I would like to discuss some hints with you on how to successfully complete the Research Proposal. First, it must be a recreation related study. The Research Proposal takes a lot of time and attention to details. However, most students make it more difficult than it has to be. The best way to get started, is to review some existing research studies from the list of approved online journals. Once you have found a study that has a topic of interest to you then you should review that study for the necessary elements required in the Research Proposal. Read the abstract, literature review and the methodology sections and use these as a model for your research proposal.
Do not use a qualitative study. It will not grade well for this assignment.
For example, let's say you've located a trailhead survey, in Colorado, on user satisfaction. Using this study for a model will give you an instrument and the methodology for your Research Proposal. The next step would be to complete your literature review, which has to include a minimum of five current publications. One of those articles would be the study of user satisfaction in Colorado. The methodology would be the same since the instrument or survey is the same. So now, you would tweak the Colorado study to an area of interest such as a trailhead user satisfaction study in Flagstaff, Arizona, in the Coconino National Forest.
It is critical that you follow the research proposal guidelines exactly. You do not collect any data, and therefore, you will not be able to include data in your abstract. You always write the abstract last. Remember that this is a research proposal, no data is collected.
Some common mistakes include:
Not developing a recreation study.
Using a qualitative instead of a quantitative model study. A qualitative study will not have the required information for this assignment.
Not clearly identifying your hypothesis. You must develop a research study that allows you to clearly identify a hypothesis.
Not correctly developing your literature review. A good literature review is not five individual article reviews, but an integrated discussion about current research related to your research study.
Not correctly citing your sources in the text and in the reference list in the correct APA style. Please give this area a lot of attention. Not writing in the correct APA style will cost you points.
The methodology section also is problematic
for most students. You have to address all of the following, in detail:
Some Additional Suggestions
1) Be sure your Abstract is not over 150 words. You will write the Abstract
2) Be sure to clearly identify your hypothesis in the Introduction section. Be sure to write you hypothesis in the null format. This means you will write it as "There is no difference between ....."
3) Be sure you can correctly identify your Total Population (big N). For example. If you were looking at differences between different rock climbing types and their attitudes on leave-no-trace ethics. Here is the model to use. First, how will you identify your N. Well, you can identify a climbing association such as Access Fund and use their membership (N=10,500), you would call Access Fund to get their membership number, as the Total Population (N).
Selecting a new survey
population: If your model study uses the participants in a local bike race for
the survey population, then for your proposal, you would have to identify a
different bike race and the number of participants for your survey population.
You are replicating your model study with a new location (the different bike
race) and population (bike race participants). This information must be real,
not made up and cited in the text.
4) Next you need to identify your Sample Population. This is based on a 95% Confidence Level which is the same thing as a +/-5% margin of error. So go to the Calculating Sample Size and Margin of Error link (http://www.prm.nau.edu/prm447/sample_size.htm) in our web site. Since you will not find a 10,500 figure you would use the next higher number in the +/- 5% column. This is a slight oversample which is not a bad thing. So now you have your Sample Size (little n) at the +/- 5% Margin of Error.
The ability to correctly identify your Population and Sample Size is critical to a good grade on this assignment.
5) Remember this is a research proposal, the research has not been done, so you cannot have a Summary or Conclusion.
6) Develop your paper and reference list in using the correct APA format.
Please contact me when you have a research topic to be sure it will work for the Research Proposal assignment. I am available to answer any questions as you get this assignment underway.
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