Posted: November 13th, 2015
Research Report Instructions Experimental Psychology (PSYC/CHLD 3404) Research Report: The second APA style assignment is a research report. The research report will be similar to the spiritual well-being report in that it will include a title page, an abstract (discussing your research question, methods, and results), an introduction/literature review, a methods section, a results section, a discussion section, and references. For this assignment, though, you will develop your own research questions and research design. You will not actually collect data for this study; similar to the spiritual well-being report, you will be given data to analyze and interpret. The report should be 8-15 pages in length, include at least 5 sources, and is worth 10 points/10% of your grade in this course. How to Get Started: A Step by Step Guide to Writing your Report 1. The Topic is: ‘DO EARLY INTERPERONAL EXPERIENCES INFLUECE ADULT ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS?” A broad question is provided, followed by the name of the authors and the title of the literature review dealing with the topic. You will be required to read the article carefully and pay special attention to the future directions section when developing a research question. Possible Topics* (Corresponding Literature Review or Chapter) • Do early interpersonal experiences influence adult romantic relationships? o Simpson et al. (2011). The impact of early interpersonal experience on adult romantic relationship functioning: Recent finding from the Minnesota longitudinal study of risk and adaptation. THERE IS ATTACHED INFORMATION ON THIS TOPIC. * There is one caveat: you will have to locate a literature review on the topic yourselves. You might find one in the journals Current Direction in Psychological Science or Psychological Review. 2. Research. Developing a worthwhile research question, developing a research design to test the chosen hypothesis, and offering support. You may use the same articles, scales, hypothesis, research method, and data as your team. 3. Read the literature review associated with your topic. Read this article carefully. It will provide background information about your topic and help you determine what gaps exist in the literature. You may also use this report to determine what other research papers will be useful to read in the development of your introduction. 4. Develop a research question. Develop a research question related to your research topic. Your research question should be empirical and quantitative (observable, testable, and well defined). Further, your question should be one worthy of study (e.g., unique). That is, you are expected to develop a unique hypothesis or a unique method of studying a hypothesis. Your whole team may use the same hypothesis/ method. You may not simply replicate a study that has been done previously. This is why is it important to read the literature review carefully before developing this question. HINT: Look at the future directions section of the literature review for good suggestions. Please see Appendix A for more information. 5. Collaborate and vote on a research question in your team. Once you have a research question that you feel confident or excited about, discuss it with your teammates. See what kind of questions they have come up with. Collaborate with your team and decide on a single research question to pursue. 6. Brainstorm, collaborate and develop a research design. Once you have developed a research question, brainstorm a research design to test your prediction or hypothesis. If your research question is not unique, can you develop unique methods to study the question? (See Appendix A for ideas.) The message you send to the instructor needs to be very detailed and explicit in terms of the procedures and materials that you will use (see Appendix B). Please describe the operational definitions of variables you intend to measure or manipulate by describing how you intend to measure or manipulate them, and provide enough detail that someone could replicate your study by reading about it. 7. Create a final research design to the instructor for feedback (please cc all teammates on this email). 8. Read additional papers on your research topic. You should search for papers related to your research topic. You will probably need to locate and skim several articles before limiting your search to only the most relevant articles for your final research report. Once you have a good number of relevant and important articles, begin taking good notes on each of the papers (e.g., write down the author’s hypotheses, methods, and results). See if you can describe the report, and describe how it is related to your research report (i.e., your research question or methods), in your own words. This will help as you write your introduction because it will reduce your reliance on quotations and help you avoid plagiarism. 9. Write the methods sections. Start with your methods section. Clearly describe your participants (number, and demographic information provided by the instructor), procedures, and materials. 10. Write a justification statement for your hypotheses and research study. To ensure that you are on track, you will turn in a 1-2 page justification. This will include a short summary of what is missing from the literature (see questions 5 and 8 above) and how your research study will fill the gap in the research (see Appendix C). 11. Write the introduction section. Start your paper broadly and provide a context for your topic. Then, describe research in the area and explain how the studies relate to the relevant theoretical or methodological issues. Include limitations of the previous research or contrasting views. Then, provide a brief summary of what is missing from the literature, describe your hypotheses, and describe the methods you will use to answer your research questions briefly. 