The purpose of this section is to provide a brief and comprehensive summary of the study. It is very important because it is all that many people will read. It should include a brief description of the problem being investigated, the methods used, the results, and their implications.
It should be accurate do not include information here that is not in the body of the manuscript , self-contained spell out abbreviations , concise word maximum , and specific begin this section with the most important information and limit it to the four or five most important concepts, findings, or implications of the study. As part of the theme of being concise, use digits for all numbers except when they begin a sentence.
Avoid citing references in the abstract. Paraphrase rather than quoting. Use active rather than passive voice but without personal pronouns , for example, use Researchers instructed participants to. Use past tense for procedures and present tense for results. It is a good idea to write this section last after all of the other sections are written. You might try taking the lead sentences from the various sections of the manuscript and integrating them.
Introduction The introduction begins on Page 3. Start this page by retyping your title centered , then begin typing the section on the next double spaced line using normal 5 space indented paragraphs. Do not type the word Introduction. The main purpose of this section is to tell the reader why you performed the study. In other words, you have to inform the reader of the research question and indicate why it is important, and how it is unique when compared to previous studies.
It starts out broad and becomes more and more specific. For example, you might begin by defining any relevant terms. Then go on to review the relevant literature. Avoid an exhaustive and historical review. Then go on to make clear the connection between previous research and the present work. You might include any hypotheses and the rationale for them.
The final paragraph usually contains a statement which clearly and explicitly states why the study was performed, such as The purpose of this study was to Be especially careful not to use a sentence of this type earlier in your introduction. Thus, this section should contain an absolute minimum of four paragraphs: Methods Do not purposely start a new page for this section.
Simply center the word Method and continue typing on the very next double-spaced line i. The purpose of this section is to describe in detail how you performed the study.
Someone should be able to replicate your study based on the information you provide in this section. Make it sound professional, that is, do not make it sound like a class project.
Assume you are writing for submission to a scientific journal. Avoid unnecessary details like the data were displayed on the computer screen and recorded on the data sheet s. This is similar to the empty word problem described in I. For an experiment, this section is typically divided into four subsections: The order of design followed by procedure is arbitrary.
In other words, you could have the procedure come before the design. Sometimes researchers combine the design and procedure sections, however, in an experimental psychology or research methods class, a separate design section is typically required.
For a survey study i. If animals are used, use the term subjects. If humans are used, use the term participants. Do not purposely start a new page for this section. Type the appropriate title for this subsection flush with the left margin and italicize it. On the next line, begin typing normal paragraphs. Indicate who participated in the study, how many, and how were they selected. With human subjects, be sure to address the issue of informed consent.
Include any details which are relevant to the study. For animals, include the gender, age, strain, weight. If the subjects were human, what type of reward or motivation was used to encourage them to participate? Apparatus Do not purposely start a new page for this section. Type the word Apparatus flush with the left margin and italicize it.
Describe what materials were used and how they functioned in the study. If you use a piece of equipment, you must give the model number, company, and state where the company resides as a two-letter abbreviation. You must give the dimensions and perhaps other descriptive details of any important items used in the study.
Standard equipment such as furniture, stopwatches, pencils and paper, can usually be mentioned without providing a lot of details. In fact, you may often simply mention these items in passing as part of the procedure. Be careful not to describe procedures in this section. You should make clear what purpose the apparatus served, but do not give a lot of details on the use of the apparatus at this point.
One hint in this regard is to avoid using action verbs in this section. Design Do not purposely start a new page for this section. Type the word Design flush with the left margin and italicize it. Describe the design and clearly spell out the independent and dependent variables. Indicate what the levels of the independent variables were, and whether the factor s were repeated, matched, or independent.
Describe how the subjects were assigned to groups. Describe any control procedures used. Procedure Do not purposely start a new page for this section. Type the word Procedure flush with the left margin and italicize it. Carefully summarize each step in the execution of the study. Indicate what a typical test, trial, or session involved. Describe any phases that the study had or any instructions that the subjects received.
When referring to groups, try to use descriptive labels. For example, instead of saying Group 1 or the experimental group , you might say the drugged group. Another technique in this regard is to use abbreviations that emphasize meaning. Results Do not purposely start a new page for this section. Simply center the word Results and continue typing on the very next double-spaced line i. Look carefully at the results. That is, take a good hard look at all those numbers you collect.
Think of different ways to summarize them describe , as well as to make sense of them analyze. You might find my Psychological Statistics Site helpful. Briefly state the main findings in words.
That is, first give a general description, then go into the details. When presenting the results of statistical tests, give descriptive statistics before the corresponding inferential statistics.
Otherwise, do not use a hyphen with a grade number. If several ordinal grades are presented in a series of compound adjectives, then use hyphens with each. Sometimes these rules intersect in ways that may make a sentence look awkward; in the sentence below, it is correct to use a word for ninth and numerals for 10th and 11th , and although there is nothing wrong with this from an APA Style perspective, it may set off internal alarm bells for you.
Often the awkwardness can be resolved by rephrasing the sentence. Although this is not required, it may make you feel happier about your writing, and we are all for you feeling happy about your writing. For more on numeral usage, see Sections 4. If you have additional questions about how to write about grades in APA Style, leave a question in the comments section.
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Looking for help with APA Style ®? We urge you to start with the following resources: Refer to The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association ; Read the Frequently Asked Questions; View the Free Tutorial on the Basics of APA Style; Search for topic-specific help in the Learning Resources section.
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APA documentation style is one of the main international standards for the writing of academic papers. If you're seeking APA help and/or resources, this is the place. For more information, please consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, (6 th ed., 2 nd printing). Please use the example at the bottom of .
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