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Psychology topic
There are three parts to this assignment (all of which must be submitted). One whole study week is allocated to completing it.
Part 1 (DE100 project report)
Write the Introduction section of the DE100 project report.
50 per cent of the markorder conservation strategies
Word limit: 750 words
Part 2 (DE100 project report)
Write the Discussion section of the DE100 project report.
50 per cent of the mark
Word limit: 750 words
Part 3 (reflective component)
Reflect on the transferable skills you have developed through your DE100 studies.
Not graded, but 5 marks deducted if not completed.
Word limit: 100 words
Note: In Parts 2 and 3 of DE100 Investigating psychology 1, you had the opportunity to engage with the skills involved in report writing. In TMA 03 you completed the Design, Participants and Materials subsections of the Method section of the DE100 project report; in TMA 04 you wrote the Results section. Parts 1 and 2 of TMA 05 build directly on this.
On the following pages you will find:
• student notes for each part of this assignment
• learning outcomes addressed by this assignment
• a checklist to ensure you have done everything required for this assignment.

 

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Next: Student notes for Part 1
Student notes for Part 1
You are asked to write the Introduction section of your DE100 project report.
As you read in Chapter 1 of Investigating Methods, the purpose of the Introduction in a research report is to set out the background and rationale for the research, summarise the existing research around the topic, and explain why the current study is needed.
Relevant material
Material relevant to completing this part of the assignment can be found in several chapters of Investigating Methods. Chapter 4, Section 3 will be especially relevant as this is where you were introduced to the study by Chen et al. (2012), on which the DE100 project is based. Given that the Introduction needs to provide a review of previous research, you will need to draw on some of this material. Chapter 1, Section 2 is also relevant, because it introduces the purpose of an Introduction in a research report. Also, Chapter 1, Section 3 provides extracts from the Introduction to the Allum (2010) study. Chapters 3 and 9 provide further examples of how an Introduction should look. You may find the Chapter 9 material especially useful as it contains the full Introduction to the Loftus and Palmer (1974) study, rather than just extracts. Chapter 9, Section 4 is also relevant as it discusses the content of an Introduction, and the different points it needs to cover.
A number of online activities which you completed in previous weeks are also relevant.
• Online Activity 26.1: DE100 project – Writing the Introduction and Discussion sections is especially relevant as it has been designed to prepare you for this assignment.
• Online Activity 14.4: DE100 project – Introduction is also relevant, as this is where the purpose and rationale behind the study is discussed in more detail. It will be important to include this information, in your own words, in your Introduction. Also, this activity introduces a study by Hollands et al. (2011) which investigated evaluative conditioning in relation to food preferences, which you may also want to cite.
• You may also want to review the DE100 project online activities in Weeks 15 and 16, simply to refresh your memory about the project and its different features.

