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Topic: Illicit drug use has been increasing in the United States especially among school-age children.What are some of the factors that contribute to substance use in children?Dr. Sam E. Elchoufani
Norfolk State University
Research Proposal Format
A Cover Page
Include the title of the research project, your name(s) & group (if applicable), institution &
course information, professor’s name & title, and due date
As a reminder, you should follow the American Psychological Association (APA) format.
You should closely proofread and check your composition for errors (sentence construction,
syntax, subject-verb agreement, punctuation, etc.) to avoid penalty.
Abstract: (200–300 words)
You should give an accurate summary of the entirety of the research proposal touching on its
various components. Typically, the abstract is the last component to be written, after the research
proposal write-up is complete.
Introduction: (one paragraph)
In this paragraph in particular, your goal is to grab the reviewer’s attention. You should
introduce the purpose, problem, and significance of the proposed research study, as well as the
research question(s) or hypothesis. A brief explanation of the theory guiding the study, an
overview of the relevant literature review pertaining to the research problem, and a short
description of the research design should be included. After reading the Introduction, the
reviewer should not only understand the reason(s) why this research is conducted, but also how
the research findings will contribute to one’s academic field, as well as benefit the academic
community and society at large.
Statement of the Problem
The problem statement should be concise, should include the specific or descriptor variables
[independent variables (IV) and dependent variables (DV)], and should inform the reviewer of
the exact purpose of the study.
Purpose of the Study
You should not only state the purpose of the study very clearly, but also demonstrate the study’s
potential value(s).
Research Question or Hypothesis
The research question or hypothesis should be well-stated and based on the purpose of the study.
Remember that hypotheses are intelligent, educated guesses made by the researcher about how
the research problem will be resolved. In other words, hypotheses are tentative propositions set
forth by the researcher to help in guiding the investigation of a research problem.
Definition of Terms—
In experimental research, it is essential that you define the central ideas or concepts of the
research study. Therefore, carefully define each concept/variable that will be used in the study,
citing other research studies as much as needed.
Dr. Sam E. Elchoufani
Norfolk State University
Theoretical Framework—
Many researchers tie their research studies to a preexisting set of concepts and principles, which
might elucidate cause-and-effect and other types of relationships within the phenomenon under
investigation. A theoretical framework not only implicitly includes possible explanations of these
relationships, but also provides the basis for making educated guesses about what the data might
reveal; and to some extent, it guides the research design and data analyses.
Literature Review
You not only should describe what is already known about the phenomenon, but also include a
succinct discussion of why the reviewed background studies are not sufficient.




Summarize what is already known about the phenomenon. Include a summary of the
basic background information on the topic, which you’ve gathered from your literature
review.
Discuss several critical studies that have already been done in this area (cite according to
APA style).
Point out why these background studies are insufficient. In other words, what question(s)
do they leave unresolved, necessitating further investigation?
Choose at least one of these questions that you want to pursue yourself. (Make sure you
do not choose too many questions.)
Methodology and Research Design
Describe how you would go about collecting data and test the questions that you are examining.
You are not required to come up with a new or original method, although you can. In the
literature review, you may get an idea about methodologies that have been used by other
researchers. You could certainly adapt one or more of these methods for your needs.
Methods: How will you collect the data and why?
 Describe the general methodology you chose for your research study to test your
hypothesis(es).
 Explain why this method is the best for your purposes.
Design:
 Describe what kinds of manipulations/interventions (if any) you will administer to test
your hypothesis(es).
 Explain what significant differences you would need to find in order to confirm (retain)
or disconfirm (reject) your hypothesis(es). In particular, how could your hypothesis(es)
be rejected by your data?
 Controls: What kinds of factors will you need to control for in your study?
 Describe the types of effects that need to occur in order for your results to appear to
confirm (retain) or disconfirm (reject) your hypothesis(es).
 Describe how by your research design you could rule out or control for apparent effects.
Participants: Whom will you test and why?
Dr. Sam E. Elchoufani
Norfolk State University


