Writing Lab Report Assignment
Lab Report Practical Instructions
This document contains the instructions on how to use data, analyse and write-up your
lab report for the Research Methods and Statistics in Psychology module (PY5622).
▪ For this assignment you will investigate sex differences* in optimism, from data
collected using a published questionnaire and for which a hypothesis will be required.
▪ You will additionally determine whether optimism and age are related, i.e., correlated.
A hypothesis will be required.
▪ You will prepare a lab report summarising your findings, the format of which will mirror
the format of a standard journal article. Please read though the sections below that
outline the requirements and steps involved.
Please read though the Optimism Questionnaire document (a pdf file). This provides
you with the revised Life Orientation Test (LOT-R: Scheier et al., 1994) (administer the
first page) together with background information, links to additional articles, and
information on how the questionnaire is scored (second page). Your first task will be
to contact a fellow student (e.g. by Zoom/Skype) and administer the questionnaire,
that is, ask them each of the questions in turn and record their responses. You will find
details of who you are paired with in Groups under the People menu link.
Once available, you will be notified of the group data that can be downloaded. If you
view it in Excel you will see it has three columns: these are for, left to right, the
variables sex, age (years) and Optimism. Import the data into Jamovi. Run the required
analyses – for this remember your research questions:
1. is there a significant difference in optimism scores for males and females*?
2. is optimism significantly related to age in years?
For the first, you will need to use a t-test; you will need to decide which type of ttest. For the second you will need to use a Pearson’s correlation.
* you will see that for this assignment we have asked you to investigate sex
differences, and later referred to males and females. We appreciate that this is the
old-fashioned convention of male versus female and apologise to anybody who feel
they do not fit within these categories. But for the purpose of the analysis here, we
need to have twoclear groups. In addition, prior research tends to talk in terms of
male versus female, with little as yet published acknowledging a greater range of
Writing the report
The word limit is 1400 words. This excludes: the title page, the abstract and
references section (and any figures and accompanying captions). Note the word count
is a maximum limit (reading/marking stops at it).
Please include the following sections and sub-sections in the same order as stated
below (stated in italics, although do not use italics in your report). See also the Week
4 pdf summary document for further details. You should also refer to the slides and
recording from the writing your report live session.
Please include a title page, this must include: The report title, word count (net) and
your student ID.
This is a short summary of the entire study. Start with the aim and summarise with
your final conclusion.
This section should include the aims and hypotheses of your study and cite the most
relevant journal articles to the research question, e.g., what has been done before?
The aim is to give the reader some background information on the topic under
investigation. It moves from the general to the specific topically. By the end of your
evaluation of the current knowledge and theory, it should be obvious what you are
going to examine. End with your hypotheses (alternative and null).
This will contain the following sub-sections in the order given:
• How many, age (mean, standard deviation, and range), males and females
(number and potentially split of age across groups), why participating, any
• Underlying design method (e.g. experiment, or survey etc.), more specific
design (e.g. between/within participants, attitude scale etc.)
• Variables (independent, dependent – the measures, or just variables measured
in situ, as they occur)
• All stimuli and documentation (instructions, scales, consent forms etc.)
• Reliability and validity of scales used, scoring (although might go in design) etc.
• What the participants did – usual to put ethical comments here (for the purposes
of your report you can assume that ethical approval was granted from the
University, and that participants were informed of their rights and signed a
consent form, etc.)
Present your data first: descriptive statistics and then include the outcome of your
statistical analyses (as outlined above), e.g., t-test: t (32) = -4.23, p< .05 (2-tailed)
and correlation: r (120) = 0.32, p < .001. All reported statistics should be given in
American Psychological Association (APA) format.
An appropriate graphical visualisation of numeric data should be included for any/all
significant findings (e.g., a bar chart or box plot showing male and females scores
and/or a scatter plot of correlation data). You are also required to include within your
report a table – you can either do so to present your participant details instead of doing
so in narrative, or your descriptive statistics instead of doing so in narrative, and/or
your four hypotheses (two research and two null). Do not copy output tables from
Jamovi into your report.
Start with an overview of your findings in general terms and in general terms whether
or not they supported your research hypotheses. Present your interpretation of the
findings relative to prevailing research theory (which should have been raised in the
introduction) and prior research evidence (which should have been discussed in the
introduction). Discuss the strengths and weakness of your study, for example, does the
age range of your participants allow you to draw a conclusion over a limited range of
ages only? Mention any future directions of the research, for example, what could you
do as a follow up study. Do be balanced when you talk about the study – consider what
it can tell you as well as what it does not, and in terms of what it does not this should
lead you into a sentence about what you could do next to address this.
End with a final conclusion. This should be no more than a couple of sentences saying
what you have learned from the study.
You will have referred to other studies, for example, in your Introduction, please cite
all of these references in this final section. Failure to acknowledge the work or the
ideas of others amounts to plagiarism, which is a very serious academic offence. The
required format for referencing in Psychology is the format adopted by the American
Psychological Association (APA version 7).
Scheier M., Carver C., & Bridges M. (1994). Distinguishing optimism from neuroticism (and trait
anxiety, self-mastery, and self-esteem): A reevaluation of the life orientation test. Journal of
Personality and Social Psychology, 67, 1063-1078.
There is no requirement for any additional sections, appendix, supplementary
material, etc. for this submission.
An overall aim is to make your report easy to read by the marker. The following five
points will assist with this:
1. Main text – use font size: 12pt (title and sub-section titles can be larger and in
bold, but do distinguish between different levels of headings).
2. Font type: Your choice – but please ensure it is a clearly legible type, e.g., Arial,
Calibri, Times New Roman OR similar.
3. Line spacing: 1.5 spaced.
4. Include a title page (with title, net word count, and your student ID).
5. When figures are used label them Figure 1, etc, refer to them in the text as, for
example, “Figure 1” and ensure they have a suitable caption. Similarly, Table 1 in text
and the caption – APA formatting required.