PSY1SFP Lab Report Instructions
PSY1SFP Laboratory Report
Advancing the Research Proposal into a Full Lab Report
Due 12 pm yesterday
After a researcher has received approval for their research from the ethics committee (and hopefully some money from a funding body), they can go ahead and conduct their study. Sometimes a study cannot be conducted as originally proposed due to modifications requested by the ethics committee or due to restrictions in funding. Thus, a researcher might need to adapt their design slightly and approach the same question in a slightly different way to that originally intended.
This is likely to be the case with the study your group proposed, so while the question will remain the same and the literature you reviewed remains relevant, the methodology employed will be based on the Methods Details provided on LMS for each scenario that utilises a two group design with an experimental group and a control to form the independent variable and a single outcome measure that forms the dependent variable that we will use to judge whether the two groups differ.
For the full write up of the Laboratory Report, we are expecting students to take the literature (and expand on it slightly) they investigated to create the DDP, adapt their aim and hypothesis to fit the methodology provided for each scenario and then write their results and discussion based on the outcome of this analysis. The work previously presented in terms of design may be incorporated into the discussion as part of the future directions paragraph that provides suggestions on where the research can go from here.
The following sections of this document provide detailed advice on each section of the lab report for PSY1SFP. In the table below is a list of resources available on LMS to provide further assistance with this task.
Please note that this document as a whole is not presented in APA format, except for the example notation in the Results section and the scale reference provided in the Methods section (as indicated). Students should refer to the lab report template for formatting details.
Assignment 2 Section - LMS
Lab Report Submission Checklist
Assignment 2 Section - LMS
Methods Details for Scenarios
Tutorial 5 Student notes - LMS
Lab Report Word Template with inbuilt APA formatting
Assignment 2 Section - LMS
Scientific Writing Lecture
1st ITRIP lecture (see also Week 8 Lecture)
Tutorial folder section of LMS
Lab Report Data
Excel Data Entry Template
Assignment 2 Section - LMS
La Trobe APA 7 LibGuide
Owl@Purdue APA Guide Link
In the blue text below I have created an alternative scenario in order to provide examples for writing up certain sections of the report, or points of consideration that a researcher might need to address when writing on this topic. This can be used as a guide for writing about any of the other scenarios to successfully cover key conceptual questions relevant to their topic.
The jury is out on whether brain training makes a difference to individuals who do not have any memory problems, but could they be of assistance in populations where mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is regularly observed? You have been asked by a local community group to help them explore whether there is any evidence that memory skills improve after older adult participants with MCI receive brain training for 6 weeks compared to those who do not. In doing this, you will also help the community group understand the background research in the area so they can decide whether they should apply for funding in order to provide training programs for all of the older adults in their group.
Dataset Details: 30 participants who have received training and 30 who have not.
• Group 1: No memory training
• Group 2: Memory training
• Measure: One Measure (Multifactorial Metamemory Questionnaire—Ability subscale (MMQ – Ability))
A sample title page has been provided in the Assignments section of LMS, and is included in the Lab Report Template for you to enter the details specific to your report.
As described in the Scientific Writing Lecture in Week 1, the title page must include:
• A header (that is preceded by the words Running Head: )
• Page number
• A descriptive title that characterizes your study in 12-15 words.
o This would include mention of the construct under investigation, the groups being measured and potentially a hint at the outcome.
o PSY1SFP Lab report is not an acceptable title.
• Your name
• Your campus
• Word Count
Abstract (not included in overall word count)
A 120 word maximum summary of the whole investigation that is actually the last section that should be written, this includes:
• Short introductory sentence to set up context of study.
• Aim and hypothesis
o Participants, Measure and Procedure
Example Abstract based on the example scenario:
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is commonly reported as memory difficulties in older adults. The current study aimed to investigate the effect of memory training in older adults with MCI and hypothesized that such training would have a positive effect on memory ability. Thirty participants (Mean Age = 63.75) received six weeks of memory training and 30 (Mean Age = 64.25) control participants who received no training but participated in general social activities for six weeks were assessed using the self-report Multifactorial Metamemory Questionnaire-Ability subscale (MMQ-Ability). Results indicate that participants who received training reported significantly better memory performance than those who did not. This suggests that memory training may assist with minimising MCI in older adults in day-to-day life.
