General PAP Guidelines for Writing Style & Format Although your research report may eventually be published in a professionally formatted two or three column Journal, everyone must start with a typed or word- processed manuscript. The publication manual of PAP provides detailed information on the proper method of preparing a manuscript to be submitted for publication. The methods it presents are generally accepted and appropriate for most scientific writing. Some Elements of Writing Style A research report is not the same as creative writing.
You are not trying to amuse, entertain, challenge, confuse or surprise your reader. Instead the goal is to provide a simple, straightforward description and explanation of your research study. The publication manual contains hundreds of guidelines and suggestions to help create a clear and precise manuscript, and we will not attempt to repeat all of them here. In addition you can access some of the manual’s information at www. Epistyle. Org. In the meantime, this discussion of four general elements will help you get a good start.
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Attached to this document is the mini version of the publication manual. Impersonal Style A research report is not a personal story and should be written in an objective and impersonal style. A simple rule is to minimize using first person pronouns such as “l”, “me”, “my’ or “we”. Do not include phrases like “l think ….. ” “l believe…. “, “this is important to me”. Instead of saying “l tested the children,” use the passive form, “the children were tested,” or let the participants become the subject of your sentence, “The children completed the questionnaire”.
Although the latest editions of the publication manual does allow increased use of first person pronouns and active sentences (as opposed to passive), keep in mind that you are writing a research port not a personal Journal. Verb, Tense When describing or discussing past events, when you present background material to introduce your study and when you describe the procedures you used to conduct the study, use the past tense (for example, “they demonstrated…. “) or the present perfect tense (“it has been demonstrated…. “).
When you present your results always use the past tense (“the scores increased…… “) after you have described the study and presented the results, switch to the present tense to discuss the results and present you conclusions (“the data suggest……. “). Biased Language Scientific writing should be free of implied or irrelevant evaluation of groups therefore, when describing or discussing characteristics of participants; avoid ethnic group, disability or age. The publication manual gives three guidelines for avoiding biased language First, describe people with a level of specificity that is accurate.
For example, when describing ethnic groups, instead of genera terms such as Asian or Hispanic, use Korean or Dominican. Second, be sensitive to labels; call people what they prefer to be called. For example, Asian, Black, and African American re preferred to the older terms Oriental, Negro and Afro-American. And keep in mind that, over time, preferences change. Third, acknowledge people’s participation in your study. For example, instead of “the participants were run in the study,” write “the students completed the survey. Or “participants completed the study. ” The publication manual provides the details of these guidelines, as well as further information about avoiding biased language. Citations Throughout your manuscript you will cite the published research of other scientists. Other research results are cited as background for your hypothesis, to establish a oasis for any claims or “facts” you assert, and to credit those who prepared the foundation for your own work, recall that using someone else’s ideas or words as your own is plagiarism- a serious breach ethics.
Whenever you state a fact that may be questionable or refer to a previous research finding; you must provide a citation that identifies your source. The convention for citation requires that you identify the author(s) and the year of publication. Although there are a variety of methods for a accomplishing this goal, two formats are commonly used for citation: I. State a fact or eke a claim in the text; then cite your source in parentheses within the same sentence. For example: It has been demonstrated that immediate recall is extremely limited for 5-year-old children Cones, 1998).
Or Previous research has shown that response to an auditory stimulus is much faster than response to a visual stimulus (smith & Jones, 1999) Note that both the author(s) last name (s) and the date of publication appear outside the body of the sentence (I. E. All within parentheses). Also note that the ampersand (&) is used before the last author’s name, When you cite your source in parentheses. II. You may want to use the source as the subject of your sentence. In this case only the year of publication is noted in parentheses. For example: In a related study Jones (1998) found that…..
In related study Smith and Jones (1999) found that ? Note that the author(s) name(s) appear within the body of the sentence and only the date of publication appears in the parentheses outside the body of the sentence. Also note that the word “and” is used before the last author’s name when your source is the subject of your sentence. In either case the citation should provide enough information for the reader to find the complete reference in your list of references at the end of the paper. It also is customary to distinguish between citations of empirical results and citations of theory or interpretations.
To report an empirical result, for example, you could use. Jones (1998) demonstrated…… Jones (1998) argued……… Definition A citation identifies the author(s) and the year of publication of the source of a specific fact or idea mentioned in a research report. The citation provides enough information for a reader to locate the full reference in the list of references at the ND of the report. As a general rule, be conservative about the number of references you include in a research report, especially a report of an empirical study. Select only those references that are truly useful and contribute to your arguments.
Also it is better to summarize a point using your own words than to quote extensively form another work. Direct quotes can be useful but they should be used only when it is necessary to preserve the whole essence of the original statements, thus direct quotes should be used sparingly. Remember, that whenever your paraphrase some one else’s work r use direct quotes, you need to give them credit. Guidelines for Typing or Word Processing The General PAP guidelines require that manuscript be double spaced with no more than 27 lines of text per page (8. 1/2 X 11 inch page), with at least a one inch margin on all sides.
