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In some areas of psychology, the titles of many empirical research reports are informal in a way that is perhaps best described as “cute.” They usually take the form of a play on words or a well-known expression that relates to the topic under study.Here are some examples from recent issues of the Journal Psychological Science.This feeling of discomfort was called cognitive dissonance by social psychologist Leon Festinger (1957), who suggested that individuals will be motivated to remove this dissonance in whatever way they can (p. After capturing the reader’s attention, the opening should go on to introduce the research question and explain why it is interesting. He opened his article with the following humourous anecdote: A friend whose mother is suffering symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) tells the story of taking her mother to visit a nursing home, preliminary to her mother’s moving there.
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.
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.
The title should clearly and concisely (in about 12 words or fewer) communicate the primary variables and research questions.
This sometimes requires a main title followed by a subtitle that elaborates on the main title, in which case the main title and subtitle are separated by a colon.
The introduction includes three distinct subsections, although these are typically not identified by separate headings.
The opening introduces the research question and explains why it is interesting, the literature review discusses relevant previous research, and the closing restates the research question and comments on the method used to answer it.
Individual researchers differ quite a bit in their preference for such titles.
Some use them regularly, while others never use them.