PSYC 2111: Introduction to Research Methods in Psychology

Assignment 4:

Research Report (21%, 100 marks)

Introduction

Assignment 4, based on all five units, is graded out of 100 marks, and is worth 21% of your course grade.

Prior to completing your research report, you are strongly encouraged to consult with your Open Learning Faculty Member regarding any concerns and difficulties you may have with this assignment. Even very experienced researchers do not write their articles in isolation—they discuss their ideas with their colleagues. Therefore, it is strongly to your benefit that you discuss your report with your Open Learning Faculty Member prior to submitting it for evaluation. However, note that drafts, other than what you have already submitted in prior assignments, should not be submitted for preliminary marking. The paper you submit here should be your final paper for marking.

Instructions

Your task here is to write a report of your now-completed nonexperimental research project, building on your work in Assignment 3. Your report should include a Title Page, Abstract, Introduction, Method, Results (including any tables and/or graphs), Discussion, and References. For a brief overview of what goes into these sections along with some useful advice please refer to the section for “Empirical Paper or Research Proposal” in Harvard College’s “A Brief Guide to Writing the Psychology Paper.” For a more detailed account and an example of the structure and format of an APA style research report, please read through the American Psychological Association’s (APA) “Writing the Empirical Social Science Research Paper: A Guide for the Perplexed.”

Note that in your results section, you should state how the results relate to your hypotheses (for example, state whether or not your hypothesis was supported). However, this is a course on research methods in psychology, not a course on statistics. Therefore, although a Results section would normally include the inferential statistical analyses that support your summary of the findings, you are only required to use descriptive statistics (e.g., Means and Standard Deviations) for your results and present them in an informative way. This should include presenting the results in tables and/or graphs. These tables and/or graphs should be included at the end of your report (following the references), as illustrated in the APA guide referenced above. If you would like, you may certainly calculate inferential statistics and your Open Learning Faculty Member can help you with this.

Students often want to know how long their research report should be and how many references they should include. Unlike many papers for university courses, it is difficult to specify these values. The length will depend on many factors including the complexity of your research project and the number of articles that you cite and relate to your study. The number of references that you cite will also depend on the extent to which your research topic has been studied. You should include at least the three references that you reviewed in Assignment 3.While it is difficult to specify the number of pages and references, past experience has shown that good reports usually include around eight to ten pages of writing, not including the references page, and at least five references.

Grading for Assignment 4 (100 marks)

Please refer to the following rubric for information about how your assignment will be graded.

Assignment 4 is marked out of 100 marks, in accordance with the following grading rubric:

  Topic  Exceeds Expectations  Meets Expectations  Almost Meets ExpectationsDoes Not Yet Meet Expectations
Title/AbstractTitle includes variables and some articulation of relations (e.g., “difference between…”; “effects of x on y”). Running head appropriate. All relevant parts of title page are included. APA style is completely correct. Abstract includes research question, variables, number and type of participants, major results, and implications/limita tions of those results stated clearly and concisely within the word limit. ( 5 marks)All relevant parts of title page are included. Title/running head is appropriate. APA style is close to or completely correct Abstract includes all essential information but may lack concise sentence structure, or there may be some information missing (4 marks)Title/running head does not effectively convey all the variables in the study. Some title page elements may be missing. Abstract is missing essential information from two paper sections or is significantly over/under the word limit. (3 marks)Title/running head is not appropriate for a scientific paper. Title page does not follow APA style. Abstract has some incorrect information or does not accurately portray the experiment. Three or more important elements are missing. (0, 1 or 2 marks)
  Topic  Exceeds Expectations  Meets Expectations  Almost Meets ExpectationsDoes Not Yet Meet Expectations
Introduction (Topic & Context)Paper (i.e., first paragraph or two) begins in a broad manner and clearly explains the problem to be investigated. (7 or 8 marks)Paper starts somewhat broadly, and provides some theoretical or real world context for the main concept in the study. An explanation of the key concept or question is provided, but it could be clearer. (5 or 6 marks)More clarity in the opening may be needed or the paper may begin with a definition of the topic but provide very little context for the idea (e.g., may begin immediately with review of previous research). (3 or 4 marks)Paper focuses immediately on the method, or no context for the topic is provided. (0, 1 or 2 marks)
  Topic  Exceeds Expectations  Meets Expectations  Almost Meets ExpectationsDoes Not Yet Meet Expectations
Introduction (Previous studies)Studies are described in enough detail so that their relation to the present study and to the relevant theoretical and methodological issues is clear. The introduction is in the author’s own words, and the focus is on the research, rather than the researchers. Limitations of previous research are presented. (9 or 10 marks)Studies are generally described in enough detail so that their relation to the present study and to the relevant theoretical and methodological issues is clear (although some sections could be more specific). The introduction may include unnecessary quotations or poor paraphrases of the original articles. (6, 7 or 8 marks)Some of the reviewed literature seems to be inappropriate or not well- linked to the topic. Literature may not be reviewed in enough detail regarding its relation to the present study or to the relevant theoretical or methodologica l issues or it may be one- sided, omitting contrasting viewpoints. The introduction may include too many quotations. (3, 4 or 5 marks)Too few citations or too few details are included for the reader to be confident that that research topic has been adequately investigated. Definition or discussion of key concepts may be incomplete or improperly paraphrased. (0, 1 or 2 marks)
  Topic  Exceeds Expectations  Meets Expectations  Almost Meets ExpectationsDoes Not Yet Meet Expectations
Introduction (Hypothesis)Hypothesis is clearly stated and justified. It is clear what will be measured. (7 or 8 marks)Hypothesis is stated clearly and directional predictions are made, but it is somewhat unclear what will be measured. (5 or 6 marks)Hypothesis is stated, but no directional prediction about the relation between the variables is specifically stated or it is unclear what will be measured. (3 or 4 marks)Hypothesis is given but unclearly or with no justification. (0, 1 or 2 marks)
  Topic  Exceeds Expectations  Meets Expectations  Almost Meets ExpectationsDoes Not Yet Meet Expectations
DesignThe design of the study is clear, complete and appropriate. Variables are appropriate and operationalized properly. Demonstrates clearly and accurately the affordances and constraints of either naturalistic observation or archival research designs. (5 marks)Design is complete and appropriate but not clearly described. Variables are appropriately operationalized but may be simplistic. Demonstrates accurately some affordances and constraints of either naturalistic observation or archival research designs. (4 marks)Design is incomplete or the operationaliza tion of variables is not clear. Measured variables may be simplistic or lack content validity (i.e., not appropriate). Does not demonstrate clearly or accurately the affordances and constraints of either naturalistic observation or archival research designs. (3 marks)Design is not appropriate for the hypothesis; variables are not operationalize d or not valid, or too many details are lacking. Does not demonstrate clearly and accurately the affordances and constraints of either naturalistic observation or archival research designs. (0, 1 or 2 marks)
  Topic  Exceeds Expectations  Meets Expectations  Almost Meets ExpectationsDoes Not Yet Meet Expectations
Method (Participants/S ource of Data)Sample is appropriate given hypotheses. Data sources are clearly identified for archival studies. Participant characteristics in naturalistic observation studies are thoroughly described. (9 or 10 marks)Sample is appropriate given hypotheses. Data sources are mostly clearly identified for archival studies. Participant characteristics in naturalistic observation studies are mostly described. There may be 1 or 2 missing pieces of information. (6, 7 or 8 marks)Sample may not be the best given hypotheses. Data sources are not clearly identified for archival studies. Participant characteristics in naturalistic observation studies are not fully described (3, 4 or 5 marks)Sample may not be the best given hypotheses. Data sources are not identified for archival studies. Participant characteristics in naturalistic observation studies are not described (0, 1 or 2 marks)
