Subjects : Subjects can be individuals, families, groups, organizations, states, or countries, depending on the unit of analysis. This section will describe how the sample in the study will be selected. For example, will volunteers be solicited? Will there be a comparison group? How will the subjects be chosen? In addition to describing how subjects will be chosen, this section should provide a rationale for the selection approach taken. This rationale usually includes external validity requirements (i.e., the conditions necessary to generalize the findings to a particular target population). After reading this section, the reader should have a clear understanding of how subjects will be selected for the proposed research and of why they will be selected in that particular manner. The reader should also have a clear idea of the characteristics of the intended subject’s age, sex, ethnicity, education, SES, and other applicable related variables.
Design: This section will describe the type of research design to be used. Will is be ethnography, case study, quantitative, qualitative, mixed methods, quasi-experimental, cross sectional or longitudinal? Will it be a prospective study or ex post facto research? The design section should also cover the expected experience of the research subjects and how often they will be observed or surveyed. After reading this section, the reader should have a clear understanding of the overall design of the study.
Data Collection/Instrumentation: This section will operationalize the variables to be included in the proposed study. It is helpful to divide the variables into dependent variables, independent variables, and covariates. Dependent variables are outcomes (e.g., drug abuse, self-esteem, depression) which are affected directly by other variables. They might also include variables which are affected indirectly (e.g., arrest rates, recidivism, and employment record). Independent variables can include intervention approaches, program characteristics, and subject characteristics believed to affect the dependent variables. Covariates are additional independent variables included in the research solely for the purpose of controlling for differences that might exist among subjects.
A description of how each variable will be measured should be included in this section with the respected valid instruments. After reading this section, the reader will know the specific variables that will be included in the proposed study and most important how they will be measured. The topic is effects of divorce on school aged children.
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