12. Write the results section. Evaluate and interpret the results that the instructor provides for your research. Write a results section using correct APA style formatting for descriptive and inferential statistics. 13. Write the discussion section. Summarize the results and describe any discrepancies between your hypotheses and the data. Describe all results (not just those that supported your hypothesis). Describe how the results are consistent with or inconsistent with other research described in the introduction. Describe any limitations and evaluate the extent to which the findings can be generalized. Make suggestions for specific future research studies. 14. Finish the paper. Write the abstract and title page. The abstract should include at least one sentence about each section of the paper. Include references. 15. Reread the paper and revise. A Note About Plagiarism. Students who chose to plagiarize will earn a zero on their paper and risk failure in the course. The Turn-it-in software where you will upload your paper will alert the instructor of any sentences or phrases that closely match published work. Remember, to avoid plagiarism, you should ensure that you have written your report in your own words. Each sentence that you create should bear little to no resemblance to the reports you read. If you must quote text, do so sparingly and be sure to enclose quotes in quotation marks. It is expected that you learn how to write professionally about psychology. Thus, plagiarism in any form will not be tolerated. Timeline for Assignments Week 5 Develop a Hypothesis Activity – Due Friday, Nov. 20th • Develop a research question and present it. • Vote on the best research question in your team. • Read the “developing a research design” (Appendix B) and brainstorm ideas with your team. • Decide on a Research Design – Due Thursday, Nov. 19th • Locate and read articles related to your topic. You need 4 in all plus literature review article cited in references. Week 6 • Submit a 1-page justification for your research study. – Due Wed. Nov. 25th • Continue reading and taking notes on articles related to your topic. • Write the methods and introduction sections. Week 7 • Data for research report . Int
erpret the data. – Due Mon. Dec. 3rd • Write the results and discussion sections. • Write the abstract, title page, and reference page. • Revise. Repeat. Week 8 • Research report is due. – Due Mon. Dec. 7th Appendix A: Develop a Research Question Assignment Instructions: In this assignment, you will develop a research question related to the topic you have chosen. Please read the literature review related to your topic prior to completing this assignment. The reason I assign a literature review is to give you an idea of what has been done in this area and what theoretical or methodological gaps exist. In fact, the author(s) of the literature review may specifically point to what is needed in the field in the future directions section of the review. While you read the literature review, you should consider the following questions: • What questions have not been addressed? • In what settings is research lacking? • Are there any variables (or constructs) that have not been examined but may be related to the issue? • Have all methods (survey, experiments, observations) been used to examine the question or set of questions? o Are there alternative operational definitions for the constructs of interest that would help to generalize the findings? For example, could you measure or manipulate one of the variables in a different way? • Are there any populations that have been ignored with regard to this issue (e.g., East Asians, mature adults, professionals, Buddhists)? • Theoretically or methodologically, are there alternative explanations for the phenomena than that proposed that could be tested? Remember, your job as a researcher is to describe, predict, or explain psychological phenomena. Please brainstorm more than one idea. Then pick your favorite and complete the questions below. Please type your answers to the questions. 1) State your rough research idea or question or prediction. (What relation exists between 2 or more variables?) 2) Make sure your research question is scientific and quantitative by answer the questions below. a) How is your research question Observable? b) How is your research question Testable (i.e., could you create a situation under which to test your idea)? c) Can you count observable behaviors, measure, or manipulate the variables of interest? 3) What are your independent and a dependent variables? Define them: 4) Independent (predictor*) Variable (X): a) Operational Definition: 5) Dependent (criterion*) Variable (Y): a) Operational Definition: 6) What is your working hypothesis? Form an expectation/prediction about the relationship between X and Y. Alternatively, describe how X will influence Y. Appendix B: Research Design Handout Research Design Handout Now that you have a research question, you will need to develop a method to test it. One way to develop operational definitions of the variables of interest is to read literature in your area. The literature review on your topic may be useful here as it may describe how other researchers have measured or manipulated the variables of interest in the past. However, you may also be interested in testing a research idea in different. Additionally, you may be able to modify methods that have been used before. You will soon be required to develop a research design for your research question. Below is additional assistance in operationalizing your variables. Survey Measures: Defining some variables is very easy. For example, when students have predictive research questions, they can usually use survey methods, and for many constructs or variables there exists reliable and validated measurement scales. A group of students in the past were interested in early childhood parental interactions and preference for short-term mates. They discovered that early childhood experiences are usually measured via the adult attachment