(see page 41 APA guide for sample cover page)

Title of Your Research Study

Author(s) First, Middle Initial (if applicable) and Last Name(s) in Starting with the

Individual who Made the Biggest Contribution (not alphabetical)

Institutional Affiliation(s)


The abstract is a brief (usually 100-150 words) summary of your experiment. What was your question? What did you do? What did you find? What is your conclusion/interpretation? Try taking the lead sentence or two (but not word-for-word) from your introduction, results and discussion and integrate them into your abstract. Additionally, add a sentence or two describing your procedure, especially if it differs from those typically used to study the phenomenon.

The abstract is page two. Nothing goes on this page except the abstract. Center the word “Abstract” on the page and format in bold-face type. Do not put the title of your paper on this page. Begin typing the abstract on the line directly below the heading.

Notice that the abstract is not indented, and is written in block format. It is also double-spaced. Typically, the abstract is one paragraph in length.

(see page 41 APA guide for sample abstract)


On the third page, you typically begin your introduction. Notice that the word “INTRODUCTION” does not appear at the top of the page as many of the other headings do. The title used is the same one that appears on the cover page.

(see pages 42-44 APA guide for sample Introduction)

The first paragraph should contain a description of the phenomena that you are studying. Make a general statement about the phenomenon and how it is typically measured. Also, talk about how one might manipulate or influence the outcome (i.e, what variables could potentially influence the results).

Subsequent research should describe previous research that examined the phenomena. These studies serve to provide the rationale for your study. What did the researchers do? What did they find? What did they conclude?

Do this for each study cited. Typically, one or more paragraphs are necessary to explain each study. Try to make the transition smooth from one paragraph to the next. Use transition words. For example, similarly, Jones et al. found that…or, in contrast, Smith reported that…

Describe studies that used similar experimental procedures to the ones that you are using and mention the findings.

Describe the present (your) experiment. Define your experimental question. Describe what you are doing differently from other studies. Describe your experimental hypothesis (i.e., what do you expect to find?).



This section immediately follows the Introduction. DO NOT leave extra lines. The only time you start on a new page is if the heading is by itself at the bottom of the page!!!

(see pages 44-46 APA guide for sample Method Section)

Only information related to subjects is presented here. That is, how many subjects, ages, gender, nature of participation (i.e., paid for participation, fulfillment of an academic requirement, etc.). If you are working with a special population or there were other criteria for selection, this should also be included.

Apparatus (Materials/Stimuli)

Only information related to the stimuli used in the experiment is presented here. Remember that the stimuli that are described are for the entire experiment, not just one subject.

Experimental Design

If a complex design is used, information about the experimental design is presented here. If the design is simple, it may be incorporated into the procedure section. You must describe the design, within or between-subjects (i.e., how the independent variable was manipulated with respect to subjects). You must define the independent variable (note: DO NOT say the independent variable was…Rather, name the variable) and describe the levels of the independent variable. You must describe any control procedures that were used. For example, the order of conditions (i.e., counterbalanced, Latin Square design, randomly ordered, etc.) and the assignment of subjects to conditions (important in between-subjects designs). Following the description of the control procedures for the presentation of conditions to subjects (within subject designs) and/or the assignment of subjects to conditions (between subjects designs) describe any other control procedures related to the presentation of stimuli or the order of trials within each condition. If you do not use an experimental design subheading, you must provide this information at or near the beginning of the procedure section.


A concise description of the experimental procedures. That is, what the subject experienced. Organize this section around the events in each trial. This includes the order and the timing of different stimuli that were presented. When you get to critical stimulus events, give the specific details about its/their nature (how stimuli were presented etc.) Then describe the nature of the subject’s response and the instructions to the subject regarding task performance. Next, describe how the specific responses are measured (i.e., response time, reaction time, number of errors, etc.) This includes a definition of the dependent variable and how the variable was measured. For example, if the dependent measure was response time, operationally define response time.

In the next paragraph, describe the remaining important details of the testing situation and conditions (i.e., the number of trials of each type, the length of the practice and experimental portions of the session–were they time-based or performance based). If practice sessions were performance based, you must provide the performance criteria.

The last part of this subsection ends with a statement regarding the treatment of the data including data reduction (means for each subject, and/or means across subjects), transformation, statistical tests employed and alpha level. Data reduction and transformation information is required in psych 213/advanced experimental courses for instructional purposes. This information is not always required when simple designs are employed.


