Instructions for Paper II: Study One Methods, Results, and Discussion (Worth 35 Points)

Ryan J. Winter

Florida International University

Purpose of Paper II: Study One Methods, Results, and Discussion

1). Psychological Purpose

The psychological purpose behind Paper II is to make sure you can tell your reader what you did on your study, how you did it, and what you found. By now you have read several empirical studies in psychology, and you should be familiar with the Methods, Results, and Discussion sections. Now is your chance to write Methods, Results and Discussion!

Like those prior studies you looked at in Paper I, you will provide information about your participants, materials, and procedure in your Methods section. Your participant section goes first, and it includes descriptive statistics about your sample (means and standard deviations for age as well as percentages for gender and race/ethnicity). Your materials and procedure sections include information about what you did and how you did it. You should write this section for an audience who is unfamiliar with your specific study, but assume that they do know research methods. Thus educate your reader about your materials and procedure, giving enough detail so they could replicate the study. This includes explicitly describing your independent and dependent variables and talking about how you presented those variables to your participants. My suggestion is to look over the articles you summarized in Paper I and see how they wrote their Methods. This will give you a good idea regarding the level of depth and detail you need in your own Methods section.

Your Results section follows. The purpose of this section is to make sure you can show how you analyzed the data and describe what you found. You will have a lot of help in this section from your lab instructors.

Finally, I want you to include a short description of your findings. Tell me if you supported or did not support your hypotheses and explain why you got those results (you can actually speculate here if you like, but make it an “educated” speculation!)

2). APA Formatting Purpose

The second purpose of Paper II: Methods, Results and Discussion is to once again teach you proper American Psychological Association (APA) formatting for these sections. In the pages below, I will tell you how to format your paper using APA style. There are a lot of very specific requirements in APA papers (as specific as what to italicize), so pay attention to the instructions below as well as Chapter 14 in your textbook!

3). Writing Purpose

Finally, this paper is intended to help you figure out how to write a Methods, Results, and Discussion section. Many students find statistics daunting, but my hope here is that writing this paper will help you understand both the logic and format of statistics in results sections. We will once again give you a lot of feedback and help in this paper, which you help you when you write Papers IV and V later in the course. Make sure that you write this for an audience familiar with APA methods and results, but also for someone who needs you to tell them what you found.

Note: The plagiarism limit is higher in this paper (up to 65%) since your classmates are doing the same design. Don’t go higher than that, though! 65% is the maximum allowed!

Sorry for the length of the instructions! They are long, but take it one section at a time and you will get all of the content you need in your paper and get a great grade!


Title Page: I expect the following format (1 point):

The title page for your Paper II is identical to the one you used for Paper I: Literature Review Study One. For proper APA formatting, I suggest you either copy your title page from Paper I or review the title page instructions I gave you in Paper I.

Abstract, Graphs, and Tables? These are optional

You DO NOT need an abstract for Paper II: Methods, Results, and Discussion (Study One), and you DO NOT need a table or figure. You can choose to include them if you want, but they will not be graded. Check with your instructor to see if they prefer to see abstracts and tables. It may give you good practice on learning how to do them if you include them, though!

Methods Section: I expect the following format (15 points):

For this paper, the methods section starts on page 2.

Write Method at the top of this page, make it bold, and center it (see the top of this page as an example!)

The participants section comes next. The word Participants is bolded and left justified. In this section …

Tell me who your participants were (college students, family members, friends?) and how many there were.

Note: If a number starts a sentence, then spell out the number. That is, “Two-hundred and five participants participated in this study.”

If a number is mid-sentence, you can use numerals. “There were 205 participants in this study.”

Keep numbers consistent, though. If you spell them out at the start of the sentence, carry that through and spell out other numbers in the sentence.

For statistics, always use numbers (for the mean, SD, %, etc.)

Provide frequencies and descriptive statistics for relevant demographics.

For some variables—like ethnicity and gender—you only need to provide frequency information (the number of participants who fit that category). “There were 100 men (49%) and 105 women (51%) in the study.” Or “The sample was 49% male (N = 100) and 51% female (N = 105).”

