Food Insecurity and Nutrition Education: Assessing the Efficacy of Educational Programs in Alleviating Nutritional Disparities

Project 4, the Methodology

For this assignment, you will compose a 4 to 5 page methodology that explains your research project design, including the identity of your sample population, recruitment plans, procedures for data collection, and plans for data analysis. 

What is a Methodology?

A methodology is a clear statement of and rationale for the design of a research project. Before conducting a study, researchers carefully consider the how and why of a project and then submit a detailed explanation to an Institutional Review Board (IRB). After receiving approval and conducting the study, researchers include a methods or methodology section in the article write-up that will be published and shared in an academic journal. It is important that a methodology be written using clear, direct, and efficient prose so that a future researcher can replicate the study in a different context.

About Your Methodology

You will write a methodology that explains your project design and provides a detailed account of procedures that you will follow to conduct your study. This is a methodology for a mock study, meaning that you will not distribute materials to participants to collect data. However, you should write your document as a formal account of your project methodology, as if you plan to proceed to the IRB with your project design.

Goals of the Project

  • To develop a clear and specific prose style in an effort to explain a complex project of your own design to an interdisciplinary academic audience
  • To build and demonstrate detail-oriented planning skills for realistic and reliable long-term projects
  • To practice outreach methods for attracting a non-academic audience of research participants to join your study.
  • To understand and be able to discuss the significance of research ethics, including informed consent, to protect participants and produce trustworthy data

The Document You will Produce

Your methodology document must be 1200-1500 words in length (about 4 to 5 pages, 12-point Times New Roman font, double-spaced). All parts of the document must be formatted in APA style, with appropriate headings and subheadings to organize the material in your body text.

Your Methodology should end with an appendix that includes the full text of the research instrument and all recruitment materials and, if necessary, an APA-style reference page.

Your document will explain the following components of your research design, using the following headings:

  • Research Question: What research question will your study address? What is the purpose of your study?

  • Subjects: What population will your study research? What is the ideal demographic makeup of participants in your study, according to the population in which your study is interested and the variables that you are operationalizing? How many participants do you need to achieve reasonable results? 

  • Recruitment: How will you recruit participants for your study? What choices inform the documents that you will distribute to potential participants? How and where will you reach out to potential participants, based on what you know about your study’s population? How will you avoid sampling biases in collecting research participants?

  • Procedures: What steps will you take to conduct your study, from beginning to end? If conducting surveys or interviews, what choices informed the design of these documents? If conducting an experiment or ethnographic research, what process will you undergo to collect data? If location is important to your study, where will your research take place? What ethical considerations have you prioritized in your study design, and what ethical considerations will you need to continue to think about as your study progresses?

  • Data Analysis: What variables will your project measure? How will you process raw data collected during your study into specific and understandable findings? What type(s) of analysis will you perform (i.e. statistical tests, qualitative data coding, etc.)?

If you choose to cite outside sources in your Methodology document, you will create an APA-style References page. Citations are necessary if you are adapting part of your research design from an existing project (i.e. a replication study or a study using a standard questionnaire) or if you are making methodological decisions based on suggestions made in another study.

You will also include an Appendix section with your document, to follow the references page (if present) or to follow the main document (if no references pages is present). Your Appendix should include:

  • Full text of your research instrument (such as survey or interview questions)
  • Full text of recruitment materials, including the consent form for participating in your project and the text of any communications intended to advertise your project (poster advertisement, social media post, and/or email).

Evaluation Criteria

Your Methodology should meet the following criteria:

  • The document is written clearly, directly, and in a way that is easily interpretable for an academic audience without significant prior knowledge.

  • Explanations of subjects, recruitment, procedures, and data analysis are carefully reasoned, detailed, and complete, leaving few questions unanswered for a reading audience. The explanations create a strong case for the project’s feasibility and the writer’s awareness of the steps needed to achieve a reliable research outcome.

  • Documents designed for participants to read are clear, concise, and informative. Participants will be likely to fully understand their time, physical, emotional, and other commitments to the project, based on how documents have been written. Recruitment documents are tailored to the needs and expectations of the audience of participants.

  • The document demonstrates and conveys the writer’s awareness of the needs of all people involved and the potential risks and benefits of the project for participants and a future reading audience.

  • The document follows APA style guidelines. It is 1200-1500 words long and is separated into headings with appropriate body text. If necessary, the document includes an APA-style reference page. The document ends with an appendix that includes the full text of the research instrument and all recruitment materials.

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