It is important that the title be both brief and descriptive of your research. Search engines will use the title to help locate your article. Readers make quick decisions as to whether they are going to invest the time to read your article largely based on the title. Thus, the title should not contain jargon or vernacular. Rather, the title should be short (generally 15 words or less) and clearly indicate what the study is about. If in doubt, try to specify the cause and effect relationship in your key point. Avoid trite and wasteful phrases such as "A study of ..." or "An investigation to determine ..."
The abstract serves two major purposes: it helps a person decide whether ...view middle of the document...
The goal of the introduction and literature review is to demonstrate "the logical continuity between previous and present work" (APA, 1994, p. 11). This does not mean you need to provide an exhaustive historical review. Analyze the relationships among the related studies instead of presenting a series of seemingly unrelated abstracts or annotations. The introduction should motivate the study. The reader should understand why the problem was researched and why the study represents a contribution to existing knowledge. Unless the study is an evaluation of a program, it is generally inappropriate to attempt to motivate the study based on its social importance.
The method section includes separate descriptions of the sample, the materials, and the procedures. These are subtitled and may be augmented by further sections, if needed.
Describe your sample with sufficient detail so that it is clear what population(s) the sample represents. A discussion of how the sample was formed is needed for replicability and understanding your study. The APA Task Force on Statistical Inference points out "how a population is defined affects almost every conclusion about an article" (Wilkinson, et al., 1999). Convenience samples are not unusual in scientific inquiry; their use should not discourage you from seeking a publication outlet for your report.
A description of your instruments, including all surveys, tests, questionnaires, interview forms, and other tools used to provide data, should appear in the materials subsection. Evidence of reliability and validity should be presented. Since reliability is a property of scores from a specific use of a specific instrument for a specific population, you should provide reliability estimates based on your data.
The design of the study, whether it is a case study, a survey, a controlled experiment, a meta-analysis, or some other type of research, is conveyed through the procedures subsection. It is here that the activities of the researcher are described, such as what was said to the participants, how groups were formed, what control mechanisms were employed, etc. The description is sufficient if enough detail is present for the reader to replicate the essential elements of the study. It is important for the procedures to conform to ethical criteria for researchers (APA, 1992).
Present a summary of what you found in the results section. Here you should describe the techniques that you used, each analysis and the results of each analysis.
Start with a description of any complications, such as protocol violations and missing data that may have occurred. Examine your data for anomalies, such as outliers, points of high influence, miscoded data, and illogical responses. Use your common sense to evaluate the quality of your data and make...