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As with all other sections, the Introduction must be properly referenced. You may therefore find it helpful to revisit Online Activity 7.3: Referencing (Part 1) – Why reference? and Online Activity 8.3: Referencing (Part 2) – How to reference. When referencing, remember to distinguish between primary sources (those you have read yourself, such as the textbook chapters) and secondary sources (those you have read about in the chapters). There is some guidance on this in the summary referencing guidelines[Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]
Before you begin to plan your Introduction, it would be good to review the feedback you received from your tutor for the previous TMAs to see if there is any advice that you could apply to this assignment. Although writing the Introduction to a research report is different from writing an essay, there may be some generic feedback about your writing and communication skills (including referencing) that you may want to consider.
Tips for writing the Introduction
A good place to start would be to review the relevant material and revisit the online activities, with the specific demand of the assignment in mind. Start by reviewing Online Activity 26.1: DE100 project – Writing the Introduction and Discussion sections and noting the different components of the Introduction. Chapter 9, Section 4.1 of Investigating Methods is also relevant to this task. Then reread the relevant sections from Investigating Methods, review the videos in Online Activity 14.4:DE100 project – Introduction and make notes on the different points that you may wish to make. You might find that something similar to an essay plan would be useful here to help you to decide the best order for the information you want to include.
If you are unsure what to include in the Introduction or how to start preparing for writing it, consider making some initial notes around the following questions:
• What question did the DE100 project address and why?
• What is evaluative conditioning?
• What other research was the experiment based on?
• How is the DE100 project linked to evaluative conditioning?
• How is the DE100 project similar to and different from the study by Chen et al.?
• What was the DE100 experimental hypothesis?
Once you have gathered this information you will be able to use it to help you organise your material for your Introduction.
Remember that important guidance and further tips about completing this assignment can be found in Online Activity 26.1: DE100 project – Writing the Introduction and Discussion sections and you should treat that activity as an extension of these notes.
Finally, remember that the DE100 project was simpler than many of the studies mentioned in Investigating Methods, and hence your Introduction will also be simpler. It will also be shorter, given that the word limit is 750 words. The key thing to remember is that you need to show you have understood the main principles behind writing an introduction to a research report, and demonstrate your understanding of the DE100 project and the rationale behind it. The checklist below will help you show this in your answer.
TMA 05 Part 1: Introduction checklist
• Start broadly, introducing the general area of the research. For instance, you may want to start by giving an example of how evaluative conditioning is used in the real world and explaining what evaluative conditioning is.
• Narrow down your focus to summarise existing literature, presenting relevant theories and research. For TMA 05, one or two studies should be enough (for instance Chen et al. 2012 and Hollands et al. 2011). Be concise and selective, only including research that is strictly relevant to your project. It is important to include a very brief summary of Chen et al.’s (2012) study and their findings.
• Use existing work to identify a specific need for your study, focusing in on the precise issue under investigation. Introduce why the study is being conducted and state the specific research question and how it will be investigated. How does the study differ from Chen et al (2012), and why? How is it the same?
• Present the hypothesis, ensuring that it is clear how it was derived it and why it is being tested.
Remember to state the word count at the end of your answer.
When marking Part 1 your tutor will be looking for:
• evidence of understanding of the rationale behind the DE100 project
• the ability to follow a logical structure appropriate for the Introduction to a research report
• clear and concise writing
• points and arguments that are backed by evidence
• a clear statement of the experimental hypothesis
• referencing of sources
• keeping within the word limit of 750 words.
Next: Student notes for Part 2
Previous: Student notes for Part 1
Student notes for Part 2
You are asked to write the Discussion section of your DE100 research report.
As you read in Chapters 7, 8 and 9 of Investigating Methods, the Discussion is the concluding section of a research report, in which the authors of a study interpret and give meaning to the results, draw conclusions from the findings, relate them back to the theories and research presented in the Introduction, and consider the limitations of the study.
Part 2 of this assignment directly builds on the work you did in Part 1. As you learned in Online Activity 26.1: DE100 project – Writing the Introduction and Discussion sections, the Introduction and Discussion are not stand-alone entities: they are sections of a report that need to ‘speak’ to each other. Bear this in mind as you write the Discussion. Also, once you have completed both Parts 1 and 2, read through both to ensure that they are consistent, and that they tell the same ‘story’ about the DE100 project.
Relevant material
Material relevant to completing this part of the assignment can be found in several chapters of Investigating Methods. Chapter 7, Section 3.3, contains extracts of the Discussion from Bakheit et al. (2007) and outlines the requirements for a Discussion section. Chapter 8, Section 3, contains extracts from the Discussion section of Nelson et al. (2011). Chapter 9, Section 3, contains the complete Discussion section of the Loftus and Palmer (1974) study; Section 4 is also relevant as it summarises the content of a Discussion section, and the different points it needs to cover.
A number of online activities which you completed in previous weeks are also relevant.
• Online Activity 26.1: DE100 project – Writing the Introduction and Discussion sections is especially relevant as it has been designed to prepare you for this assignment.
• You may also want to review the DE100 project online activities in Weeks 14 and 16, simply to refresh your memory about the project and its different features. This will be especially useful when you get to write about the strengths and limitations of the study.
• Collaborative Activity 11 may also be a useful source of ideas for evaluating the project.
Also relevant is the work that you completed for Part 2 of TMA 03 and Part 1 of TMA 04. Part 1 of TMA 04 required you to conduct a data analysis and write up the Results section of the report. You will need to refer to these Results when you write your discussion section. (See below for instructions about what you need to do if you have not completed TMA 04.)
Remember that the Discussion must be properly referenced, so make sure that you follow the referencing guidance and allow enough time to check your references before submission. Resources that have been created to help you with referencing are listed in the ‘Relevant material’ section for Part 1 of this assignment.
Note: If you have not completed TMA 04, please contact your tutor. Your tutor will provide you with a Results section, which you should use for the purposes of this assignment. You should on no account base your Discussion on the analysis of data that you and the students from your group collected as part of the DE100 project work. Your TMA must be based on the results from data provided by the module team.
Tips for writing your Discussion
As in Part 1, a good place to start would be to review Online Activity 26.1: DE100 project – Writing the Introduction and Discussion sections and note the different features of the Discussion section and the kind of points that it needs to cover. Chapter 9, Section 4.1 of Investigating Methods is also relevant to this task. Then reread the relevant sections from Investigating Methods, revisit the DE100 project activities, and make notes on the different points that you may wish to make in the Discussion. You may find that something similar to an essay plan would be useful here to help you to decide the best order for the information you want to include.
Remember that the Discussion should start with a clear statement of the results of your study. So why don’t you start by revisiting the work you did for TMA 04? You should have a go at stating the findings of the study in plain language, and describe what this means.
Remember to follow the structure of the Discussion set out in Online Activity 26.1 and the checklist below. If you are unsure what information to include in the Discussion, consider the following questions:
• How do the findings compare to those of Chen et al. (2012)?
• How can the findings be applied beyond the study itself?
• What are the strengths and limitations of the study?
• How can this research be taken forward?
Remember that important guidance and further tips about completing this assignment can be found in Online Activity 26.1: DE100 project – Writing the Introduction and Discussion sections; you should treat that activity as an extension of these notes.
It is worth noting that 750 words is not a lot. This means that you may have to be selective about what you include, especially when it comes to strengths and limitations of the study, or ideas about how it can be taken forward. This is why you will probably need to redraft the Discussion section several times. Make sure you allow enough time for that.
Finally, your Discussion will be both simpler and shorter than the examples you encountered in Investigating Methods. The key thing to remember is that you need to show that you have understood what writing a Discussion section to a research report involves, and demonstrate your understanding of the DE100 project.
TMA 05 Part 2: Discussion checklist
• State the results of the experiment in plain language, without citing the actual statistics. Did you find a significant difference between the number of participants who said they liked the DE100 IPTV logo compared to those in the control condition? Remember to relate this back to the hypothesis and state whether or not it was supported. This is also an opportunity to identify any unexpected results.
• Provide an explanation for the results and describe how they compare to other research in the field (as laid out in the Introduction). Do your results support or contradict Chen et al.’s (2012) findings about the effectiveness of evaluative conditioning. It may help here to revisit Online Activity 14.4: DE100 project – Introduction, where the rationale for the DE100 project is explained.
• Explain how the findings could be applied beyond the study. For example, how do they relate to real-life phenomena? At least a sentence should be included about the implications of the current findings with regards to (a) the wider body of literature on evaluative conditioning and (b) its application (e.g. non-celebrity advertising, branding and logos).
• Critically evaluate the study, pointing out its limitations and strengths. It is enough to have one or two of each, given the word-limit constraint. Could the results be interpreted in any other way? For strengths, you might consider consistency, controls, the dependent variable or the stimuli. For limitations, you might consider aspects of the study such as the sample size, sampling, the dependent variable or the stimuli. You must also explain why whatever you have identified is a strength or limitation. How might it have affected the meaning, reliability or validity of the results? You may wish to refer back to Collaborative Activity 11 for ideas. Where limitations are identified, try to suggest possible solutions. This can feed into the next point about possible future studies.
• Make suggestions for future research. Future research might include adaptations of the same study with a slightly different method to address the limitations you identified in your critical evaluation of the study (see the previous bullet point). Alternatively, you might consider how else participants’ responses could be measured. For example, is there a way of studying their behaviour instead of their verbal responses?
Remember to state the word count at the end of your answer.
When marking Part 2 your tutor will be looking for:
• evidence of understanding of the DE100 project and its strengths and limitations
• accurate interpretation of research findings and their implications
• the ability to follow a logical structure appropriate for the Discussion section of a research report
• clear and concise writing and evidence of writing in your own words
• the ability to relate the findings to the points made in the Introduction
• referencing of sources
• keeping within the word limit of 750 words.
Next: Student notes for Part 3

