Introduction to the research

Introduction to the research report

Order Description

Assignment 1: Introduction to the research report
Word limit: 800 (+/- 10%)
For this assignment, you will:
1. write the Introduction section of a research report, including your hypotheses
2. build an initial list of references for the References section of your report.
It does not matter whether your hypotheses correctly anticipate your results; it only matters that the results you anticipate are based on previous empirical evidence,
or grounded in the psychological theory that you present in your Introduction.
Note: Your report must be formatted according to APA guidelines, and referenced in APA style.
The research question
Our study is based on the first study in the paper by Graham, Haidt, and Nosek (2009), which is listed in the starter readings. The study concerns Moral Foundations
Theory (If you have not already read about Moral Foundations Theory in module 2.)
The research will focus on the question:
North American studies find a strong relationship between political orientation (where someone lies on a conservative-liberal spectrum) and moral foundation. Does the
same pattern hold in Australia? That is, do moral judgments (as measured by the behavioural statements questionnaire) differ as a function of a participant’s political
Structuring your Introduction
You must follow the specific guidelines and instructions outlined below to write your Introduction.
Literature review
• Locate and read the two starting references below.
• Find at least three additional articles published after 2004. In addition to these articles, you may also cite textbooks for more general concepts you wish to draw
• Write a literature review about these five articles, building an argument that leads logically to your hypotheses.
• Address the following points in your review:
o What is Moral Foundations Theory, and what are the foundations?
o What relationship has past research found between political orientation and the importance of each of the foundations? (Hint: Have a look at the figures in the
starting references.)
• Cite all of the papers you discuss (see section 3.8 of your Findlay eText). Marks will be awarded for skilfully integrating the APA citations into your literature
review, and for using correct APA in-text citations.
Note: Title page and references (reference list) will not count towards the total word count. Everything else will count, including direct quotes and citations (in-
text references).
• After you write your literature review, develop two hypotheses covering the following:
1. Which of the moral foundations will be rated as the most relevant by persons with liberal political orientations (or will all foundations be rated equally
2. Which of the moral foundations will be rated as the most relevant by persons with conservative political orientations (or will all foundations be rated equally
• Include your hypotheses in your Introduction, flowing on logically from your literature review.
The References section
• Include an APA-style References section that includes all of the sources you cite in your report.
• Note that a reference list only includes the references that you actually cited in your assignment. This format differs from a bibliography, which may include
additional sources used as background material that are not directly cited in text. APA reports use reference lists, not bibliographies.
Note: When you write a report, it is essential that you cite sources. When you cite, you are revealing the sources of your information. You are expected to cite
regularly, particularly when you review or discuss the literature, and a paragraph that makes use of sources would typically contain multiple citations. Sometimes, a
single citation at the beginning of the paragraph will suffice if it is absolutely clear that the whole paragraph relates to this citation. However, even in cases like
this, it is usually safer to cite again – citing the same article multiple times in a paragraph is permitted.
Marks are awarded for addressing the points listed above. When assigning marks, the clarity and accuracy of writing, the quality of the argument, adherence to APA
style, and overall integration of the report will be considered. Specific attention will be given to the quality and structure of the argument you use to generate your

Additional resources
Starting references
You must locate, read, and use the following two sources in your report:
• Journal article: Liberals and conservatives rely on different sets of moral foundations
Authors: Jesse Graham, Jonathan Haidt, and Brian A. Nosek
Journal: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
Details: Published 2009, Volume 96, Issue 5, Pages 1029-1046
DOI: 10.1037/a0015141

• Journal article: When morality opposes justice: Conservatives have moral intuitions that liberals may not recognize
Authors: Jonathan Haidt and Jesse Graham
Journal: Social Justice Research
Details: Published 2007, Volume 20, Issue 1, Pages 98-116
DOI: 10.1007/s11211-007-0034-z
Note that these references are not in APA style. One of your early tasks will be to create correctly formatted references for the sources you use.


1.Page numbering

Findlay does not number the title page. However, the APA changed this requirement recently. We will accept page numbering that starts on the title page or Findlay’s
approach – the choice is yours. It is easier to start numbering on the title page.

2.Questionnaire (MFQ) and the additional article which is provided above the two starter articles.

The specifications for assignments 1 and 2 refer to the ‘behavioural statements questionnaire’. I’m not sure why this was done but I would like to clarify that this is
actually the Moral Foundations Questionnaire. This is used in the assignment 2 survey and appears in the Appendix of the following article:
(WARNING: references are not correctly formatted in these announcements as the software does not support indentation or double-spacing)
Graham, J., Nosek, B. A., Haidt, J., Iyer, R., Koleva, S. & Ditto, P. H. (2011). Mapping the moral domain. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101(2), 366-
Here’s a link to the article: (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

You MAY NOT use this article as one of your three articles but you may use it as an additional article.
3. Abstract
Assignment 1 does not require an abstract. Therefore, do not even think about this yet.

