PSYCH the Impact of Academic Performance in College


 R e s e a r c h  P r o p o s a l

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  PSYCH 240


Lynnette Molitor






1.   The
Quality of sleep and the Impact of Academic Performance in College Students


2.   In this research proposal, I chose an
experimental method since in experimental designs causality can be proved. The
goal of this study is to assess the association between sleep deprivation
and academic performance in college undergraduate students using registry-based
academic grades (letter grades). Due
to this research being conducted in an experimental method (effects of the independent variable on
the dependent variable are collected and analyzed for a relationship) a quantitative approach will be
conducted since final grade for each student will be collected at the end of
the semester and assessed. The quantitative data that will be collected
and analyzed are the student’s letter grades.

research study will examine whether sleep deprivation affects the academic
achievement of undergraduate university students attending NSC and test whether
sleep variables emerged as significant predictors of succeeding academic
performance. The goal of this study is to
investigate if sleep deprivation will cause low academic performance in undergraduate
students. If students are sleep deprived then they will have a lower academic
performance compared to students who are not sleep deprived.



4.   APA
Citation 1 and summary.


Sleep impacts
mental functioning and therefore correlates to the impact of undergraduate
student’s performance on exams and consequently the grades they received. The
quality of sleep a student’s experience in a 24 hour time frame directly correlates
with physical health, emotional state, and mental functioning/processing.
Cognitive performance is at risk because of students failing to receive adequate
sleep; cognitive performance decrease when less than 7 hours of sleep is
obtained in a day for young adults. Students receiving inadequate sleep are
generally less attentive and cannot concentrate as well; thus resulting in a
slowed and sluggish cognitive processing that affects academic performance. Inadequate
sleep also hinders normal functions within brain structures which are vital to
cognitive processes. One of the most impacted structures in the brain that is
significantly affected is the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is
responsible for day to day functions that involve speech, recollection, logic, reasoning,
and creativity. This study demonstrated how lack of sleep impacts cognitive
performance in a negative way if a student is receiving inadequate amounts of
sleep. This information helped me understand what lack of sleep does to the
brain and structures in the brain that are vital for performing well on exams.


Howard, H. (2016). Sleep and academic performance in later
adolescence: Results from a large population-based study. Journal of Sleep
Research, 25(3), 318-24. doi:10.1111/jsr.12373



APA Citation 2 and summary.


Few studies
have explored sleep habits in populations of students who are pursing health
care degrees and careers. Those studies which have been explored found sleep
complaints were common in medical students and poor sleep habits were
correlated with changes in academic performance. Regardless of a student’s
academic pursuit, sleep is a
vital necessity for people to live a healthy lifestyle in which they can
function well and think properly. It helps with memory consolidation, learning,
decision making, and critical thinking. In this article, among finding sleep
deprivation causes cognitive hindrance, they also found that sleep deprivation
significantly impact a student’s ability to perform successfully in their
classes. This is evident through the students’ GPA’s. Researchers in this study
reported that students that who had slept about 9 hours or more within a 24-hour
time frame had higher grade point averages compared to students that only sleep
about 6 hours or possibly less within a 24-hour period. Student receiving less
amounts of sleep also have a tendency to show signs of nervousness, anxiousness,
more neurotic, prone to hallucinate, and displayed less creativity. The information in this article helped
me understand how sleep deprivation impacts the student’s grades.


W., Kelly, K., & Clanton, R. (2001). The relationship between sleep length
and grade-point average among college students. College Student Journal,35(1), 84.



APA Citation 3 and summary.


research study included subjects that had some sort of sleep disorder in
contrast to subjects that had a depressive disorder. The subjects that
constituted with sleep disorders secondary to other potential contributing
factors such as mental illness, possible factors contributing to the
environment were exempted from this study. Depression is associated with sleep
disturbances, not only qualitatively, but also quantitatively. Sleep
disturbance arises only after a critical level of depression is reached, and
depression of varying severity may selectively affect different sleep
parameters. My research proposal is assessing the affects of sleep deprived
students and their grades, depression was not incorporated. This article
suggests that perhaps lack of sleep could be due to depression. It was
something that I had not considered as to why a student may be not sleeping and
it is factor that could be contributing to the low academic performance. This
study did emphasize on the importance on the risk of cognitive performance if a
student is receiving inadequate amounts of sleep. This information had great
research about how sleep does not just affect a clinically diagnosed depressed
individual but also on an normal individual who is sleep deprived and how they
may feel depressed even though they are not clinically diagnosed. 