Student notes for Part 3
Your task is to think about the transferable skills you have developed through studying DE100. These are skills which are, or would be, useful in employment or similar situations. You learned about this in Online Activity 21.2: Transferable skills.
Write a few sentences (not more than 100 words) that:
• identify two or three skills you have developed so far on DE100 which are relevant to employment or another context
• explain how you do, or could, use these skills in your employment or in another context, beyond university study.
You will need to consider what skills you have been developing, such as the ability to write clearly and concisely, and to structure your writing in a clear and logical way; or managing your time and organising your work so that you are able to meet deadlines; or numeracy or IT skills. There are many practical skills you have developed or consolidated as you have been studying; this is an opportunity to reflect on those skills and to recognise the usefulness and applicability of them in employment or in another context.
Remember to state the word count at the end of your answer.
Note that you will lose 5 marks if you do not attempt this part of the assignment.
Next: Learning outcomes
Learning outcomes
Each TMA is designed to help you to develop particular skills and knowledge. These are referred to as learning outcomes. By completing this assignment, you will have an opportunity to demonstrate the following learning outcomes:
Knowledge and understanding
• Define key concepts and describe key theories, studies, methods and debates within psychology.
• Show awareness of the ways in which psychological knowledge is embedded in the historical, social and cultural context and the way in which it develops through a process of questions, arguments, evidence and evaluation.
• Recognise and describe the main research methods and procedures undertaken by psychologists, and identify the merits of qualitative and quantitative approaches.
• Recognise the role of evidence in building psychological knowledge and how this relates to, and can be made relevant to, everyday experience and real-life social phenomena.
Cognitive skills
• Select and interpret key information from a range of sources, and represent it accurately and appropriately.
• Interpret accurately different forms of data, including descriptive statistics, and recognise the relevance of inferential statistics.
• Analyse and evaluate types of evidence and methods, and identify some of their strengths and weaknesses.
• Interpret and integrate a range of evidence to develop an argument, including some primary sources.
Key skills
• Write using a clear and logical sequence of sentences and paragraphs appropriate for the level of study, subject, purpose and audience.
• Plan and organise an essay with an appropriate structure and referencing.
• Interpret information from basic tables, graphs, charts and diagrams (ICT and numerical skills).
• Demonstrate basic skills in the use of ICT, including accessing and searching web pages and using ICT tools appropriate to support distance learning (accessing email, learning from online-based study materials and using the eTMA system).
Practical and/or professional skills
• Plan study sessions to manage a sequence of work that meets a deadline and complies with relevant academic conventions.
• Engage with ethics issues in psychological research.
• Recognise how psychology, and the skills acquired when studying psychology, can be useful in the workplace.
Next: Checklist
In-text citations are included in the body of your report or essay (included in word count). The reference list is a complete list of your in-text citations, presented in alphabetical order at the end of your piece of work (not normally included in the word count). Textbook chapter Most commonly, you will be citing material from chapters in the module textbooks Investigating Psychology and Investigating Methods. The examples below are from Investigating Psychology. In-text citation when writing in your own words Milgram was an eminent social psychologist, particularly noted for his ground-breaking studies into obedience (Banyard, 2012). Banyard (2012) describes Milgram as an eminent social psychologist, particularly noted for his ground-breaking studies into obedience. In-text citation for a quotation (i.e. using exactly the same words as the source) “Milgram was one of the most innovative and productive social psychologists of his generation.” (Banyard, 2012, p.67) Reference list Banyard, P. (2012) ‘Just following orders?’ in Brace, N. and Byford, J. (eds) Investigating Psychology, Oxford, Oxford University Press/Milton Keynes, The Open University. Secondary sources Secondary sources are sources cited within the textbook that you want to use. In-text citation Smith and Bond (cited in Banyard, 2012) found the amount of obedience to vary across cultures, the lowest amount being 12% and the largest 92%. They had looked at twelve studies all of which had explored cultural variation in obedience. In your reference list, you would just include: Banyard, P. (2012) ‘ Just following orders?’ in Brace, N. and Byford, J. (eds) Investigating Psychology, Oxford, Oxford University Press/Milton Keynes, The Open University. Audio and video material Please note: these were created in 2014. The citation for these materials is given for each podcast/video on the website. Note: you will need to copy and paste the URL from your browser and add the accessed date. Video example In-text citation: Replicating Milgram (The Open University, 2014) Reference list citation: The Open University (2014) ‘Replicating Milgram’ [Video], DE100 Investigating psychology 1. Available at https://learn2.open.ac.uk/mod/oucontent/view.php?id=462755§ion=2 (Accessed 14 August 2014). Podcast example In-text citation: Interview with Michael Billig: Part 1 (The Open University, 2014) Reference list: The Open University (2014) ‘Interview with Michael Billig: Part 1’ [Audio], DE100 Investigating psychology 1. Available at https://learn2.open.ac.uk/mod/oucontent/view.php?id=462738§ion=7 (Accessed 14 August 2014). Kate Brierton 2011, updated by module team in 2014
Referencing guide for DE100 (OU Harvard Style)

