Observation Research Project
Read everything before doing anything!
This is one of the two research papers you will be writing in this
course. You may work in groups of two, but each of you must write your
own paper. The paper must contain all the parts of a research paper:
- Title Page
- This must be in APA style. Don’t use the words
“A Study of” or
“An Observation of” in the title.
- A very brief summary of the contents of your article. This
should be no more than 150 words (the APA style guide recommends
- The introduction gives the background of the problem you are
investigating. This is where you
summarize previous research in the area. You must have
two three references in your paper. Don’t go into
excessive detail about the references; as the APA guide says,
“Assume that the reader is knowledgeable about the basic problem
and does not require a complete accounting of its history.”
(American Psychological Association, 2010, p. 28)
After the historical review, explain the purpose of your
observation, and give your main hypothesis and any alternate
- This can be broken into subsections that talk about the
participants, apparatus (if you need any), and procedure. Write
this section in the past tense. This doesn’t mean
you have to wait until the observation is finished to start writing;
you can plan out your method (in fact, you’d better do that
before you start observing!) and write it down as if it had already
occurred. After all, when you finish the observation, it will have.
- Evaluate your results in words (e.g., “The general trend
shows that depressed people show more symptoms during the evening
than during the day, but the results were not significant.”)
Do significance testing on your
results and report them in APA style. For a χ2 statistic,
either describe the frequencies in words or in a table, but not
both. For Wilcoxon, Mann-Whitney, and t tests, you do not
need a table.
- Evaluate your results in light of your hypothesis or
hypotheses. Begin with a clear statement of the support or
rejection of your original hypothesis. You may wish to compare
your results to previous results in the field.
- These must be in APA style. You may not, under
any circumstances, use any paper by Milgram, Skinner, Zimbardo, Asch,
or Bandura as a reference, nor may they be the topic of your reference. Yes, they did
groundbreaking work, but much has been done since. You must have at least
three references from peer-reviewed journals or books.
- Before you start your observations, you will write part of the
introduction (your area of research and your hypotheses), the
method section of your paper, and the references. Obviously, you can’t
include information about the number of participants, nor the results
that you obtained, as you haven’t done the observing yet.
This pre-review material will be due
on the date shown on the main index page..
During lab that day, another student will assess your
paper using this scale
- Peer Review
- observation and paper must be complete by
the date showno n the index page. Another student will assess your paper
using this scale,
and return the assessment
to me on that same day.
(This will take longer; there’s more to
read than in the pre-review.)
- Presentations / Final Version
- Presentations will start on 2 /3 Apr 2014
a minimum of three minutes and a maximum of five minutes. Each presentation
will be followed by a maximum of five minutes of discussion. We will use
lab time during those class sessions. I will use
this scale to
assess your presentations.
- Final Version of Paper
- The final version of the paper is due on
2/3 April 2014 . Upload
the word processing document and Excel spreadsheet with your
raw data to Moodle. The word processing documents
must have a name of the form
observation????.doc (or .docx,
or .odt if you’re using LibreOffice)
and the spreadsheet must have a name of the form
observation????.xls, or .xlsx,
is your four-digit identifier. If you are using LibreOffice, the
file name will end with .ods.
I will use the same scale
as the peer review to grade your papers, with the following additonal
|Citation of direct quote without page number
|Incorrect citation format
Incorrect reference format (penalty depends on
how severe the error is)
Up to 8%
|Use of MLA format in reference
|Incorrect page break
These penalties are for each occurrence, so if you have three incorrect citations, you lose 15%. If you have two incorrect page breaks, you lose 4%.
American Psychological Association (2010). Publication Manual
of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.) Washington, DC: Author.
Here are some sample papers from previous semesters. All of them
except one are fairly good.
Note: Some of these were written using the
older APA manual, and not all of them follow the APA manual precisely.
Do not blindly follow these examples. Instead, if
you are in doubt as to the proper way to place a heading or indent
a reference, look in the APA manual!