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  1. 1. Method Section! RM2 WF07 Townsend
  2. 2. 2 Organization of a Research Article • “APA format” or “APA style” – Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (“APA manual”) – 5th Edition (2001) • hardbound Heiman based on 4th Edition (1994), so refer to APA Manual instead – useful web sites:
  3. 3. 3 APA Format • Once you learn APA format, becomes easier to read (and write) research articles – cookbook analogy • Goal of writing style: clear and concise – not creativity of expression – assumes a knowledgeable reader • Goal of content: provide readers the information necessary to understand, evaluate, and literally replicate the study
  4. 4. 4 Major Sections of a Research Article • Introduction • Method • Results • Discussion • General  Specific  General
  5. 5. 5 Components of a Manuscript – Title page – Abstract page – Introduction – Method • Participants • Materials (or Apparatus) • Procedure – Results – Discussion – References – Appendixes – Tables and Figures
  6. 6. 6 Method • describe what you did – enough detail for reader to understand, evaluate, and literally replicate study – operational definitions of variables • Participants (not “Subjects” since 1994 if Human) – important and relevant characteristics (number, age, gender, ethnicity, SES, etc.) – how sampled – how assigned to conditions (if any)
  7. 7. Writing the Method Section • Participants--who, how many, how recruited • Procedure--what happened from the participants’ perspective. If applicable, include – Differences between conditions – Sample items from questionnaire
  8. 8. 8 The “Funnel” Approach beginning middle end general specific general Method
  9. 9. 9 Method • Materials (or “Apparatus”) – sometimes combined with Procedure • Procedure – what you did with participants – how conditions (if any) differed – some details (e.g., verbatim instructions) may go in an Appendix
  10. 10. • Describe the population of concern and sampling procedures. • Provide a rationale for the method you choose to study your topic. • Describe the overall research design including the number of participants per condition, the apparatus or materials, procedure for collecting data. • Discuss any ethical issues that might be implied by your procedure. 10 Method
  11. 11. • As you have not carried out the experiment yet, there are some important differences between your proposal Method and the Method section of research article: • In the Participants section of the proposal Method, you should give a projected number of participants and briefly describe the general method of recruitment, as well as any criteria to be used to select them (right-handed, female, etc.) n= 20 11 Method
  12. 12. Method • The main purpose of the Method is to describe the participants, procedure and materials in such detail that an investigator working elsewhere could do the study in basically the same way. It should be written with a sense of what is and is not important to this aim. For example, the order of questions on a questionnaire, or the number of points on a Likert scale, are important because they can influence responses, but the fact that the questionnaire is typed up in Microsoft Word and printed on A4 paper is not (presumably documents prepared in WordPerfect and presented on A5 would give the same results). 12
  13. 13. 13 References • every source cited in text should be listed • only sources cited in text should be listed • APA format – APA Manual Chapter 4 – covered in week 2,3 and RM1
  14. 14. 14 Internet References – if you retrieve an article electronically, you should add [Electronic version] to the reference – see APA Manual, p. 271 • sufficient if looking at PDF of actual printed pages – but if the format of the article differs from its printed version (e.g., ProQuest sometimes translates articles into HTML), include the date of retrieval and URL – see APA Manual, p. 272
  15. 15. 15 Citations in Text • refer to studies by the authors’ last names and the date of publication “Chase-Lansdale, Cherlin, and Kiernan (1995) found that roses are red.” “Roses are red (Chase-Lansdale, Cherlin, & Kiernan, 1995).” “Chase-Lansdale et al.” in subsequent references • Not first names, institutions, or titles (of authors or studies) – “In a study titled “The long-term effects of parental divorce on children: A developmental perspective,” Dr. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale of the University of Chicago, Dr. Andrew Cherlin of Johns Hopkins University, and Dr. Kathleen Kiernan of the London School of Economics found that roses are red.”
  16. 16. 16 Citation of a work discussed in a secondary source • If you’re reading an article (the secondary source) and you see a reference to another article (the primary source) that you would like to cite • You should go and get the primary source, read it, cite it, and include it in your references list in the normal way
  17. 17. 17 Citation of a work discussed in a secondary source • But if you really can’t get the primary source, you can still cite it this way: – “Smith (1999, as cited in Jones, 2001)” – the secondary source (Jones – the one you actually read) goes in your references list; the primary source (Smith) does not – see APA Manual p. 247 – real psychology articles almost never do this • maybe for an unpublished conference presentation
  18. 18. 18 Citation of a work discussed in a secondary source • You should not cite works discussed in secondary sources in your research paper – exception: you can use this format to cite a commercially available standardized measurement instrument that would be expensive for you to obtain, as long as you really understand what the instrument measures – talk to me if you want to cite a secondary source and aren’t sure whether it’s OK
  19. 19. 19 Some General Writing Tips • Outline before writing • Tell a story • Avoid flowery prose • Be concise • Don’t overstate your conclusions • Try reading your paper out loud • Spell-check! • Rewrite!
  20. 20. 20 Some Specific Writing Tips • “affect” (as it’s usually used) is a verb meaning “to influence” • “effect” (as it’s usually used) is a noun meaning “causal consequence” – “if X affects Y, then X has an effect on Y” – “the effects of X on Y” • Some people find this mnemonic helpful: affect  alter effect  end result
  21. 21. 21 Some Specific Writing Tips • “data” are plural (singular: “datum”) – “these data show…” • “a, b, and c” – comma after “b” – also “a, b, or c”
  22. 22. 22 Some Specific Writing Tips • one-inch margins (1.25 inches left & right is OK) • align text left – don’t justify right margin (leave ragged) • 12 point font • double-space everything • number your pages! – see APA Manual, p. 288
  23. 23. 23 Problem 1. Difficulty getting started. • Solutions: – If you think getting started is scary work out how much time you have and how much you still have to do – that is scarier…. – Don’t allow yourself to become paralysed – doing ANYTHING is better than doing nothing. – Allow your first attempt to be pretty ropey!
  24. 24. 24 Problem 2. Feelings of being swamped. • Solutions – Separate the project into smaller chunks – Do one bit at a time – Provide milestones and rewards – Work out what you have still to do. – Make a realistic plan of how long it will take to achieve it. – Try to set aside whole days to work on Paper rather than an hour here or there.
  25. 25. 25 Problem 3. Not providing sufficiently clear argument in your Paper • Solutions – Use your ‘theory of mind’ • Other people do not know your paper already • You need to be explicit about your arguments – Take your time to write the key parts of your Paper. – Ask peers to read it and comment • If they don’t understand it you are not being clear enough. – Keep checking your abstract/story.
  26. 26. 26 Problem 4. Fear of having your work criticised • Solutions – Being criticised is a key feature of academic life • Essential to improve your writing skills and inform your research ideas – Develop a thick skin now! – Find a way to fight perfectionism. • Psychology is messy. – Think about criticisms objectively and find ways to fight them or incorporate them into your report.
  27. 27. 27 Problem 5. I don’t have any data yet! • Solutions – Introduction and method should be the same anyway – Describe your analysis strategy and how you intend to interpret the results
  28. 28. 28 Example Manuscripts • See examples in: – APA Manual, pp. 306-320 – Heiman pg. 403 – Handouts from week 2 Tuesday