Environment and science


13 April 2023 07:46 AM | UPDATED 1 year ago


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NOTE: The book “An interactive guide to writing essays and research reports in Psychology” by Lorelle Burton will be particularly useful for this PSYC1102 RESEARCH REPORT assignment. Read through the Chapter on Research Reports before commencing the assignment. If you don’t have a copy pick it up from the library and scan or copy the relevant bits (you can scan or copy up to 10% of a book for your own use).

This PSYC1102 RESEARCH REPORT assignment will build on the skills and concepts we learnt in PSYC1101. Key ideas that you will have already developed include the issues around correlational research not providing a basis for causal conclusions, an understanding of what a research literature review is, how to find peer reviewed journal articles, and how to use them to write an evidence based argument. If you are still having any difficulties with these skills you can review the content in PSYC1101 or explore the Study and Learning support resources at https://students.flinders.edu.au/support.

Now we are going to develop those skills and extend them, to understand key issues in experimental research, to write about experimental research, and to critically reflect on experimental research.

This will be done by writing most of a research report (minus the method and results which will be given to you). A PSYC1102 RESEARCH REPORT research report is a scientific article describing a research study (you read them when you read journal articles – you can identify them when they include a method and results section). There is an example research report in the Interactive writing guide that comes with the textbook (copies also in the library).

This year our research PSYC1102 RESEARCH REPORT report will be on an experiment (a pretend one made up for this assignment – we will not actually run it) where we examine the impact of passive social media use (PSMU; scrolling through social media without action, interacting or posting- in this case on facebook) compared to active social media use on…..

(you will choose ONE of the following DEPENDENT VARIABLES)



Body dissatisfaction


Brand/product loyalty

Everyday memory failure (memory retrieval)

We will write the report in three parts:

(Part 1) Hypothesis and Justification: Summary of the argument and statement of two hypotheses

(Part 2) Research Report Introduction Draft: The introduction (includes a brief literature review and your extended argument building towards your hypotheses)

(Part 3) Final Research Report: Edit the Introduction, write the Discussion and the Abstract.

Details of each of these sections are in the pages that follow.

In Week 2 we will discuss our hypothetical experiment and guide you through how to write a research report.

Overview of the Research Experiment Method

Our PSYC1102 RESEARCH REPORT experiment involves participants being RANDOMLY ALLOCATED to one of two CONDITIONS.

We will systematically MANIPULATE the type of online activity so participants will either participate in 30 minutes of Passive social media use (Facebook) or 30 minutes Active social media use (rating and reviewing a random combination of events, public places, memes, and news stories). (Note: both conditions will also contain content related to a target brand/product but this is only relevant if you choose to examine the brand/product loyalty DV).

The type of online activity (passive or active) is the INDEPENDENT VARIABLE.

Following their participation, participants will respond to two questions (that you will write). One question will treat your DEPENEDENT VARIABLE as a CONTINUOUS VARIABLE (measured on a scale of 1-5 from Disagree to Agree) and one question will treat your DEPENDENT VARIABLE as a CATEGORICAL VARIABLE (measured as either yes/no).

Note we will provide you with the full written method (for you to copy and insert to your assignment) after you have submitted your Introduction (Part 2).

PART 1: Hypotheses with Justification

This component is your argument based on your research literature review.

The PSYC1102 RESEARCH REPORT Hypotheses (what you expect will happen) and the Justification (why you think this is the case) will form the basis of your introduction. Your Hypotheses with Justification is a draft and is like an outline for your intro. It will be will be submitted online. You will not receive individual feedback but we will provide you with examples of correctly worded hypotheses.

For Part 1 you need to:

  • Choose which DEPENDENT VARIABLE (DV) you are interested in from the above list.
  • Do a brief research literature review (journal articles) to answer the following questions:
  • What is your DV (define and explain it)?
  • HOW might PSMU impact your DV and WHY? This explanation should be based on your reading of the previous research.
  • Why is examining the impact of PSMU on your DV important or useful research (what unanswered questions will it address, does it have practical implications)?
  • How could you measure your DV using one CONTINUOUS question (1-5 scale) and one CATEGORICAL question (where participants will tick a box that applies to them)?
  • What are your TWO hypotheses?

Once you have completed this task and we have checked it off as complete, you will be able to see examples of correctly written hypotheses (for each DV) so that you can edit your own work and correct it before you write your full introduction.

PART 2: Research Report Introduction Draft

This component is writing the (long) introduction.

