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Research Portfolio for Andrew Bachmann 1

Research Portfolio for Andrew Bachmann


Andrew Bachmann
North Carolina State University
ECI 510
June 20, 2014
Dr. Jan W. Lucas
Research Portfolio for Andrew Bachmann 2
Table of Contents
IRB Application...............................................................................................................................3
Writing Practice...............................................................................................................................9
Survey Results...............................................................................................................................12
Survey Reflection...........................................................................................................................21
Focus Group Details......................................................................................................................23
Focus Group Reflection.................................................................................................................26
Research Question Proposal..........................................................................................................29
References......................................................................................................................................31
Research Portfolio for Andrew Bachmann 3
Research Portfolio for Andrew Bachmann
IRB Application
North Carolina State University
Institutional Review Board for the Use of Human Subjects in Research
SUBMISSION FOR NEW STUDIES

GENERAL INFORMATION
1. Date Submitted: 6/20/2014
2. Title of Project: Investigating Academic Cheating Among College Students
3. Principal Investigator: Andrew Bachmann
4. Principal Investigator Email: abbachma@ncsu.edu
5. Department: Graduate School of Education
6. Campus Box Number: 12345
7. Phone Number: 614-519-0149
8. Faculty Sponsor Name if Student Submission: Dr. Jan W. Lucas
9. Faculty Sponsor Email Address if Student Submission: djwillis@ncsu.edu
10. Source of Funding (Sponsor, Federal, External, etc): Federal Education Grant
If Externally funded, include sponsor name and university account number: Institute of Education
Sciences 1234
RANK: Masters
Faculty: ; Student: Undergraduate Masters PhD; Other:
As the principal investigator, my signature testifies that I have read and understood the University Policy and
Procedures for the Use of Human Subjects in Research. I assure the Committee that all procedures performed under
this project will be conducted exactly as outlined in the Proposal Narrative and that any modification to this
protocol will be submitted to the Committee in the form of an amendment for its approval prior to implementation.
*Electronic submissions to the IRB are considered signed via an electronic signature*
Principal Investigator:
Andrew Bachmann
Andrew Bachmann
6/20/2014
(typed/printed name) (signature) (date)
As the faculty sponsor, my signature (or electronic submission) testifies that I have reviewed this application
thoroughly and will oversee the research in its entirety. I hereby acknowledge my role as the principal investigator
of record.
Faculty Sponsor:
Dr. Jan Lucas
Jan Lucas
6/20/2014
(typed/printed name) (signature) (date)
PLEASE COMPLETE AND E-MAIL TO: irb-coordinator@ncsu.edu
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Please include consent forms and other study documents with your application and submit as one document.
*Electronic submissions to the IRB are considered signed via an electronic signature. For student submissions
this means that the faculty sponsor has reviewed the proposal prior to it being submitted and is copied on the
submission.
*********************************************************************************************
****
For SPARCS office use only
Reviewer Decision (Expedited or Exempt Review)
Exempt Approved Approved pending modifications Table
Expedited Review Category: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8a 8b 8c 9
___________________________________________________________________________________________
Reviewer Name Signature Date
North Carolina State University
Institutional Review Board for the Use of Human Subjects in Research
GUIDELINES FOR A PROPOSAL NARRATIVE
In your narrative, address each of the topics outlined below. Every application for IRB review must contain a
proposal narrative, and failure to follow these directions will result in delays in reviewing/processing the
protocol.
A. INTRODUCTION
1. Briefly describe in lay language the purpose of the proposed research and why it is important.
The purpose of the research is to explore issues regarding academic cheating among college students.
The aim is to learn how it happens, why it happens, who does it, and ultimately what might be done to
reduce it.
2. If student research, indicate whether for a course, thesis, dissertation, or independent research.
The research is for a thesis.
B. SUBJECT POPULATION
1. How many subjects will be involved in the research?
Their will be 40 subjects in the research
2. Describe how subjects will be recruited. Please provide the IRB with any recruitment materials that
will be used.
