Research Assignment #1
Due Feb 6, beginning of day
The purpose of this assignment is to get you thinking critically about how to
measure a health-related behavior of interest to you.
- Pick a health-related behavior that you think is important to measure in
the field, either to improve health research or to create more effective
health interventions. Be specific about the behavior. For instance, instead of
selecting "exercise," you might consider focusing on "moderate or greater
physical activity," "type of activity," "sedentary activity," etc.
If you are uncertain about whether your behavior is a good choice, please run the idea by Stephen.
- Conduct a thorough literature search on the measurement of this behavior. You will look for two types of instruments:
- "Traditional" instruments. These are likely to be paper-based
instruments. Search for research articles in the medical or psychology
literature (see PubMed or PsychInfo databases) where people have needed to
the measure the behavior, and then figure out how researchers have done so by
finding the citations to the instruments used. Then find the papers that
describe the instruments themselves. Gather as much information you can
about each instruments. Sometimes you may have to contact the authors of papers to figure out what the actual questions are on a survey. You are likely to find that there is no single
instrument for a particular behavior, but rather many that might be used. Try to
determine which are most commonly accepted in recent research articles and why.
By tracing back in time (and reading key papers), trace the historical development of the measures.
- "Emerging" instruments. These are new instruments that are likely to use
new technologies to measure the behavior. Search for research articles in
the medical or psychology literature, but also the engineering and computer
science literature (e.g., IEEE, ACM Digital Library, and Springer
databases). Find examples of new ways of
measuring the behavior.
- Make a list of all the research articles you have found and put the articles into the class Mendeley library with appropriate keywords (including one keyword, which is your name). For each article,
provide all the reference information for the paper (title, author, journal,
pages, etc.) and, if it is available online, a link to the article in the class Dropbox. For
articles not available online, provide a hardcopy if possible. Whenever possible, find the actual questions used in the paper surveys. In 1-3 paragraphs for each article's entry in Mendeley, explain why you think the article is important for someone trying to understand the behavior you have selected and the history of how that behavior has been measured, or how the behavior may be measured in the future. (Stephen will email information about how we will use Mendeley and Dropbox).
- Turn in one page (11 point font) that summarizes the historical "genealogy" of the measurement and the likely future directions. Include: (1) Your name, email, department, and year in school. (2) A few sentences on why it is important to measure the behavior you picked
and why you picked that behavior, (3) What is easy and what is difficult about measuring the behavior, and (4) A summary of the historical "genealogy" of the measurement and the likely future direction. Also turn in your annotated bibliography via Mendeley.
In addition to bringing a hardcopy of your 1-page write-up to class, send an
email of the PDF (1 page document and annotated bibliography) to ...@neu.edu.
Name the file in this format: [your last name].research1.pdf.