These considerations lead to the hypothesis that the more bystanders to an emergency, the less likely, or the more slowly, any one bystander will intervene to provide aid. Each subject should also be blocked from communicating with others to prevent his getting information about their behavior during the emergency. The experiment reported below attempted to fulfill these conditions p. Thus the introduction leads smoothly into the next major section of the article—the method section.
The method section The section of an APA-style empirical research report in which the method is described in detail. At minimum, it includes a participants subsection and a design and procedure subsections. At the same time, it should avoid irrelevant details such as the fact that the study was conducted in Classroom 37B of the Industrial Technology Building or that the questionnaire was double-sided and completed using pencils. The participants subsection indicates how many participants there were, the number of women and men, some indication of their age, other demographics that may be relevant to the study, and how they were recruited, including any incentives given for participation.
Figure After the participants section, the structure can vary a bit.
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In the first, the participants section is followed by a design and procedure subsection, which describes the rest of the method. This works well for methods that are relatively simple and can be described adequately in a few paragraphs. In the second approach, the participants section is followed by separate design and procedure subsections.
This works well when both the design and the procedure are relatively complicated and each requires multiple paragraphs. What is the difference between design and procedure? The design of a study is its overall structure. What were the independent and dependent variables? Was the independent variable manipulated, and if so, was it manipulated between or within subjects? How were the variables operationally defined? The procedure is how the study was carried out. It often works well to describe the procedure in terms of what the participants did rather than what the researchers did.
For example, the participants gave their informed consent, read a set of instructions, completed a block of four practice trials, completed a block of 20 test trials, completed two questionnaires, and were debriefed and excused. In the third basic way to organize a method section, the participants subsection is followed by a materials subsection before the design and procedure subsections.
This works well when there are complicated materials to describe. This might mean multiple questionnaires, written vignettes that participants read and respond to, perceptual stimuli, and so on. The heading of this subsection can be modified to reflect its content.
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The results section The section of an APA-style empirical research report in which the results are described in detail. Some journals now make the raw data available online. Although there are no standard subsections, it is still important for the results section to be logically organized. Typically it begins with certain preliminary issues. One is whether any participants or responses were excluded from the analyses and why. The rationale for excluding data should be described clearly so that other researchers can decide whether it is appropriate.
A second preliminary issue is how multiple responses were combined to produce the primary variables in the analyses. For example, if participants rated the attractiveness of 20 stimulus people, you might have to explain that you began by computing the mean attractiveness rating for each participant. Or if they recalled as many items as they could from study list of 20 words, did you count the number correctly recalled, compute the percentage correctly recalled, or perhaps compute the number correct minus the number incorrect?
A third preliminary issue is the reliability of the measures. A final preliminary issue is whether the manipulation was successful. This is where you would report the results of any manipulation checks. The results section should then tackle the primary research questions, one at a time. Again, there should be a clear organization.
One approach would be to answer the most general questions and then proceed to answer more specific ones.
Another would be to answer the main question first and then to answer secondary ones. Regardless, Bem Bem, D. Notice that only Step 3 necessarily involves numbers. The rest of the steps involve presenting the research question and the answer to it in words. In fact, the basic results should be clear even to a reader who skips over the numbers. The discussion The final major section of an APA-style empirical research report. It typically includes a summary of the research, a discussion of theoretical and practical implications of the study, limitations of the study, and suggestions for future research.
Discussions usually consist of some combination of the following elements:. The discussion typically begins with a summary of the study that provides a clear answer to the research question. In a short report with a single study, this might require no more than a sentence. In a longer report with multiple studies, it might require a paragraph or even two. The summary is often followed by a discussion of the theoretical implications of the research. Do the results provide support for any existing theories? If not, how can they be explained? Although you do not have to provide a definitive explanation or detailed theory for your results, you at least need to outline one or more possible explanations.
In applied research—and often in basic research—there is also some discussion of the practical implications of the research. How can the results be used, and by whom, to accomplish some real-world goal? Perhaps there are problems with its internal or external validity. Perhaps the manipulation was not very effective or the measures not very reliable.
Perhaps there is some evidence that participants did not fully understand their task or that they were suspicious of the intent of the researchers. Now is the time to discuss these issues and how they might have affected the results. But do not overdo it. All studies have limitations, and most readers will understand that a different sample or different measures might have produced different results. Unless there is good reason to think they would have, however, there is no reason to mention these routine issues. Instead, pick two or three limitations that seem like they could have influenced the results, explain how they could have influenced the results, and suggest ways to deal with them.
Most discussions end with some suggestions for future research. If the study did not satisfactorily answer the original research question, what will it take to do so? What new research questions has the study raised? Present the results followed by a short explanation of the findings. For example, you may have noticed an unusual correlation between two variables during the analysis of your findings.
It is correct to point this out in the results section. However, speculating as to why this correlation exists, and offering a hypothesis about what may be happening, belongs in the discussion section of your paper. Present a section and then discuss it, before presenting the next section then discussing it, and so on.follow
This is more common in longer papers because it helps the reader to better understand each finding. In this model, it can be helpful to provide a brief conclusion in the results section that ties each of the findings together and links to the discussion. Content In general, the content of your results section should include the following elements: An introductory context for understanding the results by restating the research problem that underpins the purpose of your study. A summary of your key findings arranged in a logical sequence that generally follows your methodology section.
Inclusion of non-textual elements, such as, figures, charts, photos, maps, tables, etc. In the text, a systematic description of your results, highlighting for the reader observations that are most relevant to the topic under investigation [remember that not all results that emerge from the methodology that you used to gather the data may be relevant].
Use of the past tense when refering to your results. The page length of your results section is guided by the amount and types of data to be reported. However, focus only on findings that are important and related to addressing the research problem.
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Using Non-textual Elements Either place figures, tables, charts, etc. In the text, refer to each non-textual element in numbered order [e. If you place non-textual elements at the end of the report, make sure they are clearly distinguished from any attached appendix materials, such as raw data. Regardless of placement, each non-textual element must be numbered consecutively and complete with caption [caption goes under the figure, table, chart, etc.
In proofreading your results section, be sure that each non-textual element is sufficiently complete so that it could stand on its own, separate from the text. Problems to Avoid When writing the results section, avoid doing the following : Discussing or interpreting your results. Save all this for the next section of your paper, although where appropriate, you should compare or contrast specific results to those found in other studies [e.
Title Page and Abstract
Reporting background information or attempting to explain your findings ; this should have been done in your Introduction section, but don't panic! Often the results of a study point to the need to provide additional background information or to explain the topic further, so don't think you did something wrong.
Revise your introduction as needed. Ignoring negative results.
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If some of your results fail to support your hypothesis, do not ignore them. Document them, then state in your discussion section why you believe a negative result emerged from your study. Note that negative results, and how you handle them, often provides you with the opportunity to write a more engaging discussion section, therefore, don't be afraid to highlight them.
Notice also that it is especially important to use parallel construction to express similar or comparable results in similar ways. When you have a large number of results to report, you can often do it more clearly and efficiently with a graph. When you prepare graphs for an APA-style research report, there are some general guidelines that you should keep in mind.