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A common source for research ideas is simply observing your environment and questioning why things work the way they do or how situations came to be. In this way, we can all be researchers. As humans, we spend considerable effort trying to understand our environment, what causes people to behave or think a certain way. Using research methods, we seek to quantify events, attitudes, or behavior to systematically understand relationships among variables.
In this assignment, you will start at the beginning of the scientific process: observation. You will make 5 research-oriented observations about anything you see in your normal environment (home, work, grocery store, gym, etc.).
For each observation, include the following:
1) a description of the observation of interest
2) a research question generated from that observation
3) the independent variable in your research question
4) the dependent variable in your research question
5) ethical and/or methodological concerns that might arise in trying to answer your research question (300-400 words)
Observation: A child playing on a Tablet
Research Question: Do children who spend more than 3 hours a day on electronic devices sleep better or worse than children who spend less than 3 hours a day on electronic devices.
Independent Variable: Amount of time spent on electronic device
Dependent Variable: Average number of hours slept per night
Concerns: It may not be in the best interest of children to encourage them to spend time on electronic devices. This may cause behavioral issues for children and there would need to be ways to help children if this adversely impacts their behavior. Consent from parents will be required. It may be difficult to find parents who are willing to let their children be studied. How we measure the amount of time spent could impact our results. Also, depending on the participants used in the study, the results may not apply to other groups or populations.
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