Cultural Phenomenon

The purpose of this paper is to dig a little deeper into the cultural psychology literature and to critically think about a psychological behaviour using a cultural lens of analysis.

The paper needs to be a maximum of 5 double-spaced pages in length (excluding the cover page, references, and an Appendix). Use Times New Roman 12-point font and one-inch margins. The paper should follow the format and style recommended in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Your paper should follow recommended elements of style for writing in English (e.g., Strunk, White, & Kalman, 2005).

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Your paper must refer to at least 3 papers from peer-reviewed journals (not the textbook, websites, etc). Your references should come from the psychological literature or from a related discipline (e.g., anthropology). You can include additional references as needed (e.g., text, other papers, chapters, StatsCan or UN reports). Research databases (e.g., Google Scholar, PsycINFO) are available to help you find journal articles, books, and other academic sources. Search engines for Psychology can be found at Journals can be found using eResources on the library homepage: Once you find a good paper (i.e., one that is relevant and suitable to your topic), make sure to check the reference list of that paper as you are likely to find more good references there. Your required electronic submission will be done through Turnitin. Penalties will be assessed for too much content overlap with previously submitted or published work.

Research proposal

First you need to identify a cultural phenomenon that you are curious about. The easiest way to think about this from a research perspective is to think of a cross-cultural comparison, but you can also focus on a single-culture research approach to examine a phenomenon that might be unique or important to a specific culture. You will need to explain your cultural phenomenon of interest and why it is important or theoretically interesting for cultural psychology (a very important step). Then come up with an idea for a study that would examine a research question in a compelling and systematic way. You will not actually conduct the study. Outline your proposed study in enough detail so that you can convincingly demonstrate that your approach/method will be effective in answering your research question.

When trying to come up with a research question, think about the potential strategies that you can use to study a cultural phenomenon. You may choose to test a hypothesis that has been proposed in the literature, but not yet tested, or you may select a previously tested hypothesis by focusing on a different cultural context or using a different methodology. You may also propose a new hypothesis. Keep in mind the following questions when examining the literature.

– Are there any inconsistencies in the results from prior studies; what may have caused them? – Are there situations or times where/when a cultural phenomenon may not apply and why?
– Are there certain cultural contexts where the phenomenon may not apply?
– Has previous research limited itself to only certain populations or cultures?

– What are potential mechanisms (other variables) that might explain why and how a cultural difference is observed?
– What are the theoretical explanations for a studied behaviour and have these explanations been tested in a systematic way?

Keep in mind that while you are required to provide a literature review in your introduction, this paper is NOT simply a report of past research; rather this is a paper describing a phenomenon you want to examine, explaining why it is theoretically interesting, determining a research question that you would like answered, and formulating a compelling way that your idea can be tested.

Given that your final paper is only 5 double-spaced pages, it is strongly recommended you stay focused: have a clear and concise research question; preferably compare two cultural groups, not more; examine one and at most two dependent/criterion variables (read more about these below). Depth is more important than breadth! Note that published journal articles, such as those assigned in your weekly readings, are useful examples of how one should present theory and methodology for a proposed study.

When planning your research proposal, it will be helpful if you outline the following:

– Your research question

– Why is this important from a cultural psychology perspective?

– What might your study bring to the literature (i.e., would we learn anything new)?

– Which cultural group(s) are you studying, and why?

– What is your research question and its associated prediction (i.e., hypothesis)?

– How do you plan to test your hypothesis – what is your proposed method?


This will be the first part of your paper (no abstract is needed). Do not write the word“Introduction” in your paper. Start with the title of your proposed study (see APA formatting and style resources). There are three key parts to the introduction:

Literature review: Explain the cultural phenomenon or difference you are interested in. Summarize the current state of knowledge in this area of investigation. This should include an overview of the previous research done on this topic as well as important theory related to the phenomenon. In some cases, it may be important to highlight the methods that have been used to study a phenomenon. The introduction should provide a framework for the reader to understand the appropriateness of your study and how it will fit into existing theory and research. Discuss the literature (and properly cite your references) but do not make the literature review your entire paper.

Proposed Study: Provide a brief overview of the study you are proposing and the primary research question(s). Define key concepts and terms if they may be unfamiliar to the reader. Discuss how your proposed study will make a significant contribution to the literature (i.e., filling a gap in the literature that you described).

Hypothesis: Clearly articulate any hypotheses or predictions you wish to test using the proposed study, and how the hypotheses relate to theory in cultural psychology. For exploratory studies, you may not have any hypotheses.


The Method section is the second main section of a scientific paper. This is where you describe your study design, your measures, and your participants. You will need to:

Clearly present the design of your study (e.g., questionnaire study, laboratory experiment, naturalistic observation, etc.). There is no single best design; the best design is one that adequately answers the research question. The study also needs to be ethical and to one that could realistically be conducted.

If you propose an experimental methodology, identify the key independent and dependent variables. The independent variable is the one you experimentally manipulate, to later examine the effect of this manipulation on the dependent variable. If you propose a non- experimental methodology (i.e., where you do not have an experimental manipulation or random assignment), identify the key predictor and criterion variables. The predictor variable is the equivalent of the independent variable and the criterion variable is the equivalent of the dependent variable (use the terms independent and dependent variable only if you use an experimental design). Make sure your variables clearly relate to the hypothesis you wish to test.

Provide operational definitions of the variables in the studies. If you propose an experimental methodology, how will the independent variable be manipulated and how will the dependent variable be measured? If you propose a non-experimental methodology, how will the predictor and criterion variables be measured? Clearly identify and describe your measures – make sure to review the literature to identify applicable measures. Propose your own measure only if there is no available measure in the published literature.

4. State who your participants will be, how they will be recruited, and what you would offer them as an incentive for participating in the study

5. Explain the general procedure, including details on how the study will be carried out, what activities are involved, and how long it will take


Briefly (1 paragraph only) indicate the type of analysis you will use to examine your data and why you will use this analysis (e.g., t-test, correlation). Make sure that the statistical method matches the design of your study (e.g., if you are comparing three groups, an ANOVA would likely be appropriate; if you propose a qualitative study, then propose a qualitative method to analyze the data). Do not provide any graphs, figures, or specific values. Simply provide a brief description of your expected results, making sure they align with your hypothesis.

Conclusion and Research Implications (1 paragraph)

Very briefly report the potential impact of your proposed study. This impact could involve theoretical implications (e.g., advancing scientific knowledge and directing future research) and/or practical implications (e.g., informing community practices or services).

Briefly mention one key limitation of the study (all studies have them).

In addition to the above, marks will be given for the following:

General Evaluation (e.g., ability to translate ideas into a testable hypothesis; logic and coherence of presentation; originality of hypothesis and methodology)

APA-Formatting (e.g., adherence to correct APA-style of presentation; proper in-text citations and referencing). There are number of online resources to help you with this aspect of the paper, such as or


Overall Writing and Style (i.e., writing must be clear and concise, free of spelling and

grammatical errors, and well-organized into paragraphs.)

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