Process of Research Proposal

The purpose of this assignment is: 1) to illustrate how research is a scientific process we use in every aspect of our lives, 2) to learn how to design and conduct a research study and 3) to demonstrate how you can apply what you have learned in class.
Throughout the semester we learned how to: formulate a research question, measure concepts (define and operationalize), sample, collect data, and analyze data. This assignment challenges you to “put it all together.” In addition to the concepts learned in research, you will incorporate your knowledge of theories from your other classes. In essence, your final product is a written proposal that illustrates your ability to think carefully about conducting research.
Your proposed study should be designed to establish whether or not a social work intervention is effective in treating an identified issue. Topic areas will be discussed in class and individually with the professor.
Use the following template — Use the main headings and put them in your paper, as your guide to ensure you cover all aspects of the assignment. Total length of narrative should be 5-7 pages. Cover sheet, abstract, appendix, and reference page are not included in the page limit.

  1. Title Page (APA format)
  2. Abstract (see APA word length; write the abstract AFTER proposal content is complete)
    a. Typically, one paragraph in length.
    b. Contains information from each section of your proposal.
  3. Background/Literature Review (about 7 — 10 paragraphs)
    a. The purpose of this section of your paper is to:
    i. Show evidence that a problem exists ii. Review what others have done to try to address, fix, solve this problem iii. Establish a rationale for investigating the intervention you believe might help resolve the problem.
    iv. A minimum of 4 current (within ten years) reputable sources are needed
    b. The section format should include:
    i. Introduction and Problem Statement. Briefly introduce what you are studying. Explain why this problem area is important/significant to social work. Be sure to cite sources that help you establish that a problem exists including what is known about the prevalence, risk factors & consequences of the problem.
    ii. Review of the Literature: You will need at least 5 (and probably more) peer-reviewed articles to do a thorough job on the literature review. In the literature review you want to:
  4. Note two interventions that have already been tried for your research problem, or a similar problem if yours is new
  5. Note similar/dissimilar methods — were there problems with the methodologies? Were there similarities to what you are doing?
  6. Discuss at least 2 current interventions that are being used to address the problem and identify any strengths and gaps.
  7. Discuss your proposed intervention, including research that shows why it could be successful for your problem/population
  8. Research gap: why your intervention idea is important, and has not yet been tried for your specific problem and/or population
  • This section justifies why your research is needed
  1. Choose articles that will support your own research question. A key to this part of the literature review is to cite direct or, if none is available, indirect evidence that your intervention will produce the effect you intend. Your goal here is to anticipate and answer any question your reader might have about WHY you are predicting your intervention (i.e., independent variable) will have the effect you believe it will.
    iii. Conclusion and research gap: Summarize the key information from your literature, transition into your research question. Identify the gap in research that makes your study something new This conclusion should convince the reader why your specific study is needed.
  2. Aims & Hypotheses (about 2 paragraphs)
    a. What is the research question?
    b. What is the study purpose/specific study aims (the general goals of your study)?
    c. What is the related hypothesis.
    d. What are the outcomes/dependent variables you’re interested in studying and measuring? There may be one main outcome/dependent variable and multiple secondary outcomes/variables. For this paper, choose just one outcome/dependent variable to focus on and measure.
    e. NOTE: This section serves as a transition between the Literature Review and the Methods section.
  3. Research Design and Methods (about 10 paragraphs)
    a. Sample
    i. Identify your target population — i.e., the group to whom the study’s results are expected to apply.
    ii. Explain what type of sampling strategy you will be using iii. Discuss your sampling frame — if you do not have one, explain why not
    b. What is the research question?
    c. What is the study purpose/specific study aims (the general goals of your study)?
    d. What is the related hypothesis.
    i. What are the outcomes/dependent variables you’re interested in studying and measuring? Discuss external validity (don’t just define external validity — discuss how it relates to your specific study — think UTOS from class ppt. In what ways do you think your results could generalize to similar UTOS? What about less similar UTOS?).
    e. Describe your research design using appropriate terms you’ve learned during the semester (you have been instructed to design a study that evaluates the effectiveness of an intervention by comparing two groups of research participants, which requires a particular research design).
