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Final Paper Description

 

Description: Your final paper will be a complete write up of your research project.  It will include a title page (1 page), an abstract (1 page), an introduction (3 - 4 pages), a method section (1/2 - 1 pages), a results section (1/2 - 1 page), a discussion section (3 – 4 pages), a reference section (1 - 2 pages), and at least one figure (1 page).  Your final paper should be between 12 – 15 pages and you must include at least 8 appropriate references.  Your paper must be written using APA format. See the APA manual or Appendix A of our textbook for more information about this. 

 

Most of your final paper will have already been written as part of earlier writing assignments.  I’ve indicated which sections or content are new by bolding the section title and specifying what is new in the description below.

 

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Title Page:  Your title page should be a single page that includes the following information: a header with your running head and page number, the title of your paper, your name, and your affiliation. 

 

Abstract:  Your abstract should be a single page that provides a brief (150-250 word) summary of your study.  You should describe your research question, hypothesis, method, results, and the implications of your results.   Note that this is a new section that was not included in the previous writing assignments. You must write an abstract as part of the final paper.

 

Introduction: Your introduction section should introduce your research question to the reader and provide information about previous research to justify and motivate your own hypothesis.  For your draft of this section, I would encourage you to try and write at least two pages (although you can always write more - remember that more content allows us to give more feedback!).  Your draft should contain the following information:

·         An introductory paragraph that discusses the general question or problem that you plan to investigate.  This paragraph should end with your research question.

o   This paragraph should provide the basic motivation for why your study is necessary and what you are investigating.

·         A detailed description of at least 3 specific research studies that relate to your topic

o   These must be psychological studies published in a peer reviewed journal within the last 15 years

o   Your description should include:

§  What the researchers did, including:

·         An identification of the hypothesis

·         A brief (1 – 2 sentence) description of the sample

·         A brief (3 – 5 sentence) description of the materials and procedure used

§  What they found, including:

·         An identification of the statistical test(s) used

·         A statement of whether or not they found support for their hypothesis

·         A brief (2 – 3 sentence) discussion of the specific findings

§  An explanation of what the results mean in relation to your own study. 

·         Consider critiquing the previous study (e.g., identify flaws or issues with the research), discussing limitations of the study (e.g., what else could have been explored or included), or identifying how this work could be built on by additional research.

 

      Each description should be about ½ - 1 page in length. The goal when describing each study is to provide further motivation for your study, and to help build an argument for your hypothesis. Be sure to cite the study you’re describing once per paragraph in APA format. Note that in previous drafts you were only required to discuss 2 previous research studies, so you will need to add one additional description of a research study for the final paper.

·         A closing paragraph that identifies your hypothesis and provides a brief description of the goals and basic methodology for your study.

 

You must cite a minimum of 3 peer-reviewed psychology journal articles in your introduction section, but most students will need to cite between 4 and 5 articles in order to support all of the points made in this section.

 

Method: The purpose of the method section is to describe your study in sufficient detail so that your reader could replicate your work.  For most students, the method section will be between ½ - 1 pages in length.  It should include the following information:

 

·         A participants subsection.  This should describe how many people participated, who the participants were, how they were recruited, what [if anything] they received as compensation, and basic demographic information (e.g., gender, age, etc).

·         A materials subsection.  This should describe the materials used in your study

·         A procedure subsection.  This describes what participants did in your study step by step. 

 

You must cite the OPL study in your method section if you selected the experiment project.

 

Results: Your results section describes your data and analysis.  In this section, you should specify what you analyzed, how you analyzed it, and what you found.  Your results should include descriptive statistics as well as inferential statistics.  You must report your results in both words and using appropriate notation.  For most students, the results section will be between ½ - 1 page. 

 

Discussion: Your discussion section should explain what you found and what it means.  For the final paper, your discussion should be between 3 - 4 pages.  While writing your discussion, be sure to include the following information:

 

·         An explanation of your results

·         An explanation of what your results mean in relation to your hypothesis

·         A description of how your results relate to previous research.  Specifically, did you results match what previous researchers have found?  If so, why?  If not, why not?  You should plan to discuss at least 2 studies here.

·         A description of any potential flaws, limitations, or confounds in your study that might have impacted your results.  Consider your sample, your materials, your design, etc. and analyze them to determine what you could have done differently or better in order to improve the validity/reliability of your study or to produce different results.

·         A description of where you could go next in this research area.  This could be a suggestion for follow up studies, new directions to explore, or how to revise your own study

·         A closing paragraph that summarizes the current understanding of this topic based on previous research and your study

 

Most students will need to cite at least 3 sources in their discussion section (2 peer reviewed psychology journal articles that relate to their findings, and the textbook to support the discussion of flaws/limitations/confounds), but additional citations may be needed to support your arguments in this section.

