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In this section, we look at how to write an APA-style empirical research report, an article that presents the results of one or more new studies.
Immediately after the opening comes the literature review, which describes relevant previous research on the topic and can be anywhere from several paragraphs to several pages in length.
However, the literature review is not simply a list of past studies.
Here we consider each of these sections in detail, including what information it contains, how that information is formatted and organized, and tips for writing each section.
At the end of this section is a sample APA-style research report that illustrates many of these principles.
As we have already seen, the authors are listed in an order that reflects their contribution to the research.
When multiple authors have made equal contributions to the research, they often list their names alphabetically or in a randomly determined order.Here are some titles from recent issues of professional journals published by the American Psychological Association.Below the title are the authors’ names and, on the next line, their institutional affiliation—the university or other institution where the authors worked when they conducted the research.What might be some of the pros and cons of using cute article titles?For articles that are being submitted for publication, the title page also includes an author note that lists the authors’ full institutional affiliations, any acknowledgments the authors wish to make to agencies that funded the research or to colleagues who commented on it, and contact information for the authors.The opening, which is usually a paragraph or two in length, introduces the research question and explains why it is interesting.To capture the reader’s attention, researcher Daryl Bem recommends starting with general observations about the topic under study, expressed in ordinary language (not technical jargon)—observations that are about people and their behaviour (not about researchers or their research; Bem, 2003). According to Bem, this would be a poor way to begin a research report: Festinger’s theory of cognitive dissonance received a great deal of attention during the latter part of the 20th century (p.191) The following would be much better: The individual who holds two beliefs that are inconsistent with one another may feel uncomfortable. Giving readers a clear sense of what the research is about and why they should care about it will motivate them to continue reading the literature review—and will help them make sense of it.For example, the person who knows that he or she enjoys smoking but believes it to be unhealthy may experience discomfort arising from the inconsistency or disharmony between these two thoughts or cognitions. Breaking the Rules Researcher Larry Jacoby reported several studies showing that a word that people see or hear repeatedly can seem more familiar even when they do not recall the repetitions—and that this tendency is especially pronounced among older adults.Individual researchers differ quite a bit in their preference for such titles.Some use them regularly, while others never use them.