Writing a research report/experimental paper is essential when a student is instructed to design and conduct his or her own research project, or using another’s data to report. This type of paper, in contrast to literature review, is much more complex. Experimental papers follow the scientific method, and will likely include each of the following sections:

  • Title page
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
    • In an experimental paper, the Introduction is used to discuss the previous literature on the topic (much like a literature review, only shorter), and introduce the topic that will be examined in the current paper
  • Methods
    • In an experimental paper, the Methods section details exactly what the research entails. This includes participant demographics, any instruments used to conduct the research, and any other supplemental information that is useful for future researchers to understand about the project.
  • Results
    • In an experimental paper, the Results section reports all the analyses done to the data. It is the most quantitative portion of the paper, and is normally where all graphs/tables appear.
  • Discussion
    • In an experimental paper, the Discussion section discusses the analyses reported in the previous section (i.e. taking all of the quantitative information and transforming it into qualitative information). Furthermore, the Discussion section reports any limitations of the current research project, the major implications of the project, and suggestions for future research in order to progress.
  • References
  • Appendices (if applicable)
    • The appendix/appendices include any supplemental information that is not a table/figure (e.g. a questionnaire used in the Methods, or a picture that participants were shown, etc.). Not all experimental projects will have a need for appendices.
  • Tables (if applicable)
  • Figures (if applicable)

 (All information derived from https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/ and http://www.apastyle.org/index.aspx)