Gupta, R., Dahiya, S., & Bhatia, M. S. (2009). Effect of
depression on sleep: Qualitative or quantitative?             Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 51(2),


For this
research proposal, I chose an experimental method. This research will test
whether sleep deprivation causes low academic performance.  Sleep deprivation is also a variable that can
be easily manipulated in the experiment since there will be a control group
receiving normal amounts of sleep and an experiment group that will be
receiving less than 6 hours of sleep. The hypothesis of this study is if
students are sleep deprived then they will have a lower academic performance compared
to students who are not sleep deprived


6.   The target population will be students
whom are randomly selected that attend Nevada State College. Most
individuals believe in a patterned lifestyle, in this case how humans should
sleep at night and should work or attend school in the daytime. This cycle of
sleep and activity has been considered the only “normal” pattern for humans
especially humans still developing. However, for a student attending a
university in pursuit of further education this is not always the case.
Students must work hard at maintaining grades and set strict priorities of
their day to day activities. If activities that were meant to be done during
the day are not complete then the duration of completing the activity seems
into the time frame of when sleep should be obtained. College campuses encompass
a lot of social and academic experience sleep and rest are at time a very low
priority for students. From demands of classes, not having a parent set a
curfew, and stresses that prevent students from getting a full nights rest
contribute to sleep deprivation which in turn affect academic performance.


sample will be randomly selected undergraduate, degree-seeking students that
attend Nevada State College. College level education is a very challenging
experience since students will sacrifice sleep and prioritize class work. This
research will determine how much of an impact sleep has on learning, the result
could potentially   


8.    The
independent variable is amount of sleep (hours per night) that the student is
obtaining. It is very hard to control what a participant does unless it
happens in a lab.  Participants will get
checked in with through visitation or a random phone call every so often to
avoid this issue. This is the independent variable since this is the variable
being manipulated. The control group will receive 8 hours of sleep and will be
monitored by a fit bit. The experiment group will receive less than 6 hours of
sleep also monitored by a fit bit.


The dependent variable is academic performance. Since
the independent variable is the amount of sleep in hours a student is receiving,
academic performance is dependent upon the amount of sleep being received. Academic
performance will be influenced and impacted if students do not receive adequate
amounts of sleep. The goal of this study is to measure the student’s academic
performance based on the letter grade received.  

10.  Students will
also be monitored with a fit bit that shall be worn the entire duration of the
study. This will allow a better data collection of the students sleep patterns.
A Fitbit devices use technological software called a 3-axis accelerometer that monitors
and follows motions mad during daily activity. The device provides very
detailed information consisting of patterns of movement that are either intense
such as working out or less intense such as sleeping. An individual sleeps
versus when the body is active. The Fitbit also has another software installed
called PurePulse® which monitors the individuals heart rate. Based on
the heart rate it another method to make it clear and easy to differentiate
when an individual is sleeping versus when they are awake and active.  

11.  The
data collected of sleep monitored will be graphed by the Fitbit software for each
participant. The Fitbit to was to record sleep and run a correlational study
will be done to interpret the results thus determining the relationship of
sleep and academic performance. Correlational studies are used in psychology to
search for a relationship between two variables. Three possible results of a
correlational study can be obtained..  A positive
correlation of variables, a negative correlation of variables, and no
correlation at all of variables. To measure the strength of the correlations, a
correlation coefficient will be used. The strength of the correlation will
range from  –1.00 to +1.00. In this
study, if the correlation coefficient becomes close to +1.00, these results
will indicate a very strong positive correlation between sleep (amount of sleep
in hours) and academic performance (the letter grade received). If results
steer more toward -1.00 then this is a strong negative correlation. If the
correlation coefficient is 0 then there was no correlation between the

12. There
are certain limitations that should be taken in consideration. Researchers will
be unable   to control the time and day
the students are assigned assessment tasks or any written exams. Other
contributing factors that should be considered is personality that is
academically conscious, this factor is a strong predictor of academic
achievement. Socioeconomic status was not taken into consideration neither was
class attendance. This study did not consider if students nap sometime during
the day or take medication (homeopathic or over the counter supplements) use
that may induce sleep which would significantly affect the results.

13. The manipulation of sleep could potentially be harmful
to participants in this research study; however, it is no more harmful than
they would experience in their lifestyle as college students willing to sacrifice
sleep to succeed academically. When the sleep subjects are called for their
check in it will not be the same individual always calling. The computers will
run diagnostics on the Fitbit and will be recorded in the computer systems data.



14.  Student
who received more sleep passed their exams with higher exam grades compared to
students who failed most of their exams. Student receiving more amounts of
sleep on weeknights and weekends will score higher than students that did not.
When examining each sleep group the percentage of student who did not score
high or did not perform well were receiving less than 6 hours of sleep on
weekdays and weeknights. Among student receiving the full 8 hours of sleep
showed an increased improvement in academic achievement grades and GPA were
higher in the group reporting a better sleep quality. Factors that contribute
to adequate sleep are the quality of sleep, the amount, and the sleep regimen
and are associated with better exam scores. The results have strong
implications that some sort of sleep education or program should be
incorporated to promote the student body’s health as well as their academic


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