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Three types of literature sources

  • General
  • Secondary
  • Primary


General Sources

  • Overview of topic
  • Provides leads to further information

Examples: newspapers, periodicals and magazines, Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature , New York Times Index


Secondary Sources

  • Sources “once removed” from original research -

Examples: review papers, anthologies of readings, textbooks, encyclopaedias


Primary Sources

  • Original reports of original work Examples: journal articles , other original work including abstracts


Process of review for Journals

  • Researcher submits article in format specified by Journal (eg APA)
  • Editor distributes article to three reviewers ⇒peer review + blind review
  • Several outcomes  
    • Accept outright
    • Accept with Revisions
    • Reject with suggestions for revision
    • Reject outright
    • Editor conveys result to author
  • Average rejection rate is 80%
  • Publication bias (significant results 3x more likely to be published)


What is APA manuscript

  • The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association
  • offers guidance on submission for work for publication
  • "developed to assist reading comprehension in the social and behavioural sciences"


Sections of a Manuscript (10+2)

  • Title page
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Method
    • Participants
    • Materials and Procedure
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • References
  • Appendices
  • Author Notes
  • Footnotes


Manuscripts - The Title

  • Summarises the main idea of the manuscript - first impression!
  • Concise statement; identify variables/theoretical issues explored
  • Stand alone (fully explanatory) and suggest importance of idea
  • Statement of content for abstracting/search
  • Avoid irrelevant wording (e.g., “A study of…”)
  • Avoid abbreviations
  • Upper and lowercase


The Manuscript - Abstract


  • Brief, but comprehensive, summary of the report; perhaps the most vital paragraph!
  • Usually written last
  • Dense with information (150 250 words*); keywords
  • Reader should understand purpose of paper, research approach, design, findings, and implications
  • Used for searching and cataloguing (e.g., EndNote)
  • Almost all journals require an abstract
  • Should be accurate, non evaluative, concise
  • Use past tense for describing manipulations, outcomes, etc.
    • Use present tense when describing conclusions drawn



Start abstract on a new page, identified with running head

Should contain;

  • The problem (one sentence) and/or purpose
  • Description of participants (including notable characteristics)
  • Features of method
  • Basic findings (often including effect sizes and p values)
  • Conclusions
  • Implications/applications

N.B The above applies to an experimental report. However, the abstract

  • may take different form based on different methods (e.g., meta
  • analysis, theory based paper, case study, etc.)


The Introduction Funnel

General - The Problem


What's been done - 

The Evidence


Your Approach

Fill in the Gap

Specific Hypothesis to be tested here.


The Introduction

  • Left Justified
  • Indent first line of every paragraph
  • No spaces between paragraphs
  • Use past tense
  • Can be first person
  • The Hypothesis/es


Method ("What did I do)

  • Detailed desccription of how the study was conducted
  • Define/operationalise variables
  • Have you run the study in such a way that you have appropriately tested your hypotheses. Have you given your hypotheses a fair test?
  • Allows for replication
  • Divided into subsections (these vary)
    • Participants
    • Materials and Procedure


Method Participants

  • Crucial to psychology: generalisation, replication.
  • “Psychology is the study of rats and undergrad psych students”.s
  • Exclusion and inclusion criteria
  • Include major demographics (where relevant!) (e.g., age, gender, ethnicity, socio economic status, education, disabilities, etc.)
  • Be as specific as possible•
  • Emphasise those characteristics that may have bearing on findings
  • (e.g., cultural
  • Identify sub groups (e.g., clinical versus control)
  • For animals (report species, sex, age, weight, etc.)
  • Describe sampling procedure
  • Payments or other incentives
  • Ethical standards


The Manuscript - Method

  • Left Justification
  • Title Centred, bold, no underline, no italics
  • never underline
  • Indent paragraph


Method - Materials and Procedure

  • Not enough info, the reader asks questions
  • Too much info, burdens the reader (message lost!)
  • Materials encompass anything that was used to administer your study/experiment
  • Stimulus/stimuli (in great detail, including examples)
  • Apparatus (in great detail, e.g., model numbers, manufacturers), including key settings
  • If using scales and questionnaires reliability and validity, along with
  • descriptions of the scale and its items.


Method - Materials and Procedure continued

  • Procedure refers to the details relevant to you administering your method/experiment
  • Identify your research design
  • Participant assignment to groups
  • Within/between subjects design?
  • Conditions what manipulations? what order?
  • Describe instructions given to participants (verbatim)
  • Describe testing conditions in detail
  • Describe data acquisition
  • In some cases, describe the experimenter


Results (What did I find?)