Presenting Your Research
Research is complete only when the results are shared with the scientific community.
-American Psychological Association
Imagine that you have identified an interesting research question, reviewed the relevant literature, designed and conducted an empirical study, analyzed the data, and drawn your conclusions. There is still one more step in the process of conducting scientific research. It is time to add your research to the literature so that others can learn from it and build on it. Remember that science is a social process—a large-scale collaboration among many researchers distributed across space and time. For this reason, it could be argued that unless you make your research public in some form, you are not really engaged in science at all.
In this chapter, we look at how to present your research effectively. We begin with a discussion of American Psychological Association (APA) style—the primary approach to writing taken by researchers in psychology and related fields. Then we consider how to write an APA-style empirical research report. Finally, we look at some of the many other ways in which researchers present their work, including review and theoretical articles, theses and other student papers, and talks and posters at professional meetings.
This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.
Saylor URL: http://www.saylor.org/books
11.1 American Psychological Association (APA) Style
1. Define APA style and list several of its most important characteristics.
2. Identify three levels of APA style and give examples of each.
3. Identify multiple sources of information about APA style.
LEARNIN G OBJE CTIVE S
What Is APA Style?
APA style is a set of guidelines for writing in psychology and related fields. These guidelines are set down in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA,
2006).  The Publication Manual originated in 1929 as a short journal article that provided basic
standards for preparing manuscripts to be submitted for publication (Bentley et al., 1929).  It was later expanded and published as a book by the association and is now in its sixth edition. The primary purpose of APA style is to facilitate scientific communication by promoting clarity of expression and by standardizing the organization and content of research articles and book chapters. It is easier to write about research when you know what information to present, the order in which to present it, and even the style in which to present it. Likewise, it is easier to read about research when it is presented in familiar and expected ways.
APA style is best thought of as a “genre” of writing that is appropriate for presenting the results of psychological research—especially in academic and professional contexts. It is not synonymous with “good writing” in general. You would not write a literary analysis for an English class, even if it were based on psychoanalytic concepts, in APA style. You would write it in Modern Language Association (MLA) style instead. And you would not write a newspaper article, even if it were about a new breakthrough in behavioral neuroscience, in APA style. You would write it in Associated Press (AP) style instead. At the same time, you would not write an empirical research report in MLA style, in AP style, or in the style of a romance novel, an e-mail to a friend, or a shopping list. You would write it in APA style. Part of being a good writer in general is adopting a style that is appropriate to the writing task at hand, and for writing about psychological research, this is APA style.
Because APA style consists of a large number and variety of guidelines—the Publication Manual is nearly 300 pages long—it can be useful to think about it in terms of three basic levels. The first is the
overall organization of an article (which is covered in Chapter 2 “Getting Started in Research” of the Publication Manual). Empirical research reports, in particular, have several distinct sections that always appear in the same order:
1. Title page. Presents the article title and author names and affiliations.
2. Abstract. Summarizes the research.
3. Introduction. Describes previous research and the rationale for the current study.
4. Method. Describes how the study was conducted.
5. Results. Describes the results of the study.
6. Discussion. Summarizes the study and discusses its implications.
7. References. Lists the references cited throughout the article.
The second level of APA style can be referred to as high-level style (covered in Chapter 3 “Research Ethics” of the Publication Manual), which includes guidelines for the clear expression of ideas. There are two important themes here. One is that APA-style writing is formal rather than informal. It adopts a tone that is appropriate for communicating with professional colleagues—other researchers and practitioners— who share an interest in the topic. Beyond this shared interest, however, these colleagues are not necessarily similar to the writer or to each other. A graduate student in California might be writing an article that will be read by a young psychotherapist in New York City and a respected professor of psychology in Tokyo. Thus formal writing avoids slang, contractions, pop culture references, humor, and other elements that would be acceptable in talking with a friend or in writing informally.
