Research Proposal Guidelines

Throughout the semester, you will have the opportunity to grapple with the psychology behind learning in classroom and other contexts. In your lab experience, you will also be exposed to a variety of research methodologies that attempt to explain learning and learning outcomes in various populations. The capstone assignment for this lab course is the development of a research proposal that highlights your ability to synthesize empirical and theoretical literature to make an argument for a study you would like to potentially conduct for your senior I.S. project. Further, you will be called to develop sound methods to investigate the research question of your choosing.

For the purposes of showcasing your proposal development, you will use the course blog to keep track of your progress towards your proposal.  The proposal-writing process will take several steps, highlighted below:


Due date                   Element of the Proposal

2/4/2019                    3 statements of interest due to the blog

3/25/2019                   Your research statement is due to the blog

3/25/2019                   Annotated bibliography of 15 sources due to the blog before the start of                                                         class

4/15/2019                   Post your literature review outline (draft) to the blog

4/22/2019                  Come to class with a draft of proposed methods

4/29/2019                  Notes on Senior Research Symposium presentations due to blog before                                                        class

5/7/2019                     Proposal Presentation

5/7/2019                     Final proposal draft due by 2pm


Statements of interest: Describe three topics that are of interest to you and that you would like to investigate in some detail. Further, why are those topics so interesting to you? (3-4 sentences per topic)

  • Ideally, one of these topics will be chosen to be explored for the rest of the semester

Annotated bibliography: 1-2 paragraphs for each article that describe the article under consideration. In the bibliography, you will take note of the author’s/authors’ purpose for conducting the study, methods, and findings. Lastly, you will describe how the article relates to your topic. How do the findings help you think of your topic more clearly? Does your proposed study build on their findings at all? If so, how?


The final version of your proposal must be 12-13 pages, including a literature review, proposed methods, and expectations/implications of this research. Proposals must be written using the APA formatting guide. A title page and reference section are also required (and are not included in your page limit). Your proposal should be written in Times New Roman, 12-point font (or a similar font) with 1-inch margins.

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