Learning Objectives • Identify the 7 major sections of a research paper as required by APA format • Identify common errors in using APA format
Major Sections of the Paper • There are 7 essential sections: 3 short & 4 long. • Short sections: • Title page – title, authors, etc. • Abstract – 1 paragraph gist of paper • References – list of works cited
Long Sections • Introduction – lit review, research question or hypothesis • Method – what you did • Results – what you found • Discussion – what it means
1. Title Page • First page of APA format paper • Components • 1. Page header • 2. Page number • 3. Running head • 4. Title • 5. Author(s) • 6. Affiliation(s)
Title page example 2 1 3 4 5 6
2. Abstract • Single paragraph description of study • Usually contains info about • Research question or hypothesis • Participants • Methods • Findings • Summary statement/conclusion
Abstract Format • 1. Page header and page number top right • 2. Abstract is centered, A is capped • 3. Abstract has own page • 4. Paragraph is blocked, not indented • 5. No more than 150 words.
Abstract Example 1 3 Individual differences 2 4 2 Abstract An objective assessment of exploration of cats that were presented a novel environment was compared to owners’ assessments of their cats’ curiosity (N=34 neighborhood cats). The novel environment consisted of a carpeted maze…
3. Introduction • Contains • Thesis statement – broad description of the problem • Review of relevant literature • Research question or hypothesis
Introduction format • Title repeats, Introduction implied. • Header and page 3 • Indent paragraphs • Citations for previous studies. • Citations follow APA format (tons of rules for citations).
Sample Introduction Individual Differences 3 Individual Differences in Cats in Our Neighborhood Curiosity is often thought to have killed the cat (Paws & Claws, 1999). But is it more likely to have killed some cats than others? Can we reliably distinguish differences in how curious our feline friends really are?
4. Method • Contains • Participants –who (aka subjects) • Apparatus – equipment, mazes, etc. • Materials – surveys, vodka, whatever • Procedure – what actually happens
Participants (in Methods, aka subjects) • How many (N=?) • Demographics (sex, age, race, time on the job, etc.) • Who they were from the study standpoint (business executives, Ford mechanics, psychiatric patients, students in research methods)
Procedure (in Methods) • Step-by-step account of what happened • Details are enough for replication, but no unnecessary detail • Procedure is flush left and underline, cap the P only
Sample Method Individual Differences 16 Method Participants A total of N=32 neighborhood cats agreed to participate after intense negotiation. There were 10 male and 22…
5. Results • Contains • Type of analysis used (e.g., ANOVA, t-test, correlation, chi-square) • Statistical findings • Statistical test used (e.g., F test) • Statistical significance levels (e.g, p<.05) • Means, correlations or other statistics (e.g., SD=5) • Reference to tables and figures that show the findings (e.g., see Table 1)
Results format • Results R is capped and word is centered –third major section (intro, method, results, discussion) • Put results either in (a) text or (b) tables and figures, not both. If it’s in a table, you don’t need to repeat it in the text.
Results example Individual Differences 20 Results Results for both owners’ and cats’ curiosity scores are summarized in Table 1. The boxplots for both distributions can be seen in Figure 1.
6. Discussion • Contains • Recap of study question or hypothesis • Conclusions that can be drawn from the study • Comparison of current results with the literature (previous studies) • Study limits and future research agenda
Discussion Format • Discussion has capped D and word is centered (4th main section). • Use left flush heading to separate major sections of the discussion.
Discussion example Individual Differences 20 Discussion Are some cats more curious than others? According to our results, the answer appears to be “yes.” As can be seen in Table 1, clear evidence that …
7. References • Contains • Complete list of works cited • No works that were read but not cited • Reference format is complicated and detailed. Rules available in detail from APA and Smith & Davis
Appendices • APA articles will sometimes have an appendix or two. This is technical work for specialists. May include mathematical proofs, unpublished test items or surveys other details. • You will have these as part of your projects.