Previous: Online Activity 14.4: DE100 project – Introduction
The DE100 project rationale
In this week’s reading (Chapter 4 of Investigating Methods) you were introduced to the phenomenon of evaluative conditioning. This is when somebody likes or dislikes something because it has become associated in their minds with something positive or negative. In Section 3 of the chapter you read about the study by Chen, Lin and Hsiao (2012), who found that participants reported liking a sports game (basketball or baseball) more if pictures of the game were paired with pictures of favoured celebrities than if they were not.
Now imagine the following (fictional) scenario: The DE100 module team is launching an educational internet TV channel called DE100 IPTV (in case you were wondering, IP stands for ‘Investigating Psychology’). DE100 IPTV will show popular programmes relevant to psychology. The team has come up with a logo, and now they want to examine whether the principles of evaluative conditioning can be used to make the logo more attractive to the audience.
Previous: The DE100 project rationale
The Chen, Lin and Hsiao (2012) study
Because the experiment which you will be conducting builds on the work of Chen et al. (2012), it is important to remind yourself of what that study involved. You will probably remember that researchers presented their participants with a slide show of images. In Experiments 1 and 3, participants in the experimental condition saw pictures of the sport paired with pictures of the favoured celebrity, amongst a series of distractor images. In the control conditions, participants saw all the same images (distractors, sport and celebrity) but this time the pictures of the celebrity and sport were not paired. They then asked the participants to rate how much they liked the particular sport.
See if you can complete the description of the Chen et al. (2012) study by dragging the method terms into the correct location in the paragraph below.
In Chen et al’s (2012) study the
independent variable
was whether the participants saw the picture of the sport and the celebrity paired or not and the
dependent variable
was how much they subsequently rated their liking of the game. In the
experimental condition
participants saw the photos of the sport and celebrity paired, among distractor images, and in the
control condition
participants saw the same sport and celebrity pictures separated by distracter images.