Introduction (approx. 500 words)
The introduction to the lab report can incorporate information presented in the original research proposal, but this must not be provided in dot point form, should be revised in context with feedback from the tutor on the DDP and also with the additional literature that has been sourced to develop understanding of the topic.
The introduction should have the following flow of information for all scenarios:
• Start off very broad, generalizing about the area
Then provide more information about the general research area, linking it to the population we are interested in
Make sure to define any unfamiliar or ambiguous terms as you go along, introduce abbreviated terms that you may be using frequently
• Literature review contains information relevant to the hypotheses
Do not include lengthy descriptions of how researchers did their study – report only important findings
• Try not to start sentences with a reference unless the author is very relevant to the statement at hand.
• Introduction funnels down to the aim and hypothesis
Aim – tells the reader what you are investigating and why
• Research Proposal is written in FUTURE tense
• Research Report is written in PAST tense
• Statement of what you expected to find
• How did you expect the groups to differ based on your reading?
• Have a theoretical basis
• Follow logically from the literature review
• Hypotheses – quantifiable measures that can be tested
• Write in essay format using properly structured sentences and paragraphing
No dot points!
• Not a separate section – new paragraph at the end of the introduction
• Do not provide hypotheses in the form of a list
• Make sure to include clear quantifiable measures
Important points for the Introduction based on the example scenario
• What is MCI?
• What age group mostly experiences MCI?
• How can MCI and memory impairments be measured?
• What is memory training?
• What evidence is there for the use of memory training to improve MCI symptoms? Briefly in general, and specifically as applied to older adults.
• What will the current study aim to examine?
o Measuring what kind of sample, using what measure?
• Based on the literature presented above, what will it hypothesise?
Introduction Relevant Marking Capabilities: Inquiry/Research, Critical Thinking, Writing
Methods (approx. 250 words)
Your method section will likely need to be updated to reflect the design provided for each scenario on LMS. Again, this a two group design that will enable us to conduct an Independent Samples t test to test the hypothesis. Your method needs to incorporate the scale relevant to your scenario into the materials and procedure section.
• Again Important:
Lab Report Method is written in PAST tense
• This is the Who? What with? How? Section.
Should allow anyone who reads it to replicate the study.
• Details important information in logical order.
• Follows straight on from Introduction.
• Where from?
• How many?
• Important characteristics?
• Exclusion criteria?
• Includes everything you used and why.
Not pencils or paper!
• Should be listed in the order used in the study with an explanation as to the purpose
• No Dot Points!
• You will need to describe your scale:
Number of questions
Type of questions
Format of questions
Reliability and Validity information (see Information for Lab Reports Methods Section document).
• Referencing for the scale (edit section in red to be specific to the name of your scale).
(Your Surname, 2021) or Your Surname (2021) as appropriate
In References section:
Your Surname, Your Initial., (2021). Name of scale [Measurement instrument]. Unpublished scale, Department of Psychology and Public Health, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia.
• Step by step, how you carried out the study
o Logical order of operation
o Instructions must be sufficient for somebody to be able to reproduce the study
o Any instructions given to participants?
o In what context were the scales administered?
Important points for the Method based on the example scenario:
• Who? Older adults with mean age of 64 years
• Where from? Recruited from local community organisation
• How many? 30 experimental and 30 control.
• Important characteristics? None detailed
• Exclusion criteria? None detailed
Materials: Self-report Multifactorial Metamemory Questionnaire-Ability subscale (MMQ-Ability). Detail how many items, type of response scale and what a high or low score means. Shown to have good reliability and validity (provide details).
Methods Relevant Marking Capabilities: Critical Thinking, Creative Problem Solving, Writing
Results (approx. 150 words)
The PSY1SFP Lab Report Results Section Template in the Assignments folder on LMS and discussed in Tutorial 8 provides a breakdown of the sequence of information that must be presented in this section. From this template you can see that the Results section is not long (potentially 100 – 150 words), but it does provide an important platform for the Discussion section of your report.
The information below provides an example of the results calculations, format of presentation for the t test and interpretation of the results that must be presented after the introductory sentence to the results section, Figure (bar chart with 95% CIs) generated from the excel file and the Figure caption.
• How to calculate Lower and Upper 95% CI for the Difference Between Means using the data in the scenario above as an example:
o Lower Limit = M1 - M2 - (tCL)(SED)
o Upper Limit = M1 - M2 + (tCL)(SED)
• M1 and M2 = the Means from the excel output above
• Standard Error of Difference Between Means (SED) = 2.1957
o ** This value was supplied in the Tutorial 8 notes for all scenarios.
