Thomas Farmer's Paper Guidelines
Think "Inverted Pyramid":
|The inverted glass pyramid in the Louvre
That is: Start very broad (general), become increasingly
A Broad Beginning
- Start with a very general statement that engenders
your research topic.
- If you were conducting a study on sexual
harassment, and might start with something like:
Sexual harassment in the workplace is a problem that has
received considerable attention over the past two decades
(Anderson, 1983; Stubb, 1997), and seems to persist, even in
light of many intervention programs aimed at curtailing the
epidemic (Griselda, 2000).
- Word of advice: You need to cite your statements
here, unless they are extremely general, like
"Smoking is bad for you."
- Review research relevant to your specific goals.
- For each reviewed study, include:
- a bit of info about the variables they were interested in
- a bit about their methods
- a bit about their findings
- rarely longer than a paragraph, unless you are trying to replicate their
- Logical progression through the articles, with specific focus
- Avoid Plagiarizing. Also, direct quotes in research articles
are extremely rare: Summarize this info in your own words.
- Keep your "argument" / motivation for research in mind.
Specific to Your Study
- After Lit. Review, it is common to talk about the
specific goals of your study.
"The purpose of this present study..."
- Common to give a brief presentation of the methods you employ.
- Followed by Specific predictions...
(Which are almost always derived in relation to your lit review)
- Which is why the "logical progression" in the Lit. review is so important.
Method (not Methods)
- Divide into Participants, Materials/Apparatus, and Procedure.
- Subsections are not "A Must" - However, they do help
you to organize this diverse set of information quite
- Participants: how many, how the were recruited,
demographic info (age, gender, etc), anything else
we might need to know (specific to your study)
- Materials / Apparatus
- Describe your stimuli (level of specifics
depends on the area).
- Describe the equipment used:
computer (what type, monitor, etc).
- Explain how the study was conducted from the
moment the experimenter meets the participant
until the moment the participant leaves.
- Give step-by-step account.
- Explain how participants were assigned to groups/
- Summarize instruction briefly unless they are
complicated or unusual in some way.
- Use common sense in determining level-of-detail.
REMEMBER: The purpose of this
section is so that other researchers can
replicate your study. This section should
be clear and concise, yet it should also
leave no doubt to a reader of your paper
how the study was conducted.
- First, explain things like scoring and data manipulation
- Quantitative presentation (introduce the figure)
- Qualitative presentation (explain key trends in the Figure)
- Statement of statistical reliability
- Only present the results here.... DO NOT
Interpret! Save Interpretation for the discussion.
Think "Regular Pyramid":
That is: Start with specifics about results of study, and end
with general (broad) points / suggestions for future research.
- Highlight key findings / key trends, etc.
- Then, Interpret your results, but really within the
context of information provided in the Lit. Review.
- Identify problems, state how they might be fixed in future studies.
- Suggestions for future research
Note: Increasing sample size is obvious, be more
thoughtful here when identifying problems and
suggesting future research.