Previous: The Chen, Lin and Hsiao (2012) study
Evaluative conditioning and food preferences
Although the experiment that you will be conducting as part of the DE100 project will be based on the Chen et al. (2012) study, you might find it useful to read about another recent study, by Hollands et al. (2011), which also investigated the phenomenon of evaluative conditioning. This will help consolidate your understanding of evaluative conditioning and how experiments are used to explore its effect on human attitudes and behaviour. You may also refer to this study by Hollands et al. when you write the Introduction and Discussion of your DE100 project report for TMA 05.
Hollands et al. (2011) were interested in whether pairing images of ‘energy-dense snack foods’ (cakes, biscuits, etc.) with images illustrating the potential consequences of unhealthy eating (images of people with obesity or images of a diseased heart, for example) could have an effect on people’s attitudes towards food and food choices. This was quite a complex experiment and we will not discuss all of its different features here. Instead, we will focus on one specific hypothesis from the study which looked at how evaluative conditioning influences people’s food choices; that is, their eating behaviour.
132 participants were recruited for the study, and each participant was randomly allocated to either the experimental condition or the control condition. Participants in the experimental condition were presented with a slide show consisting of a series of images of unhealthy snack foods (presented on the screen for 1 second) each of which was paired (that is, followed immediately by) an image of a negative consequence of unhealthy eating, which was also presented for 1 second. Participants in the control condition only viewed the images of unhealthy snack foods, with a blank screen between the slides.
After viewing the slideshow, all participants were offered a choice between a selection of fruit or a selection of unhealthy snack products, as a reward for their participation. They were instructed to choose one item and take it home with them. They were also offered £3 to spend either at a fruit stand or a confectionary stand. The researchers recorded their choices.
Have you identified the independent and the dependent variables in this study? The independent variable was whether or not participants saw the images of snack foods paired with images illustrating the negative consequences of unhealthy eating, and the dependent variable was the food preference after the experiment. The hypothesis was that participants seeing images of snack foods paired with negative consequences of unhealthy eating (experimental condition) will be more likely to choose the fruit options rather than snacks, compared to participants in the control condition.
The results confirmed the experimental hypothesis. As Hollands et al. (2011) explain ‘the [evaluative conditioning] procedure’ (that is the pairing of the images of snack foods with images of negative health consequences) ‘had significant effects on food-choice behavior, with those in the [experimental] condition being markedly less likely to choose energy-dense snacks as opposed to fruits’. They go on to explain that ‘this is of note, because previously there was limited evidence of the impact of evaluative conditioning on behavioral outcomes in this context’ (Hollands et al., 2011, p. 200). Most studies, including that by Chen et al. (2011) looked at the effect of evaluative conditioning on people’s attitudes towards, or liking of, specific things (sporting events for example). Hollands et al. (2011) were able to demonstrate that evaluative conditioning also affects behaviour, at least in the very short term.
Reference
Hollands, G.J., Prestwich, A., and Marteau, T.M. (2011) ‘Using aversive images to enhance healthy food choices and implicit attitudes: An experimental test of evaluative conditioning’, Health Psychology, vol. 30, no. 2, pp. 195–203.
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Previous: The DE100 project – Recap
Summary of activity
Well done for completing the first DE100 project online activity. There was a lot to take in, but hopefully you now have an idea of what you will be doing as part of the project. Next week, you will be looking into ethics and how to ensure that the experiment that you will be conducting complies with the relevant standards. The week after, you will be looking specifically at the procedure, before going on to collect some data.
If there were any aspects of this activity that you found challenging, don’t worry. You might want to consider what you found difficult and see what you could do to remedy this. Maybe you need to revisit the two activities on experiments which were covered in weeks 10 and 11? Or maybe you need to read Section 3 in Chapter 4 of Investigating Methods, where evaluative conditioning and the study by Chen et al. (2012) are described? You may want to redo this activity, and try also to figure out some of the issues you found challenging the first time. You might find too that the PDF summary which we have provided will help. You could, of course, also raise questions on your tutor group forum so that you can discuss these issues with fellow students. In any case, remember that over the weeks ahead you will be taken through each stage of the experiment, and things will eventually fall into place!
ext: Evaluative conditioning and the DE100 IPTV logo

Previous: Online Activity 26.1: DE100 project – Writing the Introduction and Discussion sections
Writing the Introduction
In Chapters 1, 3 and 9 of Investigating Methods (especially in Section 3 of these chapters, which contain extracts from published research reports), you encountered several examples of Introduction sections. In Chapter 1, in particular, you were introduced to the fact that the main goal of the Introduction to a research report is to explain why you did what you did in a study. As such, the Introduction needs to:
• outline what has already been done in that particular area of research by other psychologists and researchers – placing your study in context
• explain why your particular study is needed – providing the rationale for the study.
When writing an Introduction, there is a general template that you can follow. You may remember from Chapter 1 of Investigating Methods that an Introduction should be funnel-shaped. The argument needs to move logically from introducing a broad, general area of research, through to describing your specific hypothesis.

