Recap of Yesterday
Defining the sections of a paper
The Requirements of your Paper
In Class Assignment: Google’s Research on YouTube
In Class Assignment: Making good introductions
Recap of Yesterday…
Research is hard!
Constructs are the basis of looking at psychological
Causality is our primary goal and there are several
conditions of causality
Societal values clash with research
Validity in the face of psychological research
Basics of Research
What is the purpose of research:
So Our Goal
Find these relationships that exist in psychological
You will demonstrate that through your final paper
Final Paper is worth 100 points
No Late Papers Will Be Accepted
Papers will be graded on writing quality and correct use
of APA style. Including:
Proper In-text Citations
Correctly Formatted Reference Page
APA Style Requirements for Writing
Pick your paper topic Methods
1 out of the 100 points 33 out of the 100 points
Tuesday, May 26 Thursday, June 11th
Optional Draft: Monday,
Introduction June 8, 2009
33 out of the 100 points Returned Tuesday
Tuesday, June 2nd
Optional Draft: Wednesday, Discussion
May 27th 33 out of the 100 points
Returned Thursday Thursday, June 18th
Optional Draft: Monday,
Learning Objectives of the Final Paper
Identify a research question and generate a testable
Review the relevant literature
Identify a research design to test the hypothesis
Identify a sampling scheme
Identify the major analyses that will be used to test
Interpret the results of the study assuming that the
analyses did and did not support the hypothesis
Technical Details: Double-spaced, 12 point Font, 1
Main Text: 10-12 pages text (10 pts off if paper is less
than 10 pages or greater than 13 pages)
Main text refers to the body of the paper. It does NOT
include the References section, Cover page, and any
Tables and Figures are NOT required.
Step 1: Pick a Topic
Pick a topic that is interesting to you. ANY TOPIC
The Topic should be focused on just 2 variables (X
Pick a Topic (Continued)
Your question could concern a cause and effect
association that could be studied with an experiment:
Examples: Does playing violent video games cause
aggression? Does taking a multivitamin increase IQ? Does
Therapy X work better than Therapy Y for treating ADHD?
Your question could also concern an association that
could be studied with a correlational design.
Examples: Is Low SES related to depression? Is spanking
related to aggression in children? Is IQ related to crime? Is
age related to changes in memory?
Remember: One X->Y
In all of these examples there is one independent
variable and one dependent variable.
That is, there is the idea that variation in one variable
causes variation in the other variable OR the idea that
variation in one variable is associated (i.e., statistically
predicts) variation in the other variable.
Step 2: Conduct a Literature Search
Find articles in PsycINFO
Point your web browser to http://er.lib.msu.edu/.
Then under “Browse E-Resources by Subject” go down to
“Psychology” and click on GO
PsycINFO should be an option
Conduct a Literature Search
Search for keywords from your topic
If you need help knowing what the key words are, select
PsycINFO including PsycARTICLES (ERL on
Enter a topic word, such as “body image”
Then click on “Suggest”
Related keywords/topics will be suggested to help you
refine your search
Conduct a Literature Search
Find articles using Scholar Google
Point your web browser to http://scholar.google.com/
Then type in key words from your topic
You can also do an advanced scholar search…
Use Scholar Help for browsing/search guidelines
Conduct a Literature Search
You can also browse specific journals…
If you absolutely do not have a topic scan the TOC of
journals like Psychological Bulletin or Review of
A list is of journals is found on the library webpage under
all electronic resources in psychology
What Do You Need:
5 peer-reviewed journal articles for your literature
review. Paper copies MUST be turned in with
At least one article must have been published from
2005 to present.
These references must come from established scholarly
psychology journals – NOT from the Internet, television,
Good Source versus Bad Source
Bad: Newspaper and Magazine Articles, Random
Internet Sites, TV programs (e.g. “Dr. Phil”)
Why? Subject to more biases, often not scientific studies,
credibility often questionable
Good: Journal articles
Many journals have full text available through the MSU
Step 3: Read, Think… Develop a
Figure out what has been done. This way you will be
able to figure out what you can do to make a UNIQUE
Hint: Look at each article’s Discussion. There is usually a
discussion of limitations and future directions.
Propose a Testable Hypothesis
H0: There is no association between IQ and crime in the
H1: There is a negative association between IQ and crime.
Step 4: Write the Introduction (Re-Read
Introduce big idea in first paragraph
Big Idea: Craft an argument for why your research is
Summarize what has been done. Indicate the study that
needs to be done (i.e., the study you will do)
Describe why this kind of study can add to the literature
Use citations to support your arguments.
State Hypothesis at the end
Step 5: Write Method Section
Describe how you will actually conduct your study.
First describe the population and/or sampling plan
Decent: One hundred fifty undergraduates (50%
women) from a large Midwestern university
participated for partial course credit. One hundred
were white, forty were African American, and ten were
Asian American. Average age of participants was 20.2
years (SD = 1.35; Range: 18-56).
