use in answering your questions. If possible, provide a diagram of the intended research design. An example would be a randomized pretest-posttest control group design. Another example would be a fixed-effects, completely randomized factorial design (CRF-pq) used to study interactions. Constructs, Operational Definitions, and Variables Clearly name and describe the constructs to be used in the study. These are based on constructs found in the review of the literature and they must relate to the research questions and the description of the sample studied. Restate the operational definitions that transform constructs through instruments or procedural protocols into variables. Describe the scale of measurement for each variable used in the study. What units of analysis will you use? Why? This will be similar to or based on prior research. It may be the units in the sample or some grouping of the sample units. Instrumentation The data collection instrument many times includes descriptive items that provide information necessary for interpretation of the research results. All construct or variable-related instrument items must be defined operationally (see above). The following subsections represent concerns that must be addressed. All items on any instrument must be included and justified as descriptively or operationally necessary. Each and every instrument to be used in the study must be described and must be in an Appendix. If you use another‟s instrument in any manner, you must be granted permission (in writing) or purchase usage and this granting must be in an Appendix. Be very clear about the difference in observed variables (phenomena) and their underlying constructs (this is why you need operational definitions and appropriate scales of measurement). Each of the following subsections must be addressed. Measurement Scales Validity Content-Related Criterion-Related Construct-Related Reliability (test-retest, split half, internal consistency, e.g., Coefficient Alpha) Pilot Testing and instrument and procedure revision Procedures Step-by-step planning, documentation, training, and execution of your study constitute instrumentation in a broad sense. Instrumentation includes questionnaires, surveys, data recordings, etc. Planning, documentation, training, and execution procedures are detailed in an Appendix and describe briefly in this section of the study. A detailed procedure manual, including a timeline, must bed prepared and rehearsed before implementation. This is the document in the Appendix. Data Analysis Briefly describe and explain what you will do to ensure the accuracy of the collection, coding, and computer entry of data. These detailed procedures must be specified in the Procedures in the Appendix. A number of technical issues pertaining to the analysis of data must be considered. You will address all that are relevant to your study. Develop a subsection for each of the following data analysis issues. Missing or Spurious Data. How will you handle these and why? Transformations of Data. Will transformations be needed, why, and which? Outliers. How will you detect and handle outliers (and why)? Statistical Conclusion Validity includes a discussion of the following issues: What specific statistical techniques will you use? Why? Explain your reasons for choosing your statistical or analytical techniques for answering your research questions? What are the assumptions for using the statistical techniques? How will the assumptions be met? How will you answer your research questions or formal statistical hypotheses? Do the statistical techniques address your research questions or hypotheses about comparisons, contrasts, differences, relationships, interactions, etc? Is collinearity an issue? Does the scaling of each independent and dependent variable provide maximum variability for statistical analysis? Are independent variables correlated? Are any dependent variables correlated? Power. Consider both the Lease Significant Number (LSN) and the Least Significant Value (LSV). Effect Size Coefficient. Which will you use and why is it appropriate? Will you report R2, , 2, partial 2, 2, or another coefficient and why?
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