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Course Info
Laura Snodgrass, Ph.D.
Sensation & Perception Sensation & Perception
Statistics Statistics
Experimental Experimental
Cognitive Cognitive


Links to using APA style
Writing Research Papers
Hypertext Writing Guide

Sample Paper

Psychology Journal Articles
Click on "psychinfo"

Cognitive Processes
Paper Directons

Syllabus | PowerPoint Files | Study Guides | Paper Directions | Demonstration Links

Minimal paper expectations

All papers must be in APA format.
You have a handout on this and examples in the library. Also visit: Links to using APA style Writing Research Papers / Hypertext Writing Guide


The introduction includes THREE journal article references. In APA style we write the authors' last names and the date (e.g. Roberts and Gill, 1998). This reference can be at the beginning of a sentence: Roberts and Gill (1998) report that……. Or at the end of a sentence (Roberts & Gill,1998). DO NOT write their first names or where they work. The articles you read for the paper will have other examples of APA referencing.

The first sentences of the introduction explain the issue. You then summarize the journal articles. A journal summary includes the experimental conditions, the findings and the authors' interpretations of the findings. You must explain how the three articles are related. For example, are there contradictory findings, are all the authors in agreement, did they use different methods to get similar results. Then explain how your experiment logically flows from the articles. To do this you must say something about what you plan to do. I also want you to state very specifically how your experiment is similar and how it is different from the experiments in the articles. The last sentence in the introduction must be a clear and precise statement of you hypothesis.

The introduction should be two to four pages long.

Methods section:

The methods section must be divided into the subheads shown on the APA style handout. The methods section should be about one page long.


Remember DO NOT report individual results, average the participants in each group. I must see both numbers AND interpretations of those numbers in the results section. For example: On average, men remembered eight of the arrays and women remembered only six. Therefore men performed better on this spatial task than women. In this example the first sentence presents the numbers and the second sentence is the interpretation. The results section can be as little as two sentences or may be much longer.


  1. The first sentence of your discussion states whether or not you hypothesis was supported.
  2. How do your results relate to the articles in the introduction? Were your results similar or different?
  3. Can you relate your results to any theoretical material discussed in class or in the book?
  4. What are some limitations of your study or alternative explanations for your results?
  5. Report anything unexpected or interesting that happened in your experiment.
  6. What are the real-world implication or practical applications of your finding?
  7. What would you do next to expand on your results?

The discussion section should be one to two pages long.

Reference page:

The format for references is similar to the references in your textbook. However, you should indent the first line and not the remaining lines for each reference.

Last name, Initial; Last name; Initial; and Last name; Initial (date). Title of the article with only the first word capitalized. Name of Journal With Capitalization and Underlined. VOLUME, (issue), pages.

The absolute minimum paper to pass would be five full pages, most papers will be five to eight pages.

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