Research Methods

In this class you will complete a Research Study Proposal to investigate a social-psychological issue to allow you to put into practice what you have learned throughout this course by designing a hypothetical research study proposal.

The Research Study Proposal will be divided into two assignments: Research Study Proposal Part I and l Research Study Proposal Part II.

The topic of your research study should be on a social-psychological issue. Social Psychology focuses on the impact of social environments on individuals or groups.

Two examples of social psychology focused studies are:

  • A study that researches the impact of public awareness ad campaigns on public attitudes toward the severely mental ill
  • A study comparing types school administrator response to reports of bullying and victims’ willingness to report instances of bullying to their parents.

The Research Study Proposal Part I must include the four components below. You will use these components as subheadings for four sections in your paper

1. Proposed Topic: Describe the study’s topic and focus (1 page minimum)
2. Hypothesis (can be in a form of question or stating the Ho and Ha)
3. Participants. Describe participant demographics (race, gender, age, religion, SES, area of the country in which they live, etc.), the process for selecting/recruiting them, and the rational for selecting them (1/2 page minimum)
4. Sampling Method: Discuss the proposed sampling method and the rational for selecting it (1 page minimum)

Your paper must also:

  • Be a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 4 full pages, size 12 font, Times New Roman, double spaced with 1 inch margins, NOT including the Title and References pages.
  • Be in APA format, including a title page and reference page.
  • Be proofread and contain few to no grammar errors, misspellings, incorrect APA formatting, or typographical errors.
  • Incorporate a minimum of three supportive scholarly citations and references to support content and conclusions.









Perceived Social Status of Military Rank and Influence on Citation bias in the Airman and NCO Tiers of Security Forces

Student Name

26 August, 2017














Perceived Social Status of Military Rank and Influence on Citation bias in the Airman and NCO

1. PROPOSED TOPIC: How does the perceived social status of military rank influence citation bias in the Airman and NCO tiers of Security Forces members at Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, Peterson Air Force Base, Schriever Air Force Base and the Air Force Academy?

Social status among military members is arguably one of the most important aspects of military heritage. Instilled from day one at basic training, recruits are taught to be respectful, listen to orders and act in a dignified manner. In technical training, Security Forces members are taught about law enforcement, base security and combat tactics. Maintaining objectivity during traffic stops and security enforcement is paramount to operations. What happens when social status and law enforcement meet? How does a person’s rank affect persuasive measures, instructions or citations used by Security Forces? In the military there is a great sense of rank structure. Humans rely heavily on social hierarchies to determine their behavior, as well social status may affect motivation and wellbeing in humans (Zink et al., 2008, p. 273). When two ideas of social responsibility are challenged it can create cognitive dissonance. Those that are higher ranking are expected to be respected and treated differently than those that are lower ranking. In Security Forces low ranking individuals often enforce rules and laws on military instillations. Within the career field itself members are expected to have higher standards and hold themselves above reproach. What happens when a low ranking Security Forces member comes in contact with a high ranking member and must provide enforcement? Will the Security Forces member be affected by the perception of authority as to the severity of the citation? Will the Security Forces member operate objectively and enforce equally? Would the Security Forces member issue the same citation for the same infraction that was caused by two members of different rank? In examining these questions the fairness of citation issuing will be determined. Social status in humans can effect physiological changes and hormone levels as well as behaviors of fairness and differences in social interactions, in the military social status is easily seen in the rank structure (Siart, Pflüger, & Wallner, 2016, p. 1). This study will look into the effects of perceived social status (rank) on citation bias among Security Forces members in the local Colorado Springs area.

2. RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS: Individuals in the Airman tier will display more bias in their citations than those individuals in the NCO tier.

NULL HYPOTHESIS: There will be no observable difference in bias between the Airman and NCO tiers.

During this study there should be several observations made. First there should be direct correlation between lower ranking Security Forces members and the lesser severity of traffic citation given to higher ranking individuals. This result should be caused by the lack of experience and perceived authority of the higher ranking individuals. Additionally as the rank of a Security Forces member increases the bias should decrease. This should be the result of increased experience as well as decreased effects of perceived status on their decision making process. Rank is an independent variable in this study, while citation severity is the dependent variable. The controlled variable or constant will be the infraction (e.g. speed infraction of five miles per hour over the speed limit). The severity of the citation should depend on the violators rank.

