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PSYC 465 (Swift): Experimental Psychology

Research Guide for Dr. Swift's section of the PSYC 465 course

Write Your Research Project Report

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


1. 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

2. 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 study and make the case for why your research study is important
  • End with your study hypothesis

3. 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's appropriate for your research area
  • the procedures your research design follows
  • your data analysis plan 

4. 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 
  • Include summary text that describes the results in your tables and figures
  • 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

5. 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:

  • 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

6. Conclusion: summarizes what you wrote and what you learned

  • Restate your research hypothesis from the introduction in different words
  • Briefly summarize your main points or arguments and pull them together to address your research hypothesis
  • End with a strong, final statement that ties the whole paper together and makes it clear the paper has come to an end
  • No new ideas should be introduced in the conclusion, it should only review and analyze the main points from the body of the paper (with the exception of suggestions for further research)

7. References List: a list of the sources you cited 

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

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