PSYC 515 Discussion: Research Project Draft 1 and Peer Review Assignment Instructions

PSYC 515

Discussion: Research Project Draft 1 and Peer Review

Assignment Instructions


This is the first written component of your professional research paper. 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!). The entire assignment is worth a total of 75 points: 50 points for correct content and 25 points for correct format.

Thread Assignment Instructions

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 paper, transcribe your data to an SPSS file, and submit both for peer and instructor feedback. Please read this document in its entirety before beginning this portion of your research project. There are three stages to this assignment. This is the ONLY assignment in which you submit two separate files within a single submission– you will be submitting both a word document and your SPSS data file within a single submission as your thread to this Discussion in Canvas.

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 paper: Introduction, Method, References, Appendix. Make sure you follow the APA guidelines for a professional paper. The following steps outline the systematic organization of the body within each of these sections.

1) Introduction: remember you use the title of the paper 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. 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.. Typically, it is good to start with a startling statistic or fact (with citation) that piques interest and is empirically based.

b. The next section is the hardest to organize as it can vary widely based on your writing style, selection of variables, and state of the field. There are two options discussed in this week’s lecture. However, the following will be included regardless of how it is organized:

i. 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:

ii. Provide a scope of the problem and its context

iii. Theoretical or practical implications

iv. 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 findings reviewed

2. Discuss relevant methodological issues, if applicable

3. Explain the relevance of each article to the proposed study without explicitly stated its relevance (because you should not discuss your study until the final paragraph!)

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, “prediction” another, and “difference” suggests different statistical tests – so use the words to correctly foreshadow the statistical test you’ll employ!

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 (this is where you include your demographic descriptive statistics), 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). Cronbach’s alpha will need to be reported for each scale selected (you have to calculate this based on the data you’ve collected). Do not list or state assumed items in your paper (e.g., pencils to complete a survey, computers to take an online 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 (1 – 2 sentences).

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 and the parameters for this project, the statistical test should be one that was covered in PSYC 510 or up to this point in PSYC 515.

3) References: 5 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

· If review is needed on how to input data into SPSS, code or recode values, and/or conduct reliability analysis using Cronbach’s alpha, please refer to

Adams & McGuire (Student Study Guide with IBM SPSS Workbook): Part 1

· 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 Guidelines 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 calculate Cronbach’s alpha and 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 Example 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).

· Other examples of basic data entry, recoding, reverse coding, and more are also available in the required textbook:

Adams & McGuire (Student Study Guide with IBM SPSS Workbook): Part 1

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)

The topic thread should address all required components. Note this requires submission of two files as a single thread (the word document and SPSS data file).

Reply Assignment Instructions

This assignment consists of one reply to a peer thread that has no response. You’ll need to read the draft of the introduction and results sections of their professional research paper as well as examine their SPSS file before composing your response, making sure to address all content and format instructions below. Your reply must be a minimum of 100 words not including the References, meaning it should be succinct but thorough. Each reply must have a minimum of two (2) in-text citation and Reference entries.

Reply Content

Review your peer’s introduction and methods draft and their SPSS data file. In your response, clearly address each of the following components (in this order):

Paragraph 1

Review of Content: Did your peer follow the instructions for the content portion of the assignment? Indicate two things your peer did well and two areas that could use improvement specific to content.

· Some things to consider (not all-inclusive – only address items for which you have insightful feedback): Did your peer write an introduction that starts in an interesting yet professional manner (substantiated by citations)? Did they select relevant and appropriate articles that provided a rationale for their study? Did they provide a clear justification for their study based on their review of previous studies? Was the problem statement and hypothesis clearly stated in the final paragraph of the introduction? Did the Method section contain the four required sections with the correct information in each section?

Paragraph 2

Review of Format: Did your peer properly summarize using their own words (avoid plagiarism) yet provide substance and minimal “fluff”? Were citations and references correctly formatted? Was the data input into SPSS correctly? Was every question from the survey included and correctly calculated? Indicate two things your peer did well and two areas that could use improvement in terms of format. For each identified area of improvement, cite a relevant section of the APA Publication Manual.

Reply Format

Responses must be a minimum of 100 words. Be succinct but thorough. As with all communications in this course, replies should be written in a thoughtful, educated, and professional manner. Avoid unsubstantiated opinions or claims, personal comments, or general comments such as the following, which will result in 
loss of points:

· “Great job on your introduction / discussion post,”

· “I totally agree with everything you said,”

· “Good luck in the rest of the class,” etc


The reply should contain two correctly formatted in-text citations (peer’s thread and the APA Publication Manual) and corresponding Reference entries. Use the latest edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (2020) for correct formatting of citations and reference entries. Citations can be written using narrative or parenthetical form.

To reduce ambiguity, an example from Section 10 of the APA Publication Manual (2020) has been modified to model how to cite an online forum post for this course. Use Section 10 of the APA Publication Manual (2020) for additional guidance as needed.

· Use
Example 109. Online forum post when referring to your peer’s discussion board post *Note this has been modified to provide a more specific example to this particular assignment given it is a discussion board and you will know the author’s first and last name

Example 109. Online forum post *modified

St. Peters, M. (2024, June 20).
Re: Research project draft 1 and peer review. [Discussion post]. Liberty University Online.

Parenthetical citation: (St. Peters, 2024)

Narrative citation: St. Peters (2024)

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