Decent: The effects of anxiety on math test
performance were examined using a randomized two-
group experimental design. Participants were
randomly assigned to receive an anxiety manipulation
or a control condition. Anxiety was manipulated by
informing participants that they would gain/lose money
as a result of their performance whereas those in the
control condition were simply told to try their best.
Provide text of actual manipulation
Describe and Justify Measures
Explain how each construct was operationally defined.
If you use existing measures try to get complete set of
items. Provide evidence of reliability and validity.
Justify why this is a good measure of construct X.
If you create your own measures. Justify why you need
to do this! Describe all items and response options.
Explain how you would obtain reliability and validity
Step 6: Write Plan of Analysis
Identify the statistical procedure that you will use to
evaluate your research hypothesis.
Common Options: correlation/regression techniques, t-
tests, Analysis of Variance
Discuss these with your TA as the time gets closer. Some
topics will also be covered in future lectures.
Step 7: Write Discussion
You will engage in a thought experiment:
1. Imagine that you rejected your null hypothesis.
2. Imagine that you failed to reject your null
Imagine that you rejected your null
What does this mean? How does this fit with previous
research? What are some qualifications? What else
could explain what happened? Are there limits to the
generalizability of these findings? What else needs to
Imagine that you failed to reject your
What does this mean? What could have caused this?
How does this fit with previous research? What are
some qualifications? What else needs to be done? What
could you have done differently?
Here you have to make a judgment – do you think the
idea was wrong or whether the study was flawed?
Remember: The absence of evidence IS NOT evidence of
Step 8: Write Up References Page
Use APA style correctly
Refer to lecture
Refer to APA Publication Manual (in Library)
Refer to online resources:
Let’s See How YouTube Does Its
Google Research on the value of YouTube
Purpose of the Study
Methods (When conducted and How)
Let’s Pause for a Break!
About academic writing…
Goal of the introduction
The purpose of an introduction in a psychology paper is
to justify the reasons for writing about your topic. Your
goal in this section is to introduce the topic to the
reader, provide an overview of previous research on the
topic, and identify your own hypothesis.
My Paper Topic
Why Summer Session 395
Students in Section 101 and
102 are smarter than
students in sections 103-
Part I: Introduce the Topic
Your first task is to provide a brief description of the
How are you going get me oriented towards the subject?
What is the experiment or study attempting to
What phenomena are you studying?
Define your terms
My introduction: Part I
In many recent years, the popularity of summer courses
has increased. In fact, at Michigan State University,
about 42% of students have taken a summer course
when surveyed in 2006 versus only 27% in 1998
(Statisticsman, 2006). The fact that the increase in
summer schooling has increased has raised many
academic brow. More specifically, the profile of the
summer schooling student has just been recently
identified. However, the topic of the intelligence level
of these students compared to the normal population
has not yet been fully dissected.
Part II: Summarize Previous
The second task of your introduction is to provide a
well-rounded summary of previous research that is
relevant to your topic.
So, before you begin to write this summary, it is
important to thoroughly research your topic.
Finding appropriate sources amid thousands of journal
articles can be a daunting task, but there are a number
of steps you can take to simplify your research.
My Introduction: Part II
Most recently, the research has been very inconclusive
and speculative on the topic. In a study done in 2002,
Smartman conducted interviews with 207 students
asking them them to profile their personality. Smartman
also conducted the same interviews with Fall and Spring
semester students. The results of his analysis concluded
that summer students were more outgoing and had
higher levels of agreeableness. Similarly, in 2005,
researchers wanted to address if summer school
students received higher grades because teachers did
not care as much. Using a between-subjects design,
researchers found that in fact teachers statistically gave
about 20% more 4.0’s than in their fall or spring classes.
Part III: Hypothesize
Once you have summarized the previous research,
explain areas where the research is lacking or
What is missing from previous studies on your topic?
What research questions have yet to be answered?
Your own hypothesis should lead from these questions.
At the end of your introduction, offer your hypothesis
and describe what you expected to find in your
experiment or study.
My introduction: Part III
After reviewing the research, none of the researchers
actually delved into the area of knowledge and
intelligence. While the Geekboy (2005) study did ask
participants to give GPA, studies on GPA have been
shown to be variable dependent on the university
(UniversityResearchMan, 2003) and therefore
comparisons of GPA are not sufficient to make bold
claims on intelligence. Therefore, we will research the
area of intelligence in summer school students.
Because of the tendency to have more motivated
students as such by MotivationStudyMan (2004), we
believe grades will be higher.
Visual to Introductions
Review what is
Autism is a pervasive development disorder with
characteristics first described by Dr. Leo Kanner in the
middle of the twentieth century. Currently, autism is
defined as a developmental disorder with deficits in
social skills, communication, and atypical behaviors.
