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My experiment is on the topic “Is social media associated with mood?” My hypothesis: It is predicted that people who access social media on a daily basis will experience a more negative impact on their mood than those who don’t. I have attached a document with the survey results. This survey is one I made myself and sent out to UCF students to answer to help with this experiment. Over the course of the semester we will be writing an APA format paper based on the experiment you have chosen with your group, the data you have collected as a group, and the results you analyze as an individual. I am breaking the process down for you to make it easier for you.

For an overall APA format paper check out my crib sheet: APA format overview! This hits all the high points.

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In many of the social sciences, you will be asked to design and conduct your own experimental research. If so, you will need to write up your paper using a structure that is more complex than that used for just a literature review. You can find a complete resource devoted to writing an experimental report in the field of psychology here Links to an external site.

This structure follows the scientific method, but it also makes your paper easier to follow by providing those familiar cues that help your reader efficiently scan your information for:

  • Why the topic is important (covered in your introduction)
  • What the problem is (also covered in your introduction)
  • What you did to try to solve the problem (covered in your methods section)
  • What you found (covered in your results section)
  • What you think your findings mean (covered in your discussion section)

Paper Prep Step 3: Rough Draft Method Section

Method Section Rough Draft – By this point, you must have completed the experiment you are doing your report on.

Learning Objective:

  • Students will become familiar with thinking like a researcher in psychology. Reading and critically considering peer-reviewed empirical research in psychology and proposing the steps that go into designing a comprehensive research experiment will accomplish this.
  • Students will identify the steps that research takes including finding participants, determining variables.
  • Students will critically review, examine, and consider the use of different methods for gathering and analyzing data related to the research problem.
  • Students can develop scientific writing skills.
  • Students can explore creativity in research design.

Audience: Write to a novice, uninformed audience in a professional tone. So think of a classmate in a different course, someone who may not know the area you are investigating or the lingo we use in Psychology. It is OK to write in the first person if you are providing an opinion or analysis of a topic but avoid slang and text-lingo (e.g., LOL, OMG, etc.).


For this step you will submit a rough draft of your methods.

  • You MUST make sure that your method actually answers your hypothesis. Meaning if you are doing appearance and self-esteem, your method should involve a measure of appearance and a measure of self-esteem.
  • You MUST use sub-headers for organization. Word has an APA template that makes this very easy.
  • You MUST provide examples of the measures used. e.g., We used the Rosenberg Self-Esteem measure (year) which includes items such as “Sometimes I feel worthless”.
  • Maximum length of the Method section: 2 double-spaced pages
  • In the methods section, discuss participants, materials, and procedure, in that order. Think of it as a recipe. I want to make a “cake” like you made. So I take 300 freshman in intro to psychology, administer surveys A, B & C, I code an analyze and bam – I get (hopefully) the same “cake”. The method section should have the same level of specificity as a recipe. And hopefully if I follow it exactly and get the same results (replicability).

Make sure you include enough information for your reader to precisely replicate your study. See the Academic Literacy: Writing an APA Format Paper module for tips on searching for relevant literature.

Other Pointers:

  • Begin the Method section immediately after the Introduction (no page break)
  • Unlike in other sections of the manuscript, use of the passive voice is common in the Method section
  • The main heading Method should be centered on a line to denote the beginning of this section
  • Use subheadings for Participants, Materials, and Procedure (Apparatus and Design are optional) to organize this section
  • Subheadings appear in italics and are flush-left


  • This subsection should describe relevant characteristics about the participants used
  • Typically, these characteristics include how many participants were used, the participants’ approximate ages (you can give a range), the gender of the participants, the race/ethnicity of the participants and the place from which the participants were obtained
  • You should also mention how the participants were recruited and if they received any compensation (e.g., money) for their participation
  • Depending on the nature of your study, it might be appropriate to state explicitly in this subsection that all participants provided their informed consent and were treated in accordance with the “Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct” of the American Psychological Association.


  • This subsection should briefly describe the materials (e.g., questionnaires, the videotapes, the photographs, etc.) used in your study
  • Only describe the items that are necessary to replicate your study or understand what happened in your study
  • If you used complex visual stimuli in your study, provide a full description of the stimuli along with an appropriate figure to illustrate them
  • If you are writing a paper for a class, include copies of all of your materials in an appendix at the end of your paper
  • Note that procedural details should not be discussed in this subsection.