    i. What is the name of your research model?
    ii. Draw the diagram of your research model (use the code we learned in class, e.g., X’s o’s R’s, in the appropriate number of rows for your design).
    iii. How will you divide the sample into two groups (intervention and comparison)?
    iv. Discuss internal validity for your research design— what are threats to your internal validity and how will you address them?
    f. Intervention
    i. Describe in detail what exactly it is that the experimental group will receive (i.e., the treatment, service, therapy, etc. whose effectiveness you are investigating).
    ii. Make sure to note who is providing the intervention (i.e., you, people you’ve trained, etc.), where it takes place, how long it lasts, how frequently they are providing it, and any other information that would be important for your reader to understand about the procedures.
    g. Instruments & Measurement Techniques
    i. Identify and describe how you will measure your independent and dependent variables.
    ii. Locate or develop the measurement instrument(s) you will use to collect data about these variables.
    If you use an existing instrument, describe it here and attach a copy in your appendix. Note: if a suitable measure exists, it is generally better to use in than making one yourself. If there is a cost to your survey, you can just include information about it.
    iv. If you develop your own instrument, describe it here and develop 5-10 sample questions or items that you will include in your appendix.
    v. Discuss how validity and reliability was/could be assessed.
    vi. NOTE: It is important that this section be connected to your
    Aims/Hypotheses. If you mention an outcome in the earlier section, you MUST explain here how that outcome will be measured.
    h. Data Collection
    i. Identify and discuss your data collection strategy. ii. Who will actually collect the data?
    iii. How will the data be collected, e.g., in-person, by emailed link, etc.? iv. Justify your data collection strategy.
    i. Informed Consent
    i. Identify who needs to give informed consent ii. Briefly explain how you will gain informed consent iii. You do not need to include a copy of the form
  4. Discussion and Limitations (about 4 paragraphs)
    a. What results do you anticipate from your study?
    b. In what ways will study results advance our knowledge about the problem area?
    c. Note strengths and limitations of your study design (think in terms of internal and external validity).
  5. Conclusion (1-2 paragraphs)
    a. Wrap up your paper with a discussion of the implications of your study for social work (i.e., if you would confirm your hypotheses, how will the resulting information be helpful to social workers).
  6. References (In APA format)
  7. Appendices
    a. Measurement instrument, if any
    b. If not: your application for the data you will use, or permission form from participant to obtain data, e.g., from medical records
  8. Extra Credit: Qualitative Research (up to one page)
    a. Create a qualitative research question that could be an additional question explored in your study
    b. Create 3 qualitative questions that you could ask to help answer your research question
    c. Identify which participants from your study would answer the questions
    d. Briefly discuss how you would collect this qualitative data
    All written assignments will be evaluated for the following: (a) accomplishment of outcomes, (b) organization and clarity, (c) demonstration of the ability to integrate and critically apply course content, (d) use of correct spelling and grammar, and (e) appropriate APA formatting and citation of references. A grading rubric is provided on the last page of this syllabus.
    Title Pa e
    Abstract and Headers use the headers from this rubric
    5 Literature Review: Introduction and Problem Statement
    • Briefly introduce what you are studying and explain why it is important. (At least two articles w/i ten years old)
    • Establish that a problem exists including what is known about the prevalence, causes, risk factors and/or consequences of the problem.
    15 Literature Review: Remaining Sections
    • A minimum of 5 current peer-reviewed (no more than ten years old) scholarly articles are needed
    • Discuss at least 2 interventions that are being used to address the problem or a similar problem Choose articles that will support your own research question
    • Conclusion leading to our studies, including the research that you will be filling
    8 Study Aims and Hypothesis:
    • What is the research question? And hypothesis?
    • What is the study purpose/specific study aims?
    • What is the dependent variable outcome variable you are studying and measuring ?
    8 Methods: Sample
    • Identify your target population
    • Explain what type of sampling strategy you will be using
    • Discuss your sampling frame — if you do not have a sampling frame, explain why not
    • Explain in detail how you will recruit and draw your sample from this population.