In addition, the text should have a straight left-hand margin but an uneven or ragged right-hand margin without hyphenation breaking words at the ends of lines. Indent the first line of each paragraph 5 to 7 spaces; indentation should be consistent throughout the manuscript. The preferred typefaces (Fonts) are 12 point, Times Roman or 12 point Courier. This uniform format serves several purposes. First it ensures lots of blank space on every page to allow editors, reviewers or professors, space to make comments or corrections on the manuscript pages.
In addition, uniform spacing makes it possible for editors to estimate the length of a printed article from the number of pages in a manuscript. Manuscript Pages In addition to the body of the manuscript (the basic text that describes the research study), a research report consists of several other parts that are necessary to form a complete manuscript. In the following lines we discuss each of these parts in much ore detail, but for now note that they are organized in the following order, with each part starting on its own separate page: Title page: Title, author’s name, and other identifying information.
Page 1 Abstract: Page 2 Text: This is body of the research report (containing four sections; Introduction, Method, Results and Discussion) beginning on page 3 References: Listed together, starting on a separate page, Appendixes (if any): Each appendix starts on its own separate page. Author note (if any): Listed together, starting on a separate page. Tables: Each starts on its own separate page. Figure Captions: Listed together, starting on a separate page. Figures: Each on its Page Numbers and Page Headers Each page of the manuscript, except for the “figures” page, is numbered and identified with a page header.
The page number should be positioned in the upper right -hand edge. The page header is simply the first two or three words from the title of the paper; it is printed either above or 5 spaces to the left of the page number. The pages are numbered consecutively, starting with the title page, so that the manuscript can be reassembled if the pages become mixed & to allow editors ND reviewers to refer to specific items by their page number. The page header is used to identify the manuscript.
You may have noticed that individual identification (such as your name) appears only on the title page. This allows editors to create a completely anonymous manuscript by simply removing the title page. The anonymous manuscript can than be sent to reviewers who will not be influenced by the author’s reputation but can give an unbiased review based solely on the quality of the study. The Elements of an PAP Style Research Report In the previous section we identified the components of a complete manuscript.
In this section we look in more detail at the contents of each part, dividing the body of the manuscript into additional subsections that make up the majority of a research report. Figure 1 PAP-STYLE TITLE PAGE Page Header and Page number Max 50 characters Centre title Author names, & Affiliations Definitions The title page is the first page of a research report manuscript and contains the title is an abbreviated title for a research report containing a maximum of 50 characters.
The running head appears on the title page of the manuscript and at the top of the pages in published article. Title Page The title page is the first page of the manuscript and contains four pieces of identifying information: (1) The title, (2) The author name, (3) The author’s institutional affiliation, and (4) A running head for publication. The title should be a concise statement of the content of your paper. It should identify the main variables or theories and the relationships being investigated.
Avoid unnecessary words, and try to describe your study as accurately and completely as possible. Keep in mind that the words used in the titles will often be the basis for indexing and referencing your paper. Also remember that the title gives the first impression of your paper and often determines whether or not an individual reads the rest of the article. (Remember that title of an article is the first basis for deciding whether or not to read the rest of the article) the title is centered between the left and right margins and positioned in the upper half of the page.
It is recommended that a title be 10-12 words in length. Immediately following the title, on the next double -spaced lines, are the author’s name, followed by the institution(s) where the research was conducted (without the words by or from) if there are ultimate authors, the order of the names is usually significant; the first author listed is typically the individual who made the primary contribution to the research and the remaining authors are listed in descending order of their contribution.
The running head for publication is an abbreviated title that contains maximum of 50 characters, including spaces and punctuation. In a published article the running head appears at the top of the pages to identify the article for the readers. On the title page the running head is printed at top of the page on the next double-spaced line beneath he page header and page number. The running head begins at the left margin, and all letters are capitalized. Note that the running head for publication and the page header for the manuscript are not the same.
The page header first few words from the title and identifies the pages of the typed manuscript. The running head is a complete but abbreviated title that will appear in the published paper also note that the running head appears only once in your manuscript ON THE TITLE PAGE. Figure 2: AN PAP-STYLE ABSTRACT Begin a new page No Indent Statement of problem Describe participants Describe method & results Conclusion Or Implications The abstract is a brief summary of the research study, totaling no more that 120 words.
The abstract focuses on what was done and what was found in the study ABSTRACT The abstract is a concise summary of the paper that focuses on what was done and what was found. The abstract appears alone on page 2 of the manuscript. The word abstract is centered at the top of page 2 and the one paragraph summary starts on the next double spaced line with no paragraph indentation. Although the abstract appears on page 2 of the manuscript, the abstract, typically, is written last, after the est. of the paper is completed.