? Note: Each scenario has a different value so please check
? The final CI values can be calculated within the Lab Report Data template so you don’t have to use this formula (or if you want to check your answer).
• t critical level (tCL) for 95% Confidence Intervals = 2.002 (same for all scenarios)
o Lower 95% CI
? = (42.80 – 48.93) – (2.002)(2.1957)
? = -6.13 – 4.3958
? = -10.5258
o Upper 95% CI
? = (42.80 – 48.93) + (2.002)(2.1957)
? = -6.13 + 4.3958
? = -1.7315
This is a general structure for your Results section….
Opening sentence to detail what kind of analysis was conducted on what kind of sample, groups and measure. Second sentence to introduce the Figure including mention of what type of descriptive statistics are displayed and the groups and measures involved.
Figure Number. Caption must detail type of descriptive statistics are displayed and the groups and measures involved (this is quite similar to the sentence above).
**Insert Graph from Excel**
Refer to Figure above and describe the patterns in the data. Which group has higher or lower scores? Do not repeat Means here as it is redundant information (i.e. already visible in the graph). State the name of the analysis and what it revealed (i.e. was it significant or not?) DO NOT MENTION ANYTHING ABOUT THE HYPOTHESIS IN THIS SECTION (this will be in the discussion), report the statistical information from the excel graph by substituting in the numbers into the red text here, t(58) = t value, p = p value, d = Cohen’s effect size, 95% CI [Lower limit, Upper Limit].
This is the end of your results section ….
Example description of results based on the example scenario data:
Figure 1 above shows that the no training group obtained lower scores than the training group on the MMQ-Ability scale. Independent samples t test revealed that there was a significant difference in scores between the two groups meaning that memory performance, as measured by the MMQ-Ability scale, was significantly better in the training group for this sample, t(58) = -2.79, p = .007, d = 0.72, 95% CI [-10.53, -1.73].
Results Relevant Marking Capabilities: Critical Thinking, Creative Problem Solving, Quantitative Literacy, Writing
Discussion (approx. 500 words)
The discussion section ties up your interpretation of the study outcomes for the reader. It has five main components that appear in paragraph from (not separate sections) that detail what the study has found, how this fits in with the literature covered in the introduction and also other relevant research that may help explain the results, what kinds of problems the study may have encountered in terms of design and execution, and what could be done next to advance the field. This is all tied up with a concluding paragraph to sum up the investigation.
The components flow as follows:
1. Restate the research aims and summarize the main findings in the first paragraph
Do the results support/refute your hypotheses?
2. Interpret, evaluate, and comment on the important findings in your study
How does your data compare to what others have already found?
3. Methodological issues?
Problems with design (e.g. issues with internal and external validity)
4. Future directions
What could you do next?
Last paragraph is a concluding paragraph that sums up the findings.
So the discussion will …….
1) Follow on from Results – not a new page unless it falls on one
2) Summarise findings and indicate the implications
3) Discuss limitations of participant selection, data collection method, and the content of your new scale
• What was the hypothesis again and was it supported or not?
• Does your finding agree with the literature you have reviewed in the introduction?
• What problems would need to be fixed/considered before you or someone else runs another study in this field?
Discussion Relevant Marking Capabilities: Inquiry/Research, Critical Thinking, Writing
• This report requires the use of a minimum of 8-10 peer reviewed references (i.e. journal articles) in the full write-up of the investigation. You may use the articles sourced together with your group for the DDP proposal, but you should endeavor to collect additional information to 1) characterize your study in the introduction, and 2) examine the outcomes in context with existing literature in the discussion.
• It is ok for you to use new references in the discussion that have not been cited in the introduction, particularly if your result was not as you hypothesised and you need to account for the outcome obtained.
• All references appearing in the References section must be cited in text.
• Information of searching for articles can be found via the Psychology LibGuide, as per Tutorial 1.
References Relevant Marking Capabilities: Inquiry/Research, APA format
• A list of APA formatting points for lab reports was provided in the notes for Tutorial 2.
• Most aspects of APA formatting are built into the template provided on LMS.
• Information on referencing in APA format was provided in ITRIP lecture 1 in Week 1
• Information can also be found via the Owl@Purdue referencing tool or the APA manual.
APA Relevant Marking Capabilities: Writing, APA format