 

References: In this section, you will provide references for all of the sources that you cited in your paper.  Do not include references for any papers that you haven’t cited!  You will need a minimum of 8 appropriate references (peer reviewed psychological articles published between 2000 – 2015) but many students will need to reference at least 10 articles in order to fully support their points.  Note that I will allow you to cite the textbook as one of your 8 references even though it does not meet these criteria, but the OPL website will not count as one of your 8 required references. For most students, you reference section will be 1 – 2 pages in length.

 

Figure: This is will be a single page that includes a graph of your results. 

 

Grading: A grading rubric (“Final Paper Grading Rubric”) has been posted separately that indicates the breakdown and number of points available for each section of this assignment.  Keep in mind that this assignment will be graded based on both completeness and the quality of the work.  Students who include the required information but do not provide sufficient detail, who include unnecessary or irrelevant content, or whose writing is unclear will not receive full points.

 

 

Final Research Paper Grading Rubric

 

Grading will be completed using the following rubric:

 

Exemplary

Satisfactory

Somewhat Satisfactory

Unsatisfactory

Title Page (1 pt)

 

 

 

 

Student included a complete title page in APA format

 

1

1

.25 - .75

0

Abstract (2 pts)

 

 

 

 

Student included a complete abstract, including a description of the research question, method, and results

1

1

.25 - .75

0

Overall, enough information was included in the abstract to give the reader an accurate understanding of what the full paper was about

1

1

.25 - .75

0

Introduction (11 pts)

 

 

 

 

Student clearly stated a focused problem in their introductory paragraph

 

1

1

.25 - .75

0

Student specified their research question in the introductory paragraph

 

.5

.5

.25

0

Student identified at least three appropriate research studies to use in support of their hypothesis

1.5

1.25 – 1.5

.25 – 1

0

Student adequately described each research study, including information about the method and the results

3

2.5 - 3

.25 – 2.25

0

Student formulated logical conclusions related to each study described

 

1.5

1.25 – 1.5

.25 – 1

0

Student included a closing paragraph that specified the goals of the study and a brief description of the method

1

.75 – 1

.25 – .5

0

Student specified their hypothesis in the closing paragraph

 

.5

.5

.25

0

Overall, the introduction provided adequate information to motivate the hypothesis

2

1.75 - 2

.25 – 1.5

0

Method (5 pts)

 

 

 

 

Student included a complete participants section, including:

the number of participants, a description of the participants, relevant demographic information, and what kind of compensation they received

1

.75 – 1

.25 – .5

0

Student included a complete description of the measures used for their study

1

.75 – 1

.25 – .5

0

Student fully and clearly described the procedure for the study

 

1

.75 – 1

.25 – .5

0

Overall, the method section included sufficient information for a reader to replicate the study from this section alone

2

1.75 - 2

.25 – 1.5

0

Results (4.5 pts)

 

 

 

 

Student correctly identified the statistical analysis used

 

.5

.5

.25

0

Student correctly described the results in words

 

1

.75 – 1

.25 – .5

0

Student correctly described the results in notation

 

1

.75 – 1

.25 – .5

0

Overall, the results section provided an accurate description of the analysis and results for this study.

2

1.75 - 2

.25 – 1.5

0

Discussion (12 pts)

 

 

 

 

Student accurately interpreted the results of the analysis

 

1

.75 – 1

.25 – .5

0

Student drew appropriate conclusions about the results of the analysis

 

1

.75 – 1

.25 – .5

0

Student identified connections between the results of their study and at least two other relevant research studies

1

.75 – 1

.25 – .5

0

Student adequately described each of the two relevant research studies, including information about the method, results, and/or conclusions

2

1.75 - 2

.25 – 1.5

0

Student identified appropriate limitations/flaws to the research design

 

1

.75 – 1

.25 – .5

0

Student adequately explained how each limitation/flaw was relevant to their research design

1

.75 – 1

.25 – .5

0

Student identified appropriate and thoughtful directions for future research

 

1

.75 – 1

.25 – .5

0

Overall, the student drew appropriate conclusions about the results of their study

2

1.75 - 2

.25 – 1.5

0

Overall, the student provided adequate explanation to support the conclusions about the results of their study

2

1.75 - 2

.25 – 1.5

0

References (4 pts)

 

 

 

 

Student provided at least 8 complete, APA formatted references to peer-reviewed psychological journal articles published in the last 15 years

4

3.5 - 4

.25 – 3.25

0

Bonus: Student provided additional complete, references to peer-reviewed psychological journal articles published in the last 15 years (.25 pt for each; maximum of 1 extra credit point)