Your Introduction will be an essay based on the ideas you summarise for Part 1.

An Introduction (to a research report) is longer than a normal paragraph intro to an essay. It is everything you read from the start of a journal article (just after the abstract) to the start of the method section (see any journal article for an example of this).

You are writing an introduction that is an essay of 750 words. It is a research based PSYC1102 RESEARCH REPORT essay (so will follow the general essay rules you have previously learnt) but it is argumentative – you will be arguing towards your hypotheses (what you think will happen in your experiment and why). An introduction to a research report will end with your hypotheses (this marks the transition point into the method – what the experiment actually did).

The Introduction should include the following features:

  • An overview of the broad topic that you are addressing to the reader:

What is the key research question and why does it matter? How will this research contribute to knowledge or help us to understand something better and why does that matter? Your introduction should define and explain your DV and explain what your IV is and how they might be related.

  • A brief literature review of relevant previous research (peer reviewed journal articles). Outline what has been previously found relating to your research question. But remember, you are doing this in such a way as to argue toward your hypotheses (what you expect to happen). Try and show, with evidence and argument, what you expect and why you expect what you do, as you go.
  • The introduction is setting up for your hypotheses – it must contain an argument that shows the reader why you are predicting what you are (sometimes called a justification). Why are your hypotheses the most likely ones (from analysis of the previous research and based on theory/reason)?
  • Finally, a statement of the overview of your research (what you will examine and how) and explicit statements of your hypotheses at the end of the Introduction. The Hypotheses are like a summary of what you have been arguing through the paper but must be written as testable scientific hypotheses (This will be covered in week 2).

This introduction will be a marked draft. You will receive feedback and a grade in order to edit and improve your writing for the final full report. For the final report you will also respond to your marker’s comments with a statement of what you have done to improve the introduction (in final report – Part 3).


This component is writing the discussion and pulling the full report together.

Your research report should be presented in the following order:

  1. Title page: Include a scientific/meaningful title, name and student number, topic name, due date and word count.
    1. Abstract (on a separate page).
    1. Introduction (new edited version, you will be marked on responding to feedback from your intro draft).
    1. Method & Results (Provided for you from FLO so that you will be able to copy and paste them in, editing details about your own DVs).
    1. Discussion.
    1. References (in APA format).


  1. Download your marked Introductions (via FLO).
  2. Leave comment boxes (markup) in the document. Make any changes according to the marker’s feedback, and add comments to show how you have tried to address the marker’s comments. These should be responsive to the main issues that were identified by the marker.

Method & Results

  1. On September 15th the Method and Results sections will be posted on FLO. You need to cut and paste these into your report (after the ‘Introduction’ section, and before the ‘Discussion’ section). There are some parts you will need to edit to suit your chosen DV that will be clearly highlighted for you.
  2. After you have read the Method and Results sections, you will interpret the results to see whether there is evidence to support your hypotheses. When interpreting the results, consider whether your hypotheses were confirmed/ supported or not based on the content that will be available on FLO from September 15th.


Once you have interpreted the results, you can plan the writing of your ‘Discussion’.

Begin by restating the research aims and discussing whether the results support the original hypotheses. However, make sure you do not simply repeat what was stated in your results section.

For each research hypothesis you need to (but not necessarily in this order):

  • Discuss the main findings. Were the hypotheses supported or not? If yes, what does this show us, if not why might that be (consider theoretical and methodological reasons).
  • Consider whether the results support earlier research, and whether the results are consistent with each other. If hypotheses are not supported (or if inconsistent with each other, or with previous research) why might this be?
  • What does this new research mean in terms of what we understand about the research question?
  • What limitations are there in the method and how might they affect interpreting our results? Are there possible alternate explanations of the findings that can’t be ruled out because of the method?
  • Suggest possible directions for future research. These should flow out from the limitations and possible alternative explanations.

A discussion would normally end with a concluding paragraph that sums up the main findings of your research and any implications for real life and for research. Try not to overstate the importance of the research but do talk about its implications (either real life ones or ones for research moving forward).

Once you have a plan for what ideas you want to include in your discussion, you can begin writing your Discussion. Please refer to the marking criteria and any writing guides for psychology before you start writing.

Title Page

Your title should appear on the first page of the assignment and again as the heading of your Introduction. Check that your title conveys to the reader what the research report is about in a specific way (it should be accurate and google-able).


Once the discussion section is done, you can write the abstract. The abstract is a 100- to 150-word summary of your entire research report. In essence, a couple of sentences from each section (i.e., Introduction, Method, Results, & Discussion) should be paraphrased in your abstract.

