A Sample Quantitative Research Proposal

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Self-Directed Learning Readiness and Life Satisfaction Among Older Adults  
A Sample Quantitative Research Proposal Written in the APA 5th Style  
[Note: This sample proposal is based on a composite of past proposals, simulated information and references, and material I’ve included for illustration purposes – it is based roughly on a fairly standard research proposal; I say roughly because there is no one set way of creating a quantitative research proposal. Much of its design is based on the nature of the research, your preferences, and your decisions regarding how to describe or portray what it is you plan to accomplish. The material in this document was adopted from a dissertation proposal created by Dr. Ralph Brockett. A biography is not included in this sample proposal. To examine ways of creating references in the APA format and other suggestions for using the APA stylistic guide, see http://www-distance.syr.edu/apa5th.html or http://www-distance.syr.edu/apa5th.pdf . Roger Hiemstra]  

 
Introduction
 
An important area of emphasis in gerontological research over the past several decades has been the issue of life satisfaction. Questions about the physical, psychological, social, and economic status of older adults have served, either directly or indirectly, as the predominant focus of the aging research (e. g., Maddox and Wiley, 1976). It is these kinds of questions that have increased understanding of the processes and problems of aging and have led to the development of strategies designed to maximize the potential of the later years.  

At the same time, self-directed learning has generated considerable interest in the adult education literature. This has been fueled by the development of the SDLRS (Guglielmino, 1977), a scale designed to measure a person’s readiness for self-directed learning. Unfortunately, very few have looked at self-directed learning and older adults. Hiemstra (1975) studied older adult’s learning projects and found a strong relationship between a preference for assuming personal control over learning and age. This was supported by Hassan (1981) and McCoy (1982). Hassan also looked at the self-directed learning readiness scores of older adults and found a corresponding positive relationship between age and scores on the SDLRS. However, apparently no published reports of subsequent research with the older adult exist.  

In addition, no one has published accounts of any comparisons between SDLRS and Life Satisfaction among older adults. If life satisfaction can be improved by learning efforts as shown by Dowden (1998), it is important to determine if a propensity and readiness for self-directed learning among older adults has a relationship to measures of life satisfaction. Therefore, the intent of this proposed research will be to examine such relationships.  

Problem Statement
 
Based on the above discussion, it is possible to identify a two-fold problem that will serve as a point of departure for the present investigation. As has been noted above and is clarified in the later review of literature section, one problem area is the fact that many older adults face various hurdles that can impact their overall state of well-being. Some adults are able to cross these hurdles through self-learning efforts, while others find themselves less well equipped to cope with such concerns. The second problem area involves better understanding why some people turn to learning for meeting personal needs, while others do not.  

In essence, life satisfaction varies considerable among older adults, as does personal propensity to undertake learning efforts. It is these variances that lie at the heart of the problem areas proposed for this study. If a link can be established between life satisfaction and an attitude conducive to self-directedness in learning, then it might be possible to look toward self-directed learning as a strategy for promoting a higher quality of life among persons in their...
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