Main Sections of a Manuscript

 * Function: Justify why you conducted this study
 * Contains:
  - (interesting) introduction to your question
  - brief review of other research/theory
  - statement of the problem
  - superficial description of the method to establish link between method and problem
  - outline of hypotheses
 * What you SHOULD do:
  - define all psychological terms
  - lay out your purpose clearly so there are no surprises for the reader
  - make everything relevant to your research-- donít review all aspects of other studies
  - use subheadings for a long intro

 * Whatyou SHOULD NOT do:
  - use "unscientific" language (e.g., "I found this study interestingÖ")
  - use 1st-person, unless you're taking credit for a hypothesis: "my hypothesis," "we expected."
  - assume the reader knows a term or theory
  - label it "introduction"!

 * Function: Describe the study in enough detail so that  another researcher could replicate it exactly
 * Contains:
  - description of participants (who they are, how you got them to be in the study)
  - description of procedure (and often a separate section for "materials")
  - for long method section, use subheadings (e.g., overview, participants, procedure, materials)
 * What you SHOULD do:
  - give your conditions labels based on the manipulation (operational definitions)
  - be consistent in verb tense

 * What you SHOULD NOT do:
  - label conditions by conceptual definitions
  - include unimportant information (e.g., Sam passed out the questionnaires we later used)

 * Function: Report what you found, using statistics to punctuate these findings
 * Contains:
  - first reveal manipulation checks
  - were observations converted to data or were they all closed-ended responses?
  - restatement of each hypothesis followed by results and stats
  - mention of helpful tables and figures
 * What you SHOULD do:
  - try writing your results in prose, THEN inserting the statistics
  - include all relevant means either in the paper or in a table
  - follow APA form for statistics carefully

 * What you SHOULD NOT do:
  - make the section one long string of statistics
  - get into sophisticated discussion of whether or not the hypotheses were supported-- save that for the...

 * Function: Draw conclusions by interpreting results  and relating findings to previous research/theory
 * Contains:
  - review of the hypotheses you laid out
  - alternative interpretations of your results or other shortcomings of your study
  - implications for your findings
  - broader questions raised by your findings
 * What you SHOULD do:
  - be honest about weaknesses in your study
  - suggest future studies to account for these weaknesses
  - explain, yet again, why the audience should care about this study!

 * What you SHOULD NOT do:
  - claim you have "proven" anything
  - use causal language for a correlational design

Other Parts of a Manuscript

 * Title Page
 * Abstract
 * References
 * Tables/Figures

General Points

 1. APA format can seem picky and trivial-- what's often most important (this is off the record...) is that you just be consistent.

 2. You have room for some creativity at the beginning of your introduction and end of your discussion, but methods and results need to be straightforward and by the book.

 3. Be honest, but sell your study-- it has to be interesting and meaningful to get attention

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