Some tips:

  • The research question should be in the abstract.
  • Briefly summarise the method (1 sentence) including info on participants.
  • Outline the results for each hypothesis tested.
  • Typically, sentences describing the discussion section are more general so that they invite the reader to actually read your report.

The abstract should appear at the beginning of your research report (i.e., before the Introduction), and be on a separate page.

Please note: The abstract is NOT included in your 1500 word limit.


Finally, check that your reference list is complete. The reference list should be in APA format (See FLO or locate the APA publication manual in the Library) and include only those references referred to during the Research Report. This appears on a new page at the end of the report (i.e., after the Discussion).

In-text references are included in the word count, but the reference list is excluded from the word count.

References (to get you started)

Aalbers, G., McNally, R. J., Heeren, A., de Wit, S., & Fried, E. I. (2019). Social media and depression symptoms: A network perspective. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 148(8), 1454-1462.

Bigne, E., Andreu, L., Perez, C., & Ruiz, C. (2020). Brand love is all around: loyalty behaviour, active and passive social media users. Current Issues in Tourism, 23(13), 1613-1630.

Fardouly, J., Willburger, B. K., & Vartanian, L. R. (2018). Instagram use and young women’s body image concerns and self-objectification: Testing mediational pathways. New Media & Society, 20(4), 1380-1395.

Nabi, R. L., Prestin, A., & So, J. (2013). Facebook friends with (health) benefits? Exploring social network site use and perceptions of social support, stress, and well-being. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 16(10), 721-727.

Royle, J., & Lincoln, N. B. (2008). The Everyday Memory Questionnaire–revised: Development of a 13-item scale. Disability and Rehabilitation, 30(2), 114-121.

Sharifian, N., & Zahodne, L. B. (2020). Social media bytes: Daily associations between social media use and everyday memory failures across the adult life span. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, 75(3), 540-548.

Vannucci, A., Flannery, K. M., & Ohannessian, C. M. (2017). Social media use and anxiety in emerging adults. Journal of Affective Disorders, 207, 163-166.

Westgate, E. C., & Wilson, T. D. (2018). Boring thoughts and bored minds: The MAC model of boredom and cognitive engagement. Psychological Review, 125(5), 689-713.


Title of Paper Goes Here[2] 

Author Name Goes Here[3] 

Institutional Affiliation Goes Here[4] 


On [6] this page, you write your abstract.  The abstract is a brief, comprehensive summary of the contents of your paper.  It provides a snapshot of your paper for the reader.  Abstracts should be concise, specific and accurate.  The length of an abstract should typically be 150 to 250 words.  Please note that the abstract is not indented.  If your paper does not include an abstract, you can delete this page.  To do so, select all of the text on this page and press the “Delete” key.  If necessary, press the “Delete” key again to remove the page break completely.

Repeat Title Here, Centred and in Upper- and Lowercase[7] 

Please[8]  note that the American Psychological Association (APA) heading number and the Microsoft Word heading number are not the same.  [9] Microsoft Word heading numbers are used when autogenerating a table of contents.  For further explanation, see the APA Publication Manual. The different heading levels are demonstrated below.

APA Heading Level 1[10] 


APA Heading Level 2[12] 


The paragraph would commence here, indented like a regular paragraph. It would continue to wrap around like this.

APA heading level 3.[14]  Text begins on same line as heading and continues to wrap around like a normal paragraph. Remember that APA Heading Level 3 is the first line of a paragraph, not a stand-alone heading.  To format this heading, type in the heading and then the first sentence of the paragraph.  Then you can go back, select the heading, and change its style to APA Level 3.  The rest of the paragraph should be formatted as normal text, as shown below.

This is the heading. [15] This text is formatted as “normal” on the style menu.

APA heading level 4.[16]  Text begins on same line and continues to wrap around like a normal paragraph.

APA heading level 5.[17]  Text begins on same line and continues to wrap around like a normal paragraph.