Fliers will be posted in academic buildings inviting students to participate in the 2 hour focus group and
get paid $20.
3. List specific eligibility requirements for subjects (or describe screening procedures), including those
criteria that would exclude otherwise acceptable subjects.
Subjects must currently be enrolled in a college or university
4. Explain any sampling procedure that might exclude specific populations.
Research Portfolio for Andrew Bachmann 5
The fliers will be posted in academic buildings to reach as many subjects as possible, but students who
do not attend class on campus and students with visual impairments would be less likely to be informed.
5. Disclose any relationship between researcher and subjects - such as, teacher/student;
employer/employee.
Student/Student
6. Check any vulnerable populations included in study:
minors (under age 18) - if so, have you included a line on the consent form for the
parent/guardian signature
fetuses
pregnant women
persons with mental, psychiatric or emotional disabilities
persons with physical disabilities
economically or educationally disadvantaged
prisoners
elderly
students from a class taught by principal investigator
other vulnerable population.

7. If any of the above are used, state the necessity for doing so. Please indicate the approximate age
range of the minors to be involved.
As this is a focus group, there is very low risk of any harm and it would be helpful to understand the
opinion about cheating among these populations too
C. PROCEDURES TO BE FOLLOWED
1. In lay language, describe completely all procedures to be followed during the course of the
experimentation. Provide sufficient detail so that the Committee is able to assess potential risks to
human subjects. In order for the IRB to completely understand the experience of the subjects in your
project, please provide a detailed outline of everything subjects will experience as a result of
participating in your project. Please be specific and include information on all aspects of the research,
through subject recruitment and ending when the subject's role in the project is complete. All
descriptions should include the informed consent process, interactions between the subjects and the
researcher, and any tasks, tests, etc. that involve subjects. If the project involves more than one group
of subjects (e.g. teachers and students, employees and supervisors), please make sure to provide
descriptions for each subject group.
A sample of 10 individuals will be gathered at the four universities in the research triangle (NCSU,
DUKE, UNC, NCCU) by response to a flier. Individuals how make contact with interest will be
randomly chosen to participate, and they will be invited to a comfortable, private, and easily accessible
location on campus. Here they will be introduced to myself, asked to sign an informed consent, and be
offered refreshments while others arrive and get settled. During the focus study they will be asked
questions pertaining to their opinion on cheating among college students. Each individual will be
encouraged to participate. At the close of the session, students will be given the opportunity to stay and
ask questions or express concerns. Additionally, they will be given contact information to do so later, or
to contact to learn the results of the study.
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2. How much time will be required of each subject?
2 hours plus travel time
D. POTENTIAL RISKS
1. State the potential risks (physical, psychological, financial, social, legal or other) connected with the
proposed procedures and explain the steps taken to minimize these risks.
Their should be no abnormal physical risk other than travel which will be minimized by choosing
central, easily accessible locations, the psychological risks would include rekindling bad memories about
cheating or fraud, or exposing individuals to unethical practices they were not aware of. This risk would
be minimized by informing students of the planned discussion prior to it occurring and giving them the
opportunity to not participate without punishment and being available to talk afterward. Social risks
would be that other students in the focus group may change their opinion of one another. To reduce this
risk students will be told to not tell anyone about what was discussed and they will be given the
opportunity to tell stories about fictitious characters that represent themselves or others instead of telling
the truth.
2. Will there be a request for information that subjects might consider to be personal or sensitive (e.g.
private behavior, economic status, sexual issues, religious beliefs, or other matters that if made public
might impair their self-esteem or reputation or could reasonably place the subjects at risk of criminal or
civil liability)?
Yes students will be asked about cheating among people they know and themselves.
a. If yes, please describe and explain the steps taken to minimize these risks.
