Section 5.4 of the Capella Research Plan (RP) provides detailed information for each data collection tool you will use in your study. For survey studies, this is where you will provide details about each survey instrument you intend to use. In general, this section should detail the structure of the instrument or measurement tool, and what makes the instrument a valid or reliable tool to measure your target variables or constructs.
The opening paragraph of your section should detail the structure and content of your instrument. If you did not develop the instrument yourself, you will need to cite the instrument developers. If you developed an instrument based upon another researcher’s existing instrument, you will need to cite the existing instrument. If you are using an existing instrument that has multiple versions, you will also specify this information in the opening paragraph of Section 5.4.
Next, you should address the structure of the instrument. This includes information related to number of questions and constructs covered on the instrument. If the instrument has multiple subscales, identify the subscales. If you are not using all subscales of the instrument, list the ones that you will use. The key here is that your reviewers should have no questions related to how you will use the instrument and how the sections of the instrument you use provide the data necessary to address the research questions. For quantitative instruments, you will need to describe the response scale (e.g., 5-point Likert scale with responses ranging from 1 to 5). Additionally, you will want to report the scoring instructions for the instrument. While some reviewers may not require this piece of information, securing this information at this stage and reporting it in the RP may save you a headache later! You can close this portion of Section 5.4 by identifying the level of measurement for each variable that is assessed in the instrument.
Finally, you should report the psychometric information for each instrument you are using, if available. Specifically, you should report any information you are able to access regarding reliability and validity. Look through any manuals or peer-reviewed articles on your instrument for terms like construct validity, discriminant validity, content validity, factor analysis, or Cronbach’s alpha. This is information that is commonly reported for instruments and can be used to demonstrate the validity and reliability of the instruments.
As a final note, do not forget to include a copy of your instrument in the appendix of your RP!
We work with graduate students every day and know what it takes to get your research approved.