OUTLINE FOR RESEARCH REPORTS AND PROPOSALS USING APASTYLE
A research report informs the reader completely and accurately about an investigation and its outcome without belaboring the issue. There are instances when a research report is the only source of information about a specific problem area. In psychology, research reports are written in APA style. The following outline is consistent with the rules of writing established in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association: 6th edition, and is in keeping with various Psychology Journals.
A complete research report includes the following:
Title: The title appears on the title page with the student's name, course number, course title, and date submitted. Do not use the caption, title. The title should convey to the reader the topic that is studied. In an experimental study, this might include the independent and dependent variables. In a correlational study, the title might include predictor and criterion variables.
Abstract: A brief summary of the study. It includes statements about the problem, method, results and conclusions. Usually, an abstract is between 100-175 words, and it is used for indexing. The abstract is placed on the second page of the report. Introduction: This section begins the body of the research report. Center the title at the top of the page. Start the introduction with a statement of the research problem. Then, cite the relevant research. The literature review provides a context and rationale for the hypothesis that is under investigation. Mainly cite primary sources. Paraphrase rather than quoting directly from the past literature and document the source by listing the authors name and year of publication in parenthesis. When documenting, you can use the name of the author in the sentence followed by the date of publication in parentheses: e.g., Donald (1994) or (Donald, 1994). The introduction section ends with a statement of the hypothesis under study together with operational definitions for the variables in the hypothesis statement. Method: A description of how the study was carried out. Accuracy is important. The method section must be written with enough detail to permit replication. It is usually subdivided into the following sections:
Participants: Describes who the research participants were, how they were selected, and how many were used.
Materials or Apparatus: A complete description of the type of equipment and stimulus materials used in the research. If researchers developed their own stimulus materials, then they must describe how it was done. If researchers use existing materials, then they must document the source or explain how they acquired the materials.
When surveys or tests are used as outcome measures, each must be described briefly with an appropriate citation. Indicate the number of items, response categories and how it is scored. If researchers develop their own surveys, they must describe how the measure was constructed and provide the entire measure in the Appendix. It is also important to document the reliability and validity of all of your measures. For reliability, specify what estimation procedure(s) you used. For validity, you must explain how you assessed construct validity.
Procedure: Complete details about how the research was conducted. Report the participants' instructions and all of the experimental manipulations. Indicate how many trials were used and in what order the experimental conditions were run. Provide enough detail to permit replication.
Results: A summary of the experimental findings. Report the results in a summarized fashion using Tables and Figures when necessary. Raw data should not be included. Describe the results of all the statistical tests whether or not they are in accord with the hypothesis. Please consult your textbook or the APA Manual for a description of the correct...
References: (Must have at least 10 articles)
Problems with writing a research proposal often stem from a failure of planning
enough time for each of the four steps outlined above. It takes time to select a
problem and to conduct a literature review. Sometimes journal articles are not
available in the UNCC library and must be obtained through interlibrary loan. This
procedure can take several weeks. Writing an independent research proposal is a
semester long project.
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