hourglass structure to a research paper

hourglass structure to a research paper

•    Use any headings or sections that you think you will use in your introduction.  Your paper should be formatted in APA style – a title page is appropriate but

no abstract is needed for this version.
•    Remember the hourglass structure to a research paper.  Organize the literature review to create a logical flow for your argument.  You should start with the

theory that is the background for your study.  General theory should lead to articles that are more specific and closer to what you intend to propose.
•    Remember to use transitions between paragraphs and studies so it is clear to the reader how your different research articles relate to one another and to your

main topic.
•    Some references might be briefly mentioned while others might require a more detailed summary.
•    You do not need to use the same format for reporting on every article (e.g. hypothesis, IV, DV and results).  If an article is central to your procedure, you

will need to discuss it (including the procedure) in some detail.  An article that helps you demonstrate the theoretical background of the paper could be explained in

less detail.  The summary of Aronson & Mills below is neither excessively brief or detailed – consider it to be what an average summary might look like.
•    Remember this background research needs to provide adequate support for the hypotheses of your proposed study.
•    Your introduction should end with your specific hypothesis for your proposed study.  At this point you should generally know what your groups will be and what

your key DV’s will be.
•    Remember you MUST have a manipulated IV.
•    Please include a reference list

Grading Criteria:  The following form will be attached to your returned proposal.  You know exactly how many points each aspect of the literature review is worth so

please pay attention to each section as you are writing.  An expanded version of this rubric is located on the following page.
Possible    Points
Category                 Points        Earned
Grammar/Spelling        15
Organization/Clarity        15
APA Style            05
Clear research question        05
Relevant Research        10
Presentation of Research    30
Quality of References        05
Uniqueness            05
Hypothesis            10

GRADING RUBRIC – Proposal Introduction
Aspect Graded    Possible Points    Earned Points
•    Grammar / Spelling / Complete Sentences    15
•    Clarity of Writing / Organization / Transitions    15
•    Appropriate APA Style – headings, citations,     5

•    Clear research question, stemming from relevant theory rather than simple curiosity     5
•    Relevance of the research discussed to the research question & hypothesis – does your question link to the research you discussed?    10
•    Clear presentation of prior research findings – sufficient detail for reader to understand how it relates but not so much that it distracts from the argument.

Presented in a logical order.      30
•    Quality references from peer reviewed sources including at least 2 from list in Chapter 2 of your text    5
•    Uniqueness – not just rehashing an existing study but demonstration of critical thinking and improvement upon existing research    5

•    Hypothesis logically follows from the presented research    5
•    Hypothesis is well articulated in terms of both the IV’s and DV – stated as a specific and testable proposition and includes a manipulated IV    5

Points lost for lateness (5 points per calendar day late)

Summary:  The following is an example of how to summarize an empirical study for your literature review

Aronson & Mills Summary
Cognitive dissonance theory states that people are uncomfortable when an attitude and a behavior do not match; the resulting discomfort will lead to a change

in the attitude or the behavior to bring them in alignment.  Aronson and Mills (1958) tested this theory by predicting that young women who endured a difficult

initiation to enter a boring discussion group would like the group more than women who had not experienced the tough initiation.  The young women read a list of

embarrassing words as their initiation and based on the nature of the words experienced a mild or severe initiation.  A third level of the IV was a control group who

did not participate in an initiation.  After listening to an extremely boring group discussion, the participants rated the quality of the group and the discussion

which served as the dependent measures.  As predicted, those in the severe initiation condition rated the group and discussion more highly than those in the mild or

control conditions.

Research Proposal Sub-Assignment #4 Overview
Hypotheses and Methods Section

This overview outlines my expectations for sub-assignment #4 of your research proposal.  It is
due November 6th.
Overview of Hypotheses and methodology (3-4 pages)
You should begin with the last paragraph of your Introduction where you introduce your research design and state your  hypotheses and your independent and

dependent variables.  You will then write your Method section.
You MUST propose a study with at least one experimental IV.  Although excellent non-experimental research is done, I don’t want you to propose handing out a

survey to a bunch of people and analyzing the results.  In this class you can propose a more complicated study without worrying about having to implement it.  You

must, then, have at least 1 IV that is manipulated in your proposed study.

Do NOT turn in your entire Introduction section again.  It is OK that for this assignment you are going to provide hypotheses without prior research to support

them.  The focus of this assignment is your hypotheses and your methodology.  Begin with the last paragraph or so of your introduction and clearly state your

hypotheses.  Remember what we learned about hypotheses – they must be specific and testable.  You should clearly state how you expect the DV to differ for the levels

of your IV.  Also remember that you must have a manipulated IV.  If you have more than one IV, you must propose what you expect in terms of main effects and/or an


For your Methods section, you must have at least 2 sections – participants and procedure.  You probably will need an additional section for materials.  Use

your APA publication manual as a guide for what to include.  Use other studies you have read for examples of how much detail to use.  Remember that another researcher

should be able to replicate your study after reading your procedure section.  Things to keep in mind when designing your study:

•    What are your measures – did you make them up (must include in appendix) or do they already exist (must give reference)?
•    Are your measures reliable and valid?  Do you have a way to verify that they are?
•    Who are your participants?  Where will they come from and what specific information about them do we need to know because it is relevant to your hypothesis

(age, sex, level of depression, etc.)?
•    Do you need a cover story and if so, what is it?
•    Do you have a manipulation check?
•    Is your design independent groups, repeated measures or mixed?  If any IV’s are repeated measures, are you using complete counterbalancing?
•    Have you done everything you can to prevent participant expectation problems?  What about experimenter bias?
•    Have you covered ethics – informed consent, debriefing, …
•    Have you provided enough specifics about your procedure that it could be replicated?
•    Have you considered all of the wording issues we discussed for any survey questions?

Hopefully you will find this the “fun” part of your proposal.  You have lots of room to be creative and make it interesting.  Be certain that in your creativity,

though, you are paying attention to all of the details we have spent the semester learning that ensure you are proposing a quality research project.
GRADING RUBRIC – Proposal Method Section        NAME

Aspect Graded    Possible Points    Earned Points
•    Grammar / Spelling / Complete Sentences    15
•    Clarity of Writing / Organization / Transitions    15
•    Appropriate APA Style – headings, citations, writing, …    5

•    Hypothesis is well articulated in terms of both the IV’s and DV – stated as a specific and testable proposition including a manipulated IV    10

•    Participants – who, how many, recruitment approach, & appropriate (to your hypothesis) demographic information     10
•    Materials – equipment & survey description, where did measures come from, information on reliability or validity if appropriate    5
•    Procedure – adequate detail to allow replication, have discussed ethics, design, cover story, manipulation check, potential for bias, and other issues relevant

to your design    40

Points lost for lateness (5 points per calendar day late)



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