3. PARTICIPANTS: Selected from Colorado Springs area military bases.

Due to the variety of military personnel in terms of race, gender and age no specific demographic in this area would be selected. Rather two groups of Security Forces would be chosen. The first group in the Airman tier (Airman Basic through Senior Airman) and the Non Commissioned Officer (NCO) tier (Staff Sargent through Technical Sergeant). Due to the Senior Non Commissioned Officer (SNCO) tier being at the upper portion of the enlisted rank structure this tier will not be selected. Race, gender and age will vary among the participants. General racial statistics can offer some insight into what potential races will participate based on overall Air Force statistics. Approximately 70% of the participants can be expected to be white, 14% Black or African American, 3.8% Asian and the remainder American Indian, Hawaiian, or mixed race (Air Force Personnel Center, 2017). Average age of participants according the Air Force wide demographics will be averaging 28 years old with the majority being blow 26 years old due to lower tiers having younger individuals present. Finally, based on gender statistics approximately 19.7% of the participants will be women with the remaining 80.3% being men (Air Force Personnel Center, 2017). These statistics reflect overall Air Force Enlisted numbers and should be taken as approximate representations of Security Forces specific demographic numbers at the target locations of Peterson Air Force Base, Schriever Air Force Base, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station and the Air Force Academy. The process for selection will be volunteer based opportunity for involvement disseminated from leadership elements to ensure maximum amount of personnel have the opportunity for involvement. The target participants will be at least twenty five personnel in the Airman tier and twenty five in the NCO tier. The reason behind selecting these specific tiers is that these are the personnel making most contact with the public and performing law enforcement duties. Those in the SNCO tier are not the primary law enforcers on military installations.

4. SAMPLING METHOD: A Stratified Random Sampling method will be used to identify the two groups of the Airman and NCO tiers.

The purpose of this project is to gain perception on a specific sample and later apply it to the overall Security Forces population. The sample chosen will only be from the bases in the Colorado Springs area. Because there are four bases this will provide an adequate number of individuals to participate. Determining how the sample population responds to the stimulus throughout the project will provide insight into how the overall population will react, also this will explain several aspects of the overall population (Leedy & Ormrod, 2016, p. 159). Though the information may be useful in determining trends within the overall population, the study will be limited to one geographical region. Provided every member in the local area is notified of the opportunity this will give the sample population equal opportunity for participation. An easy method to ensure this would be email notification followed up by personal contact with potential participants. The target number of total participants is fifty, with twenty five in the Airman tier and twenty five in the NCO tier. These two groups will identify the strata within the research study. Depending on the number of respondents these numbers can be adjusted, however equal numbers in each tier will be important in determining differences between the two groups when it comes to bias. From the respondents an equal number of each will be taken for the research study. Additionally, an equal number of the separate ranks can be taken to further study the possible change of bias as ones rank increases. One benefits for this type of study would be a decreased estimation error as may be present in a simple random sampling (The Pennsylvania State University, 2017). Though these samples are not a representation of the overall Air Force population in terms of rank proportion, the purpose of the study is to collect information that is not dependent on relation to overall population. Other methods of sampling may not be as useful. It is important in this study to have an equal number of each rank tier, the tiers are the stratified populations within the study.


Air Force Personnel Center. (2017, June 30). Air Force Demographics. Retrieved from

Leedy, P. D., & Ormrod, J. E. (2016). Practical research: Planning and design [Vitalsource Ebook] (11th ed.). Retrieved from!/4/2/2/2@0:0.00

The Pennsylvania State University. (2017). 6.1 How to Use Stratified Sampling | STAT 506. Retrieved from

Siart, B., Pflüger, L. S., & Wallner, B. (2016). Corrigendum: Pulling Rank: Military Rank Affects Hormone Levels and Fairness in an Allocation Experiment. Frontiers in Psychology, 7(1750). doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00955

Zink, C. F., Tong, Y., Chen, Q., Bassett, D. S., Stein, J. L., & Meyer-Lindenberg, A. (2008). Know Your Place: Neural Processing of Social Hierarchy in Humans. Neuron, 58(2), 273-283. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2008.01.025