Describe the sample that you plan on testing and explain why you have chosen this
sample. Include age, gender, and other characteristics relevant to the design.
Are there any participants you will exclude? Why or why not?
Procedures/Instrumentation
 Describe your experimental procedures.
 How will study participants be involved in these procedures?
 Include all instruments used to collect data, such as surveys, questionnaires, etc.
Analysis
 What type(s) of data do you anticipate to collect?
 How will you analyze the data? What statistical tests, tools, and/or measures you will
employ?
 What kind of results would confirm (retain) your hypothesis?
 What kind of results would disconfirm (reject) your hypothesis?
Protection of Human Rights
In the research proposal, you should specify clearly who the participants will be, how they will
be chosen, how many will participate, and whether there will be any special characteristics to
look for. A description of how the participant’s human rights will be protected should be
included. You should emphasize the Institutional Review Board (IRB) criteria and procedures
that have to be met in order to be granted approval prior to study execution. In addition, written
informed consent should be discussed.
Significance and Conclusion
You should discuss, in general, how your proposed research study has the potential to lead to a
significant improvement over the reviewed related studies, and how it would benefit the field. (In
other words, why should someone care? If you were applying for money to do this, why would
someone fund you? If you wanted to publish your results, why would they be interesting?)
References:
Citations and references should be exclusively in APA style. Clean up your list to avoid penalty.
Only those sources that have been cited in the text (linked) should be listed.
Dr. Sam E. Elchoufani
Norfolk State University
HSM-497 Research Proposal Rubric
All Criteria Met
Category
Title Page
Problem Statement
Purpose of Study
Research Hypothesis
(5)
(1) Title of RP
(2) Names and
Group #
(3) Institution &
Course Info
(4) Professor’s
name & title
(5) Due Date
The problem
statement is
concise, includes
descriptor
variables
[independent
variables (IV) and
dependent
variables (DV)],
and informs the
reader of the
exact purpose of
the study
Very clearly
stated purpose of
the study, and its
potential value is
demonstrated
Well-stated
research
hypothesis based
Most Criteria
Met
(4)
Evidence of four
Some Criteria
Met
(3)
Evidence of three
Few Criteria
Met
(2)
Evidence of two
or less
No Criteria
Met
(1)
Absent
The statement of
the problem
includes most of
the descriptor
variables, and
informs the reader
of the exact
purpose of the
study
The statement of
the problem
includes one
descriptor
variable, and
informs the
reader of the
purpose of the
study
The statement of
the problem is
unclear and does
not include any
descriptor
variables
The statement of
the problem is
missing or is
unclear and
unable to be
interpreted
Fairly well-stated
purpose of the
study, but its
potential value is
vaguely stated
Fairly well-stated
research
hypothesis based
Fairly stated
purpose of the
study, yet the
potential value is
absent
Stated hypothesis
is unclear based
Vaguely stated
purpose of the
study, and the
potential value is
absent
Incomplete and/or
unfocused
Lacks a purpose
of the study
statement
Lacks a research
hypothesis
Score
Dr. Sam E. Elchoufani
Norfolk State University
Literature Review
Methodology and
Research Design
Subject Description and
Protection of Human
Rights
on the purpose of
the study
Appropriate; not
only provides
sufficient
background
information, but
also a critique of
previous research
that points out
weaknesses,
conflicts, and
areas of needed
study
Organization of
evidence and
analysis is
exceptionally
clear and shows
relationships of
information
supporting the
proposal.
Contains
organized
information that
allows the
experiment(s) to
be replicated.
Research design
is well-described
and appropriate.
The proposal
specifies who the
participants will
be, how they will
on the purpose of
the study
Appropriate;
reasonable
background
information
provided; the
critique points out
some, but not all
of the areas of
needed study
on the purpose of
the study
Appropriate;
provides most of
the background
information, but
does not critique
previous research
or point out areas
of needed study
research
hypothesis
Irrelevant;
vaguely mentions
some previous
work in the area;
no critique of
previous research
is provided
Organization of
evidence and
analysis reflects
clear relationships
of information
supporting the
proposal. Presents
experiments that
are replicable.
Research design is
well-described,
but may be
partially
appropriate.
Organization of
evidence and
analysis is
generally clear,
but may contain
flaws. Presents
some experiments
that are partially
replicable. Parts
of the research
design must be
inferred by the
reader, and may
not be
appropriate.
Organization of
evidence and
analysis is not
clear enough and
contains flaws.
Presents
experiments that
are marginally
replicable. The
research design is
ambiguous and
inappropriate.
Organization of
information and
evidence in
support of the
proposal is
confusing, weak,
or nonexistent.
Describes the
experiment(s)
poorly in such a
non-scientific
way that they
cannot be
replicated. The
research design
is flawed and
inappropriate.
The proposal
specifies most of
the descriptors
regarding
The proposal
specifies most of
the descriptors
regarding
The proposal
specifies a few of
the descriptors
regarding
The proposal
does not identify
participants’
characteristics;
Irrelevant;
provides little or
no background
information and
does not critique
previous
research
Dr. Sam E. Elchoufani
Norfolk State University
Data Collection and
Analysis
Writing Mechanics
be chosen, how
many will
participate, and if
there will be any
special
characteristics of
importance. A
description of
how the
participant’s
human rights will
be protected is
included.
Identifies the
techniques and/or
instruments used
in data collection
in the appropriate
chronology.
Describes
relevant statistical
measures, tests,
or tools
Very well-written
proposal with no
errors/typos
and/or sentence
errors. Adheres to
all the proposal
writing format
requirements as
presented in the
guidelines
participants, and
describes how
participants’
human rights will
be protected.
participants, but
does not describe
how the
participants’
human rights will
be protected.
participants, and
does not discuss
how the
participants’
human rights will
be protected.
no human rights
protection is
discussed.
Identifies the
techniques and/or
instruments used
in data collection.
Describes
irrelevant
statistical
measures, tests, or
tools
Identifies some
techniques and/or
instruments used
in data collection.
Describes
irrelevant
statistical
measures, tests,
or tools
Fails to identify
the sources of
data and/or
instruments used
in data collection.
No description of
statistical
measures, tests, or
tools is provided.
Contains
plagiarized
information,
data, and/or
other contents
Well-written
proposal with few
errors/typos.
Adheres to most
of the proposal
writing format
requirements as
presented in the
guidelines
Fairly written
proposal that
lacks clarity and
has poor
transition
sentences. There
are several
errors/typos
and/or sentence
errors. Adheres to
most of the
proposal writing
format
Fairly written
proposal that
lacks clarity and
has poor
transition
sentences. There
are several
errors/typos
and/or sentence
errors. Fails to
adhere to the
proposal writing
format as
Poorly written
proposal that
lacks
organization.
There are
multiple
errors/typos.
Fails to adhere
to the proposal
writing format
as presented in
the guidelines
Dr. Sam E. Elchoufani
Norfolk State University
Reference list is
relevant,
complete, and
broad enough to
support the
proposal; and is
in correct APA
format. Citations
are in correct
APA format and
linked to
reference list.
References
Grade
Reference list is
limited, but is in
correct APA
format. Citations
are in correct APA
format and linked
to reference list.
requirements as
presented in the
guidelines
Reference list
includes
irrelevant articles,
but is in correct
APA format.
Citations may be
in correct APA
format, but
partially linked to
reference list.
presented in the
guidelines
Reference list is
incomplete and is
not in correct
APA format.
Citations may not
be in correct APA
format and are
NOT linked to
reference list.
No Reference
list is included

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