Words: 101
Pages: 1
Subject: Essays

The primary goal of this course is to provide you with the experience of conducting psychological research.  Each week this semester you have worked through a different component of the research process.  The culmination of a successful research project is the presentation of that research in a formal report.  For your midterm exam you will synthesize the research you have done on the Implicit Association Test into an empirical research report.  If you have completed each assignment up to this point, you should already have all of the information necessary to write your report (if you have not, don’t panic, email us).  The goal of the midterm is to take that information and put it into a single paper.

Because we are aware that this may be the first time many of you have written a research report, we are giving you two full weeks to complete your midterm with no other assignments during this period (aren’t we nice?).  Below you will find detailed guidelines on how the midterm will be graded and what we expect to see in each section of the paper.

Although you are not required to have your paper reviewed, we highly recommend that you submit a completed rough draft via email within the first week of the assignment.  We will accept rough drafts until Sunday (2/24/13) at midnight.  You may also bring a completed draft to any of us during our office hours for comments.

Your final draft must be submitted to the D2L “midterm exam” Dropbox no later than 11:59 pm on March 3rd.  Although there are no formal guidelines on how long your paper should be, we expect that your papers will be between 2 and 3 pages.


A research report is a write-up of an experiment and has the same components as a published research study.  As you have already learned in the literature review assignment, an APA style research report contains 8 distinct sections.  You will be graded on each section of your paper.  Below you will see the points that will be assigned to each section.  Notice that in addition to the points assigned to each section, 5 points will be based upon your use of proper APA style.

Title Page    5
Abstract    5
Introduction    15
Methods    20
Results    20
Discussion    15
References     5
Figures/Tables    10
APA Style    5
Total    100


The rest of this document provides the guidelines of what is expected in each section of your research report.  The guidelines below indicate what information from the IAT experiment you should include in each section.  For more general suggestions about writing a research report, click on the links and read through the following guides on writing empirical papers.  They contain a wealth of useful information and will provide all the information necessary to write your midterm paper.

Guide 1:  http://www.psych.uw.edu/writingcenter/writingguides/pdf/APApaper.pdf

Guide 2:  http://www.psych.uw.edu/writingcenter/writingguides/pdf/apatemplate.pdf

Guide 3:  http://www.psych.uw.edu/writingcenter/writingguides/pdf/stats.pdf

Guide 4: http://www.psych.uw.edu/writingcenter/writingguides/pdf/style.pdf

General Writing Guidelines

Spacing. Double-space all text.

Margins. APA specifies 1-inch margins all around (top, bottom, left, right).

Pagination. Use your word processor’s header function to put page numbers in the upper-right-hand corner one inch from the right-hand edge of the page. Start with the title page and go all the way through. If you need assistance with this, use the help feature in your word processor, or search “input page number in Word” in Google.

Running Header. Also often used only in formal APA style, this is a short descriptive title that appears at the top of every page in the published journal. In a manuscript, it appears on every page (including the title page), flush left, in uppercase letters, on the same line as the page number.

Headings. Headings are the titles of each of the sections of the research report. Center headings of all major sections, using upper and lower case (Abstract, Method, etc.). The heading for the introduction is the title of the paper, not the word “Introduction”. Headings for any subsections (subheadings) of the paper are bolded and flush with
the left margin, with text beginning on the next line. Subheadings are used mainly in the methods section. For descriptions of how to do further subdivisions, see the template offered in Guide 2 (particularly in the methods section).

Tables and Figures.  In APA format, figures may either be placed at the end of the paper or incorporated into the body of the paper.  For your midterm, you should incorporate your figures into the body of your text.

References.  All references you use in your paper should be cited according to APA format both within the text of your paper and at the end of your paper.  If you have DOI information on a particular reference, please include it in your reference section.

Section Guidelines

Title Page

The title page announces the title and running head of a lab report or research article. It gives the article title, author name(s) (this is your name), author affiliation (University of Arizona), running head and page number.  See the section on title pages in guide 1 and the example title page in guide 2 for how to select a running head, specific criteria and formatting rules for your title page, and also helpful suggestions on choosing a good title for your research paper.  In this section, you will be graded on whether you followed correct APA title page format and whether you chose an appropriate title for your paper.


Think of the abstract as the “Reader’s Digest” version of the report. Its purpose is to show the study at a glance.  Writing good abstracts requires knowing which information is essential and how to condense it.

Abstracts must be short (no longer than 250 words, preferably shorter, and always written as one paragraph) and they must be able to stand alone and portray the gist of the paper. This means that the abstract should be understandable to someone who has not read the rest of the paper.  You should arrange information in your abstract in the same order as the sections in the paper: Introduction, Method, Results, and Discussion. Each section of the paper requires at least one sentence in the abstract. Methods and Results usually require more than one sentence each.  For your midterm, a stranger should be able to read your abstract and have a good idea of what will be covered in the rest of the paper.  Look at abstracts from published articles to get an idea of how to write one. See guide 1 for helpful suggestions on writing abstracts and guide 2 for an example template.


The goal of the introduction is to justify your study. You will introduce the research question and summarize and cite the research done to date. At the beginning of the introduction, it helps to give your reader background to your research question. This means you will want to start of with a general question or phenomenon (something about racism in our society perhaps, since you are writing about the IAT ), and then summarize research that has been done before that leads to your specific research question. At the end of the introduction, you should include a clear statement of the hypothesis that you tested in the IAT experiment.  See guides 1 and 2 for helpful information on writing your introduction section.  For your midterm, this section should take two or three paragraphs to complete.

The introduction for your midterm must include the following information to receive full points:

1.  Review background literature on the IAT by summarizing at least two papers on the IAT.  You may choose to summarize any two out of the Dasgupta et al. (2000) paper, the Greenwald et al. (1998) paper, or either of the two papers that you cited in your literature review assignment.

