Please pick any of the 5 statements given below and create a research study answering the questions in the next paragraph.
For this assignment, I will give you some statements to choose from and you will select one of them in order to: 1) generate a testable hypothesis, 2) suggest a possible research design (descriptive, correlation, or experimental), 3) suggest how the research could be conducted and, 4) if you find the experimental design is the best design for your theory, identify independent and dependent variables and specify operational definitions, if appropriate.
As an example, “The grass is always greener on the other side of the street” implies that people envy what others have. How would you test this theory? Perhaps select a group of children and randomly distribute small toys to them. Then have each child rate the desirability of all the objects – both the one he or she is holding as well as the toys given to the other children. What kind of research design is this? Experimental. What are the dependent and independent variables? The independent variable is the toy and the dependent variable is the desirability of the toys. What are the operational definitions? These are the specifics of the study that might impact the results; when you define them I can replicate your study and get the same results, so “child” would be a male or female ages 5-8, and “toys” would be common toys sold for more than $3 and less than $15 at any retail toy store.
Here are the statements for you to select from to create a research design:
• A text message takes three times as long to write as it does to say.
• Wearing dark clothes on the bottom and light clothes on the top is usually more visually appealing than the reverse.
• There is a genetic predisposition to schizophrenia.
• The more languages one knows, the easier it is to learn another.
• Pornography is harmful to marriage relationships.
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To give you choices to choose from, I will answer these questions for the last two of the statements that you gave. These are:
- The more languages one knows, the easier it is to learn another.
- Pornography is harmful to marriage relationships.
My testable hypothesis will be “for every increase in the number of languages that a person knows, we will see a statistically significant increase in the ability to learn an unknown language that is not related to any language the person already speaks.”
I will research this question using an experimental research design. In my experiment, we will take people who know 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 languages already. We will then have them come into our lab a given number of hours per week to learn a language that is not related to a language they already know. After a given number of hours of study, we will test them on their acquisition of the new language.
Because an independent variable is the variable that is supposed to affect the other variable, our independent variable will be the number of languages that they already know. The dependent variable is the variable affected by the independent variable, so our dependent variable is the score that the student gets on the test of the new language that is given at the end of the experiment.
The main thing that we need to define is what it means to “know” a language. We could rely on self-reporting (asking them how many languages they are fluent in) or we could test them and define “knowing” a language as getting a certain score on a test of grammar and common vocabulary. The other thing we would have to define is what constitutes a related language. We could take a language tree like this one and say how far apart the languages have to be to be unrelated.
My testable hypothesis will be “levels of happiness in marital relationships will be inversely related to the amount of pornography consumed by the partners in the marriage.”
I will research this question using an experiment as well. I will take a given number of married couples and assess their levels of happiness using a test. I will then randomly assign them to consume different amounts of pornography each week in our lab. At the end of a given period of time, I will assess their levels of happiness again.
The independent variable will be the amount of pornography that they consume. The dependent variable will be their level of happiness as determined by their score on the test.
The main thing that we need to define is pornography. We would have to decide if, for example, sexually explicit stories are pornography or if only visual images (still photographs or videos) are pornography. We would also have to define “happiness” in a marriage relationship.
Either of these research designs could be used to answer the questions you pose. Of course, there are further details that would have to be dealt with (do we have only one partner consume pornography or both; what test do we use to determine how much of a language has been learned). However, what I have provided here should allow you to get started.
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