PSY3PRP 2022 Assignment 2: Research Project Report

PSY3PRP 2022 Assignment 2: Research Project Report Guidelines and Marking Rubric

Individual Research Report due Wednesday 19th October 11.59pm (50% of total grade)

For this assignment—with support through structured tutorial work across much of the semester— you will produce an individually-written report on the broad topic of feeding difficulties in early childhood. Your task is to write a 2000-word report, in the style of a ‘Brief Report’ for a scientific journal (vs. standard research reports where word limits are more often ~6000 words), on a specific question associated with this topic, and addressed with data collected via the PSY3PRP survey study.

You should have already begun thinking about this topic within tutorial classes, working gradually through an Open Science Framework (OSF) pre-registration plan as a guided, structured way to think through elements of the study, whilst data collection has progressed. Discussions have covered:

  • Background and rationale and possible research questions (week 4 tutorial)
  • Aim/s and directional hypotheses (week 5)
  • Our plan for participant sampling and characterisation (weeks 5 & 7)
  • The study design and measurement (weeks 7 & 8)
  • A logical analysis plan (week 8).

Participant Recruitment

You should also already have contributed to data collection by advertising the study directly to potentially eligible participants in your personal networks, and/or sharing broadly online via social media platforms.

A large sample offers a range of options for possible research questions to be addressed and hypotheses tested. Ultimately we will focus on a small set of specific questions/hypotheses; but exactly what these will be will depend on the data available. The more data, the more straightforward for staff to select a strong set of complimentary options to share with the group. The less data available, the more constraints in what we will have to work with, potentially presenting unforeseen challenges for analysis, difficulty interpreting our findings with confidence, and potentially creating only tenuous links back to the existing literature.

This is a real research project, and as with all research, we will have to do our best with what we achieve. A bit of effort now to ensure a solid participant sample will increase the changes of straightforward data analysis and interpretation—all the better for your report.

As a reminder, you can find and share social media posts by Kristelle Hudry that look like the below, and/or directly share QR codes to a blog post, and directly to the survey, with potentially eligible participants.

QR code direct to survey      Example Twitter Post             QR code to Blog Post

Guidelines for Writing your Report

You will have written research reports (i.e., lab reports) in the past for other subjects within your Psychological Science course series, so please feel free revisit detailed instructions, resources, etc. provided there for further guidance.

As a brief reminder, a Research Report is a structured account of a piece of research, including:

Title Page: including clear title and author details

Abstract: providing a short overview of all aspects of what is covered in the report Introduction: contextualising the topic and specific question/gap from the published literature Methods: providing a succinct (but clear and replicable) description of the current study Results: providing a clear account of the study findings, including narrative text and results of

statistical tests to characterise the sample and test hypotheses, often with table/s and/or figure/s

Discussion: offering an interpretation of the findings in context of (specific) proposed hypotheses and (broader) topic, showing insight into study limitations, and proposing logical future direction/s

References: listing all primary sources cited in the report

More detailed guidance on the elements of the report is included in the Marking Rubric (below).

Note: There is no one ‘right answer’ about the question/aim and/or directional hypothesis/es for this report. There are clear constraints around aspects of the study design, participants, procedure, measures and analysis plan, etc. But even so, there is room for slight differences in the question/s posed, aim/s addressed, and/or hypotheses articulated and tested. So don’t worry if your ideas and report aren’t exactly the same as those of other students. Remember, the key goal is to create a logical, internally consistent report of the research project—from introduction, through the method and results, and into the discussion—easily understandable to an informed, out-of-area reader.

The 2000-word limit covers the Introduction, Method, Results and Discussion (not Title Page, Abstract, or Reference List). As enforced in submissions to most scientific, peer-reviewed journals, this word limit should be strictly adhered to (i.e., no +10% leeway). Reports must adhere to APA-7th edition formatting guidelines. In the journal submission process, manuscripts would be returned to the author before going out for peer review, if guidelines like these were not followed. In a student report, markers are instructed to stop reading when the word limit is reached, and the marking rubric includes assessment of APA guidelines on elements of overall report structure and specific formatting details, including for headings, in-text citations, reference list, etc.