4.What is an introduction to a research report?

An introduction to a research report sets the scene for the report, provides vital background information, establishes why the research is important, review previous
literature, justifies the hypotheses and presents the hypotheses. The introduction begins with a paragraph that provides background information. It then defines key
terms, reviews the previous research (literature review) and, finally, presents the hypotheses. For those who are new to this, the best place to start is to look at
the example introduction in Findlay, pp. 119 – 121. Note: the literature review is PART of the introduction.

5.What is a literature review?
A literature review is part of the introduction. It provides an overview of previous research relevant to the research topic. Practically speaking, it is usually only
possible to discuss the most important and relevant articles. Findlay discusses this on pp. 58-60 and calls it ‘previous research’.

6.Five articles in 800 words!

You need to find three articles in addition to the two starter articles that are provided. Eight hundred words will not permit you to discuss all five in detail. As
long as you cite each article at least once, you may choose to focus on some articles more than others.


Remember, this research is not in any way related to specific political parties. It is focused on political orientation, that is where a person lies on the
conservative – liberal spectrum. The data we will use will measure political orientation and will not be related to political parties. We might be peripherally
interested in potential voting behaviour but that is more relevant to the discussion section than the introduction for those who choose to mention it briefly. Avoid
discussing Australian political parties in the introduction!

8.Australian articles
The specification asks you to find three articles. It is not necessary to find articles relating to Australia. You will not need to justify conducting this research in
Australia either. It could be that this is the first time this particular topic has been researched in Australia. It is very common that a topic is first researched in
the USA and then this research is replicated elsewhere – or vice versa. If you do find an appropriate Australian article, please do use it. If you don’t, it will make
no difference to your mark. It is not necessary to mention Australia at all besides in the opening paragraph where you should briefly explain that the study was
carried out in Australia. You could restate this briefly if you choose to restate the research question just before introducing your TWO hypotheses.

9.Finding articles
Aim to find articles from quality, peer-reviewed journals published after 2004. Indeed, after 2010 is even better! Avoid general internet sources, Wikipedia,
dictionaries, dissertations, textbooks, newspapers and ‘popular’ media. For the purposes of the two assessments, even authoritative books will carry less weight than a
good journal article. Articles should be as closely aligned to the topic as possible. The ideal article would discuss the relationship between political orientation
and moral foundation.

10.Doi (referencing)
You will notice that Findlay makes extensive use of the digital object identifier (doi) in the section on referencing (pp. 86-96). If this is not available or you
cannot find it, it is acceptable to omit this. If no doi is available but you do have the URL, use the ‘retrieved from’ format – example below (reference not fully in
APA format):

Graham, J., Nosek, B. A., Haidt, J., Iyer, R., Koleva, S. & Ditto, P. H. (2011). Mapping the moral domain. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101(2),
366-385. Retrieved from:

11.Word count
The title page and references DO NOT count towards the word count. In-text citations and any direct quotes DO count. It is important to limit direct quotes to under
five percent of the word count.

Remember to cite regularly – see Findlay’s good reports for examples of citation. One citation per paragraph is rarely sufficient unless it is absolutely clear that
the whole paragraph relates to a citation that is presented very early.

13.Title page
Use the example on p. 117 of Findlay as a template. It would be good if you could provide a descriptive title for the report. Replace tutor with eLA and replace the
line referring to class with your group number.

Relevant unit content
Guidance in creating this assignment step by step is provided in the Assignment activity discussion board of these weeks:
• Module 1.8: Understanding the sections of a research report.
1.8 Assignment discussion: A tour of the research report – PSY10004 Learning Group 09

For Assignments 1 and 2, you are going to write an APA-format research report based on a survey. (Why are we doing a research report, and what does it have to do with
psychology? See how this unit is structured page in the welcome week to find out.)
Research reports based on the American Psychological Association (APA) requirements have very prescriptive formatting, and a very prescriptive structure, consisting of
four main content sections, an Abstract and a References list. The two assignments will focus on writing these sections in a logical sequence.


The introduction presents your literature review, and concludes with your hypotheses (the anticipated results of the study). Researching, creating your literature
review, and posing your hypotheses are very important first steps in creating your report.
The introduction also explains why you have undertaken your study, and helps make a case for further research
Once you have finished your literature review, you will be able to create your reference list. It is normal to refine your reference list later as you continue to
draft and edit your report.