Students will be given anonymity in any written up results and they will be informed that anything they
say regarding cheating will not be reported or punished.
b. Could any of the study procedures produce stress or anxiety, or be considered offensive,
threatening, or degrading? If yes, please describe why they are important and what
arrangements have been made for handling an emotional reaction from the subject.
Asking students about cheating may cause stress or anxiety. Students will be given the opportunity to
leave the session at any time and may talk with me afterward or be advised to talk with an appropriate
professional
3. How will data be recorded and stored?
The session will be audio recorded on a cell phone and then used to make notes after the session is
complete. Once this is done the audio recording will be deleted.
a. How will identifiers be used in study notes and other materials?
Students will be given fake names in study notes and any other materials.
b. How will reports will be written, in aggregate terms, or will individual responses be
described?
Reports will be aggregate as well is some quoted responses.
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4. If audio or videotaping is done how will the tapes be stored and how/when will the tapes be destroyed
at the conclusion of the study.
The audio file will be deleted as soon as notes from the session are made.
5. Is there any deception of the human subjects involved in this study? If yes, please describe why it is
necessary and describe the debriefing procedures that have been arranged.
No
E. POTENTIAL BENEFITS
This does not include any form of compensation for participation.
1. What, if any, direct benefit is to be gained by the subject? If no direct benefit is expected, but indirect
benefit may be expected (knowledge may be gained that could help others), please explain.
Students will be able to learn about the issue of cheating from their fellow classmates. They can get the
results to learn what other focus groups said as well.
F. COMPENSATION
Please keep in mind that the logistics of providing compensation to your subjects (e.g., if your business
office requires names of subjects who received compensation) may compromise anonymity or complicate
confidentiality protections. If, while arranging for subject compensation, you must make changes to the
anonymity or confidentiality provisions for your research, you must contact the IRB office prior to
implementing those changes.
1. Explain compensation provisions if the subject withdraws prior to completion of the study.
Students will still be paid as long as they begin the focus group though they will not be informed of this
in advance.
2. If class credit will be given, list the amount and alternative ways to earn the same amount of credit.
No
G COLLABORATORS
1. If you anticipate that additional investigators (other than those named on Cover Page) may be
involved in this research, list them here indicating their institution, department and phone number.
None
2. Will anyone besides the PI or the research team have access to the data (including completed surveys)
from the moment they are collected until they are destroyed.
No
H. CONFLICT OF INTEREST
1. Do you have a significant financial interest or other conflict of interest in the sponsor of this project? No
2. Does your current conflicts of interest management plan include this relationship and is it being properly
followed? No
Research Portfolio for Andrew Bachmann 8
I. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
1. If a questionnaire, survey or interview instrument is to be used, attach a copy to this proposal.
2. Attach a copy of the informed consent form to this proposal.
3. Please provide any additional materials that may aid the IRB in making its decision.
J. HUMAN SUBJECT ETHICS TRAINING
*Please consider taking the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI), a free, comprehensive
ethics training program for researchers conducting research with human subjects. Just click on the
underlined link.
Research Portfolio for Andrew Bachmann 9
Writing Practice
Name : Bachmann, Andrew
Course : ECI 510 601 Summer 1 2014
Title of Article :
Does Multitasking Impair Studying? Depends on Timing
Bibliography Citation : Pashler, H., Kang, S., IP, R., (2013).Does multitasking impair
studying? Depends on timing. Applied Cognitive Psychology,
27(5), 593-599.