  Topic  Exceeds Expectations  Meets Expectations  Almost Meets ExpectationsDoes Not Yet Meet Expectations
Method (Procedure)Procedure is appropriate and ethical. It is described, in order, with enough detail that a reader could replicate the study; instructions and protocol are included. (9 or 10 marks)Procedure is appropriate and ethical. The description is primarily complete but some minor details may be missing, or some procedural aspects could be explained more clearly. (6, 7 or 8 marks)Procedure is appropriate and ethical. The description is not in order or is difficult to follow, or a few major details are absent. (3, 4 or 5 marks)Procedure is not appropriate or not ethical, or the description is unclear, or many major details are absent. (0, 1 or 2 marks)
Results (Descriptive Statistics)Accurate descriptive statistics are provided. Tables and/or figures are, clear, labelled accurately and referred to in text. (10, 11 or 12 marks)Accurate descriptive statistics are provided. Tables and/or figures are mostly clear, labelled accurately and referred to in text. (7, 8 or 9 marks)Descriptive statistics are provided but may have some missing information. Tables and/or figures are mostly clear, labelled accurately and referred to in text. (4, 5 or 6 marks)Descriptive statistics are incomplete. Tables and/or figures are not clear, labelled accurately and/or referred to in text. (0, 1, 2 or 3 marks)
  Topic  Exceeds Expectations  Meets Expectations  Almost Meets ExpectationsDoes Not Yet Meet Expectations
DiscussionDiscussion includes a restatement of the findings. Patterns in the data and relations among the variables are explained and conclusions do not go beyond the data. The explanation/ interpretation is well connected to the hypothesis and to the broader psychological problem as represented in the introduction. The take-home message is clearly summarized at the end. Potential confounds or limitations are discussed, and future research is suggested. (10, 11 or 12 marks)Discussion includes a restatement of the findings, but the analysis of their meaning may be not fully explored. Potential confounds or limitations are discussed, and future research is suggested. (7, 8 or 9 marks)The restatement of the results is not clear or is misleading. Only some results are explained (esp. only positive), and the links to previous literature simply restate the introduction. The author may inappropriatel y generalize beyond the data. Potential confounds or limitations are incompletely discussed, and future research is not clearly or comprehensiv ely suggested. (4, 5 or 6 marks)Discussion incorrectly states the results or is a rehash of the introduction without clearly presenting the current study. The take-home message of the study is not clear. Potential confounds or limitations are not discussed, and future research is not suggested. (0, 1, 2 or 3 marks)
  Topic  Exceeds Expectations  Meets Expectations  Almost Meets ExpectationsDoes Not Yet Meet Expectations
Scientific Writing StyleThere is a clear organization to the paper, and transitions are smooth and effective. Tone is appropriately formal. Topic sentences are appropriate for paragraphs, and key ideas are explained/describe d as needed. Punctuation and grammar are almost completely correct, including proper tenses and voice. Sentences are concise and word choice is precise, with nonbiased language. Proper paraphrases are usually used, but quotation marks are used appropriately if necessary. (9 or 10 marks)           TROrganization is effective although improvements could be made. Transitions are generally there, but are occasionally not smooth, and paragraphs may stray from the central idea. Tone is appropriately formal. Punctuation and grammar are almost completely correct. Sentences are generally concise and word choice is usually precise. Paraphrases are usually used, and quotation marks are used appropriately if necessary. (6, 7 or 8 marks)   U Open LearningOrganization is less adequate, making the paper difficult to follow. Transitions are sometimes there, and those that are there could be improved. Tone is occasionally colloquial. Punctuation and grammar are usually correct, but there are consistent mistakes. Sentences are not always concise and word choice is sometimes vague. The author includes many quotes or improper “paraphrases” that may constitute unintentional plagiarism. (3, 4 or 5 marks)Organization is confusing. Transitions are missing or are very weak. Tone is consistently too informal. Punctuation and grammar mistakes throughout the paper. Sentences are not concise and word choice is vague. The author strings together quotations without enough original input. (0, 1 or 2 marks)
  Topic  Exceeds Expectations  Meets Expectations  Almost Meets ExpectationsDoes Not Yet Meet Expectations
APA StyleAll parts of the paper are in accurate APA style, including citations and references (9 or 10 marks)Almost all parts of the paper are in accurate APA style, including citations and references (6, 7 or 8 marks)Several areas of the paper have errors in APA style. (3, 4 or 5 marks)There are APA style errors consistently throughout the paper. (0, 1 or 2 marks)

The marking guide for Assignment 4 has been adapted from:

Gottfried, G. M., Johnson, K. E., & Vosmik, J. R. (2009). Assessing student learning: A collection of evaluation tools. Society for the Teaching of Psychology (STP) Office of Teaching Resources in Psychology.

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