View larger image

Long description
To achieve this, a good Introduction should do the following:
• Start broadly, introducing the general area of your research.
• Narrow down your focus to summarise existing literature, presenting relevant theories and research. For TMA 05, one or two studies should be enough. Be concise and selective, only including research that is strictly relevant to your project.
• Use existing work to identify a specific need for your study, focusing in on the precise issue under investigation.
• Present your hypothesis ensuring that it is clear how you derived it and why you are testing it.
Thus, the Introduction should ‘set-up’ your study. Before you start work on TMA 05, you may want to revisit Chapter 1 of Investigating Methods, which goes into more detail on how to write the Introduction to a research report. Also, we recommend that you read the extracts in Chapters 1, 3 and 9 again. Look at the ways in which the authors provide a succinct rationale for their own work, and address the following questions: How does the study relate to previous research? Why was the study carried out? What specific hypothesis, or hypotheses, is being testing? These are the same issues that you will need to bear in mind when writing the Introduction section for TMA 05.
Next: Introduction: the context and rationale
Previous: Writing the Introduction
Introduction: the context and rationale
When writing your Introduction, the purpose behind the study must be placed in the appropriate context. It is necessary to consider how the study fits in and builds on existing work within a research area (for example, research on evaluative conditioning). However, the context needs to be considered in such a way that it logically leads to the rationale for your study. The context needs to illustrate how past research has led you to develop your specific research question/hypothesis.
Very often, psychological research is motivated by gaps in knowledge that the researcher hopes to fill. Other times, conducting a study may be done to resolve inconsistencies found in previous research, or test a specific theory. Alternatively, those conducting research may seek to replicate a study, to verify or extend its findings. All of these are examples of relevant rationales for psychological research. However, in some instances, such as with the DE100 project, a study may have a more applied focus. Rather than advancing a particular theory, a study may seek to see how a particular psychological concept, like evaluative conditioning, can be applied in a specific context, such as developing a logo for a web-based educational channel.
Whatever the rationale is for a study, it must be stated explicitly in the Introduction section. This will demonstrate to the reader why the study is of interest, as well as how it relates to existing theories and research. You can then use your Discussion section to present the findings and link them back to the rationale.
Next: Task 1: Components of an Introduction

Previous: Introduction: the context and rationale
Task 1: Components of an Introduction
Below, you will find some extracts taken from the Introduction to the study by Chen et al. (2012), on which the DE100 project is based. You will remember that the authors investigated whether or not pairing celebrity endorsers with sporting events produced more positive attitudes towards the events.
Without referring to the original paper, see if you can order the following sections to make a coherent Introduction.
Remember that the focus of an Introduction should be like a funnel. It should start out broadly, introducing the topic of study and summarising the existing, relevant research and then gradually narrow down to focus on the precise issue being investigated. The section should end with a statement of the hypothesis.