It is considered the most important section you will write. With the possible exception of the title, the abstract is the section that most people will read and use to decide whether or not to seek out and read the entire article. (The abstract of an article is a second screening device, after the title for deciding whether or not to read the rest of the article. ) For an empirical research study, the abstract should not exceed 120 words. It should be self- contained report that does not add to or evaluate the body of the paper.
In a mere 120 words the abstract of an empirical study should include the following elements, although not necessarily in this order: A one sentence statement of the problem or research question A brief description of the subjects or participants (identifying how many and any relevant characteristics) A brief description of the research methods and procedures A report of the results A statement about the conclusions or implications Center title General Introduction Relevant Literature Purpose Method & Hypothesis The introduction is the first major section of text in a research report.
The introduction presents a logical development of the research question, including a review of the relevant background literature, a statement of the research question or hypothesis, and a brief description of the methods used to answer the question or test the hypothesis. The first major section of the body or text of a research report is the introduction. The introduction provides the background and orientation HTH introduces the reader to your research study.
The introduction should identify the question or problem that your study addresses and it should explain how you arrived at the question, why the question is important and how the question is related to existing knowledge in the area. The introduction begins on page 3 of the manuscript. It is identified by the centering the title of the article (exactly as it appears on the title page) at the top of the page. The first paragraph of the introduction begins with a paragraph indentation on the next double-spaced line.
An introduction typically consists of the following five parts although not necessarily in the same order. I. Typically this section begins with a general introduction to the topic of the paper. In few sentences Next is a review of the relevant literature. You do not need to review and discuss everything that has been published in the area. Only those articles which are directly relevant to your research question. Discuss only relevant sections of previous work.
Identify and cite the important points along the way, but do not provide detailed description. The literature review should not be an article by article description of one study after another; instead, the articles should be presented in an integrated manner. Taken together, your literature review should provide a rationale for your duty. Remember you are taking your readers down a logical path that leads to your research question. Iii.
Ultimately the introduction reaches the specific problem or question that the research study addresses. State the problem or purpose of your study, and clearly define the relevant variables. The review of the literature should lead directly to the purpose of or the rationale for your study. ‘v. Explain briefly what you did to obtain an answer to your research problem. Briefly outline the methodology used for the study (the details of which will be provided in the next section of the report, the methodology section).
At this point simply provide a snapshot of how the study was conducted so that the reader is prepared for the upcoming details. V. Introductions typically end with a statement of the hypothesis (or hypotheses) concerning the relationship between the variables. If the introduction is well written, your readers will finish the final paragraph with a clear understanding of the problem you intend to address, the rationale that led to the problem, a basic understanding of how your answered the problem, and your hypothesis regarding the results of the study.
End of introduction no new page Center Italics & flush left Describe participants Apparatus &/or Materials used Describe process of conducting study The method section of a research report describes how the study was conducted, including the subject or participants, the apparatus or material and the procedure used. Method The second major section of the body or the text of a research report is the method section.
The method section provides a relatively detailed description of exactly how the research study was conducted. Other researchers should be able to read your teeth section and obtain enough information to duplicate all of the essential elements of your research study. The method section immediately follows the introduction. That is, do not start a new page. Instead, after the last line of the introduction, drop to the next double-spaced line and center the word “Method”.
Usually a method section is divided into three subsections: I. Subjects or Participants, I’. Apparatus or Material, and iii. Procedures. Each subsection heading is presented at the left margin in italics, and only the first letter of the heading is capitalized. The first subsection of the method section is either the subjects subsection or the participants subsection. This subsection describes the sample that participated in the study. For anonymous, this subsection is entitled “subjects”, and for humans, “participants”.
For anonymous, describe (1) the number of animals used in the study (2) their genus, species, and strain, (3) the supplier, (4) how the animals were housed and handled, and (5) their specific characteristics, including, sex, weight and age. For humans it is customary to report the number of participants, how they were selected, basic demographic heartsickness of the group including age, gender and ethnicity, and any other second subsection of the method section is entitled either apparatus or materials. This second subsection describes any apparatus (I. E. Equipment) or materials (I. E. Questionnaires etc) used in the study. Occasionally both subsections are included in a research report in an apparatus subsection, common items such as chairs, tables, and stopwatches are mentioned without a lot of detail. The more specialized the equipment is, the more detail is needed. For custom made equipment a figure or picture is required as well. The apparatus subsection is occasionally omitted (if there is no apparatus) or may be blended into other subsections of the method section if the apparatus deserves only brief mention.
For studies that use questionnaires, the second subsection of the method section is a materials subsection. Each questionnaire used in the study requires a description, a citation for it, and an explanation of its functions in the study (I. E. What was it used to measure). For a new questionnaire that you develop for the purposes of your study, it is also necessary to provide a copy of the measure in an appendix. Typically the third subsection of the teeth section is the procedure subsection.