    • Describe your final sample — sample size, demographic characteristics etc.
    • Discuss external validity as it relates to our sample
    8 Methods: Research Design
    • Describe your research design using appropriate terms from class
    • Draw the model (X’s, O’s, etc.)
    How will you divide into the intervention vs. comparison groups?
    • Discuss internal validity
    8 Methods: Intervention
    Describe the intervention in detail including, including who is providing it, where it takes place, how long it lasts, how frequently it is provided, etc.?
  • What will be the comparison?
    8 Methods: Instruments & Measurement Techniques
    • Identify and describe how you will measure your independent and dependent variables.
    • Locate or develop the measurement instrument(s) you will use to collect data
    • Describe the instrument and discuss how validity and reliability was/could be assessed.
    5 Methods: Data Collection
  • Discuss how ou will collect data and •usti data collection strate
    3 Methods: Informed Consent
    • Identify who needs to give consent and explain how you will gain consent
    • You do not need to include a co of our informed consent form
    10 Discussion and Limitations
    Discuss the antici ated results, desi n stren ths/limitations and im lication
    6 APA format (headers, in-text citations, references)
    5 Appendices
    Measurement Instrument Sam le, if a licable. Ora lication/ ermission for the data ou will use.
    6 Academic Writing (organized in order of the directions, free of all but minor spelling and rammar errors, formal writin /no slan , use of s ellcheck
    EC Qualitative Research (up to 5 points)
    100 GRADE

Dorsten, L.E. & Hotchkiss, L. (2005). Research methods and society: Foundations of social inequity. Pearson Education.
Dudley, J. R. (2005). Research Methods for social work: Becoming consumers and producers of research. Pearson Education
Friedman, B. D. (2006). The research tool kit: Putting it all together. Brooks/Cole.
Jones, J. H. (1993). Bad blood: The Tuskegee syphilis experiment. NY: Free Press.
Galvin, J. L (2006). Writing literature reviews: A guide for students of the social and behavioral sciences. (3rd ed.). Pyrczak Publishing.
Glicken, M. D. (2007). A guide to writing for human service professionals. Rowman & Littlefield.
Grinnell, R.M., & Unrau, Y.A. (2007). Social work research and evaluation: Foundations of evidence-based practice. Oxford University Press.
Krysik, J.L. & Finn, J. (2007). Research for effective social work practice. McGraw-Hall.
Marlowe, C. (2005). Research methods for generalist social work. Brooks/Cole.
Monette, D. R., Sullivan, T. J. & DeJong, C. R. (2007). Applied social research: A tool for the human services. Brooks/Cole – Thomson Learning.
Pyrczak, F. (2008). Evaluating research in academic journals: A practical guide to realistic evaluation. (4th ed.). Pyrczak Publishing.
Royce, D. (2008). Research methods in social work. (5th ed.). Brooks/Cole.
Rubin, A. & Babbie, E. R. (2015). Empowerment Series: Essential research methods for social work. (4th ed.) Brooks Cole
Salkind, N.J. (2006). Exploring research. (6th ed.). Pearson Education.
Vogt, W. P. (2005). Dictionary of statistics and methodology: A nontechnical guide for the social sciences, (Yd ed.). Sage.
Journal Articles:
Anderson, S. G. (2002). Engaging students in community-based research: A model for teaching social work research. Jouma/ of Community Practice, 10(2), 71-87.
Drake B. & Jonson-Reid, M. (2008). Social work research methods: From conceptualization to dissemination. New York: Pearson Education.
Elze, D. E. (2002). Risk factors for internalizing and externalizing problems among gay, lesbian, and bisexual adolescents. Social Work Research, 26(2), 89-99.
Fook, J. (2002). Theorizing from practice: towards an inclusive approach for social work research. Qualitative Social Work, 1(1), 79-95.
Fraser, H. (2004). Doing narrative research: Analyzing personal stories line by line. Qualitative Social work, 3(2), p 179 (23).
Fraser, M. W. (2004). Intervention research in social work: Recent advances and continuing challenges. Research on Social Work Practice, 14(3), p 210.
