Sample Research Proposal for an Undergraduate Student

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Title: The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health: A Comparative Study between College and Non-College Students

Introduction: As social media usage continues to rise worldwide, concerns regarding its impact on mental health have become increasingly prevalent. While numerous studies have explored the relationship between social media and mental health, there is limited research that specifically focuses on college students. This research proposal aims to investigate the comparative impact of social media on mental health between college and non-college students, providing valuable insights into the potential differences and implications for mental health support systems.

Objective: The primary objective of this research proposal is to determine whether the use of social media has differing effects on the mental health of college students compared to non-college students. Additionally, this study aims to identify potential factors moderating this relationship, such as the frequency and purpose of social media usage and the presence of support systems.


  1. Sample Selection: A cross-sectional study will be conducted, involving a sample of undergraduate college students and non-college students aged between 18 and 24. A random sampling method will be employed to ensure representation from diverse backgrounds.
  2. Questionnaire Development: An online questionnaire will be developed, comprising validated scales to measure social media usage patterns, mental health indicators (e.g., anxiety, depression), and support system factors. The questionnaire will be pilot-tested to ensure clarity and reliability.
  3. Data Collection: Participants will be invited to complete the online questionnaire anonymously, ensuring confidentiality and ethical considerations. Data will be collected over a two-month period, with reminders sent to non-responders at regular intervals.
  4. Data Analysis: Descriptive statistics will be conducted to examine the demographic characteristics of the participants. Inferential statistics, such as t-tests and chi-square tests, will be employed to identify significant differences in mental health outcomes between college and non-college students. Moderation analyses will be conducted to explore the impact of potential moderating factors on the relationship between social media usage and mental health.
  5. Ethical Considerations: The study will adhere to ethical guidelines, ensuring informed consent, data protection, and privacy. Participants will be provided with contacts for mental health support services, should they require assistance.

Expected outcomes: It is anticipated that this research will reveal valuable insights into the differential impacts of social media use on the mental health of college and non-college students. Findings may demonstrate higher or lower prevalence of mental health conditions, or disparities in the factors that moderate the relationship between social media usage and mental health. The results will contribute to the current knowledge base, enabling the development of targeted interventions and support systems for college students at risk of mental health issues related to social media.

Conclusion: This research proposal aims to address the research gap in understanding the effects of social media on mental health in college students, compared to their non-college counterparts. By conducting a comparative study, this research hopes to shed light on the specific challenges faced by college students, leading to targeted approaches for mental health support. It is expected that the findings will inform universities, mental health organizations, and policymakers about the importance of tailored interventions for this vulnerable population, emphasizing the need for comprehensive mental health support systems.

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