HPS121 A Lab Report Assessment
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Assessment task overview
Welcome to your guide to your first assessment task!
DO: Set aside some time to read this mindfully and enthusiastically, and you will be well on your way to writing a good assignment. If questions arise, write down a list of your questions, and post them on the discussion board!
DON’T: Take one look at the length of the document, panic, and read it in a hurry or hide from it for a few weeks. Trust us, this document is your friend, and the unit team is here to help you if anything is new or confusing!
In addition to engaging with this document, you will need to attend your weekly one-hour seminars and ask your tutor questions in order to do well on this assignment task. In your seminars, you will learn that a lab report is a scientific write up of a study you have conducted. In this case, you are not designing your own study and conducting it from scratch, we are going to provide you with an aim and research question for your study, but you will need come up with your own hypotheses and write a rationale for why the study is
important. We have also designed the method of the study and will conduct the research for you (you can be participant!), but you will be writing up the method section as if you designed it yourself.
In Assessment task 1 (AT1): Part A of your Lab Report, described in this document, you will be writing the introduction (rationale for your study) and method section of your lab report. The later sections of the lab report (the Results, Discussion, and Abstract) will form Assessment task 2 (AT2): Part B of your Lab Report (and there will be a separate guide to cover AT2).
The key takeaway here is, even though we are providing you with a topic and helping you run the study, we want you to write it up as if it were your very own research. And it will indeed be a completely new study, run in your trimester, with your fellow students (and maybe even yourself!) as the participants.
Why am I writing a lab report?
You might be asking yourself, why am I writing a lab report in psychology? There are two key reasons why writing a lab report is an essential skill for psychological science.
1. To learn how to engage with scientific evidence, and understand what information is trustworthy
This is achieved by reading and evaluating prior studies and by simulating the experience of conducting your own study, so that you can gain insight into how studies are actually conducted and discover their potential limitations and strengths.
Understanding this will help you not just if you choose to become a researcher in the future, but also if you choose to become a psychologist of any kind, because all psychological practice needs to be evidence based, i.e., psychologists help people by using what has been demonstrated to be effective by science. Even if you choose to not be a psychologist, you will gain a better understanding of how to know what information in the world is trustworthy, which is useful for day-to-day life and in many fields.
This aligns with ULO 3 for the unit: Demonstrate ability to summarise and critically analyse psychology research
2. To learn how to communicate effectively
Written communication is one of the most important skills you will develop at university. This lab report will teach you how to synthesise and evaluate information in order to draw your own conclusions and communicate them to the reader. This is a skill that is challenging and takes time to develop, which is why we want to start teaching you this as early as possible.
This aligns with ULO 4 for the unit: Construct, synthesise, and clearly communicate
Lab report topic
Hopefully we’ve convinced you that writing a lab report is a worthwhile endeavour. Let’s
take a deeper look at what exactly you will writing your lab report about.
Participation in the study
We will be collecting the data for your very own research study via an online questionnaire in Weeks 1-2 of the trimester. This means that you and your HPS121/HPY713 student peers from this trimester will be the participants for the study you will write about in your lab report. Participation in the study is completely voluntary, meaning whether or not you would like to participate is up to you. It provides you with the option to experience what it is like to be a participant of the research and should help you gain a better understanding of the methods needed to write your method sections.
If you have not yet taken the questionnaire but would like to participate, please do not read further until you have completed the questionnaire.
Click here to take part in the survey: Take the Survey
There is research to suggest that there are emotions called self-transcendent emotions, which, when felt, are thought to cause a shift from being self-focused to having a broader, more universal, perspective. These emotions include gratitude and awe. There are
individual differences in the frequency and intensity with which people experience these emotions, and their average tendencies to experience these emotions is called their
“dispositional” awe or gratitude. Interestingly, there is some evidence to suggest that individuals with a greater tendency to experience awe and gratitude may have better wellbeing.
You will be reviewing this research in order to develop a rationale for your own study on this topic. You will need to make an argument that this topic is valuable and worth studying, and you will need to provide a clear rationale for your hypotheses (i.e., explain what informed your educated guess about what the results of your own study will be).
The aim of your unique study in this topic area is as follows:
To investigate the relationship between the dispositional tendencies to experience two self- transcendent emotions (gratitude and awe) and wellbeing in a sample of Australian students.
You will read the evidence in the provided journal articles and also do your own literature search to find more evidence to help you determine whether you think that wellbeing will be positively correlated, negatively correlated, or unrelated with the two self-transcendent emotions (gratitude and awe) in our sample.
A positive correlation means that those who experience the emotion more have better wellbeing, and those who experience the emotion less have worse wellbeing. A negative correlation means that those who experience the emotion more have worse wellbeing, and those who experience the emotion less have better wellbeing.
