* What is the rate at which memories are forgotten?
* Do mnemonic techniques work?
* What is the effect of stress on memory?
* Can memories be “implanted”?
* What happens to memory as we age?
* How accurate are children’s memories for traumatic events?
* How do contextual cues affect memory?
* What is the relationship between mood and memory?
* How does prolonged marijuana use affect short-term memory?
2. Create a testable hypothesis.
Think of a hypothesis that can be tested. Remember that a hypothesis is a prediction, an educated guess. The first thing to do then is to read about the topic you are interested in. So, for example, if you decided that you are interested in what happens to memory as we age you must use at least one source other than your textbook to learn about this topic. You will have to cite this source in your introduction (more about this later). Then, using what you have read, develop a hypothesis. In the example given here, it might be something like: Older adults will take longer to learn a list of 15 words than will teenagers. DO NOT USE THIS SAME EXAMPLE FOR YOUR ASSIGNMENT…come up with your own idea.
3. Design a study.
Think about how you would go about testing the hypothesis. You might propose a study, for example, in which you give a group of 18-year-olds a list of words, and a group of 80-year-olds a similar list of words, and you see who does better (or learns faster, or retains the information longer…it all depends on your hypothesis). You need to consider a variety of details here:
* Where would you get your subjects from? Would you pay them?
* What test materials would you use?
* What is the actual procedure you would put your subjects through?
* What kind of study are you describing? Is it an experiment? A correlational study? Naturalistic observation?
* How will the data you are collecting answer your question? In other words, what would a given pattern of results tell you?
* Is there a control group? Does there have to be?
* Who would conduct this study?
4. Write it up in a 3-4 page paper.
Part I: Introduction
This section should be a brief (2-3 paragraphs) introduction to the topic within memory that you have chosen, in which you describe the issue, what is important to know about it, what you would like to demonstrate/prove, and why that is interesting. This section must include reference to at least one source beyond the textbook that deals with your topic of interest. In this section, you should also clearly state what the hypothesis is that you are going to test.
Part 2: Methodology
This section is where you clearly describe what you will be doing to test your hypothesis. Information about where you would get your subjects, who they would be (age range, for example, if this is relevant), what materials you would use, etc. Consideration of internal validity and external validity should be discussed here. The key thing in this section is to describe the study that you are proposing in such a way that it is reasonably clear how someone could implement the study, should they want to do so. You must also clearly identify each of the following:
What type of study is this? (Naturalistic observation? Correlation? Etc.)
Identify your control group and your experimental group (IF RELEVANT)
Identify your variables, and state (IF RELEVANT) which is the independent and which is the dependent variable
Part 3: Data (hypothetical only! You are not conducting this study, just proposing it)
In a brief paragraph, suggest what you might find, and discuss what the implications of this finding would be in terms of the hypothesis. You may propose alternative patterns of findings and what they might suggest if you feel it is relevant.
Part 4: Ethics
What would you want to say to a Research Ethics Board, if you were presenting this study to them for approval? How would you ensure that it would meet the guidelines on testing human subjects?
Part 5: Summary Discussion
Summarize the topic and how it relates to the proposed research in a final paragraph. Any additional thoughts can be included here as well.