A research paper describes and summarizes a specific topic, usually a theory or an area of research, by providing a summary, evaluating the findings and providing suggestions for further research.
How to Write a Psychology Lab Report
In their book Writing For Psychology , Thaiss and Sanford suggest breaking down the research paper into three sections:. Writing the Research Paper, Dartmouth College. A laboratory report is a write-up of an experiment or other research project and has the same components as a published research study. The purpose of a lab report is to describe how and why you performed your experiment, what you discovered, and your interpretation of the final results. Writing an experimental lab report is not only a vital skill for psychology majors, it is an actual requirement for most psychology degrees.
As a student at George Mason University , it is a necessary that you learn the proper format and develop good technique for writing lab reports. These skills are especially important if you plan on attending graduate school or becoming involved with research. When writing your lab report, your professors will expect you to follow the guidelines described in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association 4th ed.
These standard guidelines are commonly known as APA format. Apparatus and Materials. F igures. The title page should be the first page of your document and introduces the reader to the title and author of the lab report. The title of your laboratory report is a concise description of the purpose and main focus of the experiment. Identify where the study was actually performed e. The manuscript page header is a very short abbreviation of the title. It should appear at the top of every page in the upper right-hand corner with the page number.
The running head is a short descriptive form of the title. It is typed flush left in all uppercase letters and is limited to a maximum of 50 characters. The running head should only appear on the title page. Every page of your manuscript, including the title page should have the page number in the upper right-hand corner of the page.
The abstract is a brief summary that highlights the main points of your lab report. It is a one paragraph, self-contained, concise description of the problem under investigation, the participants, the observational method, findings, and conclusions. The purpose of the introduction is to describe your research question, summarize previous research, explain why your research was necessary, and state your hypotheses. In their book, Writing For Psychology , Thaiss and Sanford recommend including these components in the introduction in the following order:. The method section is a detailed description of all the operations performed in the research you are reporting.
APA Sample Paper: Experimental Psychology // Purdue Writing Lab
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. Margins and spacing: All margins should measure one inch. Page numbers will appear within the top margin, but no other text should extend past the one-inch margins. Indent five spaces to begin paragraphs. Double-space the text of your paper. Pagination: Number all pages of your paper in the upper right corner, one-half inch from the top.
Do not write or p. The number should appear by itself with no punctuation. General format and title page: Your research paper needs to be typed, double-spaced on standard-sized paper 8. Use one to one-and-a-half inch margins on all four sides of each page. A running head on this page is not necessary unless you are submitting your paper for publication. At the top of your title page, flush right and one-half inch from the top edge of the paper inside your top margin , you will write what is called a "manuscript header.
How to Write a Lab Report
Your title will appear centered on this page, written in capital and lower-case letters. If your title extends past one line, double-space between lines. Your name will appear centered and in capital and lower-case letters one double-spaced line below your title. Your university name Oregon State University will be placed one double-spaced line below your name. If you are a communication major, you also will include below the institution's name the title of your department.
For example:. Following your title page, the remainder of your paper should be placed in the following order:.
The pages of your manuscript should be numbered consecutively, beginning with the title page, as part of the manuscript header in the upper right corner of each page. Your references should begin on a separate page from the text of the paper under the label "References" with no quotation marks, underlining, etc. Appendices and notes should be formatted similarly. Headings: APA style prescribes five heading levels, but they vary according to the length of your paper.
You should also thank them for participation. If the participants were paid, or received course credits for participation common in the USA , you should say so here in the procedure section. If so, say in the procedure that written consent was obtained and that the research protocol had been approved. However, classroom based research projects are usually except from this committee approval.
Nevertheless, it is good practice to take written consent even in classroom based research and to mention this in the procedure section. In your procedure section you may use additional subheadings, for example Design, Setting, or Statistical Analysis.
But the very least is that you have Participants, Materials and Procedure. Results The results section is written in the past tense. The results section is where you summarize the findings of the research and describe how you analyzed it. It is a summary, it contains average scores etc. If you did it would be difficult to interpret and violate ethical principles of anonymity.
So the results section usually contains data that is analyzed statistically. There are two types of statistics used in experimental psychology reports: descriptive and inferential. Descriptive statistics Descriptive statistics just describe the data. All experiments have at least two conditions, so it is normal to give the mean average of the scores in each condition. Even correlational studies have at least two variables, so the mean scores should still be given. In addition to a mean average, you should give some idea of the distribution of scores, this could be the range the lowest and the highest number.
However, usually it is best to give the standard deviation SD. If you only have a small number of descriptive statistics, then it is easier to write them as sentences. However, if you have several, it may be best to put them in a table. In addition, if there is a natural trend to the data, such as the more chewing gum people have, the better their recall, you might want to show this in a graph. If you use a graph think carefully about what you want to show. Line graphs shows trends in data, the categories having a natural order, for example age group.
click Note that pie charts look nice but are very rarely used in academic work. Leave them for the salesmen trying to impress their bosses. If you use a Table or a Figure graph each must have a title and a number.
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The data are shown in Figure 2 where we can see The results are summarized in Table Finally, when reporting descriptive statistics, think about how many decimal places it is actually useful to know about.
Related order of sections in a psychology research paper
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