doi: 10.1002/acp.2919
The research study aimed to further differentiate the very general concept of multitasking
into two major categories; multitasking in which a task is interrupted and continued after the
interruption, and multitasking in which the task and interruption are being performed
simultaneously. Specifically, the research looked to study the method of multitasking's effect on
the time it takes students to perform a studying task as well as their performance on assessments
after studying. The study was done in three separate experiments. The first experiment had
subjects reading an article, reading an article with interruptions occurring after paragraphs, and
reading an article with interruptions occurring randomly. The second experiment had the exact
same setup except the articles were in the form of audio recordings, and the recording was
paused during interruptions. The third experiment again played the article in an audio recording,
but this time it did not stop playing during the interruptions. The interruptions were in the form
of opinion questions that appeared on a computer screen that the participant had to answer. The
results of the first two experiments showed that while multitasking did slow down the studying
process, it did not result in a statistically significantly different performance on the reading
assessment. The third experiment revealed that multitasking while the audio continued did have a
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statistically significant impact on the reading assessment. The authors infer that multitasking,
such as text messaging, during studying that can be interrupted does not have a significant
impact on immediate retention, but multitasking during a lecture that does not stop or video that
can't be paused, does have a negative impact on retention. The authors further encourage future
researchers to recognize these important differences in multitasking when conducting and
publishing research.
This review is based on Pyrczak's (2008) guide for evaluating research reports, and
focuses on the sampling discussion of this study. Specifically, it will focus on the quality of
sample data that were gathered from the participants in the research, and the degree to which the
sampling methods were described in the article and appropriate for the research.
Sampling
There were three participant pools from which samples were gathered in this study for the
different phases of the experiment. Each sample, as best as can be inferred since it does not state
explicitly, was obtained in a very similar way. At the beginning of the methods section, which
occurs for each of the three experiments described, there is a single, brief statement about the
subjects of the study. For example, for the first experiment, Pashler, Kang, & IP state, From the
University of California, San Diego, undergraduate students participated in return for course
credit. (p. 594). The samples were 109 students, 109 students, and 82 students. Though it
doesn't explicitly state it in the article, it can be inferred that the students are not included in
more than one of the three subject pools because each experiment tested on the same three
articles and this would have introduced a major and obvious flaw into the design. The article
does well to state the exact sample sizes. There is no discussion of the exact ages, gender, race,
Research Portfolio for Andrew Bachmann 11
socioeconomic, or academic break down of the individuals. The sample is not from a diverse
population since they were all undergraduate students at the same school and presumably they
were even taking the same or similar courses since it was noted that participation was a course
requirement (Pashler, Kang, & IP, 2013). Whether the students were asked for informed consent
is not addressed either, but one would certainly questions how pressured students would feel to
participate despite any reservations because participation was tied to receiving course credit.
The authors address concerns with the lack of statistical significance and addresses
potential weaknesses in external validity with regards to other elements of the experimental
design, but never addresses concerns about external validity as related to the sample and what
population they might generalize the results to safely.
Overall the sampling discussion was inadequate and ineffective. The sample was a
within-subject design where each individual would serve as their own control and participate in
each treatment (Pashler, Kang, & IP, 2013). The treatments were counterbalanced and order was
randomly assigned. These experimental design choices would largely reduce some of the
weaknesses that result from sampling limitations. The researchers seem to imply that they are
willing to generalize the results to the entire human population from this limited sample.
Reference
Pyrczak, F. (2008). Evaluating research in academic journals: A practical guide to realistic
evaluation. Glendale, CA: Pyrczak Pub.
Research Portfolio for Andrew Bachmann 12
Survey Results
Sleep and Health Study Results
The survey was published 6/14/2014
Final submission date considered was 6/16/2014
Response rate from 6/14/2014 to 6/16/2014 access was 9/9, 100%
1. What is your Gender?
Answer Response %
Male 2 22%
Female 6 67%
Other 1 11%
I prefer not to say 0 0%
Total 9 100%
Other
genderfluid
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2. What is your Ethnicity?
