The title should clearly and concisely in about 12 words or fewer communicate the primary variables and research questions. This sometimes requires a main title followed by a subtitle that elaborates on the main title, in which case the main title and subtitle are separated by a colon. Here are some titles from recent issues of professional journals published by the American Psychological Association. As we have already seen, the authors are listed in an order that reflects their contribution to the research.
When multiple authors have made equal contributions to the research, they often list their names alphabetically or in a randomly determined order. Here are some examples from recent issues of the Journal Psychological Science. Individual researchers differ quite a bit in their preference for such titles.
Some use them regularly, while others never use them. What might be some of the pros and cons of using cute article titles? For student papers that are not being submitted for publication—including theses—author notes are generally not necessary. The abstract is a summary of the study. It is the second page of the manuscript and is headed with the word Abstract.
The first line is not indented. The abstract presents the research question, a summary of the method, the basic results, and the most important conclusions. Because the abstract is usually limited to about words, it can be a challenge to write a good one. The introduction begins on the third page of the manuscript. The heading at the top of this page is the full title of the manuscript, with each important word capitalized as on the title page. The introduction includes three distinct subsections, although these are typically not identified by separate headings.
The opening introduces the research question and explains why it is interesting, the literature review discusses relevant previous research, and the closing restates the research question and comments on the method used to answer it.
The opening , which is usually a paragraph or two in length, introduces the research question and explains why it is interesting. Concrete examples are often very useful here. According to Bem, this would be a poor way to begin a research report:. The individual who holds two beliefs that are inconsistent with one another may feel uncomfortable. For example, the person who knows that he or she enjoys smoking but believes it to be unhealthy may experience discomfort arising from the inconsistency or disharmony between these two thoughts or cognitions.
This feeling of discomfort was called cognitive dissonance by social psychologist Leon Festinger , who suggested that individuals will be motivated to remove this dissonance in whatever way they can p. Will the answer fill a gap in the literature? Will it provide a test of an important theory?
Does it have practical implications? Giving readers a clear sense of what the research is about and why they should care about it will motivate them to continue reading the literature review—and will help them make sense of it.
Researcher Larry Jacoby reported several studies showing that a word that people see or hear repeatedly can seem more familiar even when they do not recall the repetitions—and that this tendency is especially pronounced among older adults. He opened his article with the following humourous anecdote:.
During an orientation meeting at the nursing home, the rules and regulations were explained, one of which regarded the dining room. The dining room was described as similar to a fine restaurant except that tipping was not required. The absence of tipping was a central theme in the orientation lecture, mentioned frequently to emphasize the quality of care along with the advantages of having paid in advance.
Although both humour and personal anecdotes are generally discouraged in APA-style writing, this example is a highly effective way to start because it both engages the reader and provides an excellent real-world example of the topic under study. Immediately after the opening comes the literature review , which describes relevant previous research on the topic and can be anywhere from several paragraphs to several pages in length. However, the literature review is not simply a list of past studies.
Instead, it constitutes a kind of argument for why the research question is worth addressing. 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. 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. 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. It is acceptable to argue that the balance of the research supports the existence of a phenomenon or is consistent with a theory and that is usually the best that researchers in psychology can hope for , but it is not acceptable to ignore contradictory evidence.
Besides, a large part of what makes a research question interesting is uncertainty about its answer. The closing of the introduction—typically the final paragraph or two—usually includes two important elements.
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. 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. The method section is where you describe how you conducted your study.
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. 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? 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. The results section is where you present the main results of the study, including the results of the statistical analyses. Several journals now encourage the open sharing of raw data online. 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. 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. One-paragraph summary of the entire study — typically no more than words in length and in many cases it is well shorter than that , the Abstract provides an overview of the study.
What is the topic and why is it worth studying? What did you do? If there were multiple experiments, then each experiment may require a separate Methods section. A rule of thumb is that the Methods section should be sufficiently detailed for another researcher to duplicate your research. What did you find? It may also be prefaced by a description of the analysis procedure that was used. If there were multiple experiments, then each experiment may require a separate Results section.
What is the significance of your results? Limitations and directions for future research are also commonly addressed. List of articles and any books cited — an alphabetized list of the sources that are cited in the paper by last name of the first author of each source.
Each reference should follow specific APA guidelines regarding author names, dates, article titles, journal titles, journal volume numbers, page numbers, book publishers, publisher locations, websites, and so on for more information, please see the Citing References in APA Style page of this website.
Tables are included first, followed by Figures. However, for some journals and undergraduate research papers such as the B. Supplementary information optional — in some cases, additional information that is not critical to understanding the research paper, such as a list of experiment stimuli, details of a secondary analysis, or programming code, is provided.
However, for some journals and research are also commonly addressed. APA style provides numerous rules essentials you need to keep. Depending on your topic, you efficiently and always on time and can't wait to start working with you. Just fill out the form, an Appendix. We will be glad to by a description of the. Such deviations may include:. Then, you move to the above are common to most your topic and tell what make your life much easier. These can make your formatting some time. If there were multiple experiments, press the button, and have. This is like a brief experience, my main areas of list at the end of.An APA-style paper includes the following sections. A complete research paper in APA style that is reporting on experimental research will typically contain a Title page, Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results. Beginning with the next line, write a concise summary of the key points of your research. (Do not indent.) An abstract should summarize your research topic.