Research design paper psychology

The method section is a detailed description of all the operations performed in the research you are reporting. This section should provide enough information so that someone else could later replicate the experiment. The method section is divided into the sub-sections listed below.

This section includes the number of participants used in the study and where they come from, the selection criteria, and any other important characteristics like age, sex, education level, or occupation. The term "subject" is no longer used when referring to human participants.


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Only animals are referred to as subjects. Apparatus includes any equipment that you use during the actual data collection. Materials are the supplies that were prepared for the experiment such as word lists, puzzles or questionnaires. In this section describe the experimental design, including; the type of design between, within, mixed, etc.

This section describes sequentially the procedures employed in the experiment. This section concisely summarizes the data collected and the results of the statistical analysis. Tables provide a clear way of presenting exact values such as means, standard deviations, correlations and probabilities. Use tables to summarize data when there is too much information to include in the text.

Figures are a way to present trends or interactions between variables graphically. Examples of figures commonly used are bar graphs, histograms, and frequency polygons. This is the section in which you interpret the results of the experiment and discuss the implications of your findings based on your hypotheses.

You might also suggest further research and limitations of your experiment. This section is where you give credit to the sources you cited in the body of your document. Follow APA format. This section is where you place any additional information such as raw data, statistical calculations, or stimulus material. Everything in the appendix must be referred to somewhere in the body of the report. Preparing Your Laboratory Report, by Dr. Jan Kennedy. Francis Xavier University.

Example of a Research Paper

ResearchWriting, by Douglas Degelman, Ph. Bem, Cornell University. Although writing a research proposal is not a requirement for all undergraduate psychology classes, it is a necessary skill if you are considering furthering your psychology education or participating in an honors program. The Poster Presentation.


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By the end of the literature review, readers should be convinced that the research question makes sense and that the present study is a logical next step in the ongoing research process. Like any effective argument, the literature review must have some kind of structure.

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For example, it might begin by describing a phenomenon in a general way along with several studies that demonstrate it, then describing two or more competing theories of the phenomenon, and finally presenting a hypothesis to test one or more of the theories. Or it might describe one phenomenon, then describe another phenomenon that seems inconsistent with the first one, then propose a theory that resolves the inconsistency, and finally present a hypothesis to test that theory.

In applied research, it might describe a phenomenon or theory, then describe how that phenomenon or theory applies to some important real-world situation, and finally suggest a way to test whether it does, in fact, apply to that situation. Looking at the literature review in this way emphasizes a few things. First, it is extremely important to start with an outline of the main points that you want to make, organized in the order that you want to make them. The basic structure of your argument, then, should be apparent from the outline itself.

Second, it is important to emphasize the structure of your argument in your writing. One way to do this is to begin the literature review by summarizing your argument even before you begin to make it. Here are some simple examples:. Finally, remember that your goal is to construct an argument for why your research question is interesting and worth addressing—not necessarily why your favourite answer to it is correct.


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  5. In other words, your literature review must be balanced. If you want to emphasize the generality of a phenomenon, then of course you should discuss various studies that have demonstrated it. However, if there are other studies that have failed to demonstrate it, you should discuss them too. Or if you are proposing a new theory, then of course you should discuss findings that are consistent with that theory. However, if there are other findings that are inconsistent with it, again, you should discuss them too.

    Besides, a large part of what makes a research question interesting is uncertainty about its answer. The first is a clear statement of the main research question or hypothesis. This statement tends to be more formal and precise than in the opening and is often expressed in terms of operational definitions of the key variables.

    The second is a brief overview of the method and some comment on its appropriateness. These considerations lead to the hypothesis that the more bystanders to an emergency, the less likely, or the more slowly, any one bystander will intervene to provide aid. Each subject should also be blocked from communicating with others to prevent his getting information about their behaviour during the emergency.

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    The experiment reported below attempted to fulfill these conditions. Thus the introduction leads smoothly into the next major section of the article—the method section. At the same time, it should avoid irrelevant details such as the fact that the study was conducted in Classroom 37B of the Industrial Technology Building or that the questionnaire was double-sided and completed using pencils. The participants subsection indicates how many participants there were, the number of women and men, some indication of their age, other demographics that may be relevant to the study, and how they were recruited, including any incentives given for participation.

    After the participants section, the structure can vary a bit. Figure In the first, the participants section is followed by a design and procedure subsection, which describes the rest of the method. This works well for methods that are relatively simple and can be described adequately in a few paragraphs.

    Research Design

    In the second approach, the participants section is followed by separate design and procedure subsections. This works well when both the design and the procedure are relatively complicated and each requires multiple paragraphs. What is the difference between design and procedure? The design of a study is its overall structure.

    What were the independent and dependent variables?

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    Was the independent variable manipulated, and if so, was it manipulated between or within subjects? How were the variables operationally defined? The procedure is how the study was carried out. It often works well to describe the procedure in terms of what the participants did rather than what the researchers did. For example, the participants gave their informed consent, read a set of instructions, completed a block of four practice trials, completed a block of 20 test trials, completed two questionnaires, and were debriefed and excused.

    In the third basic way to organize a method section, the participants subsection is followed by a materials subsection before the design and procedure subsections. This works well when there are complicated materials to describe. This might mean multiple questionnaires, written vignettes that participants read and respond to, perceptual stimuli, and so on.

    The heading of this subsection can be modified to reflect its content. Although there are no standard subsections, it is still important for the results section to be logically organized. Typically it begins with certain preliminary issues. One is whether any participants or responses were excluded from the analyses and why. The rationale for excluding data should be described clearly so that other researchers can decide whether it is appropriate.

    A second preliminary issue is how multiple responses were combined to produce the primary variables in the analyses. For example, if participants rated the attractiveness of 20 stimulus people, you might have to explain that you began by computing the mean attractiveness rating for each participant.

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    Or if they recalled as many items as they could from study list of 20 words, did you count the number correctly recalled, compute the percentage correctly recalled, or perhaps compute the number correct minus the number incorrect? A third preliminary issue is the reliability of the measures. A final preliminary issue is whether the manipulation was successful. This is where you would report the results of any manipulation checks. The results section should then tackle the primary research questions, one at a time.

    Two or three studies is sufficient. This means the studies outlined should lead logically into your aims and hypotheses. If your hypothesis is unlikely, why are you testing it? AIMS: The aims should not appear out of thin air, the preceding review of psychological literature should lead logically into the aims.

    Use previously cited research to explain your expectations. Later these expectations are formally stated as the hypotheses. Name the dependent variables and make sure it's operationalized. Identify any controls used, e. Identify the target population refer to a geographic location and type of sample.

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    Say how you obtained your sample e. Give relevant details, e. Describe the materials used, e. Describe in sufficient detail to allow for replication of findings. The results section of a paper usually present the descriptive statistics followed by inferential statistics. Avoid interpreting the results save this for the discussion. Make sure the results are presented clearly and concisely.