Celebrity endorsement of sporting events has been increasingly employed since the 1970s (Tom et al, 1992; Agrawal & Kumakura, 1995) as a means to cut through advertising clutter and to attract viewer attention. […] As a result, athlete endorsements have become one of the main forms of sports marketing used by many leading corporations (Yu, 2005).
• Studies in recent years have used various mechanisms to assess the effectiveness of celebrity endorsement […] Of these research mechanisms, associative learning has been used most frequently to demonstrate the effectiveness of celebrity endorsement (Till & Busler, 2000). Associative learning suggests that endorsers are more effective when there is congruence between the endorser and the endorsed product (Kamins, 1990; Lynch & Schuler, 1994; Till & Busler, 2000).
• Whilst associative learning theory has been used to explain endorsement effectiveness, the underlying mechanisms facilitating these effects have not been fully explored. […] Till et al (2008) proposed that conditioning could help to explain the basic notion of fit between the endorser and the endorsed product… When there is a good fit between conditioned stimulus and unconditioned stimulus, it is easier to develop an associative link between the two stimuli.
• With the preponderance of evidence to indicate that favourable stimuli result in conditioned responses, and the identified need to study sporting events, the first hypothesis of this study was formed as follows: Individuals exposed to the systematic pairing of a sporting event with a celebrity will develop a more favourable attitude towards the sporting event than individuals in the control condition.
Reset
Writing the Introduction for TMA 05
How did you get on? Note how the Introduction in the Chen et al. (2012) report follows the funnel shape. It starts with the broader issue addressed in the study (celebrity endorsement); it then proceeds to discuss the psychology behind the effectiveness of celebrity endorsement, including ‘associative learning’. Next, the Introduction explains that conditioning had been proposed as a mechanism behind associative learning. Finally, the researchers introduce their hypothesis.
Note that this was an abbreviated and simplified version of Chen et al.’s Introduction. They included more detail in the original version and more than one hypothesis, but the purpose of this exercise was to illustrate a general point about the structure of the argument within an Introduction.
There are different ways to approach the task of writing the Introduction section for TMA 05 but you should certainly begin by making a plan of the material you want to cover, just as you would for an essay. The guidance notes for TMA 05 will give you lots of information about what you should include, so do read and follow them carefully. You may find it helpful to work backwards from your hypothesis and think about how you can justify it. Alternatively, you may want to start by writing the first paragraph, which introduces the topic and places your study within the context of existing research (specifically the Chen et al. study).
Whatever approach to writing the Introduction you take, remember to cover the key points identified in this activity. Also, note that your Introduction needs to be no more than 750 words. The word count means that your writing needs to be concise and you must be selective with what you include.
Finally, before writing the Introduction, you may find it helpful to revisit the DE100 project online activities in weeks 14–17, as this is where the purpose and rationale behind the project was discussed in more detail.
You will receive more guidance about writing your Introduction in the relevant section of the TMA 05[Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] assignment guidance.
Next: Writing the Discussion
Previous: Writing the Introduction for TMA 05
Writing the Discussion
The concluding section of the report is the Discussion. As you read in Chapters 8 and 9 of Investigating Methods, this is where you interpret and give meaning to the results of your study, draw conclusions from the findings, relate them back to the theories and research presented in the Introduction, and consider the limitations of the study.
You should begin the Discussion section by reiterating the findings presented in the Results section, but this time you should state them in plain English: in this case, whether or not you found a significant relationship/difference between the experimental and control conditions. When doing this, explicitly relate your findings back to your hypothesis and state what they mean in terms of the specific question(s) you were trying to answer. You should also state whether the prediction was supported and identify any unexpected results.
At this point you must consider what your findings mean. This is where the link between the Introduction and the Discussion comes into play. You need to relate your findings back to the previous research you outlined in the Introduction, and specifically to the work that led to the development of the hypothesis. Do your results support or contradict previous findings about the effectiveness of evaluative conditioning? You need to explain in what ways your findings are similar or different.
Next, an important feature of any Discussion section is critical evaluation of your study, which means looking at both the strengths and the limitations of the study. You will only have space for a small number of points, so select those that you think are most important. If your findings are not consistent with previous work (specifically, Chen et al.’s 2012 study), can you think of any reasons why that might be?
Now think about the wider implications of your findings. What suggestions for future research in this area do you have (bearing in mind the strengths and limitations you’ve considered from this study)?
Next, let’s look at the issue of evaluation in more detail.
Next: Discussion: critical evaluation

Previous: Writing the Discussion
Discussion: critical evaluation
An important feature of the Discussion section is the critical evaluation of your own research. You need to keep this in mind when talking about the implications of your study. Instead of just accepting your results as ‘the truth’ (regardless of whether they are significant or not), consider whether there are any limitations to your study. Highlight any areas of your study that you think may have been problematic: for example, were there any issues with your method, such as your materials, procedure or way of sampling? Remember that the collaborative activity in weeks 22 and 23 invited you to consider and discuss the limitations of the study you carried for the DE100 project and exchange ideas about follow-up research. You may want to include some of these ideas in the Discussion section.
Also, think about whether any alternative explanations could be given for your pattern of results – were there any confounding variables that may have affected the findings? Consider how these issues might affect the meaning, reliability or validity of your results, but also remember that the purpose of evaluating your own work is not to undermine everything you have done: it is just to assess it. Use the Discussion section to highlight the strengths of your study, as well as the limitations, and for any problems you do identify, try to suggest possible solutions.
Proposing future avenues for research is also an important part of the Discussion. Remember, research is part of a cycle of enquiry and this is the place where you can suggest the next steps in that cycle. With any limitations of your study in mind, think about future work that could be done to address them. Remember, however, that the Discussion should consider what worked well in your study, as well as what did not. Your reflection on both of these topics should inform where research in this area could go next.
Next: Task 2: Components of a Discussion

Previous: Discussion: critical evaluation
Task 2: Components of a Discussion
In Chapter 7 of Investigating Methods, you were provided with a general template for writing the Discussion for a report of a psychological experiment. According to the template a good Discussion needs to:
• state the results of the experiment in plain language, without citing the actual statistics
• provide an explanation for the results and describe how they compare to other research in the field (as laid out in the Introduction)
• explain how the findings could be applied beyond the study, for example how do they relate to real-life phenomena
• critically evaluate the study, pointing out its limitations and strengths
• make suggestions for future research.
Below are some extracts taken from Discussion section of the Chen et al. (2012) report. See if you can use the guidance from the template to place the following sections in the correct order.

