Outline of apa style research paper

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. This is where you would report the results of any manipulation checks. The results section should then tackle the primary research questions, one at a time. Again, there should be a clear organization. One approach would be to answer the most general questions and then proceed to answer more specific ones. Another would be to answer the main question first and then to answer secondary ones. Regardless, Bem [3] suggests the following basic structure for discussing each new result:.

APA Style Guide Formatting II: Reference list, Appendices, and Table & Figures

Notice that only Step 3 necessarily involves numbers. The rest of the steps involve presenting the research question and the answer to it in words. In fact, the basic results should be clear even to a reader who skips over the numbers. Discussions usually consist of some combination of the following elements:. The discussion typically begins with a summary of the study that provides a clear answer to the research question. In a short report with a single study, this might require no more than a sentence. In a longer report with multiple studies, it might require a paragraph or even two.

The summary is often followed by a discussion of the theoretical implications of the research. Do the results provide support for any existing theories? Although you do not have to provide a definitive explanation or detailed theory for your results, you at least need to outline one or more possible explanations.

In applied research—and often in basic research—there is also some discussion of the practical implications of the research. How can the results be used, and by whom, to accomplish some real-world goal?


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Perhaps there are problems with its internal or external validity. Perhaps the manipulation was not very effective or the measures not very reliable. Perhaps there is some evidence that participants did not fully understand their task or that they were suspicious of the intent of the researchers.

Now is the time to discuss these issues and how they might have affected the results. But do not overdo it. All studies have limitations, and most readers will understand that a different sample or different measures might have produced different results. Instead, pick two or three limitations that seem like they could have influenced the results, explain how they could have influenced the results, and suggest ways to deal with them.

Most discussions end with some suggestions for future research. If the study did not satisfactorily answer the original research question, what will it take to do so? This part of the discussion, however, is not just a list of new questions. It is a discussion of two or three of the most important unresolved issues. This means identifying and clarifying each question, suggesting some alternative answers, and even suggesting ways they could be studied.

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Crafting A Research Paper Outline In The Chicago Format

Finally, some researchers are quite good at ending their articles with a sweeping or thought-provoking conclusion. However, this kind of ending can be difficult to pull off. It can sound overreaching or just banal and end up detracting from the overall impact of the article. It is often better simply to end when you have made your final point although you should avoid ending on a limitation.

All references cited in the text are then listed in the format presented earlier. They are listed alphabetically by the last name of the first author. If two sources have the same first author, they are listed alphabetically by the last name of the second author. If all the authors are the same, then they are listed chronologically by the year of publication.

Everything in the reference list is double-spaced both within and between references. Appendices, tables, and figures come after the references. An appendix could be used to present lists of stimulus words, questionnaire items, detailed descriptions of special equipment or unusual statistical analyses, or references to the studies that are included in a meta-analysis.

Each appendix begins on a new page. After any appendices come tables and then figures. Tables and figures are both used to present results. Figures can also be used to illustrate theories e. Each table and figure appears on its own page. A brief explanatory title, with the important words capitalized, appears above each table.

Each figure is given a brief explanatory caption, where aside from proper nouns or names only the first word of each sentence is capitalized. More details on preparing APA-style tables and figures are presented later in the book. Figures The main purpose of these figures is to illustrate the basic organization and formatting of an APA-style empirical research report, although many high-level and low-level style conventions can be seen here too.

Skip to content Increase Font Size. Chapter Presenting Your Research. Identify the major sections of an APA-style research report and the basic contents of each section. Plan and write an effective APA-style research report. Here are some examples from recent issues of the Journal Psychological Science. An APA-style empirical research report consists of several standard sections. The main ones are the abstract, introduction, method, results, discussion, and references.

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The introduction consists of an opening that presents the research question, a literature review that describes previous research on the topic, and a closing that restates the research question and comments on the method. The literature review constitutes an argument for why the current study is worth doing. The method section describes the method in enough detail that another researcher could replicate the study. At a minimum, it consists of a participants subsection and a design and procedure subsection. The results section describes the results in an organized fashion.

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Each primary result is presented in terms of statistical results but also explained in words. The discussion typically summarizes the study, discusses theoretical and practical implications and limitations of the study, and offers suggestions for further research. Practice: Look through an issue of a general interest professional journal e.

APA Format Research Papers

Read the opening of the first five articles and rate the effectiveness of each one from 1 very ineffective to 5 very effective. Write a sentence or two explaining each rating. Practice: Find a recent article in a professional journal and identify where the opening, literature review, and closing of the introduction begin and end. Practice: Find a recent article in a professional journal and highlight in a different colour each of the following elements in the discussion: summary, theoretical implications, practical implications, limitations, and suggestions for future research.

Bem, D. Writing the empirical journal article. Darley, M. Roediger III Eds. Bystander intervention in emergencies: Diffusion of responsibility.

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 4 , — American Psychological Association. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association 6th ed. Washington, DC: Author.

APA Writing Format

More in Student Resources. Title Page : Your title page should contain a running head, the title of the paper, your name and your school affiliation. This page provides important details for your readers, so it is important to learn how to write a title that accurately yet briefly relates what your paper is about. Abstract : The abstract is a very short summary of your paper. This section is placed immediately after the title page. According to the rules of APA format, your abstract should be no more than to words. However, your instructor may issue specific requirements about the length and content of your abstract, so always check with instructions and grading rubric provided for your APA paper.

Body: The exact format of this section can vary depending upon the type of paper you are writing. For example, if you are writing a lab report, the main body will include an introduction , a method section , a results section , and a discussion section. Check with your instructor for more specific information on what to include in the main body of your APA paper. Reference Section: The reference section is where you include any and all references that were used to write your APA paper. Remember, if you cited something in the main body of your paper, it must be included in the reference section.


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