How to Write a Psychology Lab Report
By Kendra Cherry. Psychology Expert
Kendra Cherry is an author and educator with over a decade experience helping students make sense of psychology. She is the author of the Everything Psychology Book (2nd Edition) and she has published thousands of articles on diverse topics in psychology including personality, social behavior, child therapy, research methods, and much more.
A psychology lab report describes an experiment and take the same format used in professional journal articles. If you are unsure of how a journal article is organized, look at some examples in psychology journals to get an idea of how your lab report will look.
It should include important information such as the name of your paper, your name, and your academic affiliation. You can find more specific information about how to structure the first page of your lab report in this overview of how to write a title page and check out an example of a title page .
The abstract should be the second page of your lab report. An abstract is a brief synopsis of your report, usually no longer than a paragraph. According to the American Psychological Association (APA) style guide, your abstract should between 150 and 250 words, although specific requirements may vary depending upon your instructor or the academic journal.
Your paper should begin with an introduction that outlines previous research on the topic, explains the goals of your current research, and provides your hypothesis. This section is usually several pages long and requires significant research in order to provide a sufficient overview of previous research on the topic. Remember to give proper citation to all sources.
The next section of
your lab report will be the method section. In this portion of your report, you will describe the procedures used in your experiment.
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Information you should provide includes number of participants, background of participants, your independent and dependent variables. and the type of experimental design you used.
Following your method section is your results section. In this part of the paper, describe statistical data gathered from your experiment. This section is usually quite short and does not include any interpretation of your results. Use tables and figures to display statistical data and results. Discover further details on what you should and should not include when writing a results section .
Next, your lab report should include a discussion section in which you interpret the results of your experiment. Did the results of your experiment support or refute your hypothesis? You should also suggest possible explanations for the results of your experiment and what these results might mean in terms of future research on the topic.
After your discussion section, your lab report should also include a list of references used in your experiment and lab report. Remember, all references cited in-text must be listed in the references section and vice versa. All references should be in APA format.
Tables and Figures:
Any tables or figures used to display your results should be included in this final section of your lab report. You can see what a table should look like in this example of a table in APA format. For more detailed descriptions and examples of tables and figures, consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (5th edition).Source: psychology.about.com