AHS 341 Research Prospectus Assignment

Introduction Section:  

On the final research prospectus submission, the Introduction section of the research prospectus will be worth 70 points (10 points of which comes from the Statement of the Problem that you previously developed).  The Introduction Section consists of the following sections: 1.) Background Information section; 2.) Allied Research section; 3.) Critical Research section; 4.) Statement of the Problem with the Purpose of the Study; and 5.) Hypothesis Statements and Operational Definitions; and 6.) References List. The section must be typed on a Word document. You must use a 12-point Times Roman font, and your paper must be double-spaced. Your paper must have an APA-style  (7th edition) title page with an appropriate title for your study as well as the number of the group and the names of group members. Your paper should also have APA-style (7th edition) page numbers and a running header (please see Purdue OWL website at https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/general_format.html for more information). Submit your draft Background section document using the specified Blackboard link (please only submit one document for the entire group). Your Introduction section must follow the following format:

  1. Worth 10 points: Background Information section (this name should not be used as a heading in the prospectus): The Background Information section is the most general section of the literature review (Background of the Study) and provides a broad discussion of the health issue of the topic of your research prospectus. It is “the top of the funnel”. For example, let us suppose our research topic is the comparison between children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD’s) and children without ASD’s in terms of barriers to physical activity. The heading for our Background Information section would be “Childhood Obesity”, and we would provide a general background of childhood obesity (e.g., how is obesity defined, childhood obesity statistics, risk factors for obesity, consequences of obesity). For this section, you must include the following:
    1. A two-paragraph discussion of the general health issue (e.g., childhood obesity)
    1. An official definition (from credible source) of the health issue (this is one of the few places where it may be appropriate to use a properly cited quotation).
    1. A discussion of statistics (from credible sources) relevant to the general issue
    1. A discussion of the risk factors for, consequences of, and prevention methods for the health issue.
    1. You may cite credible secondary sources for this section (all information must be properly cited in APA-format), but you may also incorporate credible primary sources when appropriate.
    1. You must use appropriate paragraph structure, sentence structure, grammar, spelling, and punctuation. The language must be professional and scientific.
  2. Worth 20 points: Allied Research section (this name should not be used as a heading for the prospectus): The Allied Research section will include a discussion of studies relevant to your topic area but is not exactly the same as your specific topic or research variable. It is the “middle of the funnel”. Let us refer to our example research prospectus topic of the comparison between children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD’s) and children without ASD’s in terms of barriers to physical activity. The Allied Research part of the research prospectus would include two different sections. For the first section, which we would call “Physical Activity and Weight Management”, we would discuss the current research on physical activity and weight management and conversely the relationship between a sedentary lifestyle and being overweight or obese. For the second section, which we would call “Autism Spectrum Disorders and Obesity”, we would discuss the current research on children and adolescents (and possibly adults if available) with autism spectrum disorders who are also overweight or obese (it would also be appropriate to discuss factors potentially contributing to obesity among children with ASD’s).  For the allied health research part of the prospectus, you must include the following:
    1. Two sections of two paragraphs each. The general structure should be as follows:
      1. Worth 10 points: In the first section of the Allied Research part of your research prospectus, you must discuss an aspect (such as a behavior or practice) of the Introduction that is relevant to the general health issue in the Background Information section and to the measured (dependent or criteria) variable your specific topic. For our example, a discussion of physical health and weight management (with the heading of “Physical Activity and Weight Management”)is relevant to both the general discussion of childhood obesity (in the Background Information section) and to the specific dependent variable of the primary hypothesis for your research prospectus (e.g., the comparison between children with ASD’s and children without ASD’s in terms of barriers to physical activity). This section must be a minimum of two paragraphs in length.
      1. Worth 10 points: In the second section of the Allied Research part of your research prospectus, you must discuss the general health issue addressed in the Background Information section in the context of the specific target population (which is relevant to the independent variable) of the primary hypothesis for your research prospectus. For example, in our Background Information section, we are discussing the general topic of childhood obesity. Recall that the specific target population of our research prospectus is children with ASD’s. Thus, in this section (with the heading of “Autism Spectrum Disorders and Obesity) of the Allied Research part, we would discuss obesity (and overweight) statistics among children with ASD’s and compare them to obesity statistics of the general population of children.
    1. For each of the two sections (indicated in Part a. i. and Part a. ii.), there must be a discussion of statistics and possibly some official definitions. You may use credible secondary sources may be used for discussions of official definitions and statistics (all information must be properly cited in APA-format).
      1.  For our example, under the “Physical Activity and Weight Management” section, we might begin by discussing the official physical activity recommendations for American children as well as general statistics concerning the current activity levels of American children.
      1. For our example, under the “Autism Spectrum Disorders and Obesity” section, we might begin by providing an official definition of autism spectrum disorders (ASD’s) and discuss statistics concerning the prevalence of ASD children who are overweight or obese.
    1. For each of the two sections (indicated in Part a. i. and Part a. ii.), there must be a discussion of published research from primary sources (all information must be properly cited in APA-format). We need to select primary sources based upon the objective of our prospectus (and specifically, the section) so that we can make connections between the discussion for the Background Information section and the discussion for the Critical Research section (most specifically related to the problem statement and purpose of the study). The sources must be full-text articles from peer-reviewed journal (not just abstracts).
