What is a research proposal? Research proposals serve an important function in psychological research. Prior to conducting studies, we often need to justify and provide a rationale fo


Research Proposal Project – Extra Credit (up to 2-grade points can be added directly to your core assignments grade)

What is a research proposal?

Research proposals serve an important function in psychological research. Prior to conducting studies, we often need to justify and provide a rationale for why that particular study needs to be done. This extra credit assignment serves as a mini-proposal to get you acquainted with developing and proposing studies that you may like to do (and justifying why people should care or fund your proposed research). Proposals have pretty variable formats, and if submitted to a grant or organization like the Undergraduate Research Opportunities will likely have specific guidelines. 

Here is an example of a very short real-world research proposal: Discrimination Experiences Research ProposalDownload Discrimination Experiences Research Proposal

Your proposal for this extra credit assignment should be longer than that.


For this extra credit assignment you will pick one empirical article and spend a paragraph describing what it did/found in greater detail than usual and comment on its limitations. You will then propose a study to address these limitations. Note: You must propose more than re-do the study with a larger/different sample. You must also propose an experimental approach (since Paper 1 was all correlational).

The main point of this assignment is to translate a research idea into a project, with a special focus on conceptualizing a research question into an empirical study. As opposed to a research paper, a research proposal has not been already carried out, so it will contain an introduction, proposed methods, expected findings, and implications section. 

Please follow the guidelines listed below. 

Introduction (1 page)

The introduction in a research proposal is intended to capture the reader’s curiosity and get them to care about the outcome of the proposed study. It is very similar to the introduction of a research paper in that respect, as it includes a short literature review and lays out the hypotheses of the study.

For this assignment, I will have you do a brief Introduction focused on only one article. In one paragraph, introduce the topic. Then, in 2-3 paragraphs, describe and evaluate one relevant research article (of your choice). In particular, you need to directly discuss and critique the article with respect to validity threats in the existing research. 

Last, you should have 1 paragraph briefly introducing your proposed study and how it will address the limitations of the research article you reviewed. Your proposed study MUST be experimental.

Methods (~ 1 page)

The methods section, like in a research paper, is where you indicate what will happen in the study. It will include the same basic sections: participants, materials, procedure.

You will be graded on how you conceptualize your ideas into a testable framework that is scientifically sound. It is recommended that you research your dependent variable to determine how past studies have measured it, then cite that measurement in your proposal. You also need to specify what your conditions are and how you will assign participants to condition.

Obvious confounds will result in the loss of marks (e.g. is there an adequate control group? Is a measure biased in such a way as to threaten the validity of your study?). 

Expected Findings & Implications (1-2 pages)

The expected findings & implications section is where you will state what you expect to find in your experiment (a graph may be helpful). Additionally, it is the last chance to get the reader excited about the study and demonstrate that this study is important.

After outlining what you expect to find in the experiment, go over the implications of those expected findings and the study as a whole. This will include restating how it addresses the limitations and threats to validity in the article you reviewed in the Introduction. Additionally, the study may advance the field of research in a meaningful way or may be important for applied reasons (e.g., informing policy, improving clinical care, answering an interesting aspect of human experience). You should spend about 1 page total discussing academic implications (what does it mean for the field of psychology or theory in this area?) and the more broad implications. 


You will need to provide an APA formatted reference page including the article you critiqued and any other relevant references. 

Deconstructing Discrimination: Multiracial Individuals’ Discrimination Experiences and Psychological Well-Being

Given the importance of belonging to the human experience, it is not surprising that perceiving cues of social acceptance are associated with improved health, well-being, and engagement (Walton & Cohen, 2011). In contrast, social rejection is a generally painful phenomenon, even when the perpetrator is a member of a deplorable group such as the KKK (Gonsalkorale & Williams, 2007). As any person can attest—whether it is experienced on the job market or in a school cafeteria—the sting of rejection spares no one. However, specific forms of social rejection can be directed toward members of some groups more heavily, with pernicious consequences.

Individuals with mixed-race ancestry face higher rates of prejudice and discrimination than any other racial or ethnic group (Brackett et al., 2006), yet psychology has a limited understanding of their experiences. A growing body of research documents that Multiracial people may face rejection from many different sources. People of color (POC) may reject part- White Multiracial people because their White identity can lead to questions about allegiances to POC groups (Chen et al., 2018). White people may also reject Multiracial people for a number of reasons, including wanting to protect ingroup boundaries or existing status inequality between racial groups (Krosch & Amodio, 2014). Although it is clear that Multiracial people can experience high levels of rejection and discrimination, there is no existing theory of discrimination that adequately documents the nature and impact of these experiences. The proposed research develops and tests a novel, theoretically-based framework of discrimination types and their influence on Multiracial individuals’ well-being (see Figure 1).

