The introduction starts out broad (but not too broad! Here are some guidelines for constructing a good introduction: Don’t put your readers to sleep by beginning your paper with the time-worn sentence, “Past research has shown (blah blah blah)” They’ll be snoring within a paragraph! In other words, your intro shouldn’t read like a story of “Schmirdley did such-and-such in 1991. Then....(etc.)” First, brainstorm all of the ideas you think are necessary to include in your paper.
Try to draw your reader in by saying something interesting or thought-provoking right off the bat. Next, decide which ideas make sense to present first, second, third, and so forth, and think about how you want to transition between ideas.
The introduction of an APA-style paper is the most difficult to write. Your intro should be a logical flow of ideas that leads up to your hypothesis.
A good introduction will summarize, integrate, and critically evaluate the empirical knowledge in the relevant area(s) in a way that sets the stage for your study and why you conducted it. Try to organize it in terms of the rather than who did what when.
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Remember that your audience is the broader scientific community, not the other students in your class or your professor.
Therefore, you should assume they have a basic understanding of psychology, but you need to provide them with the complete information necessary for them to understand the research you are presenting.
Note that in some studies (e.g., questionnaire studies in which there are many measures to describe but the procedure is brief), it may be more useful to present the Procedure section prior to the Materials section rather than after it. (e.g., money, extra credit points) Write for a broad audience. 280...” Rather, write (for instance), “Students in a psychological statistics and research methods course at a small liberal arts college….” Try to avoid short, choppy sentences.
Total number of participants (# women, # men), age range, mean and SD for age, racial/ethnic composition (if applicable), population type (e.g., college students). Combine information into a longer sentence when possible.