# Answer Response %
1 American Indian or
Alaska Native
0 0%
2 Asian 0 0%
3 Black or African
American
2 22%
4 Native Hawaiian or
Other Pacific Islander
0 0%
5 White 7 78%
6 Other 0 0%
Total 9 100%
3. What is your age? (in years)
Text Response
23
26
26
25
24
55
29
28
27
Statistic Value
Total Responses 9 (100%)
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Range: 32 (55-23) Mean:29.22 Median:26 Mode: 26
4. On average, how many hours of sleep do you get each night? (estimate to the nearest hour)
Responses given in increasing order
Text Response
6
6
7
7
7
7
7
9
10
Statistic Value
Total Responses 9 (100%)
Range:4 (10-6) Mean: 7.33 Median: 7 Mode: 7
5. How do you generally sleep?
Answer Response %
On my back 1 11%
On my side 5 56%
On my stomach 3 33%
Other 0 0%
Total 9 100%
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6. How often do you sleep through the night?
Answer Response %
Never 0 0%
Rarely 0 0%
Sometimes 3 33%
Most of the Time 6 67%
Always 0 0%
Total 9 100%
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7. Do you use any sleep aids?
Answer Response %
No 6 67%
Yes, please describe 3 33%
Total 9 100%
Yes, please describe
5mg OTC Melatonin
On occasion, usually generic
Melatonin
Research Portfolio for Andrew Bachmann 17
8. On average, how many times do you get sick each year? (your best estimate)
Answer Response %
I almost never get sick 3 33%
1 to 3 times 5 56%
4 to 6 times 1 11%
7 to 10 times 0 0%
11 to 20 times 0 0%
More than 20 times 0 0%
Total 9 100%
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9. How do you feel about your weight?
Answer Response %
I would like to gain more than
20 pounds
0 0%
I would like to gain 5 to 20
pounds
1 11%
I do not want to gain or lose
more than 5 pounds
3 33%
I would like to lose 5 to 20
pounds
3 33%
I would like to lose more than
20 pounds
2 22%
Total 9 100%
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10. to what extent do you agree with the following statement? I am very healthy.
Answer Response %
Strongly Disagree 0 0%
Disagree 1 11%
Neither Agree nor Disagree 1 11%
Agree 6 67%
Strongly Agree 1 11%
Total 9 100%
Comments:
This study was created to begin an investigation that aims to relate sleep patterns to
general health. This was a limited study of just 9 individuals conveniently sampled from a single
distance learning education course so the results have week external validity. Additionally, a
couple of the questions lacked appropriate alternative answers. The question asking age did not
give a prefer not to answer option and the question about weigh loss and gain did not provide an
other option. From the results though a more robust study will be designed.
I found it interesting in the results that the median age was a much better representation
of the typical age of individual in this class than the mean, because of one outlier. Throughout
Research Portfolio for Andrew Bachmann 20
the rest of the data their weren't any other strong outliers. That said though, there was an
impressive range of four hours difference in the average amount of sleep that individuals in the
sample got. It ranged from as little as 6 hours, to as many as 10 hours on average. This is a
remarkable difference if you consider how fast the difference in hours add up. In one week the
individual who gets 10 hours of sleep a night would sleep 28 more hours than the person who
averages 6.
I was surprised that 100% of the respondents said that they sleep through the night
sometimes or most of the time. No one said never, rarely, or always. This was even more
interesting since people in the sample sleep in a variety of ways (back, side, front) and some of
the respondents use sleep aids.
It seems that the sample is very healthy with 33% almost never get sick and an additional
56% that only get sick 1-3 times per year. Additionally 78% of the sample either agrees or
strongly agrees with the statement: I am very healthy. It was interesting however that despite this
belief, only 33% of the sample said they would not want to lose or gain more than five pounds.
From these initial results, a more robust study survey will be created that will further
analyze some of the relationships between the length and quality of sleep to how sleep is
performed, and between length and quality of sleep to how healthy an individual is, and
subsequently if how sleep is performed is related to how healthy an individual is.
