Sample Research Proposal Paper on Description of data collection procedures and instruments

Proposal Assignment #2: Include your Introduction and Literature Review drafts—ideally modified based on the feedback provided and by updates in your knowledge of your topic.  This assignment is a draft of your Methods/Methodology section—it should be based on and consistent with your Introduction and Literature Review.  This is the third section of your proposal and should describe in detail how you plan to conduct your proposed study—if you are proposing to collect data from primary sources, you need to describe who your subjects will be and how you plan to recruit and protect them. If you are proposing to use secondary data, you need to describe how that data was collected and how you will get permission to use it. You then need to describe the data to be collected or used, measures used, and independent and dependent variables if applicable. Finally, you need to describe how you will analyze and use your data.  You don’t have to identify specific statistics you might employ; just say you would report the most common responses, or compare the scores of two groups, or compare pre-test and post-test scores, for example. Again, this should tie back to your introduction–why you think your study is important and your findings would be significant for social work practice. Follow the outline below.


  1. Methodology (2 – 3 pages, 10 pts.) This section should describe a feasible/doable research project.

a    Description of the proposed study design and strategy: research design (e.g., survey, classic experimental design, one-group pre-test post-test design, secondary data analysis, etc.)

  1. Sampling design, description of proposed sample/subjects, recruitment plan (who are you studying and how are you getting participants to participate?)
  2. Plan to protect human subjects (given your proposed sample, how would you submit your study to the IRB?  How are you recruiting your participants to ensure that they are volunteers? Do they fall into any groups that need additional protection? How are you ensuring informed consent, confidentiality, etc.?)
  3. Description of data collection procedures and instruments/measures (operational definitions of variables, instrument reliability & validity). Are you using existing measures–what are they?  How are you determining if your measures are reliable and valid?)
  4. Plan for analysis and use of data—do not describe specific statistical analyses unless you are sure you know what you are describing.  If you plan to compare the results of two groups, you do not have to specify that you will use ANOVA or t-tests to do so–just tell me you will compare the results of the two groups and that will usually suffice. This part should also address what you expect to find, what the significance of your findings will be for social work practice, and what the weaknesses/limitations of your design are and what you might do if you had more time and resources.


  1. References (0 pts.—for your benefit/feedback only.): Use the APA style; minimum of 5 references, 3 of which should be research articles from social work or social science journals. IF YOU HAVE CHANGED YOUR RESEARCH ARTICLES FROM YOUR INTRO/LIT REVIEW DRAFT, BE SURE TO ATTACH THEM. This is the absolute minimum number; most of you will have more by your final proposal.