Research Proposal Guidelines
Proposals should be 1-2 pages double spaced in length (not including timeline) and should include:
- A clear statement of the research question
- A detailed description of how you will collect original data to answer that question (include surveys, interview questions, observation sheets, what you examined questionnaires, interviews, etc. in appendix)
- A justification of why your data collection approach is appropriate to answer the proposed question
- A timeline with dates/self-set deadlines for when you will collect your original data
Sample Research Proposal
Surfing is one of the oldest recreational sports around, said to have originated in Western Polynesia over three thousand years ago (Carroll). In addition, there is an estimated global market of 3.83 million surfers in the United States and 18 million worldwide (Surfrider Foundation). According to data we collected at California State University, San Marcos, 100% of the surveyed surfers said that they wear a wetsuit over over six months out of the calendar year. As ocean temperatures decrease, surfers look for the best possible equipment to maximize their time in the water. Thicker wetsuits provide more insulation and warmth, but they also restrict movement. The wetsuit industry is constantly searching for ways to create an even compromise; surfers want as to retain as much heat as possible while maintaining optimum mobility. The issue with this field is that there is no empirical evidence on wetsuits and paddling performance; the surf industry is largely based on anecdotal evidence. At California State University, San Marcos we are the first to conduct an experiment researching this concept.
Within our research study, we partnered with a large surf industry to investigate: how do different wetsuit types and thicknesses affect thermoregulation, paddling efficiency and stroke rate?
We will conduct a study to examine and understand the effects of wetsuits on body temperature and paddling performance. Twelve proficient male surfers have been recruited to participate in the study. Each subject will complete a surfing and health questionnaire upon arrival and a body composition test measuring their fat percentage after trials. Within the study, we will test four wetsuits, including a control with no neoprene jacket. We will assess the subject's energy expenditure by regulating and recording the subjects different metabolic functions at a sampling rate of once every 15 seconds. We will test heart rate, skin temperature and Vo2. Vo2 is the measurement of oxygen inhalation and CO2 expiration. We will measure heart rate to determine how quickly the subject is pumping blood throughout their body. This will provide an estimate of how much energy their body is expending, which is an indication of how hard the subject is working and how much ATP they are producing (Active.com). We will also record skin temperature in order to read how warm each subject is on different parts of their body, in and out of the wetsuit. This will help us determine how effective the insulation each wetsuit is at keeping the body warm. We will use small thermistors to collect these data. Thermistors are a nickel sized device placed on the skin in order to keep track of a subject's temperature on different parts of his body throughout the study.
Within this study, the setup of the protocol always remains the same. A subject will begin seated on the sidelines of the flume (pool) for three minutes. After that, they will slowly glide into the flowing water with a surfboard and begin paddling at a speed of 0.8m/s. Next, they will be seated again for three minutes until, finally, they paddle for three additional minutes at a flow of 1.1 m/s. Once the subject has completed that 12 minute bout, they will exit the flume, dry off, and prepare for testing the next suit. This cycle will continue five times, one round for each of the four wetsuit jackets and one round that is our “control.” The control round is where a subject will wear no wetsuit, which will allow us to compare findings to this baseline measurement. Another important aspect in the study is making sure that the subject always begins their paddling round with a similar skin temperature. In order to ensure this, subjects sit in the water for one minute before donning each wetsuit. The data would be skewed if a subject began the cycle at a warmer or colder temperature than the other.