Research Portfolio for Andrew Bachmann 21
Survey Reflection
In creating the web survey, I got to experience several key elements of the research
process. The first thing was choosing a topic of interest. This required not only choosing a topic
that I was interested in, but also figuring out how I was going to frame the topic in a way that
could be studied. Once I decided to study sleep and health, I needed to create the survey
questions. I haven't written survey questions before and it was a challenging task; from writing
demographic questions that were open to all and not offensive, to writing a series of questions
related to my subject that made logical sense. After that I had the experience of learning to use
Qualtrics to create an online poll that I could share with a web link. This was a challenge too, but
revealed the impressive power of the sites survey engine. After the survey was complete, I again
got to see Qualtrics's impressive analysis side in easily creating some visually appealing charts
and tables. Finally, I experienced the challenge of going through the results to try to identify
trends and interesting features. When all of these steps are done and written up by someone else,
it sounds easy, but I was surprised at how much thought each step takes.
My favorite learning experience from the survey activity was working with Qualtrics. I
was definitely struggling with it at first, but once I started to get the hang of it I was amazed at all
of the capabilities of the program. I am sure that I only scratched the surface of what Qualtrics
was capable of. There was an impressive variety of question types and formatting options. The
instant analysis was also very impressive. All of the tallying and counting was done immediately
and put into a table or chart with just a few clicks. Again, I know that I only scratched the surface
of its analysis power, but I was impressed. I've used Google forms a little bit, but this was a
much better tool for actual research.
Research Portfolio for Andrew Bachmann 22
I thought that many steps in this activity were challenging, but I was most surprised by
how hard it is to develop good survey questions. With the demographic questions, it was hard to
make sure that every possibility was covered and make sure that no one was offended. It was
also a challenge to write questions in a way that limited responses to a few multiple choices, but
still covered all of the possibilities. I learned that the other and the prefer not to answer
options are a question designers best friend. Finally, it was a challenge to make sure that each
question was related, but not redundant with the others. I have new respect for the challenge of
creating survey questions.
My one disappointment with the activity was only getting to survey a group of nine
people. I think it would be very neat to require each student in the class to get a few more people
they know to take their survey. I felt that a number of my options were never selected that I
imagine would have been with a bigger sample size. It would keep a few of the charts from being
boring with only two or three bars.
Overall, I have a new respect for the survey process. I previously thought of surveys as an
easy way to collect data, and that is probably true as compared to an experiment, but they take a
lot more consideration than I realized. I also realize that technology is making the process much
easier and faster. While survey questions take some time to put together, once you have them,
you can gather and analyze data very quickly. I have learned that surveys are a really good
starting point for research and once you notice trends or interesting features, you can follow up
with a more robust survey, or you can design an experiment or different type of study to gather
information in a different way.
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Focus Group Details
Qualitative Question: What does academic cheating look like today among college students?
Introduction
The goal of this focus group it to learn about academic cheating a the college level
currently. The hope is to learn how it occurs, how frequently it occurs, who does it, and why?
With the information, we hope to design further research that will further address the state of
cheating in college today and better understand why students are doing it so a greater
understanding of how to discourage or prevent cheating might be developed.
Recruiting
I would recruit students at the four local universities (NC State, UNC, Duke, and NCCU)
by posting fliers in all of the academic buildings around campus having students email, text, or
call if they are interested in a 2-hour focus group studying college students for $20. Getting focus
groups from each school is an attempt to be more representative of all universities in the United
States. Making sure that each academic building gets a flier is an attempt to make sure that all
types (age, gender, ethnicity, major) of students are equally likely to see the flier. Offering $20
again is trying to entice as many types of students as possible because everyone likes money.
Students that respond would then be randomly selected at each university to participate in focus
groups of 8-10 students.
Planning
On each campus, a comfortable, easily accessed, and yet private location would be
reserved. Ideally the room would have 4 couches that could be set up in a square or a really big
table with comfy chairs. I would make sure to bring refreshments for participants to snack on
Research Portfolio for Andrew Bachmann 24
during the session. I would bring name tags and markers, releases and pens, my phone for
recording, and of course I would bring a crisp stack of $20's to hand out to the participants.
