PSY294 – Lab Report Your task is to write a lab report for Lab 02 – Memory Span. We’re interested in whether you genuinely understand the material that we’ve been discussing in the course and how well you can apply it. The lab report is worth 40% of your final grade.
Become familiar with the marking guide on the last page. The majority of marks go to the Introduction and Discussion, and not just reporting the results correctly (although this will get you marks too!). The points below are also important for gaining good marks, even though some may not be specifically outlined on the marking guide.
Introduction • Review relevant literature. The aim here is to build up a rationale for your study
culminating with the specific aims and hypotheses. • Ensure you are using past research to build up an argument, rather than simply
describing the research. That is, do not just simply state what the researchers did and what their main findings were. Also think about how this past research relates to your current aims/hypotheses/predictions. Make sure that your arguments all flow logically from one another. Use linking sentences at the start of each paragraph to direct your reader: Accordingly, Consequently, Conversely, Additionally, However, Nevertheless.
• The marking guide says, “displays evidence of understanding of theoretical issues/ questions underlying chosen topic.” It’s difficult to do that by simply listing past research findings.
• Be sure to include a clear statement of the overall aim of the study.
Hypotheses • It’s a good idea to set context for hypotheses, e.g., “To examine whether…
participants were required to… and X was measured as an indication of Y.” • You should also link a clear rationale to hypotheses, e.g., “based on the theory
that…/ based on previously found effects of… it was hypothesised that…” • It’s not enough to simply say, “based on past research it was hypothesised that…” • Make hypotheses very clear. i.e., state “it was hypothesised….” to ensure reader is
clear that these are your explicit hypotheses. Must state hypotheses in terms of the explicit variables measured (need to be clear on what IVs and DVs are).
Method • Include separate subsections: e.g., Design, Participants, Materials and Procedure.
If you are unsure what to include in these sections, you should consult a writing for psychology guide, such as those written by Burton or O’Shea (copies available in the library). APA style.
• Write up methods as if this was a controlled experiment, not a tutorial class. We know that you did this in a classroom, but we want to see whether you can write this report as a researcher, not as a student. Thus, do not include details such as which tutorial class, the classroom number, CogLab, etc.
• Should be as detailed as possible (i.e., replicable) and demonstrate your understanding of why the experiment was conducted in the way it was, but still CONCISE (not repetitive or wordy). So try not to give information that is not pertinent to the design of the study.
• It is important to give details of the stimuli (materials section) and make it clear how the stimuli were presented (e.g., position on screen), and why they were presented in that way (e.g., so each half of stimuli is presented to a different visual field).
Results • Do not fully interpret results here (i.e., what the results say with regards to theory/
methodology, etc.), but still a basic interpretation of where significant differences or relationships were/were not, and direction of these differences/relationships: to do this inferential statistics must be interpreted in relation to descriptive statistics:
• i.e., the descriptive (the means) show DIRECTION (i.e., which group/stimuli was higher/lower, faster/slower, whether a response increased or decreased compared to baseline. But descriptive alone do not show whether these differences in responses/groups are significant).
• The inferential stats show SIGNIFICANCE (i.e., significant differences but not the direction of these relationships, which is why you need to report and interpret both).
• Use a figure to display meaningful comparisons. Must be in APA format.
Discussion • Directly address the hypotheses! Were they confirmed or not? What results
• Compare and interpret results in light of previous theory/literature. Are they consistent with previous results? If not, why might this be (alternative explanations for results)? Should also consider alternative explanations to your results based on existing literature even if your hypotheses were met.
• Methodological limitations of this study. Explain carefully exactly HOW limitations may have affected the results. Pointing out a possible limitation without explanation of how specifically it might have affected your results is not useful (and will not receive any marks).
• Simply stating that because the sample consisted only of uni students, the results of the study are not generalisable to the greater population is NOT a sufficient limitation. Only talk about the “uni student” limitation if you can explain logically and specifically how using this sample may have affected the results in some way, e.g., why uni students would respond differently for words compared to digits. But there will likely be much more relevant limitations on which you could be focusing.
