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UCD: Psychology Research » Instructions

How to write the research report



The research report should consist of a 1000 to 1500 word summary of a research article from this list. Use "word count" (under the Tools menu in Microsoft Word) to ensure that you are within the correct range. Do not include your header or any references in the word count, and see below for how to cite your paper. Remember, typing out author names will not count towards your word count.


   Citing your paper:

In the Introduction, rather than typing out all of the authors' names (as this will not count towards your word count), simply mention the name of the bolded author in the article list (the faculty member who is from UCD). That is, rather than typing "In this paper by Block, Shestowsky, Segovia, Goodman, Schaaf, and Alexandar" you should write "In this paper by Goodman...." This is not APA style, but this is how we'd like you to cite the paper for this assignment.

In the Reference section, simply copy and paste the reference for the article you read from the article list. You should not include the entire Reference section for the article you read.

Formating your paper: 

Your paper should be single-spaced and should be set up like this example (just delete any comments in red before submitting it): Paper Option Template.


The report should follow the outline below:

I. Introduction: (One paragraph) What is the basic theoretical question or concern of the research? This might include a statement of a particular theory being examined or a statement or particular theories being compared and a statement of the hypothesis being tested or a statement of expected results.

II. Method: (One to three paragraphs) What subjects or organisms are being tested? What is the basic form of experimental test being used?

III. Results and Conclusions: (Summarize briefly, one to two paragraphs) What are the basic findings of the experiment and how do they relate to the theoretical concerns and hypotheses in the introduction?

IV. Your Reactions: (Three to Five full paragraphs) What is your reaction to what you read?

Your reaction should address several of the following questions:  
A) Did you find it interesting? (Specify why or why not)  B) Do you see how it relates to what you have studied in class? C) Were you able to understand the paper? If not, what did you not understand? D) Do you agree with the authors' conclusions about their research? (Specify why or why not) E) If you were the researcher, what might you have done differently? F) What questions do you have that were left unanswered by the paper?  

Note: This section should be YOUR reaction; do not re-summarize the results here.

Each of these sections (except for Part IV) can be brief and the statements should include only the basic points, not all of the specific details. 
If a section is missing or does not adequately meet the requirements, you will be asked to revise your paper before credit will be granted. Students often need to expand Section IV in particular, so please make sure it is at least 3 FULL paragraphs. 


The paper should be saved as a Word document or PDF file (no other formats will be accepted). Each summary should be saved as a separate file- do not put 3 papers in 1 file.

The file name should involve your name and the name of the Davis faculty member whose paper you summarized. If you are attaching more than 1 file to your email, specify how many attachments there should be. 

Submit your paper via email to Sue Hobbs at