Moderating
When students show up I would start by introducing myself, having them sign the release
form (which would prominently remind them of the reward for participating), have them make a
name tag with their first name only, and tell them to grab a snack and make themselves
comfortable. While waiting for subjects to arrive I would try to encourage conversation getting to
know a little bit about everyone if possible. Once the session started I would make sure everyone
was comfortable and reintroduce myself and state the purpose of the study. I would then explain
that I was not affiliated with their university and I would protect their identity and anyone else
they choose to tell me about. I would also tell them that if they wanted to, they could make up
names for other people and/or tell about the experiences of a fictitious character when they are
really about them selves. I would explain that the goal is to hear everyone's opinion and open
discussion is encouraged, but if things got off track or if someone talks to much or too little, I'll
intervene. I would start with an easy question to get everyone talking before delving into the
deeper questions. I would ask students that didn't talk how they feel about something and I would
thank students that were talking a lot but tell them I wanted to hear some other opinions. At the
close of the session I would thank everyone for participating, hand out the $20's, and invite them
to stick around to talk if they had any more questions or concerns.
Signed Releases
The signed release would explain who I was and that this was a study about academic
cheating. It would tell them that I was not affiliated with the university, and they would not be
Research Portfolio for Andrew Bachmann 25
punished for information they shared regarding cheating. It would notify them that their identity
and the identities of everyone they talked about would be protected. It would explain that they
were being compensated for their time ($20), and if they had any questions they could ask me at
any time during the session or by email, phone, or text, later.
Questions List
1. Today we're going to talk about academic cheating, but before we dive into that, I want to get
a feel for who we have in our group today. Please go around the circle and share with us your
first name, what your academic year is, and what major or degree you are working on.
2. What percent of people at the school do you think have cheated on academic tests or
assignments within the last year?
3. What do you think are the most common ways that people cheat?
4. What do you feel leads people to choosing to cheat?
5. Do you think cheating is ever justified?
6. Do you think their are certain qualities about people that make people more likely to cheat?
7. Do you think that allowing someone else to cheat is wrong? Is it as wrong as cheating?
8. If you knew that you wouldn't get caught, would you cheat on an assignment or test?
Research Portfolio for Andrew Bachmann 26
Focus Group Reflection
In the focus group activity, I got to experience much of the process of planning for
conducting a focus group. I first had to come up with something that would be appropriate to
study. I wanted to study something interesting and a little bit controversial in nature to give
myself the challenge of thinking about a topic like that. I'm very glad I did, because I got a
chance to really think about how one would deal with issues that were possibly challenging for
subjects to talk about.
Next, I got to plan on how a group would be gathered in the fairest way possible and still
think about the potential weaknesses of the method. Planning for the actual focus group session
felt a lot like planning a party. I had to make sure you to have everything needed and try to make
sure that all of guests are comfortable. This was even more important because the goal was to get
subjects to open up about topics they may not be particularly inclined to talk about. I had to
consider how I would conduct myself and relate to others during the focus group. It was a
challenge to think about how I would be friendly and assure participants that their sharing of
information would be held confidential.
Next, I got to think about what information would be included in a signed release and
learned that it can be used more reassure the participant than to take liability away from the
researcher. Finally, I got to experience the challenge of developing a short set of questions that
would hopefully foster discussion about cheating. I was challenged to phrase the questions in a
way that would get students to open up more and more as the session continued.
My favorite learning experience from this activity was thinking about how to plan for and
conduct the session itself. As I stated before, it was kind of like planning for a party which I
Research Portfolio for Andrew Bachmann 27
found interesting. I never considered how much every interaction was premeditated; from the
way you introduce yourself, to the way the couches or chairs are arranged, to the time and
location of the session. I enjoyed this challenge, and recognize how important skill it would be
for a person who conducts focus groups. The better you are at these things, the better your actual
research results can be.