Other variables—like age—are continuous (rather than categorical), so use descriptive statistics here (the range, mean, and the standard deviation). “Participants ranged in age from 18 to 77 (M = 24, SD = 3.50).” or “The average age of participants was 24 (SD = 3.50).” Your TA can help you find the mean and standard deviation for this assignment, though information is also available in a lab powerpoint.

Make sure to italicize the N, M, and SD (the letters, not the numbers)

Materials and Procedure

For this section, things are flexible. Some studies include Materials and Procedure in the same section while others break them up into two sections. This is a matter of choice.

In general, the more complex the design, the better it is to split up the methods and results. In one section, the author may describe the materials; in the next, they describe what participants did with those materials (the procedure). This is one option for you. However …

However, your “Paper II: Methods, Results and Discussion (Study One)” is simple enough that I strongly recommend combining them into one overall Materials and Procedure section.

Again, the words Materials and Procedure are flush left. In this section …

Provide information about your materials and your procedure.

I suggest starting with your procedure. Tell your reader what your participants did in the order participants did them. Be specific here. I have the following recommendations:

First, talk about the oral informed consent procedure.

Second, talk about the three versions of the Terror Management Theory questionnaire. Provide enough detail so that your readers know how the three conditions differ. I need to able to replicate your design, so give me enough detail so I can do so. (Hint: Copy and paste the various questions or refer the reader to an appendix that has those materials!)

Third, talk about your dependent variables (that is, your survey questions. For these dependent variables, once again provide enough detail so I know exactly what questions you asked. For example, “Participants provided their gender, age, and race”. For other dependent variables, tell me how the responses were recorded (yes/no, true/false, a scale of 1 to 6, etc.). If you used a scale, note the endpoints. That is, does a 1 mean it is high or is it low? “Participants were asked, ‘How frustrating was this task?’, and they responded on a scale from 1 (very frustrating) to 9 (not at all frustrating).’” Your study has a few really important DVs (including the number of word fragments completed with a death-related word as well as several DVs about the essay). For these DVs, you once again need to tell me what they are specifically!

Fourth, make sure to highlight which specific DVs you analyzed. If there are DVs participants completed but you did not analyze it, feel free to say those DVs were not analyzed, but if you analyze them in the results section, then be specific about them in the methods section.

Finally, mention debriefing

There is no set minimum or maximum on the length of the methods section, but I would expect at least a page or two (though probably more. After all, your own research script took up several pages – you should provide a similar level of depth and detail in your methods section!). Missing important aspects of your IVs and DVs or presenting them in a confused manner will lower your score in this section.

Remember, make sure that another researcher can replicate your study based on your methods section. If they can’t, then you may not have enough detail!

Results Section: I expect the following format (10 points):

The results are the hardest part of this paper, and your lab powerpoints will help you with this part of the paper (also refer to the crash course statistics quizzes, which walk you through similar analyses!).

First, write Results at the top of this section, center it, and use boldface. This section comes directly at the end of the methods section, so the results section DOES NOT start on its own page.

For this assignment, include statistics about the most important variables in your study, including your IV (Terror Management Theory – Mortality Salience, Dental Pain, and College) and the DVs you feel are most important to your hypotheses (again, I suggests the word-fragment question (total # of death-related words each participant completed), as well as any other question(s) as you see fit (You should look at one DV related to the essay). Note that some instructors may not do this Terror Management Theory study at all, but the results section should follow the same guidelines regardless of your study design.

For this paper, you must run at least three different analyses on three different dependent variables. One must be a chi square for the question asking participants which to recall which essay they wrote in Part e (our manipulation check). At least one of the remaining two analyses must be a One Way ANOVA (I actually recommend that both of your last two analyses focus on One Way ANOVAs). The third analysis can be either an ANOVA or a t-Test. Since all of the essay-based questions are scaled 1 to 6, I recommend running ANOVAs on at least one of those dependent variables. However, you should also run an ANOVA on the total number of death-related words. Now, you could run an ANOVA on the number of word fragments and a t-Test on the number of word fragments, but because it is the same DV, that only counts as one DV. We count the number of DVs you analyze – NOT the number of tests you run!