Include all the references you have cited in your report using the appropriate referencing style. This section is not typically included in the word count of your

• Module 2.7: Understanding Moral Foundation Theory, the study, and locating source articles.
• Module 3.7: Critically analysing source articles and writing a literature review.
Your guide to: Introductions and literature reviews
If this is your first time writing a literature review, here are the main steps that you will need to remember:
1. Find existing studies related to your area of research. (Studies related to North America are acceptable, but ultimately you will need to pose hypotheses about the
Australian context.)
2. Focus on results, conclusions and implications.
3. Critically analyse how useful they are to your area of research.
4. Clarify important definitions or terminology.
5. Identify how the existing studies lead into a hypothesis, or many hypotheses.

• Module 4.7: Writing hypotheses and using APA style.
For convenience, we have provided a link here to the details about Moral Foundation Theory and our research. The same document is linked in Week 2.
1. Content: clear and concise explanation of key concepts and terms, as outlined above, and adequate use of references.
2. Structure and argument: clear and concise argument with logical structure supported by previous relevant research.
3. Writing style and quality: writing is of high quality with appropriate structure, and flow; review is an appropriate length.
4. Clear, well written evidence-based hypotheses.
5. Appropriate, correct and skilful integration of in-text citations.
6. Appropriate APA-style reference list.
Your work will be assessed using the following marking guide:

No Pass
High Distinction
Content: clear and concise explanation of key concepts and terms, as outlined above, and adequate use of references.
Did not meet criterion.
Key terms/concepts defined/explained, but with significant errors or some important concepts omitted. Did not include the required minimum number of references.
Key terms/concepts defined/explained, but some minor errors or omissions. Definitions/explanations are not well integrated into report. The required number and type of
references are included.
Key terms/concepts defined/explained correctly. Some room to improve clarity, conciseness, or integration. Required number of references included.
Key terms/concepts relevant for argument correctly, clearly defined/explained, and integrated into flow of report. Required number of references has been used to
support argument, and additional appropriate material may have been included if/where appropriate.
Structure and argument: clarity of argument, logic of structure, and use of research
Did not meet criterion.
Lacks clear, logical structure. Minimal use of literature used to build argument. Contains excessive opinion or unsubstantiated claims.
Generally clear argument. Some aspects of structure, logic, use of literature could be improved. Some points should have been covered in more detail; irrelevant
information may have been included.
Sound argument with a logical structure. Appropriate reference to literature is used to support argument. Minimal irrelevant or tangential information.
Develops clear argument focused tightly on the topic. Good use has been made of appropriate literature to support points. Clear and sound logic has been used to build
the argument.
Writing style: writing is of high quality with appropriate structure, and flow; review is an appropriate length.
Did not meet criterion.
Writing somewhat unclear; several grammatical, expressive, or typographic errors. May be somewhat too long or short.
Some minor problems with grammar or expression. Some typographic errors. May be a little too long or short.
Generally clear writing with only minor expression or typographic problems in isolated places. Appropriate length.
Excellent expression, grammar, structure, flow, and integration. Appropriate length.
Clear, well written, evidence-based hypotheses
Did not meet criterion.
Hypotheses given but may have some irrelevant or incorrect elements; not directly related to argument.
Hypotheses are relevant, but lack precision (e.g., direction of difference), or clarity; links with argument could be improved.
Appropriate and well-written hypotheses. Some room to improve clarity or conciseness.
Clear, well-written, and appropriate hypotheses, which address the research questions and are clearly linked to the literature review by a logical argument.
Appropriate and correct use of in-text citations
Did not meet criterion.
Citations crucial for argument omitted.
Slightly too many/too few citations.
Generally appropriate use of citations to support argument.
Appropriate use of citations to support argument.
Appropriate APA formatting of reference list
Did not meet criterion.
Reference list appears on a separate page at the end of the assignment Reference list entries are in alphabetical order Reference list entries follow the general
format of APA 6th ed. In-text citations directly match with end text reference entries Direct quotes are cited and referenced. Evidence of paraphrasing and summarising
the work of others.
Reference list entries use APA 6th ed. In-text citation format is followed for direct quotes and paraphrasing All ideas that are not your own have been cited.
Reference list entries include:
• Full stops, commas, brackets
• Journal name or book title in italics
• Page numbers
• Dates
• Indentation of subsequent lines
In-text citation format is followed for paraphrasing and summarising the work of others, Direct quotes are cited and within double quotation marks No evidence of
plagiarism (e.g., all direct quotes are used and cited, and other’s ideas are paraphrased and summarised)
All reference list entries are formatted correctly using APA 6th ed. and include:
• Correct use of full stops, commas, brackets, quotation marks
• Volume number in italics.