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PSYC 465 (Clark-Foos): Experimental Psychology

Research Help & Resources for Dr. Clark-Foos' section of the PSYC 465 course

Write Your Research Paper

For your Research Paper, you will use your articles to build arguments and conclusions about your research study findings.


1. Title Page

2. Abstract: a summary of your project and its findings, which should tell the whole story of your study, including:

  • the overall purpose of the study and research problem(s) you investigated
  • the basic design and methods of the study
  • the major findings and trends found in your analysis of the study results
  • a brief summary of your interpretations and conclusions

3. Introduction and Literature Review: a review of the literature that you used to build your research study hypothesis. Your Introduction should:

  • Be more than a summary of the articles you read
  • Bring together theories and results from a number of studies to provide background for your project and demonstrate how your research study hypothesis fits into this current research area
  • Be a compelling narrative about how the articles you've read have built up to your research questions and study and make the case for why your research questions and study are important
  • End with your study hypothesis

4. Methods: provides detailed information about your research study design. Your Methods section should include:

  • the study populations and subject recruitment procedures
  • the experimental design of your study and why it was appropriate for your research area
  • the procedures your research design followed
  • the statistical analyses that you ran

5. Results: report the findings of your research study, written in the past tense, without bias or interpretation. Your Results section should:

  • Focus on being concise and objective
  • Organize your results around tables and figures that summarize the results of your statistical analyses
    • Create your own tables and figures with clear labels. Do not copy and paste from SPSS or other statistics programs into your paper.
  • Include summary text that describes the results in your tables and figures
    • Describe the trends in your data but do not interpret it
  • Organize your key findings in a logical sequence, generally following your Methods section
  • Don't omit relevant findings, even those that don't support your predictions

6. Discussion: interpret and describe the significance of your findings in light of what is already known about the research area you're investigating. Your Findings and Discussion should include:

  • Restate your research hypothesis from the introduction in different words
  • Explanation of results: whether or not the results were expected, explanations for the results, and patterns and trends that emerged from your results and their meanings
  • References to previous research: compare your results with findings from other studies 
  • Use evidence from research sources to build arguments about what your study findings mean
  • Analyze your evidence and observations to show how they link to your broader research question
  • How would you improve this study if you did it again? How would you extend the study to further address your research area?
  • End with a strong, final statement that ties the whole paper together and makes it clear the paper has come to an end

7. Bibliography: a list of the sources you cited (not your annotated bibliography)

For more writing help, contact the Writing Center and make an online appointment to meet with one of their consultants.

Grading Rubric and Research Paper Template

Detailed information from Dr. Clark-Foos about writing your Research Paper and how he will grade it

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