Research Projects

There are two class projects that you must carry out during the semester. The first is an example of correlational research. The second is an example of experimental research. For each project, you will participate in the study in class. The data will be analyzed in class, and you then write up a report of the study.

The purpose of these projects is to illustrate how a typical research project in psychology is conceived, carried out, analyzed, and written up. After you have completed these two projects you should be in a good position to develop and carry out your own independent project.

Each report must consist of an introduction to the research topic, a description of the experimental method, a summary of the data, and a conclusion describing the findings and their implications. For the class projects the report should contain no more than five pages of text, double spaced (title page, abstract, and graphs or tables may be extra). See the separate handout on suggestions for writing the report.

Grading criteria for the research project papers are described below.

UNC Honor Code and Plagiarism

The report must be your original work, and not copied from any other source.

When you refer to the work of other researchers you must give full credit to the original source. If you use the exact wording from any source, that text must be set in quotation marks, with an appropriate page reference. Notice, though, that it is generally better to paraphrase the work of others. Use your own words rather than quote the original exactly.

You are allowed, even encouraged, to discuss the research with other students, but the report itself must be written in your own words. To avoid the risk of violating the Campus honor code, other students should not be present when you write your report, and you should not share or discuss your written report with any other student. See notes on acceptable cooperation for further discussion of what this means.

The requirement that papers be your own work applies also to the final project, even if you carry out the project with some other student. The final project, for example,is almost always carried out in pairs. You and your partner will share the responsibilities of designing and conducting the experiment, analyzing the data, and interpreting the results. However, your reports must be written independently. Share ideas as much as you want to, but when it comes time to write your reports you must go your separate ways.

On the first page of the report you must append the pledge, "In writing this report I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid", and sign the pledge.

Due Dates and Late Papers

Reports must be handed in at the beginning of the class meeting when the paper is due. The due date for the final project paper is given in the class schedule.

Papers may be turned in late only if you are prevented from turning in the paper by an unforeseen emergency or medical problem. Permission to turn in a paper late will be granted only in the case of documented emergencies that could not have been anticipated, or an extended illness that prevents you from attending school.

Papers turned in late without prior permission will be penalized three points per day late. The final project paper will not be accepted late without prior authorization, which will be granted only in the case of unforeseen emergencies or medical problems.

Grading of the Report

Each section of the report will be graded out of four points, with an additional four points for overall organization and quality of the writing, making a total of 20 points for each report.

The following criteria will be used in grading the report. Review these criteria and the checklists carefully, since they specify what is expected of your reports. For more information, look at the suggestions for writing reports.

Introduction (4 points)

Checklist: ( points per item may vary).

An explanation of the purpose of the experiment, and a relevant problem statement
One or more hypotheses that are clearly stated and follow logically from the problem statement
Reference to original sources to explain the problem statement and hypotheses

Method (4 points)

Checklist: ( points per item may vary).

A description of the dependent variables, with references to sources if necessary
A description of the independent variables (if any)
A complete and accurate description of the experimental procedures (including the task if relevant)

Results (4 points)

Checklist: ( points per item may vary).

A description of summary statistics as they are relevant to the hypotheses
Appropriate graph(s) or table(s) of data if relevant
An appropriate and accurate statistical analysis of the data, testing the hypotheses

Discussion (4 points)

Checklist: ( points per item may vary).

An interpretation of the meaning of the results, with reference to the original hypotheses
A discussion of theoretical or practical implications of the results
Weaknesses in the research pointed out, and suggestions made for further research

Overall (4 points)

A well written, well organized report conforming to APA style.

Checklist: 1 point per item.