Chi square: Your first analysis will be a chi square, which you use if your DV is categorical (yes / no; yes / no / maybe; male / female, or … in our case, we have our Mortality Salience, Dental Pain, or College multiple-choice options in the question in Part e). So let’s discuss the chi square, which does not look at means but rather counts how many responses there are compared to how many you would expect.

Consider DV e) on your questionnaire – “Without looking back, tell me whether the open-ended question you completed on page one asked you to write about death, dental pain, or getting into college (Mark one with an X).” Here, you can run a chi square looking at the frequencies of the three answer options

We are interested in the chi square (χ2) and p value. We also provide percentages for each of our groups (rather than means and SD).

“Using the essay condition as our independent variable (MS, Dental Pain, or College) and the essay participants recalled writing as the dependent variable, we saw a significant effect, χ2(4) = 68.49, p < .001. Most participants in the MS condition recalled writing about death (98%); most participants in Dental Pain condition recalled writing about dental pain (96%); and most participants in college condition recalled writing about college (90%). This indicates that participants saw our manipulation as intended.”

Make sure to italicize the χ and p

ANOVA: Since you have a condition independent variable with three levels (e.g. MS, DP, or College), the most appropriate test is a One-Way ANOVA if your DV is scaled (like a 0 to 6 scale or a 1 to 6 scale). Your lab and lecture powerpoints show you how to conduct an ANOVA, but there are some guidelines I want to give you about how to write your results. Below, I am going to walk you through one analysis specific to this paper. However, keep in mind that you can run ANOVAs on several different DVs.

First, there are several dependent variables to choose from. For my example analysis below, I want to focus on Part c in your survey (the word-fragment question). Since this is a scaled variable that has a zero point (they could find zero death-related words or up to six), it is a ratio scale, which is perfect for an ANOVA. (Other questions we can look at are all of those ranging from 1 to 6 in Part d).

Second, given that this study has one IV with three levels and one DV that is on a continuous (ratio or interval) scale, a One-Way ANOVA is the best test to use to see if there are significant differences among the levels. We look first at the ANOVA table (or F table) and focus on the between subject factor. We note the degrees of freedom, the F value itself, and the p value. (We’ll get into two-way ANOVAs later in this course, but here we only have one independent variable, so it is a one-way ANOVA. Yes, we have three levels to our IV, but it is still only one IV).

If the p value is significant (less than .05), we have one more step to take. Since this is a three level IV, we need to compare mean A to mean B, mean A to mean C, and mean B to mean C. We do this using a post hoc test (try using Tukey!). That will tell us which of the means differ significantly. You then write up the results (Note: I completely made up the data below, so don’t copy the numbers!) …

“Using the essay condition (MS v. DP v. College) as our independent variable and how many death-related words the participant found as the dependent variable, we found a significant condition effect, F(2, 203) = 4.32, p < .05. Tukey post hoc tests showed that participants found more death-related words in the mortality salience condition (M = 4.56, SD = 1.21) than participants in both the dental pain (M = 2.24, SD = 0.89) and college (M = 2.23, SD = 0.77) conditions. The dental pain and college conditions, however, did not differ. This supports our hypothesis that participants who are death-aware are more likely to complete word fragments with death-related words than those who are thinking about dental pain or college.”

Note there are three possible outcomes: NONE of the three conditions differ (A = B = C). ALL differ from each other (A ≠ B ≠ C). One differs from the other two, but those other two do not differ (A ≠ B = C)

Also note that participants in the dental pain and college conditions DID find some death-related words. This is not a problem. Our prediction was that MS participants would find more death-related words, not that dental pain and college participants would find zero words!

Make sure to italicize the F, p, M, and SD (as in the example)

Pretty simple, right! I suggest going back and doing this same procedure for at least one additional scaled DV (like question 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5).

However, if you choose you can do a t-Test on one of those other dependent variables as well. Here’s how:

t-Test: If you have only two levels to your IV (e.g. MS or Dental Pain only), things are even more simple.

Here, you will run a t-Test (a t-Test looks at differences between only two groups). Again, your lab presentations tell you how to run this, but you can do it on your own as well (you can even run this if your study originally has three levels to the IV – when you go into the t-Test menu in SPSS, choose “define groups” and select 1 and 3 (MS = 1 and Dental Pain = 2). This will let you look at two of the groups! You could also select “2 and 3” or “1 and 3” where the College condition = 3).