(immediately follows Method – don’t leave extra lines!!!)

(see pages 46-47 APA guide for sample Results section)

Present a statement about the overall results of the manipulation (i.e., there was an effect or not). For example, “Group-mean response times varied as a function of the number of alternatives in a card-sorting task.” Then describe the data under each condition. Present the descriptive statistics first. If tables or figures were used, point the reader to a Figure or Table. For each table or figure, provide a structure statement (tell the reader how to read the figure or table). For example, Table 1 displays both the group mean response times and the mean sort time for each subject under each condition. Then present a content statement that describes the message that the data reveals. For example, “The data show that the group-mean response time under the 2-alternative condition was less than the group mean response time under the 4-alternative condition.” Do not repeat the information provided in the table or figure in the text. That is, if the table presents the group mean response times under each condition, do not present the mean response times in the text. Once the data have been described, present the results of inferential statistical tests. Tell the reader what tests were applied and what measures were subjected to the test. For example “The difference between group means was found to be significant, t(df)=t value, p<.05.”

Do not provide information about the meaning of the null hypothesis or the meaning of the alpha level and what chance factors have to do with the findings. Do not use the word “prove.” You may use the word “significant.” Do not use the word “insignificant.” You may say “not significant.”

This basic format should be followed for all variables, tables, figures, and statistical tests. Report the results, but do not interpret them except with simple statements such as “the data (the findings, the analyses) suggest that the number of alternatives affects response time.” The results section should be used for stating what was found. The discussion section is used for explaining why you think you found what you did.


(see pages 47-49 APA guide for sample Discussion.).

The discussion immediately follows the results section. Do not skip spaces following the results.

Restate your experimental question. Describe your findings. Did you find what you predicted?

Go back to the other research that you cited in the introduction. Are your findings similar to or different from these studies? If different, do you have any idea why? What information do you have to support this?

Talk about any procedural differences between your study and others. How might they have affected the outcome of your study?

Reiterate your conclusions. Talk about any shortcomings or limitations to the present study. Suggest ideas for improving the study and for future research.


(The reference page always begins on a new page. Below is a sample of the formatting)

(see pages 49-51 APA guide for sample references

American Psychological Association (2001). Publication Manual of the American

Psychological Association (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

Berntsen, D. (1996). Involuntary autobiographical memory. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 10, 435-454.

Brown, S.W., Newcomb, D.C. & Kahrl, K.G. (1995). Temporal-signal detection and individual

differences in timing. Perception, 24, 525-538.

Eisler, H. (1996). Time perception from a psychophysicist’s perspective. In: H. Helfrich (Ed.),

Time and mind (pp.65-86). Seattle: Hogrefe & Huber Publishers.

Hicks, R.E. & Miller, G.W. (1976). Transfer of time judgments as a function of feedback.

American Journal of Psychology, 89, 303-310.

Hogarth, R.M., Gibbs, B.J., McKenzie, C.R.M. & Marquis, M. A. (1991). Learning from feedback: Exactingness and incentives. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory & Cognition, 17(4), 734-752.

Mace, J.H. (2006). Episodic remembering creates access to involuntary conscious memory: Demonstrating involuntary recall on a voluntary recall task. Memory, 14(8), 917-924.

McBurney, D.H. (2001). Research methods (5th ed.). US: Wadsworth/Thompson Learning


Stolarz-Fantino, S. Fantino, E. & Van Borst, N. (2006). Use of base rates and case cue information in making likelihood decision. Memory & Cognition, 34(3), 603-618.

A paper may have more than one table. Number the tables in the order presented in the paper. Each table is presented on a SEPARATE page.

Table Title (give the title a name – what does it describe/summarize?)

(sample table below – also see APA guide p. 52. NOTE: start typing at the TOP of the page)

Table 1

Summary of Effect of Hours Studied on Test Scores

Less than 10

More than 10

Mean Test Score



Standard Deviation



Note. The note contains a brief verbal description of the table. Other information that may facilitate understanding of the information provided in the table should also be included in the table note. (See APA guide p. 52)

Figures follow tables. Each figure is presented on a separate page. The figures are numbered in the order they appear in the text. Start the figure near the top of the page. The figure caption is a brief description of the figure. It appears at the bottom of the figure and is double spaced.

See APA guide p. 53 for a sample. Another is provided below.