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Week 4: Paper Prep Step 4: Rough Draft Results

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)

Week 4: Paper Prep Step 4: Rough Draft Results

Results rough draft is due! If you would like us to look over your discussion section, references and abstract please include here and we will provide feedback.

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 researches take using SPSS to analyze results.
  • Students will consider how to analyze data related to their 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 results. If you would like us to look over your discussion, abstract and references – here is your chance!

  • You MUST make sure that you report your results using APA format.
  • You MUST make sure that you test each hypothesis and report findings. Meaning if you are doing appearance and self-esteem, your results should measure the correlation between appearance and self-esteem.
  • You MUST use sub-headers for organization. I personally use one for each hypothesis and for gender as well.
  • I am requiring simple statistics to be reported, as well as at least 1 t-test AND 1 correlation – all in SPSS!
  • You MUST have at least 1 figure AND 1 table both in APA format.
  • Maximum length of the Results section: 2 double-spaced pages – most of you this will only be a paragraph or two.
  • Generally, we interpret results in results section. Tables and graphs should be included in this section.

Other Pointers:

  • Begin the Results section immediately after the Method section (no page break)
  • It is always good to start by reiterating the hypotheses! Generally, you want to remind the readers of what you expected to find and then present the data on if you were correct. e.g., “In line with a pluralistic ignorance model, we hypothesized that perceptions of cheating at the participants’ home university would be less than participants’ estimates for college students in the United States. We also hypothesized that all students would report a perception that others at their university cheat to a greater extent than themselves. Table 4 presents mean levels of perceived cheating at FAU and in the United States by undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty, as well mean levels of estimates of cheating by teaching assistants and faculty at FAU.” Use sub headers here: “Hypothesis 1: …”
  • The results section should describe what statistical tests you performed (e.g., ANOVA, t-test) and whether they were statistically significant (e.g., did you find any significant main effects? Significant interactions?)
  • The present tense should be used to describe the results
  • Proper APA format should be used to report statistical tests (e.g., t(10)=2.54, p<.05). Remember p<.05 is significant!!!
  • Do not include tables and/or figures (e.g., graphs) in this section; they should be placed at the end of your manuscript, BUT refer to the tables, figures: e.g., “as you can see in Table 1…”
  • Be sure to report means (and standard deviations) for the various conditions in your experiment directly in the text if you are not using a table or a graph to summarize them
  • Use M to denote the mean and SD to denote standard deviation
  • You should describe the trends in your data in the Results section (e.g., which condition had the highest mean), but refrain from mentioning what they imply
  • Be sure to explain your figures (e.g., graphs) and tables to the reader
  • Assume the reader will not look at these items if you do not explicitly point out important aspects of them
  • It might help to think of this process as describing the figures and tables to a blind person whom you would have to lead through step-by-step
  • You should not have both a table and a figure for the same data (must choose one).

If you are interested, you can also provide us with a rough draft of the Discussion, Abstract and References – Meaning we can review the whole paper for you. This is the last chance in a low-stakes environment for our feedback!


Generally, you want to summarize results in discussion section and state whether your hypotheses were supported. Also discuss possible limitations to your study as well as ideas for future research. Suggest directions for future research. What are the unanswered questions? How might current research and theories be improved?

  • You MUST make sure that you discuss your findings using APA format.
  • You MUST make sure that you report what your findings were; in the results section you have us the numbers – here it is what does it mean? So report findings for your hypothesis and any other results your data yielded. Meaning if you are doing appearance and self-esteem, your discussion tells us if the the correlation between appearance and self-esteem supported your hypothesis.
  • You MUST have a paragraph where you discuss what things may have effected your results – maybe you only used 20 year olds? Maybe summer students are less on the ball? These kinds of things.
  • You MUST have at ending paragraph that we calk the “needs for future directions” section. So here it is a broad, where do we go from here? Kind of section.
  • Maximum length of the Discussion section: 2 double-spaced pages – most of you this will be about 4 paragraphs.

Other Pointers:

  • Begin the Discussion section immediately after the Method section (no page break)
  • The discussion section should explain the implications of the results
  • The present tense should be used to discuss the results
  • It should begin with a very brief summary of the results that does not include any actual numbers
  • If you have significant results that match your a priori hypotheses, then it should be relatively straightforward to explain what they mean
  • However, you also need to discuss any aspects of your results that do not coincide with your original hypotheses
  • When your results do not match your predictions, consider the possibility that your original hypotheses were correct but there was something wrong with your methodology (i.e., perhaps there is a confounding variable)
  • Keep in mind that a confounding variable must provide a feasible alternative explanation for your results A confound is not simply any potential methodological problem
  • Another possibility is that your original predictions were incorrect and the data from your experiment indicate what is actually true
  • Yet another possibility is that a competing theory is supported by your data
  • It is not appropriate to propose that your data are simply the result of not having enough subjects
  • Near the end of your discussion section, you should describe any practical applications of your results
  • You should also attempt to make several good suggestions regarding appropriate future research
  • These suggestions should logically follow from the results obtained in your experiment, pertain to your original research hypotheses, and fit with past research on your topic.

Again – papers start broad and work to a very specific hypothesis in the intro and in the discussion it flares back out. Start very specific – your hypotheses and what the results mean and then go very broad 🙂

At the end of the discussion there is a page break then:


  • This section begins on a separate page
  • Only sources cited in your report should be listed here
  • All references should appear in order of the first author’s last name
  • Each reference should be set off by a “hanging indent” of 1/2 inch
  • Use proper APA format for references

page break then:

Author Notes / Footnotes – you won’t have these

page break then:

Tables / figures:

  • Each table should appear on a separate page
  • Proper APA format for tables must be followed


  • The abstract is always the second page of the manuscript
  • The first line is not indented and the abstract is just one big paragraph
  • The abstract briefly (120 words or less) describes what you did, how you did it, what you found, and how you interpreted what you found
  • No numerical results should appear in the abstract – but you see plenty of folks who do so this is really a style issue 🙂
  • Be sure to mention the main research question
  • Briefly mention the theoretical significance of your experiment.
  • Write this section of the manuscript last

I generally take 2-3 sentences from each section and rework them to make my abstract 🙂
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!


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 Research and Writing 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! 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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