Learning Objectives:
1) Identify a problem or goal regarding personal wellness.
2) Formulate a scientific research question.
3) Create a research hypothesis with appropriate independent and dependent variables.
Project Overview:
For this project, you will apply the principles of the scientific method to a self-experiment based on one of the dimensions of wellness.
Throughout the parts of the scientific project, you must remember to properly cite your references. Each component of the project that you submit should have a corresponding reference list. Please use American Psychological Association citation style for your references. For guidance with APA references, please refer here: https://www.mendeley.com/guides/apa-citation-guide (Links to an external site.).
Instructions for Question & Hypothesis:
What aspect of health and wellness interests you? Perform some preliminary research and provide background information on a topic of your choice. Background information should paint a picture of what your self-experiment will cover. This information should be gathered from scholarly, scientific research, NOT blog posts or Google searches. Then, develop a research question and hypothesis. Remember, your hypothesis must be a single sentence, simply stated, and have at least 2 definable variables. You must include your references with proper citations throughout your background section. All Project Submissions are Final.
There are three parts to receive full credit for this assignment you must have these three subheadings:
Background Information:
Background information should paint a picture of what your self-experiment will cover. This information should be gathered from scholarly, scientific research, NOT blog posts and Google searches.
You need at least 2 peer-reviewed resources. Make sure to watch Scott Stone’s videos to aid you in finding resources.
Phrase your research question as a question, not a statement.
The topic must clearly relate to a dimension of wellness (if you feel your topic warrants an explanation of how it relates to a dimension of wellness, please provide this here).
State what you believe you will find after conducting this experiment.
This hypothesis must be based on existing literature related to your topic.
Make sure that you have familiarized yourself with the literature and are generating a realistic hypothesis founded in scientific research.
Clearly identify your independent and dependent variables.
If your dependent variable isn’t obviously measurable, please provide a brief explanation as to how your variable will be measured
For example- Bodyweight is clearly measured by standing on a scale and is always represented by a number (either in pounds or kilograms). “I will lose weight” is clearly and obviously measured only one way.
Level of stress is not clearly measured or represented by a number, so you must explain how it will be measured. The statement “I will feel less stressed” does not obviously demonstrate how stress is measured. Instead, try “I will feel less stressed, as measured by the Perceived Stress Scale.” This shows that you are turning a normally qualitative variable, stress, into a quantitative variable that can be measured using a numeric scale.
Things to Take into Consideration:
You are the only participant in this experiment.
You need to decide your topic based on the literature.
Do not choose inappropriate topics. Examples involve drugs, alcohol, excessive weight loss, ingesting any material that would alter your state that could be considered detrimental to your health (increase or decrease heart rate).
Need to choose a measurable outcome that can be compared pre and post-self experiment. Make sure to sure of quantitative variables and qualitative.
Reference material for further explanation: https://www.simplypsychology.org/qualitative-quantitative.html (Links to an external site.)
Here are a few examples (Please do not duplicate any of this material, if any of it is duplicated it is an automatic zero).
Example 1:
Background information so far has indicated positive growth in resilience and compassion in students of many different health fields, typically involving stress in the pursuit of academics.1,2 The experiment will involve meditating each day, ideally in the morning at a consistent time, and documenting any changes in stress levels throughout several weeks. In order to follow those specific levels, I will use the following scales; the Resilience Quotient Test, Cognitive and Affective Mindfulness Scale-Revised, and Perceived Stress Scale.3,4
Research Question:
How does meditating each day for 15 minutes affect my resilience and ability to cope with stress measured with the Resilience Quotient Test, Cognitive and Affective Mindfulness Scale-Revised, and Perceived Stress Scale?
If I practice mindful meditation for 15 minutes each day, my resilience and ability to cope with stress will increase.
Mahon M, Mee L, Brett D, Dowling M. Nurses’ perceived stress and compassion following a mindfulness meditation and self-compassion training. Journal Of Research In Nursing [serial online]. December 2017;22(8):572-583. Available from: CINAHL Plus with Full Text, Ipswich, MA. Accessed August 14, 2018.
Alsaraireh F, Aloush S. Mindfulness Meditation Versus Physical Exercise in the Management of Depression Among Nursing Students. Journal Of Nursing Education [serial online]. October 2017;56(10):599-604. Available from: CINAHL Plus with Full Text, Ipswich, MA. Accessed August 14, 2018.