Tips for success

  1. Attend your weekly tutorial class to participate in activities designed to get you thinking about different aspects of the project and report, and start drafting sections as you go (but be prepared to update, adjust and redraft as the semester progresses and you learn more);
  2. Access the datafile when it becomes available and work with it yourself, in small groups, and during your weekly tutorials, continuing to draft ideas as you go (but still being prepared to update, adjust, redraft etc. as needed);
  3. Attend lectures (or watch the recording) and refer also to your textbook, for further support, as these will become more closely linked to the Research Project Report assignment from Week 10;
  4. Take advantage of LMS discussion boards and staff drop-in consultation times (see times and zoom links on LMS) to ask your specific questions, share ideas with others, etc.
  5. Finalise and polish your report to submit by 19th Oct 11:59pm.

You will receive summative feedback—grade and comments—within three weeks of this date.

PSY3PRP Research Project Report Marking Rubric

CriteriaExpectations% of overall MarkScoring
Title and abstractNote: not included in word limit; aim for ~10 word title and ~150-200 word abstractTitle is clear, relevant, and informativeAbstract succinctly contextualises the study topic, and describes the aim and methodAbstract succinctly and accurately summarises the key findings and their interpretation5Each rubric criterion on the left will receive a score ranging from 0 – 10 based on your demonstrated mastery of its expectations:   Excellent (score of 8 – 10) Very good (score of 7) Good (score of 6) Developing (score of 5) Poor (score of 0 – 4)   Together, these scores for each part of the rubric will make your overall mark:   A: 80+% B: 70-79% C: 60-69% D: 50-59% N: < 50%
IntroductionNarrative presentation of topic and review of literature flows from broad to specificEarly section/s clearly outline the topic/problem/issue and defines key terms/conceptsSection gradually builds rationale for the study by integrating theory and past empirical evidenceIdentifies one or more knowledge gaps that the study will attempt to fillConcludes with a clear statement of aim/s and 1+ directional hypotheses that the study is designed to testShows logical internal consistency (i.e., coherent narrative arc leading reader into the study that follows)25
MethodIncludes an accurate indication of study design
Gives a clear description of procedure by which data were collected/acquired, allowing possible replicationProvides a clear and accurate description of the achieved participant sampleProvides a clear and accurate description of measures (at level of instrument and variable)
Includes some evidence of fitness-for-purpose for key measures (instruments/variable reliability and validity)
Includes an analysis plan offering a succinct, accurate sense of the analysis that follows (i.e., what is detailed in the results section), mapping design and measurement features to the stated hypothesis/es
ResultsLogically ordered reporting of results, including relevant descriptive data ahead of hypothesis testing
Includes any logical additional analyses (if needed, following hypothesis testing), justified and clearly presentedReports the use of appropriate statistical tests, conducted and reported accuratelyConcise, comprehensive reporting, including descriptive (e.g., M, SD) and inferential statistics (e.g., p-values), and effect size indicators (e.g., r, d, 95%CIs) as relevant to the analysis, study design, aim/s, hypothesis/es, etcThe use of tables/figures enhances (rather than distracts from, or is simply redundant over) reporting in textReporting focuses on measures/variables (consistent with Method) rather than constructs (better for Intro/Disc)
DiscussionOffers a concise orienting reminder of aim/s and hypothesis/es AND summary of results [OR a concise summary of results contextualised around the stated aim/s and hypotheses]
Describes results in more detail and in terms of constructs (as operationalised in the Method, and consistent with Introduction) rather than in terms of measures/variables (as reported in Results)Considers/interprets the new findings in the context of relevant past literature that: a) supports the current findings AND/OR b) seems contradictory
Critically appraises the conduct of previous research AND/OR offers insight into important gaps in existing workCritically appraises the current study; for each identified limitation: a) stating it clearly, b) explaining the implication of the limitation, and c) [if possible] offering a reassuring perspective on why the issue is not fatal
Offers one or more succinct suggestions for future research (beyond simply improving upon stated limitation/s)
Writing StyleUses clear professional expression throughout (including word choice, phrasing, grammar, section structure, etc)Follows current-edition APA formatting conventions for overall presentation, in- text citation, reference list etc.Shows consideration for the prior knowledge (and what cannot yet be assumed) of an informed, but out-of-area reader (i.e., guiding through what reader needs to know, when they need to know it, rather than rigidly following a prescribed order of presenting information [e.g., subsections of Method])15
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