Title Page: Please create an APA-style title page, including an APA-style running head.
Abstract: This section should serve as a brief preview of your paper. It should highlight the literature you review, describe your hypotheses, and overview your methods section. Shoot for 100 – 150 words. The abstract does not count towards the 10 page limit.
Literature Review: This section should consist of about 4-6 pages in which you review literature from primary sources about a topic of communication research. Your group can select a topic of your choosing, and your goal is to find and synthesize the research published about this topic from at least 5 scholarly research articles. Think of the literature review as a story: Tell me what we know about your topic and how this topic has been researched in the past. Somewhere in your literature review you need to devote space to conceptualizing the variables that are central to your topic. In other words, provide a conceptual definition(s) and support these definitions using examples from published research. The literature review should culminate in a set of research hypotheses. I encourage you to devise your own research hypotheses based on what you read in the articles you find. Higher quality papers tend to provide a synthesis of literature rather than moving through summaries of individual research studies.
Consider both main effect and interaction-based hypotheses. After your hypotheses, tell me whether they’re directional or non-directional hypotheses. Beyond that, provide the associated null hypotheses and list your independent and dependent variables. Lastly, describe some of the confounding variables you encountered in prior research. These may be listed as control variables or covariates in your primary sources.
Please use APA style in-text citations throughout the literature review, and provide a reference page in APA style at the end.
Methods: Write this section as though you were going to conduct a study to investigate your hypotheses. In doing so, choose whatever methodology you think is most appropriate to address your hypotheses. Write in future tense and give ideal conditions rather than making up numbers. The methods section will consist of the following subsections:
Sample: Describe your sampling procedures. What kind of sample will you use? How will you locate participants for your study? What kind of people will constitute your sample?
Procedures: Walk me through your research methodology. Be specific and detailed here. Describe exactly how your data will be collected. If you’re using a survey, describe how the questions will be asked and what medium you’ll use to collect your responses. If you’re doing an experiment, provide me with information about the experimental set-up. If you’re doing a content analysis, describe the coding to be done. Be sure to justify the choices you make in this section. Don’t make haphazard choices; be able to explain why you plan to collect your data in this manner.
Measures: Tell me how you will turn your observations into data for this study. In other words, describe the operational definitions you will use. Provide me with questionnaires, scales, coding schemes, experimental manipulations, or other means of measuring your data. You can feel free to attach an example survey at the end of your paper. Doing so does not count against the page limit requirement. Issues of reliability & validity can also be discussed here.
Data Analysis: Briefly describe how you plan on analyzing your data. Will you use statistics? Which statistics? Will you run any specific tests? Which ones? What are the goals of your analyses? Are you trying to describe, explain, predict, or control outcomes with the resulting data?
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