• Implications of this study in terms of theory and how these results might be used. Future research suggestions (may tie into limitations). Include a short—but solid!— conclusion.
General points • Minimum 10 references (peer-reviewed journal articles). Everything in APA style. • Go beyond what was discussed in class. • You must submit your lab report electronically via LMS. • Where an extension has not been granted, assignments submitted after the due
date will lose 10% of the available marks that could otherwise have been obtained for each day (including weekends) that they are late. Assignments more than one week late receive no marks. Even if all available marks have been lost, assignments must still be submitted in order to complete the requirements of the course.
• Submission deadlines should be strictly adhered to. Extensions will usually be granted only for medical reasons or extreme personal difficulties, and will require the provision of a medical certificate or other appropriate documentary evidence.
• Extensions must be applied for at least one week in advance of the submission dates, unless circumstances clearly prevent it.
• The 2000 word count is a hard limit (not counting the reference list) with marking stopping once the word limit is reached.
Concise description of important features of paper. Why, who, how, and what, conclusions and implications.
Title and statement of research question; Discussion of previous relevant research and theory, and references outside the textbook; Evidence of understanding of theoretical issues and questions; Well-structured.
You have selected appropriate material that gives sufficient breadth and depth for your lab report. You have made sufficient use of the library and web resources available. It is not just a list of all the books and papers that you have read. And is not simply a paragraph or section summarising each article in turn, just reporting on their content.
You have provided evidence of critical evaluation and critical understanding of the relevant literature. References are used to support your arguments where appropriate. Presentation of evidence forms a logical rationale.
Hypothesis is appropriate, and should be something which the chosen experiment could potentially support. Hypothesis is logical continuation of arguments made in introduction. Clear predictions of outcome of study stated in terms of variables measured and manipulated are also made.
Describe sample in appropriate detail. Identify variables and way in which they are operationalised. Clear, concise description of salient details of experiment including materials and procedure. Demonstrates understanding of how and why experiment was conducted in the way it was.
Relevant analyses reported correctly. Accurate interpretation of analyses.
Statement noting consistency of results with hypotheses i.e., supported or not and how? What do the results mean? Interpret them in relation to previous research and theory. Compare and contrast results and interpretations with previous research, considering alternative explanations. Note relevant limitations (not generalisations) – specify why and how any noted limitations are of concern and what effect they are likely to have had on outcome of study. Consider Implications of results and possible future directions in research.
You have demonstrated a solid understanding of the material covered in the readings, the lectures, and your own readings. You have provided a clear account of how the particular content that we covered applies directly to the topic that you have chosen (including appropriate summaries of the findings, figures, and tables).
APA style citations within text; APA style reference list.
Fluency and style; Spelling, grammar, and paragraphing. Your assignment has a logical sequence and transitions that make for a coherent narrative. Each argument that you provide is valid and logically follows from an already established issue. The narrative is rich in arguments, which are coherently and logical developed. Your analysis and discussion are a clear and naturally develop from the arguments that you put forward in the introduction and background. The evidence that you discuss is presented in a succinct form allowing the narrative to flow.
Overall Quality 4%
Coherence of Arguments; Displays understanding of theoretical issues and questions underlying chosen topic; Engages with topic; Goes beyond provided material.
You have demonstrated a clear and economical writing style. Technical language is used appropriately, with acronyms explained at first use. There are only very minor grammatical and spelling errors. The layout and presentation of figures and tables is excellent and clearly indicated. You have not exceeded the word limit of 2,000 words (excluding references).
Your assignment shows evidence of a noticeable amount of independent thought, extending beyond the information provided in the lectures and readings, which reflects a novel synthesis of existing information. You have created a narrative that logically explores your topic, but which could not be developed by relying solely upon material that we have covered in the lecture and readings. Your assignment demonstrates a solid understanding of issues in the area of your topic which are up to date and relevant.