 

 

 

 

Figure (1 pt)

 

 

 

 

Student included an appropriate and accurate graph of their results

1

.75 - 1

.25 - .5

0

Overall (9.5 pts)

 

 

 

 

Overall, the paper was focused around the identified research question

 

1

.75 - 1

.25 - .5

0

Overall, the student used knowledge from relevant, credible sources to support their position

1

.75 - 1

.25 - .5

0

Overall, the student was able to synthesize information from multiple sources/viewpoints relevant to their research question

1

.75 - 1

.25 - .5

0

Student used adequate citations throughout their paper

 

.5

.5

.25

0

Student correctly formatted their paper in APA format

 

4

3.5 - 4

.25 – 3.25

0

Student used correct spelling and grammar throughout

 

2

1.75 - 2

.25 – 1.5

0

Total Possible Points: 50

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Online Psychology Laboratory logo
 

First Impressions

(Editor:   James Collins)

Introduction

The "First Impressions" experiment is a computer-based version of a classic study conducted by Hamilton and Gifford (1976, Study 1). Jay Jackson (2001) provides a succinct explanation of the significance of this research:

"Research has demonstrated that people pay special attention to distinctive or rare events and recall such events with relative ease (Hamilton & Gifford, 1976; Hamilton & Sherman, 1996) .. When two distinctive or rare events co-occur, people tend to notice that relation more readily, encode the information more effectively, and recall such relations with greater ease.(Matthews, 1996). Consequently, people often subjectively overestimate how often two distinctive events occur together. This tendency has been dubbed the illusory correlation because it involves perceiving a relation that does not exist or is weaker in reality than perceived (Garcia-Marques & Hamilton, 1996). This cognitive process can influence the content of stereotypes. For example, it partly explains why many White Americans overestimate the rate at which African Americans engage in criminal activity (both are distinct or rare events). p. 273-274."

Design

The current experiment is faithful to the original (Hamilton & Gifford, 1976) in its primary details. Participants read about people who belong to either a majority or minority group, with twice the number of majority members (n = 26) as minority members (n = 13). The information conveyed about each of the people describes a desirable or an undesirable behavior. The ratio of desirable to undesirable behaviors is 9:4 in both groups, but because both minority members and undesirable behaviors are rare events, research participants should form illusory correlations and judge the minority members less favorably than majority group members.

Method

The stimulus materials are 39 facial caricatures of male and female adults differing in age and race. The faces were selected from a clip art collection of prominent people, though the ones used in this 39-person set are highly unlikely to be recognizable to participants. Sample faces are shown in Figure 1.

Sample image from the FirstImpressions experimentSample image from the FirstImpressions experimentSample image from the FirstImpressions experiment
Figure 1

The task for participants is to learn something about the people whose faces make up the task stimuli. They do so by clicking on each face in the 39-face set. When a face is clicked, a text balloon pops up with information about the person. The 39 statements are given in Appendix A. The information designates the person as either an Alpha Delta or a Beta Omicron and describes a positive or a negative act or attribute of the person that. The pairing of a face with information about the face is random with the constraint that there are 26 Alpha Deltas to 13 Beta Omicrons and that there are 18 positive and 8 negative acts by Alpha Deltas and 9 positive and 4 negative acts by Beta Omicrons. The information produced by a mouse click remains on the screen until the mouse is released. This permits people to read and process the information at their own pace. Once the mouse in released, the face is greyed out, and the information about the face cannot be re-displayed.

Once all 39 faces are clicked, a set of 7-pt Likert scales appear on the screen. Participants indicate their impressions of Alpha Deltas and Beta Omicrons using these rating scales. The ratings are made for the three positive attributes (popular, honest, and helpful) and three negative attributes (lazy, unhappy, and irresponsible). Scores from these separate scales are available in the data output along with an composite measure of the ratings on positive attributes and negative attributes. A final dependent measure is a rating of the proportion of Alpha Deltas and Beta Omicrons who revealed negative things about themselves.

Data Analyses

Sample data appears below:


Sample data image from the Ponzo experiment
Figure 2

Positive and negative attribute ratings (on a 7-pt Likert scale) for Alpha Deltas and Beta Omicrons are calculated as composite scores and as six separate ratings (i.e., popular, honest, helpful, lazy, unhappy, and irresponsible) for each. A repeated measures t-test is appropriate to test whether the composite means differ from one another. There is an additional computation of the participant's estimation of the proportion of negative statements about Alpha Deltas and Beta Omicrons. Again, a dependent or repeated measures (i.e., correlated groups) t-test will reveal if the different is significant.