Rather than an F value, we will look at the t value in the t-Test data output. Here, we have one number for the degree of freedom, we have the t value, and we have the p value.

The nice thing about a t-Test is that since you only have two groups, you do not need a post hoc test like Tukey (you only need that if you have to compare three means. Here, we only have two means, so we can just look at them and see which one is higher and which is lower when our t-Test is significant). Then just write it up …

“Using the essay condition (MS v. Dental Pain) as our independent variable and the number of death-related words participants found as our dependent variable, we found a significant condition effect, t(203) = 8.12, p < .05. Participants found more death-related words in the mortality salience condition (M = 5.56, SD = 1.21) than participants in the dental pain condition (M = 2.23, SD = 0.77).”

Repeat for other dependent variables

Make sure to italicize the t, p, M , and SD (as in the example)

Statistics order recommendation: For this paper, start your results section with the chi square (your manipulation check). Then talk about your main analyses (The word-fragment question as well as at least one essay-based dependent variable). Make sure the analyses line up with your hypotheses.

There is no page minimum or maximum for the results section, though I would expect it to be at least a paragraph or two for each dependent variable

Appendices (4 points)

I want to make sure you are including the correct numbers in your results section, so I want you to include all relevant SPSS tables for each of your analyses in a series of appendices.

Appendix A: Include your tables for age, gender, and ethnicity.

Appendix B: Include your tables for your chi square and the crosstabs

Appendix C: Include your tables for your first DV (This must be an ANOVA table, the descriptive statistics table for that ANOVA, and the post hoc test whether it is significant or not)

Appendix D: Include your tables for you second DV (Although I prefer a second ANOVA like iii. above, you could include t-Test tables here. This would involve both the descriptives for the t-Test and the t-Test output itself

Hint: The best way to get these tables is to copy them directly from SPSS. In the SPSS output, right click on the table, copy it, and then paste it into your appendix. Another alternative is to use a “snipping” tool (search “snipping tool” in Microsoft Word to find it). You can highlight an area on any computer page and save it as a picture. Copy the picture and paste it into your appendix. Easy!Discussion Study One (2 points)

In this section, tell me about your findings and if they did or did not support your results. It might help to refer back to your hypotheses “We expected to find A but instead found B” or “We expected to find A and our results supported this hypothesis.” Explain using plain English why you think your study turned out the way it did.

IMPORTANT – Do NOT give me statistics again here. I can find those in your results section. Here, all I want is a plain English summary of your findings.

Also, don’t give me results for a DV if you did not run an analysis on that DV. Only tell me about the results you actually looked at in the results section.

There is no length requirement for this section, but I recommend at least four or five sentences

Overall writing quality (3 points)

Make sure you check your paper for proper spelling and grammar. The FIU writing center is available if you want someone to look over your paper (an extra eye is always good!) and give you advice. I highly recommend them, as writing quality will become even more important on future papers. I also recommend visiting the FIU Research Methods Help Center if you need additional guidance with writing or statistical analyses. Also, remember to upload this paper through the Pearson writer before uploading to blackboard!

Other Guidelines for Paper II – Methods and Results (Study One)


1). Page size is 8 1/2 X 11” with all 4 margins should be one inch. You must use a 12-point font in Times New Roman.

2). PLEASE use a spell checker and/or Pearson Writer to avoid unnecessary errors. Proofread everything you write. I actually recommend reading some sentences aloud to see if they flow well, or getting family or friends to read your work.

Use the Paper II Checklist on the next page before you turn in your paper to make sure it is the best paper you can write!

Checklist – Paper II: Study One Methods, Results, and Discussion

Use the check sheet below to make sure your paper is the best it can be! Make sure you answer “Yes” to all questions before submitting your paper! The first two sections duplicate the Paper I checklist, but those elements in purple are unique to you Methods / Results / Discussion Paper II

General Paper Format (This section is identical to the Paper I Checklist)

Yes No Is everything in your paper (including headers, the main body of your mini-literature review, and your references) in 12 point Times New Roman font?

