Psychology: Research Methods

Please refer to the explicit format for this section that can be found here: Publication Guide of the American Psychological Association

Research Methods for Psychology should contain these elements:


  • Who will be sampled?
  • How many subjects will be needed?
  • Where will you find these subjects?
  • How will they be compensated?
  • What (if any) inclusion or exclusion criteria will there be?
  • How will the subjects' privacy and confidentiality be protected?

Measures (or apparatus, if applicable)

  • What data collection tools will be used?
  • If you are using questionnaires or other psychometric tests, you should provide reliability and validity data for these instruments¬†
  • If you are modifying an existing measure, you should describe how you intend to demonstrate the reliability and validity of the modified instrument


  • Tell exactly what you will do
    • think of this as a recipe: these are the instructions for what you plan to do with the participants
  • What will people be told about what you are asking them to volunteer to do?
  • Where will the investigation take place?
  • What will people do?
  • How long will it take for an individual to participate?
  • How will s/he be asked to offer informed consent?
  • What will happen if a participant decides s/he does not want to complete the study session?
  • What if any debriefing will be provided?
  • After your data is collected, how will it be coded or scored?

Analysis Plan

  • Step by step, tell how the data will be entered into the database, how data will be checked for errors or outliers, how such errors will be handled, and what statistics will be calculated

Your proposal will be judged not only on the basis of its hypothesis but also on the proposed methods of data collection. Make sure you have thought through each and every step, so that you will know how to proceed once the proposal is approved.