Building on the limited body of research in Multiracial discrimination experiences, we propose four types of discrimination experienced by Multiracial people. Multiracial people can experience specific racial discrimination, directed toward a single racial group within their background, as well as anti-miscegenation discrimination, discrimination rooted in attitudes against interracial families and directed toward individuals’ mixed-race status. Identity- contingent discrimination describes instances in which discrimination arises from, or is directed toward, individuals’ identification (e.g., inconsistencies between one’s identity and perceivers’ beliefs about how they should identify). Last, vicarious discrimination describes instances in which Multiracial people can be interpersonally accepted yet simultaneously witness discriminatory or prejudiced attitudes relevant to their racial identity or background. In addition to outlining forms of discrimination, the proposed study will investigate target characteristics (i.e., racial identification) related to the prevalence of these discrimination experiences. Follow up studies will continue to develop this novel framework, examining additional characteristics such as perpetrator race.


200 Multiracial participants will be recruited through Qualtrics (see budget justification for details). Participants will not need to self-identify as Multiracial; people who indicate two or more racial backgrounds on a check all that apply question will be considered eligible.

Participants will complete a survey assessing well-being (Diener et al., 1985), followed by identification strength for each racial background and the Multiracial group (Luhtanen & Crocker, 1992). The group that someone most strongly identifies with will be considered their primary identification for this study. For each racial background selected, participants will complete 7-items assessing specific discrimination (Giamo et al., 2012). We will utilize a racial invalidation scale to measure identity-contingent discrimination (12-items; Franco & O’Brien, 2018). Five-items adapted from Schmitt et al. (2002) will be used to measure anti-miscegenation discrimination (e.g., “I feel like I am personally a victim of society because of my mixed racial background”). Three items will assess vicarious discrimination (“How often have you witnessed racist or offensive [comments/jokes/behaviors] directed at someone else who shared one or more of your racial backgrounds?”).

Analytic plan

This study will investigate the extent to which Multiracial people experience different types of discrimination and the characteristics of Multiracial individuals (i.e., primary identification) that make them more or less likely to experience these four types. It will also test what discrimination types are associated with psychological well-being. Multiple linear regressions will be used to answer these research questions.

In sum, the proposed research will shed new light on mixed-race individuals’ experiences with different types of discrimination and how these experiences relate to well-being. Although these processes can potentially happen to people of any race, the Multiracial demographic illuminates key dimensions related to types of discrimination not immediately apparent in monoracial contexts. Isolating these different kinds of discrimination is a broadly interesting phenomena that provides a deeper understanding of race relations in the U.S.

Figure 1. A working framework to understand discrimination typology and impacts on well- being.

Target Characteristics

(Primary Identification)

Identity-contingent Discrimination

Anti-miscegenation Discrimination

Vicarious Discrimination

Race-specific Discrimination



Brackett, K. P., et al. (2006). The effects of Multiracial identification on students’ perceptions of

racism. The Social Science Journal, 43(3), 437-444.

Chen, J. M., Nour, K. S., & Ho, A. K. (2018). Whose side are you on? Asian Americans’

mistrust of Biracials predicts more exclusion from the ingroup. Personality and Social

Psychology Bulletin, 45, 827-841.

Diener, E., Emmons, R. A., Larsen, R. J., & Griffin, S. (1985). The Satisfaction with Life Scale,

Journal of Personality Assessment, 49(1), 71-75.

Franco, M. G., & O’Brien, K. M. (2018). Racial identity invalidation: An instrument

development study. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 24(1), 112-125

Giamo, L. S., Schmitt, M. T., & Outten, H. R. (2012). Perceived discrimination, group

identification, and life satisfaction among multiracial people: A test of the rejection-

identification model. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 18(4), 319-328.

Gonsalkorale, K., & Williams, K. D. (2007). The KKK won’t let me play: Ostracism even by a

despised outgroup hurts. European Journal of Social Psychology, 37, 1176-1186.

Krosch, A. R., & Amodio, D. M. (2014). Economic scarcity alters the perception of race. PNAS,

111(25), 9079-9084.

Luhtanen, R., & Crocker, J. (1992). A collective self-esteem scale: Self-evaluation of one’s

social identity. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 18(3), 302-318.

Schmitt, M. T., Branscombe, N. R., Kobrynowicz, D., & Owen, S. (2002). Perceiving

discrimination against one’s gender group has different implications for well-being in

women and men. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 28(2), 197-210.

Walton, G. M., & Cohen, G. L. (2011). A brief social-belonging intervention improves academic

and health outcomes of minority students. Science, 331(6023), 1447-1451.

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