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Research Methods in Psychology

Research Methods in Psychology

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Research Methods in Psychology

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  1. Research Methods in Psychology Overview of the Research Report Chapter 16

  2. The Purpose of the report • Communication (to tell what you did and what you found). • Provide details for others to: • Evaluate the quality of the work • Replicate and extend the findings • Provide objective information • Fact-filled, structured and concise • Avoid opinion and personal statements • Should be interesting and lively (e.g., Morris, 1981?)

  3. The Standard Format • Title • Abstract • Introduction • Method • Results • Discussion • References

  4. Title • A description of what the report is about. • Include variables and relationship • 10 to 12 words (concise) • When should you write the title? • “Effect of variable 1 (and 2) on place navigation in the virtual water maze” • “Variable 1 impaired (or improved) water maze place navigation in rats”

  5. Abstract • A summary of the report • About 120 words • Past tense • Concise and can stand by itself • Should contain • Statement of the problem studied • The method • The results • The conclusions

  6. Abstract hints • Write the abstract after other sections • Stick to word counts (required) • Don’t give specific stat results • Look at other abstracts as examples

  7. Introduction Tells the reader what you are doing and why. • the general problem being studied • what prior studies have found • the hypothesis • the rationale for the hypothesis • the plan to test the hypothesis • predictions about the outcome

  8. Introduction hints General Outline of the Introduction • Currently accepted general statement • Details of supporting data • Facets of the general statement that are not known or firmly established • Summary of your experiment, which will address the problem or fill in what is not known

  9. Method - How you conducted the experiment • Include details for replication • Subdivide into sections • Subjects (or Participants) • Apparatus (or Materials) • Procedure

  10. Method (Subjects or Participants) State the characteristics of your sample • Age, sex, species, weight etc. • How many subjects were included • Incentives for participation • Details of subjects who drop out

  11. Method (Apparatus or Materials) Provide a description of the equipment used • Standard items (stopwatches, pencils, tables, chairs etc.) do not have to be described in detail • Give the name, manufacturer, size and model of specialized equipment • Use the metric system for physical dimensions

  12. Method (Procedure) Provide a description of all the procedures followed. Include information on: • How subjects were assigned to groups • Experimental manipulation • Controls for extraneous variables • Exact instructions given to subjects (if it constitutes your manipulation) • Factors in a complicated design • State the dependent variable(s)

  13. Results Describe the statistical procedures and what you found • Brief summary of findings in words • Results of statistical tests (e.g., F, t and p values) • Statistical tests used (e.g., ANOVA, t-test) • Group means (M) and standard deviation or standard error (measure of variability)

  14. Discussion Evaluate the experiment and interpret the results • Should tie things together • Relate findings to the original problem • Relate findings to prior research • What do the results mean? • What are the implications of the findings • Is generalization warranted? • Report any potential confounds • (but don’t get caught up in offering excuses)