Research Report (Psychology)

Psychology research reports give an account of an experiment about human behaviour. The account not only includes the information about the process of the experiment, but it also communicates the relevance, validity and reliability of the research in a well-developed line of argument. A research report demonstrates how the current study relates to previous research, and how it contributes to this growing body of knowledge.

Each section in a research report has direct links to the other sections and all sections are logically related. As such, it is possible to predict what needs to be included in any section even if only a few sections are available to read. Some assignments provide students with the method and results sections, and then ask students to write the other sections of the lab report. That is, students are asked to deduce the research question and hypothesis or hypotheses from the method and results sections. One way of beginning this task is to think about creating a research story. The PDF resource below looks more closely at this deductive process.

Research reports have a set structure of Title, Introduction, Literature Review (sometimes this is part of the Introduction), Methods, Results, Discussion, Conclusion and References. Some research reports may also require a title page, abstract, and/or appendices, so be sure to check the exact requirements for your specific assessment task. The structure of a research report is made clear by headings and sub-headings, which need to be formatted according to APA Style.

Research reports need to be written in a formal and clear style. Research reports may present information in paragraphs, and also in bullet points and numbered lists. Some information in the Results section might be best presented as a table or figure and these must also be presented professionally. They need to be labelled with an identifier (e.g. Figure 1 or Table 1) and a title/caption. The information in the table or figure needs to be discussed within the report, that is, you need to explain what it means in words and refer to the graphic being discussed (e.g. As shown in Figure 1, there was an increase in…..).