  • If you used special equipment (e.g., computers, television monitors, video cassette recorders), you should use a separate apparatus subsection
  • Again, only describe the items that are necessary to replicate your study or understand what happened in your study
  • Note that procedural details should not be discussed in this subsection either


  • This subsection should describe your experimental design
  • You should note whether you used a between-subjects (i.e., independent groups) design or a within-subjects (i.e., repeated measures design)
  • Also, both the independent and dependent variables should be identified by name, and if there are multiple levels of the independent variable, you should describe them
  • When identifying your variables, do not simply refer to your theoretical constructs (e.g., “the dependent variable was verbal intelligence”)
  • Instead, specify how your variables were operationalized (e.g., “the dependent variable was verbal intelligence, which was defined as the Verbal IQ score on the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised (WAIS-R)”)


  • This subsection should describe exactly how your experiment was conducted
  • Should use the past tense to describe the procedure
  • Avoid describing unnecessary and trivial details
  • A good general guideline is that your description should allow another researcher to replicate your study

Sometimes materials and procedure are grouped together – that is fine – it depends on how detailed the materials and procedure are.

For now use participants, design, materials and procedure as your subheaders.

You will upload your rough draft for us so that we can provide feedback.
Links to an external site. to an external site.

Both sites have detailed examples for you to follow

Please read the module on academic writing and research as well as the examples I have provided!

What is APA Style?

APA Style establishes standards of written communication concerning:

  • the organization of content
  • writing style
  • citing references
  • and how to prepare a manuscript for publication in certain disciplines.

Why Use APA?

Aside from simplifying the work of editors by having everyone use the same format for a given publication, using APA Style makes it easier for readers to understand a text by providing a familiar structure they can follow. Abiding by APA’s standards as a writer will allow you to:

  • Provide readers with cues they can use to follow your ideas more efficiently and to locate information of interest to them
  • Allow readers to focus more on your ideas by not distracting them with unfamiliar formatting
  • Establish your credibility or ethos in the field by demonstrating an awareness of your audience and their needs as fellow researchers

APA Formatting and Writing Style

You should start by becoming familiar with the general formatting requirements of APA Style, as well as the different standards for writing that are expected among APA writers. Because APA is different than other writing styles, you should pay attention to everything from general paper layout to word choice. The following pages will introduce you to some of these basic requirements of APA Style to get you started in the right direction.

General APA Format Links to an external site.

  • Covers the basic page layout for a typical APA manuscript, including everything from margin widths to the use of headings and visuals
  • Includes a general list of the basic components of an APA paper: title page, abstract, and reference page
  • Also includes a PowerPoint slide presentation Links to an external site.with detailed information about the APA citation style

Types of APA PapersLinks to an external site.

  • Describes the two most common types of APA papers: the literature review and the experimental report
  • Outlines what sections must be included in each type of paper, from introductions to a methods section


Any direct quotation MUST be placed within quotes and cited. Citing alone does not make it not plagiarized!

It is a violation of the honor code to plagiarize. So let’s use an example:

Let’s say that I have read something by an author named Bob Bobson & Fred Fredrickson (2007).
If I was paraphrasing I could write:

Bobson & Fredrickson (2007), argue that leaves are predominantly green in the summer. So here I am paraphrasing what the authors have said in their communication (presumable publication – but not necessarily so).
Researchers argue that in the summer most leaves are typically green in the northern hemisphere (Bobson & Fredrickson, 2007). Once again, here I am paraphrasing what the authors have said in their communication

Now if I use a direct quotation:
Bobson & Fredrickson (2007), argue that leaves are predominantly green in the summer, “often we see that statistically, leaves are typically green in most of the United States in the summer time.”
Researchers suggest that “statistically, leaves are typically green in most of the United States in the summer months” (Bobson & Fredrickson, 2007).

Citing merely tells the reader where the information is coming from – using direct quotations “” tells the reader it is a direct quote from someone else. Why is this important? Well chiefly, it’s not your words or work. Secondly, if you have the reader feels the information is wrong they can seek out the original source to verify that information a) wasn’t taken out of context or b) is indeed wrong.

Please check out the Module: Academic Literacy: Writing an APA Format Paper and read through some of the files like “Plagiarism Tutorial (from UNC Chapel Hill)”. This is an issue many students have but I would hate for it to become an honor code issue 🙂

Remember, you are typically better off loosing points for having nothing in your own words that plagiarizing someone else.

Course policy is that any plagiarism results in an automatic 0 on the assignment. University policy is that this is a violation of the university honor code and as such must be reported!!!

So please do NOT plagiarize!

See the module on academic writing and research for several files on plagiarism. Plagiarism & Citing amongst them. recognizes that students often encounter challenging assignments that may be beyond their current skill level or require more time than they can spare due to their busy schedules. The platform steps in to provide valuable academic support by offering assistance with a wide range of assignments. Whether it’s a complex research paper, a challenging math problem set, or a literary analysis, ensures that students receive the guidance they need to excel. Every student is unique, and so are their academic needs. recognizes this and offers customized solutions. Students can communicate directly with their assigned writers, providing specific instructions and guidelines. This personal touch ensures that each assignment reflects the student’s individual style and preferences. Meeting deadlines is a critical aspect of academic success. understands this and prioritizes punctuality. The platform is known for its ability to deliver assignments promptly, even when facing tight schedules. This reliability allows students to submit their work on time, relieving them of the stress associated with late submissions.

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