The second measures of interest are the estimates particpants made for the percent of negative statements that were made about Alphas and Betas. These are labeled "ApercentofNegative" and "BPercentofNegative" in the data. The actual percent of negative statements is 31% for both groups (26/8 for Alphas and 13/4 for Betas).

Students wishing to perform inferential analyses on the data have several options.

  • A one-way repeated measures anova followed by planned comparisons of Alphas and Betas on each of the six attributes will reveal whether there were differences between the ratings of Alphas and Betas on the six attributes. If Alphas are found to be rated more highly on positive atributes and Betas more highly on negative attributes, the results are consistent with the hypothesis that illusory correlation contributes to stereotype formation.
  • Dependent measures t-tests can be used to compare, first, the composite positive rating for Alphas (ASumofPositive) to the composite positive rating for Betas (BSumofPositive) and, second, the composite negative rating for Alphas (ASumofNegative) to the composite positive rating for Betas (BSumofNegative). If Alphas are found to have higher composite positive ratings and Betas are found to have higher composite negative ratings, the results are consistent with the hypothesis that illusory correlation contributes to stereotype formation.
  • One-sample t-tests can be used to judge whether, first, the estimated percent (ApercentofNegative) differed from the target value of 31% for Alphas and, second, whether the estimated percent (BPercentofNegative) differed from the target value of 31%. The result of these tests will indicate whether participants tend to overestimate the proportion of negative statements due, perhaps, to greater salience for negative than positive statements.
  • A dependent measures t-test can be used to compare the percent estimates (APercentofNegative and BPercentofNegative) made for Alphas and Betas. A significant difference reflecting higher estimates for Betas (the minority group) is consistent with the illusory correlation phenomenon that is hypothesized to contribute to stereotype formation.

Applications/Extensions

This study allows participants to experience the formation of initial impressions and the roles minority/majority status and positive/negative attributes play in that formation process. Further comparisons can be made to the Implicit Association Test study also available here in the Online Psychology Laboratory.

References

Garcia-Marques, L., & Hamilton D.L. (1996). Resolving the apparent discrepancy between 
	the congruency effect and the expectancy-based illusory correlation effect. 
	The TRAP model. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71, 845-860.
					
Hamilton, D.L., & Gifford, R.K. (1976). Illusory correlation in interpersonal perception: 
	A cognitive basis of stereotypic judgments. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 
	12, 392-407.
					
Hamilton, D.L., & Sherman, S.J. (1996). Perceiving persons and groups.
	Psychological Review, 103,  336-355.			
					
Jackson, J.W. (2000). Demonstrating the concept of illusory correlation. 
	Teaching of Psychology, 27, 273-276.
					
Matthews, R.A. (1996). Base-rate errors and rain forecasts. Nature, 382, 766.
					

Appendix A

Statements by Alpha Deltas

		I volunteer with Meals on Wheels. 	
		I visited a sick friend in the hospital today. 	
		I am rarely late for work. 	
		I planted seedlings in the park
		I helped a lost child in the supermarket yesterday. 	
		I donated clothes to charity. 	
		I volunteered to tutor needy students.
		I drive my elderly neighbor to the grocery store.
		I work out to keep in shape.
		I received a promotion at work.
		I sing in the church choir.
		I took a hurt stray dog to the vet.
		I helped a friend move to a new apartment.
		I take the neighborhood kids swimming.
		I volunteer in an after-school reading program.
		I give blood to the Red Cross regularly.
		I earned a community service award from the Chamber of Commerce.
		I used vacation time to work with Habitat for Humanity.
		I cheated on last year's federal taxes.
		I am self absorbed to a fault.
		I kicked a dog for no good reason.
		I ran a red light.
		I failed to show up for a scheduled job interview.
		I have crude table manners.
		I stole the neighbor's newspaper one morning.
		I rarely wash my car.
					

Statements by Beta Omicrons

		I helped a needy child.
		I went out of my way to return a lost wallet to its owner.
		I am well liked by my colleagues.
		I converse easily with strangers.
		I learned how to fly an airplane.
		I am recognized as an excellent musician.
		I helped paint my neighbor's house.
		I organized a birthday party for a co-worker.
		I am considered to be a very dependable person.
		I dented the fender of a parked car and did not leave my name.
		I never return library books on time.
		I yelled at a little boy who was bothering me.
		I often tailgate when driving.
					

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National Science FoundationNational Science Digital LibraryAmerican Psychological Association Education Directorate.
All materials on this site are protected by United States Copyright Law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, published or broadcast without prior written permission. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright, or other notice from copies of the content. The OPL web site managed by the OPL Advisory Board and materials remain the property of the authors. All Rights Reserved. Funding provided by the National Science Foundation [DUE - 0435058]

 

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