American Psychological Association (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association[19]  (6th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Robbins, S. B., Oh, I.-S., Le, H., & Button, C. (2009). Intervention effects on college performance and retention as mediated by motivational, emotional, and social control factors: Integrated meta-analytic path analyses. Journal of Applied Psychology, 94(5), 1163–1184. doi: 10.1037/a0015738

                                                                                Marking Criteria – Introduction (Research Report)    
 Needs ImprovementSatisfactoryGoodExcellent
TitleNo title included or poor title (e.g., “Introduction”).               (0 marks)Topic not accurate or clearTopic is clear but could include more specific detailIncludes an appropriate, accurate and specific title that reflects the topic of the paper.                           (5 mark)  
Definition of key conceptsNo definitions used.                      (0 marks)Some definitions missing or definitions were non-psychological, or in inappropriate locations.Generally good use of psychological definitions for key termsExcellent usage of psychological definitions of key terms where required.                               (5 mark)  
Review of literature (i.e., use of relevant empirical evidence, such as journal articles)No/poor attempt to include previous literature (i.e., have not used recommended articles). No/poor attempt to link evidence with the argument.           (5 mark)Some attempt to incorporate previous literature. Quality of research, or clarity of explanation needs improvement. Missing evidence of critical thinking. (15 marks)Previous literature is summarized and describe well. Information provided is relevant to the hypotheses. (20-25 marks)Excellent & concise summary of the literature leading to the hypotheses. Quality research, explanation, and evidence of critical thinking.   (25-30 marks)  
Quality of argument (i.e., use of previous literature to justify the hypotheses)Poor attempt at argument (e.g., does not justify the need for conducting the study/the hypotheses; unclear argument). (5 mark)Genuine attempt with some significant improvement needed (e.g., needs to justify hypothesis; argument unclear; irrelevant information). (15 marks)Genuine attempt with some minor flaws in the quality of argument/ justification for hypotheses (e.g., some aspects are unclear). (20-25 marks)Excellent, clearly structured argument which links previous literature to the hypotheses. All hypotheses are well justified. (25-30 marks)  
Statement of hypothesesNo hypotheses                                         (0 marks)Incorrect Hypotheses (5 mark)Correct hypotheses but containing mistakes (10 marks)Two well written hypotheses. (15 marks)  
Referencing (See APA guidelines)No referencing used     (0 marks)Some attempt to use ]referencing. But referencing not APA or errors in both the in-text referencing and reference list.Minor errors in APA style referencing either in-text or in the reference list.  Meets all the requirements of APA style referencing.   (7.5 marks)  
Presentation & formatting (including spelling & grammar)Poor written expression, grammar, and spelling. Does not meet the requirements of APA style formatting.   (0 marks)Some areas of presentation are good. Fails to meet the requirements of APA style formatting in more than one area (e.g., written expression is unclear, grammar or spelling are poor).                                              Most areas of presentation are good. Fails to meet the requirements of APA style formatting in only one area (e.g., written expression is unclear, or grammar or spelling are poor).Clear written expression, correct use of grammar and spelling. Formatting meets the requirements of APA style formatting.   (7.5 marks)  

□ Adheres to word limit (750words)

□    Meets the requirements of Academic Integrity                                       Total           /100 F        P        CR        DN       HD

  Marking Criteria – Final Research Report          
 Needs ImprovementSatisfactoryGoodExcellent
Title  No title included or poor title (e.g., “Introduction”).              Topic not accurate or clearIncludes an appropriate title that reflects the topic of the paper. (2.5 marks)
Abstract  No abstract or poor attempt.      Satisfactory attempt.Good attempt, missing some info.Excellent attempt.           (8-10 marks)
INTRODUCTION: Review of literature (i.e., use of relevant empirical evidence, such as journal articles)  No/poor attempt to include previous literature (i.e., have not used recommended articles).  Some attempt to incorporate previous literature. Literature summary needs improvement.Relevant and meaning literature is discussed, justifies the research and hypotheses OR Has been responsive to draft feedback.Excellent & concise summary of the literature leading to the hypotheses. Excellent or significant improvement. (8-10 marks)
INTRODUCTION: Quality of argument (i.e., use of previous literature to justify the hypotheses)  Poor attempt at argument (e.g., does not justify the need for conducting the study/the hypotheses; unclear argument).Genuine attempt with some major flaws (e.g., does not justify a hypothesis; argument is unclear; irrelevant information is presented).Genuine attempt with some minor flaws in the quality of argument/ justification for hypotheses OR Has been responsive to draft feedback.Excellent, clearly structured argument which links previous literature to the hypotheses. All hypotheses are well justified. OR Significant improvement. (8-10 marks)
RESULTS: Interpretation of results in Discussion  No statement of whether differences were meaningful or interpretation of group differencesImprovements needed in relation to interpreting results for all three hypotheses.Good but small errors in one or more.  Precise interpretations of results described early in the discussion. (5 marks)               
DISCUSSION: Support of hypotheses and explanation of results  No discussion or very poor discussion (e.g., direct repetition from results section).    Describes whether hypotheses supported or not, but missing interpretation of results.Describes whether hypotheses supported or not, with interpretation. Interpretation be improved by reflection on theory, method, or relationship to previous research findings.Results are interpreted well in the context of previous research and with awareness of the current method. (25-35 marks)
DISCUSSION: Study limitations/ Directions for Future ResearchNo attempt to consider limitations or future directions.Poor attempt to explain both limitations of the study, and suggest future directions.Genuine attempt, but either limitations or future directions were ill-considered/ illogical.                                     Well-considered and logical limitations and future directions.  (10-15 marks)
OVERALL: Referencing (See APA guidelines)  No referencing used, or a referencing style other than APA used.Major errors in APA style referencing either in-text or in the reference list.Minor errors in APA style referencing either in-text or in the reference list.Meets all the requirements of APA style referencing.             (5 marks)
OVERALL: Presentation & formatting (including spelling & grammar)  Poor written expression, grammar, and spelling. Does not meet the requirements of APA style formatting.Some areas of presentation are good. Fails to meet the requirements of APA style formatting in more than one area.                                              Most areas of presentation are good. Fails to meet the requirements of APA style formatting in only one area.Clear written expression, correct use of grammar and spelling. Formatting meets the requirements of APA style.                (7.5 marks)

