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Chapter 12

Chapter 12

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Connie Boudens

Chapter 12: Essentials of APA Report Writing APA FORMAT  The american psychological association (APA) format provides us with a blueprint ­ Title, abstract, introduction, method. Results, discussion, references, author notes, footnotes, tables, figure captions, and figures  Concise, clear, and interesting are adjectives that frequently describe APA writing style  APA style emphasizes written language that is sensitive to racial and ethnic identity gender, age, sexual orientation, and disabilities. The goal is to eliminate sexism and ethnic bias in writing ­ Ex. gender is the correct term to describe males and females as social groups, as in the phrase “gender differences evidently in average income” ­ The term sex is the correct term to describe biological features of men and women, as in “sex chromosomes” or “sex-determining gene.”  In describing people, a general rule is to refer to people in terms as they prefer  In research reports of studies of persons with disabilities, be very mindful of the stigmatizing effects of diagnostic labels ­ Ex. Do not use the term “schizophrenic” as a noun, but rather use the phrase “a person with the diagnosis of schizophrenia  When comparing a group of people with a disability, such as a diagnosis of schizophrenia, with a control group, do not describe the control group as the “normal group. Instead, write “We compared people with the disorder and without the disorder.”  People in a research study are referred to as participants. This term is used to distinguish human and animal subjects.  APA style also emphasizes the importance of proper documentation and citation  Documentation in the form of citing a reference allows the reader to know that the statement is supported and substantiated by evidence also, it allows the reader to check the reference to determine the accuracy of the statement and learn the details of the cited study  You should only cite references or sources that you have read first hand. For references that you have not read yourself, use a secondary citation for the work ­ Ex. “Aristotle as cited by Nestor and Schutt (2011) emphasized the importance of distinguishing bad and criminal acts from mad and insane acts in moral reasoning.”  Plagiarism – is a serious ethical as well as legal problem that can result in expulsion, grade failure, job loss, and litigation for violating copyright laws  Good writing requires paraphrasing with proper citation of the author(s) REPORT ORGANIZATION IN APA FORMAT  APA style requires that all reports be typed, entirely double-spaced, in 12-point serif font with at least 1 –inch margins for right and left, and top and bottom, do not right justify  All pages are numbered consecutively beginning with the title page. Page numbers are placed in the top margin 1 inch from the right side of the paper. The number appears by itself with no punctuation Title  Appearing as the first page of your report is the title page. It contains the title of the report, author’s name and school affiliation, a running head, page header, and page number.  A running head is a short title of the paper that should be no more than 50 characters in length. A good title conveys specific information as to the major thrust of the study  Typically the title of the paper describes the relationships between independent and dependent variables of the study  In general, when choosing a title, look to your research question and hypothesis Abstract  The abstract is presented on the second page, following the title page  The abstract is the last section that the author writes  Brief paragraph, no more than 120 words, that states what was done to whom and the major results or findings. The abstract parallels the structure and organization of the paper; Begin with a sentence or two that summarizes the introduction, followed by a sentence or two for the method, then the results, and finally the discussion Introduction  In the introduction, we describe what our plan is and the reason our study needs to be done. We begin by providing a theoretical description of our research question or principal problem. Our initial statement, both general and nontechnical, leads to a more specific description of the key phenomenon under study focusing illusion  We then present a simple example used in previous research studying  draw connections with previous research  In your own words, elaborate on the meaning of these studies  Now tell the reader how you plan to study the focusing illusion  Notice that this simple sentence reports two important facts about our study First is that focusing illusion will be studied by manipulating the order of presentation of two simple questions, and, second, our sample consists of college students who will answer the two questions.  Our next and often final step in the introduction is to present our main hypothesis  An introduction must thus provide background and context for the study. This is done by reporting a brief history of the topic followed by a balanced summary of previous research that is relevant to the topic. In researching a topic, searching a database such as Psychlnfo or Google Scholar is an important first step  You want to look for papers that are most relevant to your topic, such as a study that you might wish to replicate  Present your hypothesis as a possible means to address a question left unanswered by previous studies and offer what you expect to find in your study Method  Method is often written first and in fact while the study is being conducted so as to serve as an official record to document procedures, measures, and actions of participants  Written in the past tense  The method section must be presented clearly so that another researcher should be able to repeat or reproduce the study exactly  The method section is divided into the following subsections: 1. Participants  Report how many participants were in the study and how they were recruited  Present in your method age, gender, education, student status, and any other important characteristics, such as whether participants were compensated, received course credit, or volunteered for no material benefit 2. Materials  Describe measures, variables, and type of apparatus or stimuli used in the study 3. Design  Report the type of design used in the study  Specify the independent and dependent variables  Indicate whether your study employs within-groups or between-groups design 4. Procedure  Specify the sequence of steps of the study, essentially what you had the participants do and how you collected their data Results  Summarize your findings and the statistical tests you performed  Report your findings in sufficient detail, but do not overwhelm the reader with such detail that the most relevant findings in regard to the study hypotheses are lost in a sea of numbers  Report all relevant findings  Individual scores or raw data are not reported, with the exception of single subject designs that by definition focus on one or a small number of participants  Do not hide unexpected, disappointing, or uncomfortable results by omission  You typically begin the results section by providing descriptive statistics of your study sample (Exhibit 12.1, p. 391)  Look on page 393 for an example Discussion  Emphasize the importance of independent replication of any obtained significant finding  Present clearly and forthrightly aspects of the findings that may not fit with the results and that may raise q
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