The second theme of high-level APA style is that it is straightforward. This means that it communicates ideas as simply and clearly as possible, putting the focus on the ideas themselves and not on how they are communicated. Thus APA-style writing minimizes literary devices such as metaphor, imagery, irony, suspense, and so on. Again, humor is kept to a minimum. Sentences are short and direct. Technical terms must be used, but they are used to improve communication, not simply to make the writing sound more
“scientific.” For example, if participants immersed their hands in a bucket of ice water, it is better just to write this than to write that they “were subjected to a pain-inducement apparatus.” At the same time, however, there is no better way to communicate that a between-subjects design was used than to use the term “between-subjects design.”
APA Style and the Values of Psychology
Robert Madigan and his colleagues have argued that APA style has a purpose that often goes unrecognized (Madigan, Johnson, & Linton, 1995). Specifically, it promotes psychologists’ scientific values and assumptions. From this perspective, many features of APA style that at first seem arbitrary actually make good sense. Following are several features of APA-style writing and the scientific values or assumptions
|APA style feature||Scientific value or assumption|
There are very few direct quotations of other researchers.
|The phenomena and theories of psychology are objective and do not depend on the specific words a particular researcher used to describe them.|
Criticisms are directed at other researchers’ work but not at them personally.
|The focus of scientific research is on drawing general conclusions about the world, not on the personalities of particular researchers.|
|There are many references and reference citations.||Scientific research is a large-scale collaboration among many researchers.|
Empirical research reports are organized with specific sections in a fixed order.
|There is an ideal approach to conducting empirical research in psychology (even if this ideal is not always achieved in actual research).|
|Researchers tend to “hedge” their conclusions, e.g., “The
results suggest that…”
Scientific knowledge is tentative and always subject to revision based on new empirical results.
Another important element of high-level APA style is the avoidance of language that is biased against particular groups. This is not only to avoid offending people—why would you want to offend people who are interested in your work?—but also for the sake of scientific objectivity and accuracy. For example, the term sexual orientation should be used instead of sexual preference because people do not generally experience their orientation as a “preference,” nor is it as easily changeable as this term suggests (Committee on Lesbian and Gay Concerns, APA, 1991). 
The general principles for avoiding biased language are fairly simple. First, be sensitive to labels by avoiding terms that are offensive or have negative connotations. This includes terms that identify people with a disorder or other problem they happen to have. For example, patients with schizophrenia is better than schizophrenics. Second, use more specific terms rather than more general ones. For
example, Mexican Americans is better than Hispanics if everyone in the group is, in fact, Mexican American. Third, avoid objectifying research participants. Instead, acknowledge t
Are you busy and do not have time to handle your assignment? Are you scared that your paper will not make the grade? Do you have responsibilities that may hinder you from turning in your assignment on time? Are you tired and can barely handle your assignment? Are your grades inconsistent?
Whichever your reason is, it is valid! You can get professional academic help from our service at affordable rates. We have a team of professional academic writers who can handle all your assignments.
Students barely have time to read. We got you! Have your literature essay or book review written without having the hassle of reading the book. You can get your literature paper custom-written for you by our literature specialists.
Do you struggle with finance? No need to torture yourself if finance is not your cup of tea. You can order your finance paper from our academic writing service and get 100% original work from competent finance experts.
While psychology may be an interesting subject, you may lack sufficient time to handle your assignments. Don’t despair; by using our academic writing service, you can be assured of perfect grades. Moreover, your grades will be consistent.
Engineering is quite a demanding subject. Students face a lot of pressure and barely have enough time to do what they love to do. Our academic writing service got you covered! Our engineering specialists follow the paper instructions and ensure timely delivery of the paper.
In the nursing course, you may have difficulties with literature reviews, annotated bibliographies, critical essays, and other assignments. Our nursing assignment writers will offer you professional nursing paper help at low prices.
Truth be told, sociology papers can be quite exhausting. Our academic writing service relieves you of fatigue, pressure, and stress. You can relax and have peace of mind as our academic writers handle your sociology assignment.
We take pride in having some of the best business writers in the industry. Our business writers have a lot of experience in the field. They are reliable, and you can be assured of a high-grade paper. They are able to handle business papers of any subject, length, deadline, and difficulty!
We boast of having some of the most experienced statistics experts in the industry. Our statistics experts have diverse skills, expertise, and knowledge to handle any kind of assignment. They have access to all kinds of software to get your assignment done.
