Psychology 302D – Research Methods in Psychology

 

One of the goals of this class is for the student to learn how to write psychology research papers using the APA style format.  As a class, we will gradually work through the research/publication process during the semester including writing introduction, method, result, and discussion sections of a manuscript. Students will also learn how to design experiments and how to collect, enter, and analyze data. 

 

Students will be required to write two research papers based on the two projects we will complete during the course of the semester.  The first project will consist of a class project, topic to be chosen.  For the second project each student has the option of working alone or in a small group (2-4).  The student will develop the second project with the help of the instructor.  Students are responsible for writing their own research papers (i.e., the research papers are not a group effort). 

 

Requirements for the paper:

 

Drafts and Complete Papers are to be submitted in APA style format and well-written.  The following briefing describes the requirements for your papers.  You should consult the APA manual regarding correct formatting.  In class, we will discuss the structure of a research paper more thoroughly.

 

Your completed papers will be graded as follows:

 

Title Page  (Points are included as part of APA Style)
 

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The title page should include a descriptive title, appropriate running head, author name, and affiliation.

 

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Unlike other papers submitted for college credit, the title page should not include date, course name or number, or student id number.

 

Abstract  (10 points)
 

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A good abstract should include opening statement about the topic, information concerning the hypotheses and theoretical rationale, brief note of methodology, major results, and implications.  The abstract should not exceed 128 words.

 

Introduction section  (30 points)
 

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Good organization and argument flow are crucial aspects of the introduction. Ideally, it moves from a broad area of interest to the specific hypotheses.  The theoretical rationale and past empirical support are integral parts of an introduction.  The introduction should end with a clear description of the hypotheses.

 

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Class Project:  You should cite at least five references in your introduction section.

 

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Group Project:  You should cite at 8-10 references in your introduction section.

 

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Attach a copy of the article that was the most influential in writing your introduction section when submitting drafts of your introduction sections.  I may request that you attach more articles when you submit your complete paper.

 

Method section (30 points)
 

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The primary goal of the method section is to provide a description of the study methodology.  Readability of this section is enhanced when the procedures used are reported in a temporal manner. The method section needs to include information about the participants, description(s) of the materials, and any pretesting/preselection that occurred.

 

Results section (30 points)
 

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The APA format results section needs to indicate clearly what the researchers did and did not find, and how the results relate to hypotheses.

 

 

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At a minimum, a clear description of the analyses and descriptive statistics (in tables, text, or graphic form) should be reported.

 

 

Discussion section (30 points)
 

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The first paragraph of the discussion section should recap the findings as they relate to the hypotheses.  Subsequent paragraphs should describe how results compare to other empirical work (typically not covered in the introduction) or implications for theory and/or practice.

 

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The purpose of the discussion section is not to report all of the possible problems associated with the study. This is a pitfall for many students.  Remember that you want to get your paper published!

 

References (5 points)
 

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APA format referencing should be used throughout the paper, and in this section.

 

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Attach a copy of the article that was the most influential in writing your introduction section when submitting drafts of your introduction sections.  I may request that you attach more articles when you submit your complete paper.

 

APA Style (5 points)
Overall Technical Writing (10 points)

 

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The remaining points of the paper are reserved for technical aspects of the writing.  The APA manuals DOES comment upon technical writing, and poorly written papers would be unlikely to be accepted for publication in a first, second, or third tier journal. Papers should evidence active voice, appropriate grammar, correct spelling, and the like.

 

Assignment - Research Paper Drafts

 

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To help you develop your writing skills, students are to submit drafts of their introduction, method, and result sections prior to submitting completed manuscript.  Each draft is worth 10 points.  Your drafts will be graded according to the criteria stated above.

 

See syllabus for due dates.