scale (Collins, 1996). Further, they found a scale that measured preference for short-term mates. There are entire websites devoted to scales, and some researchers have developed and published so many measures that they have links to their scales from their personal websites. The following resources may help you. There are a large number of scales listed on these sites. http://www.muhlenberg.edu/depts/psychology/measures.html http://www.webpages.ttu.edu/areifman/qic.htm http://ipip.ori.org/ipip/ If you can’t find what you need from above, try putting your construct of interest in a search engine, in a library database such as PsychInfo, or use Google Scholar. In some cases, students work really hard to find a scale to measure something really easy. For example, students have looked and could not find scales that measured 1) how many sexual partners a person has had, 2) how much net income a person makes annually, 3) how much time a person spends getting ready (hygiene and grooming behaviors), or 4) how bad a person feels at the moment. In each case, the students just ask these questions as stand-alone items. If you are really only interested in the answer to a single question, then just ask the question. For other situations, it is best to find a validated and reliable measure. Often you can get ideas about what scales are used in your area of interest by reading reports in your area of interest. Observational Measures: Sometimes, defining your variables is trickier. For observational measures, you should think about being in that situation. What kinds of behaviors are likely to be elicited? Which behaviors are most clearly associated with the construct you are trying to measure? What is the best way to code the behaviors of interest? Will you be observing one individual or several individuals? How many raters will be used to code each sequence of events? Often, it is easiest to read papers and see how other researchers have handled the issue. Sometimes, it helps to go observe the behavior with a coding schema in mind. This can serve as a practice run. These strategies will help you define your construct and develop a coding schema that makes sense. Experimental Measures: Manipulated constructs may be the easiest or the hardest variables to operationalize. When you manipulate a construct, there are two things to keep in mind. One is whether the manipulation is ethical. Is there a way to manipulate the construct of interest with minimal social, psychological, or other risk? Second, when considering control conditions, you should make sure that the conditions you create are exactly the same except for the one thing you are manipulating. Again, it is helpful here to go to the literature and see how other researchers have manipulated your variable of interest. It is also worthwhile to ask your instructor or advisor for help if you get stuck but would like to manipulate a variable both cleanly and ethically (with no confounds and minimal risk). Quasi-Experimental Measures: Keep in mind that some independent variables are quasiexperimental. That is, you might be interested in a variable that cannot be manipulated (sometimes called an individual difference or subject variable). These variables include drug use, educational attainment, age, gender, race/ethnicity, health status, attachment style, personality, etc. Ethical and practical consideration: As you design your study, keep ethical and practical issues in mind. This will help you develop a realistic study. Some things to consider: • What have I done to minimize risks to participants? • Are there benefits to participation? • Will I use deception? Is it justified? Why? • Will participation be anonymous (no names will be attached to data) or confidential (no one except the researcher will have access to the data)? • Will I be able to ensure that consent is voluntary and informed? If not, is this justified? Why? • Will I be able to fully debrief participants? If not, why? Is this justified? • Where and how will I recruit participants? Will I have access to the sample that I need? • Do I need any special equipment (e.g., galvanized skin conductor? fMRI? Reaction time software? Video camera?) Appendix C: Research Justification In preparation for writing the introduction secti
on of your research report, you should complete a research justification. According the APA style manual, a complete introduction addresses four issues: 1) It describes why the topic or issue is important. 2) It describes how the study relates to previous work in the area (e.g., literature review). 3) It describes the hypothesis. 4) It describes how the study will answer the research question. What many students do not realize is that an introduction section also serves as an argument and justification. A good introduction convinces the reader that your research study is worthwhile. To convince the reader of this, you should describe the theoretical gaps (describe unanswered questions) or the methodological gaps (describe what methods are missing) in the literature. Then, you can discuss how your study fills the gaps. In other words, an excellent introduction will do at least two things: 1) It will justify your research question… a. By describing how the research question is unique AND/OR b. By describing why it is a reasonable prediction or question to ask. 2) It justify one’s research methods… a. By describing how the methods will answer the research question b. By describing how the methods are unique (optional). To complete this assignment, briefly describe the gaps in the existing literature (one or two paragraphs). Then describe how your study fills the gap. This should include a description of your main hypothesis and a description of the methods you will use to test the hypothesis. Please use APA style formatting (e.g., double spaced, in 11 or 12 point font, in paragraph format, no bullets). Write your justification in your own words.
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