Honours thesis in psychology/Developing a research article

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Developing a research article

Overview[edit]

This workshop:

  • is optional but recommended for all students. Supervisors are welcome.
  • discusses development of the main sections and content for a publication-ready psychological research study manuscript.
What are the similarities between constructing a house and developing a research article?

General tips[edit]

  • Model the manuscript on one or more top-level examples
  • Get peer-review e.g.,:
    • Supervisor
    • Fellow students
    • Family
    • Online social networks
    • Studiosity
  • Pay attention to the marking criteria [1]

Structure and content[edit]

This section covers the key components of a research manuscript.

Formatting[edit]

Use APA style, paying particular attention to:

  • Page orientation and margins
  • Running head and page numbering
  • Font type and size
  • Heading styles[2]
  • Paragraph style
  • Quality of written expression
  • Spelling and grammar
  • Citation style
  • Tables and Figures
  • References

Title page[edit]

  • Provide an APA style Title page for the manuscript (a separate title/cover page is needed for the whole thesis)
  • Use student number instead of author name (for blind review)
  • Strive for an accurate, cogent 10-15 word title

Abstract[edit]

  • Probably the most important yet poorly written section of a manuscript
  • Like the first few seconds of a job interview, the Abstract makes an early impression on the reader
  • Deserves more drafting than any other section
  • 150 - 250 words
  • An Abstract reader should be able to walk away with a clear understanding of the study, its findings, and the implications.
  • Keywords - include up to 5

Introduction[edit]

  • General introduction
    • ~1 page introduction to, and overview of, the topic/problem, explaining key constructs and their possible relations.
  • Body
    • May be organised with several headings
    • Critical review of key theory and research with regard to a problem or question
    • Avoid extraneous matters - provide a disciplined focus around a central purpose
    • Set up a narrative that leads logically into the research question and hypotheses
  • Conclusion and hypotheses
    • Conclude the critical review narrative
    • Consider clearly stating a research question
    • Propose and outline rationale for hypotheses to be tested

Method[edit]

  • Participants
    • A common problem is a pedestrian description of the sample
    • Strive to offer clear insight into who participated in the study
    • A litmus test is whether someone on the other side of the world in 50 years time will understand what kind of responses were in the sample
  • Materials
    • Provide clear, sufficient description of the materials that allow:
      • Understanding of results and their interpretation
      • Replication
    • Avoid extraneous detail
  • Procedure
    • Provide clear, sufficient description of the procedure that allows:
      • Understanding of results and their interpretation
      • Replication
    • Avoid extraneous detail
  • Design or Analysis
    • Optional - usually only for complex designs or unusual analytic techniques

Results[edit]

  • Data screening
    • Provide a brief, high-level overview of the process using to screen the data
  • Analyses for each hypothesis
    • Generally, avoid presenting extensive descriptive statistics etc. which are not tied to addressing specific hypotheses
    • Use the hypotheses as the key organising structure
    • Explain how each analysis was conducted and why and present and explain the results in a clear, understandable way
    • Avoid interpretative discussion

Discussion[edit]

  • The Discussion book-ends the article, along the the Introduction. It should be possible to read from the Introduction and into the Discussion, skipping the technical Method and Results sections, and be able to understand the research study, its findings, and implications.
  • A common problem is quickly-written, insufficiently drafted, a|nd somewhat pedestrian or immature Discussion sections.
  • While some summary of results is appropriate, focus on the forest rather the trees, and interpret the results in light of the theories and previous research considered in the Introduction.
  • Include a conclusion, with recommendations about practical implications and future research directions

References[edit]

  • Check that all citations are referenced and all references are cited.
  • Use APA style, including the latest doi formatting.

Appendices[edit]

  • Optional, use sparingly (e.g., for measurement items that haven't previously been published)
  • Only include what a journal would realistically consider publishing
  • More extensive appendices can be included for the thesis itself, but not for the research article manuscript (e.g., a full copy of a questionnaire)

Q & A[edit]

  • Participant questions and answers

See also[edit]

External links[edit]