Component 1: Title and Abstract Page
* I realize these components are normally separate pages, but I am less concerned about APA format so I prefer them on the same page*
· About a third of the way down the page, center your full title. The full title should identify your topic as precisely/ Underneath the full title, type your names.
· A few lines down, center the word “Abstract”
· The Abstract (~120 words) should tell your reader:
· Your research question
· The proposed participants
· The method used to investigate your question
· Your anticipated results
· The implications of your anticipated results
· Be concise but specific. Do not include any unnecessary information. If you are having a hard time, try writing a one-sentence summary for each section of your paper.
Component 2: The Introduction
· Begin the Introduction by giving some general information about your topic and why it is important to study. You can also briefly discuss how it has been addressed in previous research, but you will do that in greater detail below. Use the beginning of the intro to “hook” your reader with information about the importance of your topic generally, and particularly the importance of how your study addresses a gap in what we know.
· Next is the literature review. Before you begin to write, decide on what order you will address the studies that you found. Do not just summarize the research chronologically; instead, organize the research by topic. You will also want to start out broad and then narrow to your specific topic, which usually means that you should start with the studies that are loosely connected to your own study and end with the studies that are most closely related to your study.
· At the end of the Introduction, you need to describe your hypothesis. You can do this explicitly by saying something like “The purpose of this study was to…”or “The present study was designed to investigate…”. Provide a rationale for your hypotheses. Why are you making these predictions? What logic prompts you to make each of the hypotheses you listed above? It is very important to relate your hypothesis back to the studies that you referenced in your lit review so that your hypothesis is based in previous research.
Component 3: The Method Section
· This section will contain a detailed account of what your participant would do so that someone else could conduct the experiment exactly as you did if needed (i.e., they could replicate the study). The method section usually is divided into three subsections: participants, materials and procedure.
· Participants. This subsection should describe who participated in your study. You will want to include information about the number of participants used in the study, where they come from and the selection criteria as well as any other important characteristics like age, sex, education level, or occupation. Be sure to mention if participants were given any type of reward or motivation to encourage them to participate in the study.
· Materials. This subsection should document any materials or equipment needed in your study. This could be questionnaires used if the study is non-experimental, or both the questionnaires and the materials that you are using (e.g., two types of advertisements, a gratitude intervention task) if your study is experimental.
· Procedure. This subsection should present a complete summary of what will happen in the study. You should explicitly include:
· The study design that you would use (correlational, longitudinal, experimental) and the independent and dependent variables
· Any controls that were used — if your study is experimental, this would be a control condition. If your study is non-experimental, this could be control variables that could be considered a “third variable” or confounding variable (flex though 294 memories!)
· Important aspects of the instructions given to participants, if any, to ensure that these details can be easily replicated.
· What the participants did, step-by-step. Again, be sure to be detailed here and throughout the method section to ensure that your study is easily replicated by other researchers.
Component 4: The Anticipated Results Section
· This section should give a good indication of what you expect to get out of the study. It should join the study design and possible outcomes to the theory and questions that you have raised.
· It is often useful from the very beginning of formulating your work to write out this section to focus your reasoning as you build the rest of the paper.
Component 5: The Discussion
· In this section, you will interpret your findings and describe the implications of your study.
· In your Discussion, make sure to:
· Discuss your results in relation to your hypothesis. Did your results support your hypothesis? If so, how?
· Compare your results to those of the studies mentioned in your Lit Review.
· Identify and discuss limitations in the experimental design that may have reduced the strength of your results. Were there any confounding variables?
· Make suggestions for future research. If you were to perform the study again, how might you change it? Would it be a good idea to study a different demographic?
· Avoid overstating the importance of your anticipated findings. Try to be modest rather than overly expansive.
· Address your Constraints on Generality (COG)
· At the end of the Discussion, make a final summary statement of the conclusions you have drawn. Comment on the importance and relevance of your study. How are your findings related to the big picture?
Component 6: References
· I strongly dislike strict APA guidelines. Just make sure that all references in the paper appear in the references section, but no need to obsess over the latest APA formatting. It needs to convey enough information to be located, which can be as simple as: Hunger, J.M., Smith, J., & Tomiyama, A.J. (2020). An evidence-based rationale for adopting weight-inclusive health policy. Social Issues and Policy Review, 14, 73-107.
· Only list references that you have read. For example, if you read about Study X in Study Y’s report, you should only include Study Y in the reference Section. If Study X is important enough to cite it, you should also be reading it and not just relying on what the authors of Study Y said about it.
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