According to the DSM IV-TR the symptoms of autism
must be present prior to age three (Mash & Wolfe,
Autism is referred to as a spectrum disorder. The
disorder ranges from a severe autistic disorder to a
milder form called Asperger’s syndrome (“Autism
Spectrum Disorders”, 2007). Children with autism have
a difficult time in social situations and relating to other
people’s feelings (Mash & Wolfe, 2007). Abnormal
communication and language deficits are also displayed
by children with autism, as well as repetitive behaviors,
interests, and activities. Some of the activities can
include ritualistic routines, obsessive fixations, flailing,
and stimulating body movements (Mash & Wolfe, 2007).
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 150
children in America over the age of eight are diagnosed with an autism
spectrum disorder (“Autism Information Center”, 2007). However, it is 3
to 4 more times likely to occur in boys than girls (“Autism Spectrum
Disorders”, 2007). It is apparent that more children are being diagnosed
with autism, but it is not clear if the increase is due to changing
classification standards or because of a real increase in frequency
(“Autism Information Center”, 2007). Autism is seen in all social classes
around the world (Mash & Wolfe, 2007). Autism is usually identified by
parents around two years of age, although symptoms are sometimes
present earlier in life. There is no known cause or cure for autism, but
with the help of various treatments, children with autism usually show
developmental progress with age (Mash & Wolfe, 2007).
The purpose for my research is to examine the effect that the mercury
preservative in vaccinations, thimerosal, has on developing autism.
Numerous studies have previously been conducted to see if the mercury
based preservative in the immunization are related to Autism Spectrum
Disorders. Immunizations have been one of the greatest successes in
medicine. However many studies are interested in examining if autism is
a possible side effect. Parents of children with autism have reported a
regression of early milestones and development that may be related to
immunizations (Mash & Wolfe, 2007).
Richler et al. (2006) completed a quasi-experimental,
retrospective, cross sectional study to examine the
relationship between a regressive phenotype of autism
spectrum disorder and the Measles-Mumps-Rubella
(MMR) vaccine. Parents of 351 children with autism and
a control group of 31 children were contacted to
participate in an interview. Regression is defined by the
researchers as the loss of social and communication
skills usually between 15 and 24 months of age (Richler
et al., 2006). Caregivers were asked to describe and
answer questions about their child’s communication
development, gastrointestinal symptoms, and age at
Further studies examine age at the first MMR vaccination in
children with autism. DeStefano, Bhasin, Thompson, Yeargin-
Allsopp, and Boyle’s (2004) objective was to compare age at first
MMR vaccination between children with autism and children
without autism. This was a case-controlled, quasi-experimental,
retrospective study. The population consisted of 624 children
with autism and 1,824 control children. Data on vaccinations
were extracted from required immunization records required by
schools. A significant limitation of the current studies of
autism is that most of them are performed retrospectively.
Recall bias is a significant limitation of a retrospective study.
Parent’s often thought that the regression occurred after the
vaccination, but there was evidence that there had been concern
before the vaccination. Often when parents know the outcome
of something, they are likely to relate it to past events. If future
studies are done prospectively, researchers will be more likely to
follow participants and discover the etiology of autism. In the
present study, a randomized two-group design was created to
further examine the relationship between the thimerosal in the
MMR vaccine and the development of autism.
Study Purpose and Specific Goals. Thus, the purpose of my
overall research is to determine whether or not there is a
relationship between vaccinations and the development of
autism. From observing children from the time they are born
this pilot study’s main goals are:
To prospectively measure developmental milestones of a child
from birth until 3 years of age.
To evaluate the developmental effects the MMR immunization
had on the treatment group.
To evaluate the developmental effects of not immunizing the
control group with the MMR vaccination.
The null and alternative hypotheses for my research are:
H0: There is no relationship between the MMR vaccination
(dependent variable) and the development of autism
H1: There is a relationship between the MMR vaccination and the
development of autism.
How they are graded (33 points)
This section is labeled Introduction. There is not a colon after the word Introduction. There is only one
introduction section in the report. There are no other subtitles in this section. (1)
The introduction provides the reader with enough information to know what the experiment is about
and why it is being conducted. Sufficient information is provided that the reader can understand the
rest of the paper. The writer also explains why the hypotheses are being proposed. (5)
The introduction talks about at least 4 experiments or studies that have been done on the research
idea. Each experiment is discussed in a way that is appropriate to the paper. (20 points/5 per study).
The writing quality makes logical sense… Use Logical arguments (See Lecture 1)
If a case study is involved, the writer tells how the hypothesis explains the observation in the case
study. The person in the case study should be mentioned by name. This item applies only to laboratory
exercises based on a case study.
The hypothesis is stated and is clearly identified as the hypothesis that will be tested in the
experiment. For example, "the hypothesis tested is..." clearly identifies the hypothesis. The hypothesis
is appropriate for the observation being studied. The hypothesis is stated as a sentence that is either
true or false. If the laboratory exercise has more than one hypothesis, they should all be stated. (5)
APA Formatting (2 points)
Write on the Board
Give a Letter Grade
In your groups, briefly make sure you understand:
What makes a “good” research paper?
What makes a “good” introduction?
What are common mistakes in introductions?
You should be able to give examples of each one of these