1) Part of conducting research is being able to discuss that research in an intelligent way. Describing the theories and background research that help inform your research questions and clearly describing your research method is an important part of this process.
2) Constructing an argument and logically presenting how the previous research applies to the current research will help develop your writing skills and your persuasiveness.
3) Describing your results and drawing logical conclusions from your findings is a high-level skill, which many competitive careers will require of you.
4) Following a formatting or style guide is an important part of the workforce, and will be helpful to you when applying for jobs or in subsequent classes. You will need this skill, and how to apply it, whether you plan to continue using APA style or not in the future. For this reason, I have provided several resources and a template that should help you use APA style (for references, etc.) for this class.
For this assignment, you will write an Experimental American Psychological Association (APA) style paper to describe our class experimental research project. This should be about 10-12 pages (not including figures/references) formatted and written according to the APA Style Guide, 7 th edition (student paper version unless otherwise noted). The paper should not go over 14 pages (not counting figures/references).
For your convenience, there will be a template of this paper (and a description of what each section entails) posted online. This should help streamline your writing, and help you adhere to the proper formatting. I suggest saving the document under a new name and making changes to that document for your own paper, rather than formatting a new document to look similarly.
Resources Available to you in completing this project:
Template posted online (I suggest looking here first- this is the most comprehensive guide for this assignment)
Your textbook covers the APA 6 th edition style in Ch. 16, but be aware that some things are different with 7 th edition (see the document highlighting the differences on D2L)
Online Resources (search for APA style 7 th edition) linked on D2L
OWL Purdue Writing Guide for APA style
APA Style 7 th Edition Tutorial
Please see the following page for a detailed rubric, which is then followed by a summary of what is expected in each section of the paper.
Grading Rubric: 70 points total
• APA Section Content (50 points)
– Abstract (3 points)
• Concisely describes the research question, the method, the findings, and the overall conclusion
• Does not go over the 250 word limit
– Introduction (20 points)
• Includes at least 6 additional primary sources of previous research (that are not already provided in D2L)
• Begins with broad a research question and narrows down to a specific question
• Presents logical arguments that provide the basis for your hypothesis(es)
• Claims made are supported by evidence
– Method Section (7 points)
• Clearly describes the participants, procedure, measures/tasks, research design
• All sub-sections are included and well-organized
– Results Section (10 points)
• Clearly presents and describes the results of statistical and/or descriptive tests
• At least one 1 results figure is included
• Avoids theoretical interpretation of the findings
– Conclusion Section (10 points)
• Briefly summarizes the potential findings with respect to hypotheses
• Discusses the broader implications of the results
• Addresses any limitations
• Provides future directions
• APA Style (10 points)
– Section headings are properly formatted and organized
– Title is descriptive and informative
– Proper formatting followed (margins, headers, font, size)
– References are cited properly in the text and in the References section
– Any tables and figures are properly formatted
• Writing Style & Organization (10 points)
– Proper grammar and spelling are used
– There are few, if any, typos
– Each paragraph has a topic sentence (mostly important for the introduction)
– Transitions are used to orient the reader
– The paper flows well
In addition to the template, the following information may help you understand how to structure each section of your paper:
Abstract: Abstracts are typically 150-250 words in length. I recommend writing this section last, and using the following format to write your abstract.
Introduce the topic of the study and make an argument for why studying this topic if valuable/useful
Presents the hypothesis for the study
Summarizes the methods
Include location of study, techniques/materials used, and a super brief explanation of the main procedure
Note that this can often be done in a single sentence
Summarizes the results
Basically this would be the plain language parts of the interpretations in the results sections, think about describing the overall pattern of the findings. Then tell the reader what it means.
- State whether hypotheses supported or not
- Provide the take-home message or implications from the study
Introduction Section: This is the most important part of your paper and is worth the most points. You should be spending most of your time on writing and researching this section.
First section (General Context Paragraph): This functions to orient the reader to the topic and the big concepts/theories. It does not get into the “nitty-gritty” of the existing literature. That is in the next section.
- What is this paper about, big picture?
- What are the key big concepts and/or theories involved in this study?
- What is the goal of the study?
Second Section (Literature Review; should be multiple, topic-driven paragraphs, multiple pages):
- Explain to your reader what has been found regarding the connection between intergroup contact and prejudice. Be specific and use precise terminology.
- This is not the place to just drop down results statement after results statement. This section is not a list of results. Rather, it is a section geared toward presenting findings within the context of what our research focused on. It is an argument inter-woven with precise pieces of information.
- Focus especially on findings that are most directly relevant to our study (e.g., positive versus negative contact, political prejudice, affective versus cognitive prejudice).
Section Three (What’s Broken – a gap in literature, a debate, both?)
Section Four (Current work: Theoretical Hypotheses, Rationale): Remember that hypotheses have certain characteristics that we reviewed early in the term: specific, testable, logical, declarative prediction, and fit with what is already known (aka: logical). The information you need to provide support for these hypotheses comes from the articles you cited earlier! These hypotheses should not be a surprise to the reader, instead, they should flow logically from Section 2 above.
- Coloring will reduce stress
- Which type of coloring will reduce stress better than others
Method Section: Each subsection should contain the following details and information, all written in past tense – because we are discussing a study that has already happened.
Participants and Design
- The total number of participants and whether data from any participants was excluded (if applicable)
- How participants were recruited and compensated (if applicable)
- What are your variables or factors, what is the type of research design?
- Operational definitions for all variables
- Full descriptions of all instruments and/or stimuli used in the study (e.g., questionnaires, stimuli, etc)
- The study’s research design (descriptive, correlational, quasi-experimental, experimental)
- Walk the reader through each step of what the participants did.
Results Section: The goal of the results section is to formally report the results of the research study.
The results section tends to be relatively brief and contains a fair amount of technical jargon that only those with a background in methods/statistics would be able to easily understand. You should assume someone with this background is reading this sections (i.e., no need to explain how p-values work or why null is rejected,
just declare the findings and report the statistical numbers here).
This section should be structured based on our theoretical hypotheses and our methodology hypotheses.
These can be found in the method worksheet and the results worksheet. The specific analyses that you conduct for each hypothesis should be referenced here.
- Did the coloring groups differ in their baseline PSQ? Report the results relevant to this question.
- Did the stress induction work to increase stress? Report the results relevant to this question.
- Does coloring work to reduce stress? Report the results relevant to this question.
- Does it matter which coloring activity was completed in reducing stress? Report the results relevant to this question. I recommend an APA style figure of these results be reported if they are significant.
Discussion Section: Use the Discussion Worksheet to address the following:
- A straightforward, non-technical summary of the results
- A discussion of why the results came out as they did and how they compare with past findings and our hypotheses
- Identification of any flaws or limitations in the study
- Discussion of next steps (i.e., future directions)
- A conclusion
Using APA style guide, create a References page that contains source information for anything (aside from a personal communication) cited in the text of your paper. Note. If you want to cite Paper A that you found cited within Paper B, you should cite Paper A directly. You only need to cite Paper A as being “from within another source” if Paper A can ONLY be found referenced within Paper B (i.e., it is a reference to an unpublished manuscript/data or conference presentation). In other words, most of the time you will be citing sources directly and not from “within another source”.