You will make two hypotheses:
- You will hypothesise whether, based on the literature you have read, you think awe willbe positively associated, negatively associated, or unassociated with wellbeing in your study.
- You will hypothesise whether, based on the literature you have read, you think gratitudewill be positively associated, negatively associated, or unassociated with wellbeing in your study.
We will provide you the results of the study for AT2: Lab Report Part B. So for now, you will not know what the outcome of the study will be, you are just making an educated guess, based on the past research, to predict what will happen in your new research study.
Lab report structure
Part A of your lab report includes the following sections, in this exact order: Title page, Introduction, Method, and References. See below for more details of what is required in each.
- Mustfollow guidelines for an APA style cover page.
- Thismust be the first page of your assessment and be one page in
- Mustinclude a unique title that you come up with to represent the study.
- Itmust include your unique title, your name, your student number, the unit code and the assessment (AT1: Lab Report Part A), your unit chair, the date you submitted, and the final word
- Youshould also include a page number on each page of the
The introduction has two key purposes:
- Tomake an argument that this topic is valuable and worth studying
- Tobuild a rationale for your hypotheses (provide enough background information to make an educated guess about what will happen in your study)
In writing the introduction, you should effectively answer the following questions:
- Whyis it important to investigate the topic?
- Whatdo we know about the topic? (This is where you will evaluate the literature to determine what the relation between the variables seems to be based on past research)
- What is relatively unknown about this topic/relation? (This is the gap your study willaddress – if there is already past research on the topic, why is your new study needed?)
- What information can we use to help make a prediction about this gap? (If yourstudy is going to be a bit different from prior studies, how can we make an educated guess about what will happen? Will the findings be the same or different? Is there a logical inference that can be made?)
- Whatis the aim of your study and what are your hypotheses? (Note: the aim has been provided to you above, and you will come up with your own hypotheses!)
*Important note: Make sure that you define all your key terms clearly in your own words as they come up in your Introduction (i.e., avoid direct quotes).
The purpose of the Method section is to let the reader know:
- Whothe participants in the study were
- Howyou measured the key variables
- Howthe study was conducted and what the participants did
The Method section has three subsections corresponding to these three areas: Participants, Measures, and Procedure. What you write in each section should effectively address the following questions:
- Howwere participants selected (i.e., sampled)?
- Whowere they?
- Howmany participants were there?
- Whatwas the average age of the participants?
- Whatwas the gender breakdown of the participants?
- Howdid you measure each of the key variables? For each variable:
- Whatwas the name of the scale and what does it measure?
- Howmany items does the scale have?
- Howmany points were on the scale and what were the end points? (E.g., a 7- point Likert scale ranging from Not at all to Very frequently).
- Whatis an example item?
- Wasthe study ethically approved and were participants informed about the nature of the study? Did participants give their explicit consent before participating?
- Whatdid participants do and in what order? How long did it take them to do this?
*Important note: In order to learn more about how to structure and write your lab report, you will need to attend your seminars.
When writing a lab report you are using evidence from prior studies to help support the need for your study and build a rationale for your hypothesis. The researchers who conducted these studies need to be given credit for their ideas, so you will need to cite them in your work. In psychology, we use APA 7th edition style referencing in order to give credit to these researchers both by using in-text citations, and by listing all the articles you included in your Introduction and Method at the end of the document. It is your responsibility to learn how to use APA formatting, and you will need to guide your own learning in this process. The Deakin guide to APA7, including plenty of handy examples, can be found here: APA 7 referencing guide
We have selected three key references that you must cite in your lab report. In addition, you will need to search the scientific literature via the Deakin library to find and cite at least 1 additional reference to support your arguments. Only one additional reference is required, but you can use as many articles as you need to make a strong argument for your study and hypotheses. More articles are not necessarily better. You will not be evaluated on the quantity of articles, but rather, on how well you use them to make your arguments.
The full text of your references can be accessed via Cloud Deakin. When you’ve completed reading this document, the next thing you should do for your lab report is access your readings and get started on reading through them! Then, in your seminars, we will guide you through how to search the literature for your own additional reference.
Reference 1: Self-transcendent emotions and their social functions: Compassion, gratitude, and awe bind us together prosocially. Use this article to help you understand how to define gratitude and awe.
Reference 2: A meta-analytic review of the relationship between dispositional gratitude and well-being. Use this article to help you form your hypothesis about the relationship between gratitude and wellbeing.
Reference 3: Why are people high in dispositional awe happier? The roles of meaning in life and materials. Use this article to help you form your hypothesis about the relationship between awe and wellbeing.