This study investigates whether conditioning produces a more positive attitude towards a sporting event and whether celebrity endorsers who are highly congruent with the event have a stronger conditioning effect. The findings… indicate that simply pairing a well-liked athlete celebrity with a sporting event does positively impact attitude towards the sporting event…
• These findings are consistent with the work of Till et al (2008), which showed the same effect from using a celebrity as the unconditioned stimulus.
• This study demonstrates that… conditioning, one of the most commonly used methods for associative learning, is a mechanism that can be used to explain the underpinnings of the match-up hypothesis specifically for sporting events.
• The study, therefore, complements existing literature in the field of sport marketing. It also offers sport marketing practitioners some solid and sound conclusions on how to choose an effective celebrity endorser for a sporting event and how to make that endorsement work more effectively.
• However, the underlying processes driving the transfer of affect and beliefs are still not fully understood. Future studies should, therefore, seek further cognitive mechanisms to explain transfer of affect and beliefs and may replicate these experiments in different sporting contexts. Finally, the levels of consumers’ involvement in sporting events should be a further area for future research, in order that the proper utilisation of celebrity endorsement for sporting events can be further elucidated.
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Previous: Task 2: Components of a Discussion
Writing the Discussion for TMA 05
How did you find this task? Once again, it is important to remember that this was an abbreviated, simplified version of Chen et al.’s (2012) Discussion used to illustrate a general point about how to write a Discussion section.
Have you noticed how Chen et al. addressed all the issues in the template? The first paragraph restated the research results. The following two paragraphs explained the results and linked them to the issues raised in the Introduction. The fourth paragraph explained how the findings can be applied beyond the study, and the final one considered some limitations of the study and suggestions for future research.
When it comes to writing the Discussion section for TMA 05, it is important to cover all of these points. Remember to keep the links back to the Introduction in mind when doing this. The Discussion section needs to directly address the issues and hypotheses set up in introducing your study. Also, remember that one of your key roles as a researcher is to critically evaluate everything: this not only includes previous research in the area, but also your own work. The guidance notes for TMA 05 will give you lots of information about what you should include in your Discussion, so do read them carefully.
Again, ensure you are selective about what you include in the Discussion. The word limit for this section is, again, 750 words. This means that everything you discuss in the section should be relevant to your research question. To keep yourself on track, make sure you keep the following questions in mind: Do your findings support your hypothesis? What are the implications of your findings? Are there any questions that remain unanswered? How can these be addressed to better answer your research question?
Next: Putting the report together

Previous: Writing the Discussion for TMA 05
Putting the report together
When writing your Introduction and Discussion, remember that these are not stand-alone entities. Every section of a research report has its place in telling the story of research. The structure of a report should logically flow from the conception and justification of your research idea, through its execution, and end with the conclusions that you have drawn as a result of your study.
In a way, you can think of the focus of your report as being like an hourglass. It starts with your Introduction to the topic, in general terms. Next, you introduce the background to your study, before narrowing down the focus in the middle, as you distill your hypothesis (or hypotheses) and describe your own work. In your Discussion, the focus starts narrow as you state your findings, and broadens again as you discuss your findings in the context of previous literature and their wider implications. Finish with a concluding paragraph that summarises your findings and Discussion.
So the full reference to the textbook would be:
Brace, N. and Byford, J. (eds) (2012) Investigating Psychology, Oxford, Oxford University Press/Milton Keynes, The Open University.
Now try to construct the book reference for Investigating Methods.
Other types of book reference
Ebook
As you now know how to access ebooks, you might be wondering how these are included in the reference list. Here are the elements that are included:
Author, A. (Year) Title of Book [Online], Place of Publication if available, Publisher if available. URL (Date accessed).
Example:
Ougaard, M. (2004) Political Globalization: State, Power and Social Forces [Online], Palgrave Macmillan. Available at https://www.myilibrary.com.libezproxy.open.ac.uk/browse/open.asp?ID=25079 (Accessed 16 January 2008).
Chapter in edited book
If the in-text citation is from a chapter in a book, then in the reference list the following elements will be included:
Author, A. (Year) ‘Title of chapter’ in Editor, B. Title of Book, Place of Publication, Publisher.
Example:
Milgram, S. (1977) ‘The familiar stranger: An aspect of urban anonymity’ in Milgram, S. The Individual in a Social World, Reading, MA, Addison-Wesley.
Next: How do you reference other sources?
If the in-text citation is from a website, then in the reference list the following elements will be included:
Author/organisation (Year of publication/last update) Name of Website [Online]. Available at URL (Date accessed).
Example:
The British Psychological Society (2008) The British Psychological Society [Online]. Available at www.bps.org.uk (Accessed 22 January 2010).
Long description
This is the question you will address in the DE100 project, and you will be doing so using an experiment similar to that conducted by Chen et al. (2012). You will examine whether pairing the DE100 IPTV logo with a positive image will make people more likely to like it.
Next: The Chen, Lin and Hsiao (2012) study

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