Ganzer, C., & Ornstein, E. D. (2002). A sea of trouble: a relational approach to the culturally sensitive treatment of a severely disturbed client. Clinical Social Work Journal, 30(2), 127-144.
Garrett, P. M. (2002). Yes Minister. Reviewing the ‘Looking After Children’ experience and identifying the messages for social work research. The British Journal of Social Work, 32(7), 831-846.
Greif Green, J., Keenan, J. K, Guzmån, J., Vinnes, S. , Holt, M., & Comer, J. S. (2017). Teacher perspectives on indicators of adolescent social and emotional problems. EvidenceBased Practice in Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 2(2), 96-110.
Kapp, S. A., & Vela, R. H. (2004). The parent satisfaction with foster care services scale. (Author Abstract) Child Welfare, 83(3), 263.
Lafrance, J. & Gray E. (2004). Gate-keeping for professional social work practice. Social Work Education, 23(3), 325.
Mathbor, G., & Smith, N. (2001). Complimentary relationship between qualitative research and social work: reflections through time. Indian Joumal of Social Work, 62(4), 554-572.
Morelli, P. T., & Spencer, M. S. (2000). Use and support of multicultural and antiracist education: Research-informed interdisciplinary social work practice. Social Work, 45(2), 166.
Nugent. W. R. (2004). A validity study of two forms of the self-esteem rating scale. Research on Social Work Practice, 14(4), p 267.
Parra-Cardona, J. R., Löpez-Zerön, G., Villa, M., Zamudio, E., Escobar-Chew, A. R., & Domenech Rodriguez, M. M. (2016). Enhancing parenting practices with Latino/a immigrants: Integrating evidence-based knowledge and culture according to the voices of Latino/a parents. Clinical Social Work Journal, 45(1), 88-98.
Padgett, D.K. (2002). Social work research on disasters in the aftermath of the September 11 tragedy: reflections from New York City. Social Work Research, 26(3), 185-192.
Proctor, E. K. (2002). Social work, school violence, mental health, and drug abuse: a call for evidence-based practices. Social Work Research, 26(2), 67-69.
Proctor, E. K. (2003). Research to inform the development of social work interventions. Social Work Research, 27(1), 3-5.
Raines J. C. (2004). Evidence-based practice in school social work: A process in perspective. Children and Schools, 26(2), p 71.
Scheyett, A.(2004). The research to teaching initiative: infusing faculty research into the MSW curriculum. Social Work Education, 23(3), p 341.
Secret, M., Abell, M. L., & Berlin, T. (2011). The promise and challenge of practice-research collaborations: Guiding principles and strategies for initiating, designing, and implementing program evaluation research. Social Work, 56(1), 9-20.
Stone, J. A., Haas, B., Harmer-Beem, M., & Baker, D. (2004). Utilization of research methodology in designing and developing an interdisciplinary course in ethics. Journal of Interprofessional Care, 18(1).
Suh. E. E. (2004). The model of cultural competence through an evolutionary concept analysis. Joumal of Transcultural Nursing, 15(2), 93.
Thompson, A. M. (2013). A randomized trial of the self-management training and regulation strategy for disruptive students. Research on Social Work Practice, 24(4), 414-427.
Trahan, A. (2010). Qualitative research and intersectionality. Critical Criminology, 19(1), 1-14.
Weisz, A. & Black, B. M. (2001). Evaluating a sexual assault and dating violence prevention program for urban youths. Social Work Research, 25(2), 89-100.
Wong, S. E., & Vakharia, S. P. (2012). Teaching research and practice evaluation skills to graduate social work students. Research on Social Work Practice, 22(6), 714-718
NOTE: The format of this bibliography is in APA format. However, a bibliography is a list of alt sources a person looks at whether or not they use these sources. A reference list is a list of all sources that have been cited in a paper. APA style in papers requires that you include a reference list, not a bibliography.
Main Textbook
Kirzner, R. (2024). Open Educational Resource (OER) book.
Writing Textbook: ISBN 9780989887892
Mauldin, R. L., & DeCarlo, M. (2020). Guidebook for social work literature reviews and research questions.

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