□ Adheres to word limit (1500words)                                                                                                                             Total           /100

□ Meets the requirements of Academic Integrity                                                            F        P        CR        DN       HD

The running head is now in the header, flush left, shortened title, all caps, 50 characters or less. It is directly opposite the page number 1, which is to the far right on the same line. To add a header in Microsoft Word, follow these steps:

1.In the Insert tab, in the Header & Footer group, click header.

2.Click on the header that you want — you will always use a blank header to start with in APA style.

3. Enter the text that you need to include in the header to be consistent with APA style. Ensure that the words “Running head:” and the capitalised shortened version of the title are left-aligned and that the page number is positioned at least 2.54 cm (i.e., 1 inch) from the right-hand edge of the page. You can check the paragraph alignment for the header by going to the Paragraph group, in the Home tab, and clicking on the Paragraph icon.

The header will be inserted in every page of the document. You can adjust the text in the header on each page by moving your cursor over the header and double clicking with your mouse. Also look at the Title Page Template, the Abstract First Page Template and the References List Template to see how the headers look in these documents.

Title of the paper is centred, all main words are capitalised, double line spaced, not bold.

Author’s name is centred, double line spaced. Middle initial is usually included. Not bold.

Name of the institution is centred, main words are capitalised, double line spaced, not bold.

Centred, not bold, double line spaced.

Text begins flush left — no indent. Paragraph is left justified only. Double line spaced. No extra space between ‘Abstract’ and first line of text.

Note that the PSYC1102 RESEARCH REPORT title is not bold. It is not considered a heading. (Headings separate different parts of the paper.)

Note that there is no heading “Introduction”.

Note the indent at the beginning of the PSYC1102 RESEARCH REPORT paragraph and the double line spacing used throughout the essay/report.

APA 6th edition recommends that leaving two spaces after each sentence may increase readability in draft manuscripts.

APA Level 1 heading is centred, bold, upper and lower case.

Headings are used to separate sections of a research report (e.g. Method, Results, Discussion).

Note that the title of the essay is not a heading. Most short papers use only one or two heading levels.

Examples of the different APA heading levels are provided below to illustrate the different formatting requirements.

Example Level 1 heading. Method is formatted as an APA Heading Level 1.

APA Level 2 heading is flush left, bold, upper- and lowercase.

Example Level 2 heading. Participants is formatted as an APA Heading Level 2.

APA Level 3 heading is indented, bold, uppercase for first letter of first word, the rest in lowercase, period. Text begins on the same line.

Another example of a Level 3 heading.

APA Level 4 heading is indented, bold, italic, upper case for first letter of first word, the rest in lower case, period. Text begins on same line.

APA Level 5 heading is indented, italic, upper case for first letter of first word, the rest in lower case, period. Text begins on same line.

The References list begins on a separate page and is page numbered accordingly. It is centred horizontally with a capital R for References.

The first example refers to a book reference. The second entry refers to an electronic journal reference with DOI. Please check chapter 7 of Burton (2010) for examples of all other types of references.


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