Is everything in your paper double spaced, including references (here I mean the spacing above and below each line, not the spaces following a period)?

Do you have one inch margins on all sides of the paper (one inch from the top of the page, one inch from the bottom, and one inch from each side)

Are the first lines of all paragraphs indented another ½ inch (or 1 ½ inches from the page edge)?

Are your paragraphs aligned left? (That is, text should be flush left, with lines lining up on the left of the page, but text should NOT line up on the right side of the page – it should look ragged)

Do you need help figuring out how to configure a word document in APA format (inserting headers, page numbers, proper indents, etc.)? If YES or NO, I highly recommend watching this video which walks you through setting up an APA formatted paper!​ 

Title page (This section is identical to the Paper I Checklist)

Yes No Header

Do you have the phrase “Running head” in your header (with a lower case h)?

Is the rest of your Running head title in ALL CAPS?

Is your Running head in 12 point Times New Roman font?

Do you have a page number that is flush right (also in 12 point Times New Roman font)?

Title / Name / Institution

Is your title 12 words or less (as recommended by the APA)?

Do all title words with four letters or more start with a capital letter?

Are your name and institution correct?

Are your title, name, and institution elements centered and in 12 point Times New Roman font?

Methods Section (New Information in this section)

Yes No Header

Is your header title present and identical to your header title on the title page?

Is your header title in ALL CAPS and 12 point Times New Roman font?

Does your header on this second page omit the phrase “Running head”

Do you have a page number starting on page 2

Title for the methods section

Is the word “Methods” centered and in bold at the top of your methods page?

Methods Section Continued

Yes No Participants

Do you have the word “Participants” flush left and in bold, right below the word “Methods”?

Did you list out your demographic characteristics, including gender, age, and ethnicity / race?

Did you provide the descriptive statistics for (means and standard deviations) for age and italicize the letters M and SD?

Did you provide frequencies for gender and ethnicity/race and italicize the N?

Materials and Procedure

Did you mention informed consent?

Did you thoroughly describe your independent variable in enough depth and detail that another researcher could duplicate your materials?

Did you give this IV a name that matches up with the name you refer to in the results section?

Did you describe all of your most relevant dependent variables, noting the scales you used (e.g. “Yes / No”, “A scale ranging from 1 (not at all likely) to 9 (very likely))” for EACH of your DVs?

Did you fully describe what participants went through in the study, noting the order in which they received study materials (e.g. first informed consent, then IVs, DVs, and debriefing)?

Results Section (New Information in this section)

Yes No Do you have the word “Results” centered and in bold, immediately following the methods section?

Did you analyze at least two different dependent variables?

Note: using a t-Test to analyze question #4 and an ANOVA to once again analyze question #4 does NOT count as two different DVs. That is the same DV analyzed twice. Make sure to look at two different DVs

Did you mention both the IV and the DV by name when talking about your analysis?

Did you include means and standard deviations within parentheses for each level of your independent variable?

Did you italicize the letters F, t, p, M, SD, and X2 (where appropriate)?

Discussion Section (New Information in this section)

Yes No Do you have the word “Discussion” centered and in bold, immediately following the results section?

Did you remind your reader of your hypothesis?

Did you mention whether you supported or did not support your hypothesis?

Appendix Section – Study One (New Information in this section)

Yes No Do you have the word “Appendix” centered on each Appendix page, followed by a description of the appendix content, immediately following the results section?

In Appendix A (Demographics), do you have SPSS tables for gender, ethnicity, and age? (Note: Age might be in a general “statistics” table, but you should have specific frequency tables for both gender and ethnicity)

In Appendix B (Chi Square), do you have the crosstabs table (with percentages) plus the chi square test (with Pearson)?

In Appendix C (ANOVA), do you have the descriptives table, the ANOVA table, and the post hoc table for your first dependent variable?

In Appendix D (ANOVA or t-Test), do you have the descriptives table, ANOVA (or t-Test) table, and post hoc table (for the ANOVA) for your second dependent variable?

Do the analyses in Appendix C and D focus on DIFFERENT dependent variables? (Make sure you answer YES on this one!)

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