      1.  For our example, under the “Physical Activity and Weight Management” section, after discussing official definitions and statistics (as indicated in Part b. i.), we need to discuss how physical activity is related to weight management (and how a sedentary lifestyle can contribute to being overweight and obese). To accomplish this, we would incorporate credible primary sources for which the authors concluded there is a significant association between physical activity levels and weight (or BMI levels).  
      1. For our example, under the “Autism Spectrum Disorders and Obesity” section, after discussing official definitions and statistics (as indicated in Part b. ii.), we need to discuss ASD children’s behaviors in terms of weight management. To accomplish this, we would incorporate credible primary sources for which the authors concluded that children with ASD’s engage in behaviors (e.g., sedentary behaviors) that may contribute to a higher prevalence of obesity among this population.
  • You must use appropriate paragraph structure, sentence structure, grammar, spelling, and punctuation. The language must be professional and scientific.
  • Worth 10 points: Critical Research section (this name should not be used in the prospectus): The Critical Research section will include a discussion of studies most closely aligned with your research question. Let us again refer to our example research prospectus topic of the comparison between children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD’s) and children without ASD’s in terms of barriers to physical activity. We might call the Critical Research part “Barriers to Physical Activity” because it is the most directly related to the dependent variable of the hypothesis of our research prospectus. For the Critical Health research part of the prospectus, you must include the following:
    • A two-paragraph discussion directly related to the purpose of the study.
      • For our example, in our first paragraph of the section, we would discuss the barriers to physical activity experienced by the general population of children (cited from credible primary sources).
      • For our example, in our second paragraph of the section, we would discuss physical impairments factors (e.g., deficits of gross and fine motor skills, difficulty with balance) experienced by children (and adolescents) with ASD’s which may potentially be reported as barriers to physical activity by this population. 
    • Only primary sources may be used for the Critical Research part (all information must be properly cited in APA-format).
    • You must use appropriate paragraph structure, sentence structure, grammar, spelling, and punctuation. The language must be professional and scientific.
  • Worth 10 points: Statement of the Problem with Purpose of the Study. Think of the Statement of the Problem as a one-paragraph “closing argument” for pursuing your research prospectus. For the Statement of the Problem section, you will provide a concise discussion of the nature of the problem of your research prospectus (as you indicated in the Background Information section, Allied Research section, and Critical Research section). You will also provide a concise justification for addressing the problem. Your group will incorporate a corrected version of your Preliminary Statement of the Problem for this section. For the Statement of the Problem with Purpose of the Study section part of the prospectus, you must include the following:
    • One paragraph of the correct version of your previously submitted Preliminary Statement of the Problem. However, the final statement of the paragraph will be your purpose of the study (which should be justified by the statement of the problem and should thus begin with “Therefore..,”.
      • For our example, we would provide a one-sentence statement of the rising prevalence of obesity among children and adolescents (this is a key point from our Background Information section). Then, we would provide a one-sentence statement concerning the relationship between a lack of physical activity and being overweight or obese (from our Allied Research section). We would then provide a one-sentence statement of the prevalence of overweight and obese status among children and adolescents with ASD’s (also from our Allied Research section). Then, we would provide one sentence concerning barriers to physical activity among the general population of children and adolescents and another sentence concerning ASD children’s and adolescents physical impairments that are suggested barriers to this population’s engagement in physical activity. Our final statement is the purpose of the study, which may be, “Therefore, the purpose of the current study is to determine if there is an association between being diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder and reporting specific barriers to physical activity among American children and adolescents.
    • Incorporate relevant sources for all information (you may cite the same sources from the previous sections of the paper). All sources must be properly cited in APA-format).
    • You must use appropriate paragraph structure, sentence structure, grammar, spelling, and punctuation. The language must be professional and scientific.
  • Worth 10 points: Hypothesis Statements and Operational Definitions This section of the paper will contain two parts: one part is an indication of your research hypothesis, and the other part is a discussion of your operational definitions. For this section, you must include the following:
    • Your primary research hypothesis is the hypothesis you are going to test and is the heart of your study. Your primary research hypothesis must be in complete alignment with your stated purpose of the study. If you wish, your prospectus may contain a secondary hypothesis, but I strongly recommend you do not include more than two hypotheses (as this may compromise the focus of the prospectus). 
    • Your operational definitions are the way you are defining variables and other key constructs in your study. A credible source must be cited for each of your operational definitions.
      • For our example, we would indicate that we are defining children and adolescents with ASD’s as children between the ages of 2 and 17 who have a current formal diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder from a medical professional (we would also need to cite the source of this definition). We would also define barriers to physical activity as factors identified by children or adolescents (as conveyed through a parent or legal guardian) as a reason for not engaging in physical activity (we would need to cite the source of this information).
    • Incorporate relevant sources for all information (must be properly cited in APA-format).
    • You must use appropriate paragraph structure, sentence structure, grammar, spelling, and punctuation. The language must be professional and scientific.
  • Worth 10 points: References List
    • The Introduction section must contain a minimum of 15 sources per group. However, if you determine that additional (or different)  sources may be needed for your Introduction section, or if I have suggested one of your selected sources (for the Five Sources) was not appropriate, then you may incorporate different sources from those used in the Five Sources assignment.
    • All sources in the references list must be properly formatted in APA-style: 7th edition (see the Purdue OWL website) for the type of sources you incorporate. Be sure to review my previous comments concerning your sources as well as Purdue OWL.
    • Only credible, full-text sources may be used (you may not use a source that is only an abstract).
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