I thought the most challenging aspect of this activity was again, like the survey activity,
creating the questions. It was remarkable how different the question making process was from
the survey, but just as much consideration had to be given to every question. I had to think about
key points to hit and how to make sure that each questions was open ended enough that natural
conversation would result from them. Additionally, I had to think about how the phrasing of the
questions would lead individuals to be more likely to open up about the controversial subject.
Another challenge was sequencing the questions in a way that would get individuals more and
more likely to express how they feel on the issue. Designing questions for focus groups is
another very important skill to obtaining good results.
I thought the activity was a good one. One potential improvement would be to give
students a budget to consider in the process. I imagine it is a big challenge to choose how much
to spend on different things like getting the sample, renting a space, rewards for participation,
refreshments, etc.. This would give another very interesting thing to think about in the focus
group design process and I think it allows for a lot of flexibility and creativity. I just assumed
throughout the process that I had however much money I wanted to have for the research.
I was surprised in this activity to realize how much consideration it takes to plan a focus
group. Even more interesting is that almost every step of the process is aimed at obtaining good
Research Portfolio for Andrew Bachmann 28
results. I realize that creating good focus groups is quite a challenge in the use of social skills.
You really have to put yourself in the participants shoes and imagine what would be the best
scenario for getting people to talk openly. After, I created my focus group plan, I found myself
wanting to actually carry it out to see how it would go, and see what I would learn.
Research Portfolio for Andrew Bachmann 29
Research Question Proposal
Problem Sheet: Purpose, Research Question & Justification
1. My working Title is:
The link between sleep and health.
2. My research problem stated as purpose is:
The purpose is to study the relationships between how people sleep, the quality of sleep they
get, and their overall health.
3. My research question(s) is/are:
Is the way that an individual sleeps related to the quality of sleep?
Is the quality of sleep one gets related to the general health of the individual?
Is the way that an individual sleeps related to the general health of the individual?

4. Following are key terms in the problem or question that are not clear and thus need to be
defined:
a. __way of sleep_______________ d. ______________________________
b. __quality of sleep_____________ e. ______________________________
c. __general health______________ f. ______________________________
5. Here are my definitions of these terms:
Way of sleep whether an individual sleeping on their back, front, or side, whether and type of
sleep aids, and time of day sleep begins. Quality of sleep measured in the duration of sleep, the
Research Portfolio for Andrew Bachmann 30
frequency of interruptions, and the perceived restfulness of sleep. General Health How
frequently the individual becomes sick, BMI, blood pressure, any other persistent diseases.
6. Here are my variables of interest:
Position while sleeping, use of sleep aid, time sleep begins, how long sleep lasts, number of
interruptions to sleep, restfulness of sleep, frequency of illness, BMI, blood pressure, presence of
persistent disease.
7. My justification for investigating this question/problem (why I would argue that it is an
important question to investigate) is as follows:
People have some control over they way that they sleep and it is the eventual aim of this research
to see if there is a cause-effect relationship between how someone sleeps and the quality of sleep
or general health. If a connection is found between either of these it may help people make
decisions about how they choose to sleep.
Research Portfolio for Andrew Bachmann 31
References
Conducting Focus Group:. (n.d.). Conducting Focus Group:. Retrieved June 20, 2014, from
http://www.cse.lehigh.edu/~glennb/mm/FocusGroups.htm
Forms. (n.d.). Sponsored Programs. Retrieved June 20, 2014, from
http://research.ncsu.edu/sparcs/compliance/irb/irb-forms/
Nestor, P., & Schutt, R. K. (2012). Research methods in psychology: investigating human
behavior. Los Angeles, CA: SAGE Publications.
Pyrczak, F. (2008). Evaluating research in academic journals: A practical guide to realistic
evaluation. Glendale, CA: Pyrczak Pub.
Random Number Generator. (n.d.). Random Number Generator. Retrieved June 20, 2014, from
http://stattrek.com/statistics/random-number-generator.aspx
Welcome to the Purdue OWL. (n.d.). Purdue OWL: APA Formatting and Style Guide. Retrieved
June 20, 2014, from https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/02/