research proposal

● Introduction – 1 page

● Research question

● Summary of proposal

● Literature Review: find a hole, look for debates – 2 pages

● Literature on topic, method, or theoretical approach

● Methodology – 1 page

● Research design

● Kind of data

● Procedures

● Sampling

● Preliminary Data: – 1 page

● Evidence of importance; informs methodology

● Preliminary findings, descriptive statistics

● Important categories and relationships

● Statement of limitations – 1 page

● Alternatives

● Weaknesses

● What your research will do

● Conclusion: 1 page

● Contributions

● Importance

● 7 – 9 pages

Literature Review Outline

I. Introduction

a. Describe the overall topic that you have been investigating, why it is important to the field, and why you are interested in the topic.

b. Identify themes and trends in research questions, methodology, and findings. Give a “big picture” of the literature.

I. Theme A

a. Overview of characteristics of the theme (commonalities, differences, nuances) b. Sub-theme – narrow but grouped findings related to the theme

i. Study 1 (Research question(s), Methods/Participants, Related Findings) ii. Study 2 (Research question(s), Methods/Participants, Related Findings) iii. Study 3 (Research question(s), Methods/Participants, Related Findings)

c. Sub-theme – narrow but grouped findings related to the theme

i. Study 4 (Research question(s), Methods/Participants, Related Findings) ii. Study 5 (Research question(s), Methods/Participants, Related Findings) iii. Study 6 (Research question(s), Methods/Participants, Related Findings)

d. Etc., etc., etc. with other findings that fit Theme A; studies can be repeated if there are multiple findings that fit under more than one theme. However, no need to re-write methods/participants in detail (just enough to remind the reader about the study).

I. Theme B – follow a, b, c, and so on from above

I. Keep repeating with themes

I. Conclusion: An evaluation/critique of the existing literature. Write several paragraphs.

a. What are the contributions of this literature to the field? b. What are the overall strengths? c. What are the overall weaknesses? d. What might be missing? e. What are some next steps for research? The next steps should explicitly address how to “correct” for strengths,

weaknesses, and gaps.

Research Proposal 1

Research Proposal: A Proposed Study on the Mental Health Effects of Outdoor Experiences

Written by the SUNY New Paltz Spring 2018 Evolutionary Psychology Class

The evolutionary psychological perspective on human behavior suggests that instances of evolutionary mismatch may lead to adverse psychological functioning (e.g., Geher, 2014). Mismatch can exist in multiple domains, including nutritional offerings, exercise, community size, technology, transportation, and the nature of one’s physical environment – among many others. One important way that modern environments are mismatched from ancestral environments pertains to the proportion of time that people spend in the out of doors. In fact, many evolutionists have made the case that humans have a natural love of the living world (see Wilson, 1984). Based on this reasoning, it may be the case that increased time spent in the outdoors leads to positive mental health outcomes. On the other hand, we might predict that increased time spent in human-made, non-natural environments, might have adverse mental health outcomes. Several mental health outcomes have been documented as important in all kinds of human psychological functioning. In particular, this research will focus on depressive tendencies, tendencies toward anxiety, and general psychological well-being. The basic prediction is that increased out-of-door experiences will correspond to less depression and anxiety and higher scores on a measure of well-being. Method This study will utilize a randomized between-groups design using 200 relatively fit American adults ranging in age from 18-34 selected from Southern California. Using a random-assignment process, participants will be assigned to either (a) the outdoor condition or (b) indoor condition. Participants in the two experimental conditions will all be included in a climbing camp for two weeks. The outdoor participants will be at an all-outside version of the camp in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Southern California in September. The indoor participants will be at an all-indoor version of the camp at an indoor climbing gym for the same two weeks. Importantly, these climbing experiences will be overseen by the same Climbing Camp with the same activities and personnel. This methodology would allow for the isolation of the “out of doors” variable and will have participants across groups have the same experiences otherwise. Given the random assignment to experimental conditions, this methodology would allow for an examination of the specific effects of the outdoor experience.



Research Proposal 2

To measure anxiety, Liebowitz’s (1987) measure of social anxiety will be used. To measure depressive tendencies, Kessler et al.’s (2003) measure will be used. We will create a 5-item likert scale of subjective well-being that participants will also complete. Anticipated Results Across the three outcome measures, including social anxiety, depressive tendencies, and subjective well-being, it is predicted that the outdoor group will score as less anxious, less depressed, and as higher in subjective well-being. These results will be examined using three between-groups t-tests. Potential Implications Evolutionists are interested in the mismatches between modern conditions and ancestral conditions. Simply being in the out-of-doors or not is a classic mismatch that surrounds us all the time, often unbeknownst to ourselves. The experimental design here would allow us to zero in on the effects of the outdoor experience as it relates to mental health outcomes, controlling for individual differences between groups. If the predicted pattern of results is obtained, then we would have strong evidence suggesting that people function best when they are provided with outdoor experiences. Such a pattern would support an evolutionary-mismatch approach to understanding the interface of people with their physical environments. References

Geher, G. (2014). Evolutionary Psychology 101. New York: Springer. Kessler, R .C., Andrews, G., Colpe, L.J., Hiripi, E., Mroczek, D.K., Normand, S.L….Zaslavsky,A.M. (2002) Short screening scales to monitor population prevalences and trends in non-specific psychological distress. Psychological Medicine, 32, 959-956. Liebowitz, M. R . (1987). Social phobia. Modern Problems of Pharmacopsychiatry, 22, 141-173. Wilson, Edward O. (1984). Biophilia. Cambridge: Harvard University Press



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