2.  State the research question and the experimental prediction for the IAT experiment that you participated in on the Online Psychology Laboratory (OPL).  We will help you by identifying the research question for the experiment. You should state what your prediction for the study was before you participated.  The research question for the OPL IAT study you are writing about is:

Do people have different implicit attitudes about Caucasian and African-American races?

Again, briefly read a few published studies to get an idea of what yours should look like.

If you need a refresher on the experimental design and predictions, see here: http://opl.apa.org/Experiments/About/AboutIATRace.aspx


The Methods section is a detailed breakdown of the experiment, including your subjects, research design, stimuli, equipment used, and what the subjects actually did (the procedure). Give the reader enough information to be able to replicate the experiment.
The Methods section is often divided into subsections, such as Subjects, Design, Stimuli, Equipment, and Procedure.  Each subsection should provide only the essential information needed to understand and reasonably replicate the experiment. Very short subsections can be combined (e.g., Stimuli and Equipment).  There is no APA rule on the order of subsections.  See guides 1 and 2 for helpful suggestions on writing your Methods section.

For your midterm, you should include subsections for Subjects and Design.

In the Subjects subsection, you should include the following information, all of which will require using what you learned about descriptive statistics in your Excel analysis assignment:

1.  How many people participated in the study
2.  The percentage of the participants who were female
3.  The average age of the participants in the study

In the Design subsection, you should describe the IAT experiment you participated in so that someone else could recreate the assignment from scratch if they wanted to.  This includes telling people where the study was administered online, and the important characteristics of the experimental design.  If you have forgotten the details of the experiment, you can go back to the OPL website and retake the experiment.  You should include the following information in your Design subsection:

1.  Whether the study was a between-subject or within-subject design.
2.  The basic procedures of the study (what happened first, second, etc…)
3.  The main variable that was manipulated in the IAT and the levels of this variable.

If you need a refresher on the experimental design and predictions, see here: http://opl.apa.org/Experiments/About/AboutIATRace.aspx


This section presents the statistical analysis of the data collected. In your midterm this will be the shortest section in your paper, but must be formatted very carefully.  In the data analysis assignment, you carried out a t-test that compared latency times for congruent and incongruent trials (see the link above if you are confused at this point).  In this section you will be reporting the results of that t-test.  See the section in guide 3 on reporting t-tests in APA papers for the correct way to write up your results.

The following is an example of reporting t-test results, for a study in which people were asked to report their preferences on a 1-5 scale for pecan and cherry pie.  I have color-coded the example to highly several key sections.

Results indicate a significant preference for pecan pie (M = 3.45, SD = 1.11) over cherry pie (M = 3.00, SD = .80), t(15) = 4.00, p = .001.

The section in green above indicates whether the results of the analysis were significant or not (determined by whether the value of the two-tailed p-value from your analysis is less than or greater than 0.05).  If your p-value is less than 0.05 your results indicate a significant difference between the two groups you are comparing (i.e., a meaningful difference between the latency times in the congruent and incongruent groups—are the mean latencies from different groups or the same group?).  In yellow, you see that the authors have reported the Means and Standard Deviations for each level in your analysis (you should have these results for the IAT from when you ran your t-test in the analysis assignment).  In blue the degrees of freedom, t-value, and p-value are reported.  The degrees of freedom are written in parentheses, followed by the t-value and then the two-tailed p-value (the degrees of freedom is the number of subjects minus one).  All of these are reported in the t-test output that you created in the excel assignment.

For this section you should:

1.  Report the t-test you ran for the IAT in the last assignment.
2.  Properly report the results of your t-test according to APA format.
3.  State whether the incongruent and congruent latency times in the IAT study analysis are significantly different from each other by determining whether the two-tailed p-value is less than 0.05.


In addition to your t-test, you should also include a visualization of your data.  You should include a bar graph (with error bars) reflecting the average latency times for the congruent and incongruent conditions. (if you did not figure out how to use error bars in the last assignment, Google “Error bars, Excel 2010” – there are lots of simple tutorials that will take you 5 minutes to use).  Your graph should include a title, and labels for the x and y axes.  If you completed the analysis assignment correctly, this portion of the paper should already be completed.  Place your figure in the results section of the paper.


In the discussion section, you should focus on whether the results you found from the IAT data were consistent or inconsistent with the predictions you stated in your introduction.  You should also briefly write about what you believe the implications of the results of this study are.  What do these results tell us about implicit attitudes, possible explanations for why the results came out the way that they did, and what studies should be run in the future (hint, look at the last paragraph of the previous assignment—do not  plagiarize! Put it in your own words.).

For this section you should:

1.  State clearly whether the results of this study are consistent with the prediction made in the introduction

2.  Briefly discuss the broader implications of the research you carried out in this study.


Any papers that are referenced in your report should be listed in the reference section.  Minimally you will include references for the two papers that you summarize in your introduction section.

Extra Credit

There is the possibility of earning up to 10 points of extra credit by conducting a second statistical analysis besides the paired-sample t-test conducted on congruent/incongruent groups.  You may conduct any one of the following tests for extra credit:

1.  A correlational analysis between the ‘warmth’ variable and the ‘incongruent’ variable.

2.  A correlational analysis between the ‘preference’ variable and the ‘incongruent’ variable.

If you attempt this extra credit, it is up to you to work through how to carry out this analysis in excel and also how to report it.  We will be covering correlational analysis after the midterm, and this extra credit is only for those students who want to exhibit their ability to learn independently.  If you attempt this analysis, you will get 5 points if your report the analysis correctly, and 5 points if you create a scatter plot figure displaying the relationship. Use Google to search for tutorials.