Hwang W, Lee T, Kwon J, et al. The effects of four days of intensive mindfulness meditation training (Templestay program) on resilience to stress: a randomized controlled trial. Psychology, Health & Medicine [serial online]. June 2018;23(5):497-504. Available from: CINAHL Plus with Full Text, Ipswich, MA. Accessed August 14, 2018.
Example 2
Sleep is one of the most important parts of human life, playing major roles in memory formation and maintenance1, as well as more obvious roles in general wakefulness and alertness throughout the next day and as such, understanding factors that can improve or hinder sleep quality is very useful. In recent years sleep quality has been decreasing, and it is theorized that this may be due to the increased use of electronic media before bedtime2. The data around this point is not unified, however, with some studies showing increased sleep latency along with reduced next-morning alertness2 and other studies showing no decrease in reported sleep latency and only changes in EEG dynamics3 when comparing reading on an electronic device versus on a physical book before sleep. Further studies have even shown no change in sleep polysomnography when reading a book versus an electronic device in the evening if this were preceded by exposure to bright light4.
This experiment will explore the effects of electronic media usage before sleep in the context of a male undergraduate student. This context differs from other research in that as a college student there is a high amount of exposure to light from digital screens and electronic media throughout evening hours, which may have an effect on overall sleep quality and next-day alertness. In order to try to combat the potential adverse effects of this exposure, 30 minutes of electronic media usage just prior to sleep will be replaced with reading a physical book for one week. Sleep quality measurements will be taken through modified PSQI surveys weekly and a National Sleep Foundation Sleep Log.
Research Question:
How does replacing electronic media exposure prior to sleep with reading a physical book will increase sleep quality as measured through the modified PSQI and a sleep log?
I hypothesize that replacing electronic media exposure 1 hour prior to sleep with reading a physical book will increase sleep quality as measured through the modified PSQI and a sleep log.
Works Cited
Ackermann S, Rasch B. Differential Effects of Non-REM and REM Sleep on Memory Consolidation. Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep 2014; 14(2): 430. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11910-013-0430-8. Published 2014 Jan 07. Accessed 2018 Aug 18.
Chang AM, Aeschbach D, Duffy JF, Czeisler CA. Evening use of light-emitting eReaders negatively affects sleep, circadian timing, and next-morning alertness. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015; 112(4): 1232-7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=25535358. Published 2014 Dec 22. Accessed 2018 Aug 18.
Grønli J, Byrkjedal IK, Bjorvatn B, Nødtvedt Ø, Hamre B, Pallesen S. Reading from an iPad or from a book in bed: the impact on human sleep. A randomized controlled crossover trial. Sleep Med. 2016; 21: 86-92: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term =27448477. Published 2016 Mar 2. Accessed 2018 Aug 13.
Rångtell FH, Ekstrand E, Rapp L, Lagermalm A, Liethof L, Búcaro MO, Lingfors D, Broman JE, Schiöth HB, Benedict C. Two hours of evening reading on a self-luminous tablet vs. reading a physical book does not alter sleep after daytime bright light exposure. Sleep Med. 2016; 23: 111-118: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=27539026. Published 2016 Jul 25. Accessed 2018 Aug 13.
Example 3:
Background: Breakfast is usually defined as the most important meal of the day due to its positive health- and school- related effect on students. Consuming breakfast is associated with improved cognitive function, attention, and memory, improved academic scores and attendance and lower body mass index.¹ Students who eat breakfast also get along with their peers better than non-breakfast eaters meaning that there is improvements in social interactions.¹ Other research shows that there are only short-term effects on individuals who eat breakfast. According to one study, a breakfast-eating high school student’s cognitive performance and mood improved only for a short term and was not sustained for the whole day.² In my research, I hope to further explore the effects of eating breakfast through a self-experiment.
Research Question: Does breakfast consumption affect my alertness throughout the day?
Hypothesis: Eating breakfast every morning will increase my alertness throughout the day which will be measured by using a modified Stanford Alertness Test.
Hearst, M. O., Shanafelt, A. , Wang, Q. , Leduc, R. and Nanney, M. S. Barriers, Benefits, and Behaviors Related to Breakfast Consumption Among Rural Adolescents. J School Health. 2016;86: 187-194.
Widenhorn-Müller K; Hille K; Klenk J; Weiland U. Influence of Having Breakfast on Cognitive Performance and Mood in 13- to 20-Year-Old High School Students: Results of a Crossover Trial. 2008;122(2):279-284.