Writing a law essay may prove to be an insurmountable obstacle, especially when you need to know the peculiarities of the legislative framework. Take advantage of our top-notch law specialists and get superb grades and 100% satisfaction.
We have highlighted some of the most popular subjects we handle above. Those are just a tip of the iceberg. We deal in all academic disciplines since our writers are as diverse. They have been drawn from across all disciplines, and orders are assigned to those writers believed to be the best in the field. In a nutshell, there is no task we cannot handle; all you need to do is place your order with us. As long as your instructions are clear, just trust we shall deliver irrespective of the discipline.
Our essay writers are graduates with bachelor's, masters, Ph.D., and doctorate degrees in various subjects. The minimum requirement to be an essay writer with our essay writing service is to have a college degree. All our academic writers have a minimum of two years of academic writing. We have a stringent recruitment process to ensure that we get only the most competent essay writers in the industry. We also ensure that the writers are handsomely compensated for their value. The majority of our writers are native English speakers. As such, the fluency of language and grammar is impeccable.
There is a very low likelihood that you won’t like the paper.
Not at all. All papers are written from scratch. There is no way your tutor or instructor will realize that you did not write the paper yourself. In fact, we recommend using our assignment help services for consistent results.
We check all papers for plagiarism before we submit them. We use powerful plagiarism checking software such as SafeAssign, LopesWrite, and Turnitin. We also upload the plagiarism report so that you can review it. We understand that plagiarism is academic suicide. We would not take the risk of submitting plagiarized work and jeopardize your academic journey. Furthermore, we do not sell or use prewritten papers, and each paper is written from scratch.
You determine when you get the paper by setting the deadline when placing the order. All papers are delivered within the deadline. We are well aware that we operate in a time-sensitive industry. As such, we have laid out strategies to ensure that the client receives the paper on time and they never miss the deadline. We understand that papers that are submitted late have some points deducted. We do not want you to miss any points due to late submission. We work on beating deadlines by huge margins in order to ensure that you have ample time to review the paper before you submit it.
We have a privacy and confidentiality policy that guides our work. We NEVER share any customer information with third parties. Noone will ever know that you used our assignment help services. It’s only between you and us. We are bound by our policies to protect the customer’s identity and information. All your information, such as your names, phone number, email, order information, and so on, are protected. We have robust security systems that ensure that your data is protected. Hacking our systems is close to impossible, and it has never happened.
You fill all the paper instructions in the order form. Make sure you include all the helpful materials so that our academic writers can deliver the perfect paper. It will also help to eliminate unnecessary revisions.
Proceed to pay for the paper so that it can be assigned to one of our expert academic writers. The paper subject is matched with the writer’s area of specialization.
You communicate with the writer and know about the progress of the paper. The client can ask the writer for drafts of the paper. The client can upload extra material and include additional instructions from the lecturer. Receive a paper.
The paper is sent to your email and uploaded to your personal account. You also get a plagiarism report attached to your paper.
PLACE THIS ORDER OR A SIMILAR ORDER WITH US TODAY AND GET A PERFECT SCORE!!!
Essay Writing Service Features
Our ExperienceNo matter how complex your assignment is, we can find the right professional for your specific task. Nursing Area is an essay writing company that hires only the smartest minds to help you with your projects. Our expertise allows us to provide students with high-quality academic writing, editing & proofreading services.
Free revision policy$10
Free bibliography & reference$8
Free title page$8
How Our Essay Writing Service Works
First, you will need to complete an order form. It's not difficult but, in case there is anything you find not to be clear, you may always call us so that we can guide you through it. On the order form, you will need to include some basic information concerning your order: subject, topic, number of pages, etc. We also encourage our clients to upload any relevant information or sources that will help.Complete the order form
Once we have all the information and instructions that we need, we select the most suitable writer for your assignment. While everything seems to be clear, the writer, who has complete knowledge of the subject, may need clarification from you. It is at that point that you would receive a call or email from us.Writer’s assignment
As soon as the writer has finished, it will be delivered both to the website and to your email address so that you will not miss it. If your deadline is close at hand, we will place a call to you to make sure that you receive the paper on time.Completing the order and download