Most often, laboratory work is a kind of adventure for a student, and you should talk about this adventure in the report. Many questions are often asked on how to write a report and not miss anything, how to correctly characterize all stages. Now let’s find the answers. This post will cover how to write a psychology lab report in APA style, the main points contained in a psychology laboratory report, and what each report needs to include.
How to Write a Lab Report in Psychology: Elements
- Title page. The title page should contain important information such as the title of your article, your name, and your academic background.
- Annotation. The second page of your laboratory report will be the abstract. Tell what you intended to find in your study, how you did it, and a statement that describes your findings. According to the APA style guide, for most laboratory reports, the abstract should be 150-200 words long. However, the exact number of words and the format of the abstract may differ depending on your teacher or academic journal.
- Introduction. How to write an introduction for a lab report in psychology? The next page is an introduction. A good structure should still be traceable. Therefore, we will focus on it and try not to change places of the parts of the introduction. Writing an introduction is not so difficult:
1. Tell about the topic of the work.
2. Summarize the experience of your previous research. You can talk about your previous studies if they are relevant to the current topic.
3. Formulate your hypothesis. Highlight areas where research is missing or potentially erroneous.
- Main body. In the next section of the lab report, describe exactly how you performed the experiment. Be sure to quote all sources using the correct APA style. Usually, this section includes several subsections:
1. The participants. Describe the participants in the experiment: who they are, how many they were, and how they were chosen to participate in the study. For example: “100 schoolchildren were randomly selected in one school in Arizona.”
2. Materials. Describe the materials and measures used in the experiment.
3. Model. Explain how the experiment went – within the same group or between groups.
4. Working process. The next part of your section should describe in detail all the procedures that made up the experiment. For example, “A researcher talked with every child in his school. The conversation lasted, on average, 20 minutes. The researcher explained to the child that he or she would be introduced to two stories, and after each one would be asked a few questions. All sessions were filmed on a camcorder so that later on the data could be processed and interpreted.”
- Results. In the results section of your laboratory report, you will describe the statistics that you collected during your research. This section is likely to be rather short.
- Discussion. Interpret the data; do not reformulate the results. Link the results to the existing theory. Explain the logic that made you accept or reject your original hypothesis. Provide reasoning if necessary. Add suggestions to improve your methods or describe what you can improve for new researchers.
- References. After the discussion section, your laboratory report should include a list of links that you used in your experiment and a laboratory report. All resources must be in APA format.
- Applications. Any tables or figures used to display your results should be included in this last section of your laboratory report.
How to Write a Lab Report in Psychology in APA Format: Lab Experiment
To write a psychology lab report, you need to conduct the experiment. This type of experiment is studying the characteristics of an artificially formed type of activity. In other words, it is a research strategy that is aimed at modeling the activities of an individual in these conditions. This type of experiment is distinguished by the most artificial experimental conditions.
Typically, a laboratory experiment is used to study elementary mental functions – sensory and motor reactions, selection reactions, differences in sensory thresholds, etc. When studying more complex mental phenomena, such as the processes of thinking and speech functions, it is used much less often.
It is important for a specialist to remember that any intervention during an experiment inevitably turns out to be a means of both beneficial and harmful effects on the testee. This position is of particular importance in the study of child psychology. The data obtained in the experimental situation, which also must be borne in mind, can be correctly interpreted only when they are taken in relation to the conditions in which they were obtained.
For the correct interpretation of the results of a psychological experiment, it is necessary to compare the conditions of the experiment with the situation preceding the experiment, as well as the conditions of the entire path of development of the individual.
In laboratory conditions, social and psychological experiments most often are conducted with the aim of a deep and comprehensive study of the mental activity of people. The leading feature characteristic of a laboratory experiment consists of ensuring the reproducibility of the studied characteristic and the conditions necessary for its manifestation. The purity of the data obtained is associated with certain limitations:
- The inability in artificial laboratory conditions to simulate everyday life circumstances.
- Under laboratory conditions, only individual fragments of these conditions can be reproduced.
The advantage of a laboratory experiment is the high accuracy of control, and the disadvantage is associated with the fact that the testee knows about the study.
A laboratory experiment is always supplemented by any methodological means, which makes it possible to expand the plane of research and increase its effect as a whole. It can be aimed at researching individual processes – the analytical approach – and activities in general – the synthetic approach. It can be used with or without equipment.
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