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Example of an Outline for a Research Report in Psychology (1500 words)



The relationship (or lack thereof) between psychological well-being and the receiving and giving of social support

(Rewrite a Title that reflects your views)

Introduction (250 words)

Broad opening sentence

  • How does the literature introduce the topic?
  • Cut and paste ideas, then rewrite into a couple sentences of your own.
  • Cite the other literature if you heavily paraphrase or report their findings.

Define concepts

  • What is psychological well-being? According to whose definitions?
  • What is the link/s (statistics and or theory) if any, of social support and an effect on well-being?
  • Why is this topic of interest for health research in general and psychology undergrad education specifically?

What can the reader expect from your paper?

  • Critical lit review? A research report? A descriptive essay? Etc
  • Thesis statement: What do you expect the relationship between the two variables to be amongst tertiary students?the elderly/children anyone.

Literature Review (500w)

  • Current, after 2005
  • Try Australian findings first! (Refer to Week 3 lecturers, tutes and readings; How much do you know about Australian culture?)
  • What is their literature saying are the gaps in methods for collecting data and theories to analyse it? Read their literature reviews and discussions for examples

(their limitations could be the gap you are looking for to justify this research and how you design the study).

………..- What are the strengths and limitations of the methods they choose

……….- Have they ignored important variables? e.g. socio-economic status (SES), gender or age differences

………- Is there need for more cross cultural findings? Such as an Australian sample.

Method (250w)


How many  where from, gender and ethnic or age etc breakup, how recruited. Were they put into groups? How? Did they give informed consent?


What was used to collect data; survey? Self-designed or using someone else’s (cite, date), what is its reliability and validity, how to score. Was it in a lab? Need a computer or tape recorder? etc

  • total well-being scale (totalWB)
  • receiving social support scale (receive)
  • the giving of social support (give) scale


How was data collected and where. Were participants debriefed?

Results (150w)

Descriptives: mode, median, box and whisker, histograms or bar charts, crosstabs of demographics.

Of the three scales to measure wellbeing and social support, TotalWB had the largest standard deviation, see Table 1. This means that ……………………………………………………………..

Table 1

Measures of central tendency (the mean) and Variability (standard deviation) N=437

Mean   Std. Deviation




Reformat table to APA style

A positive/negative and strong/medium/low relationship exists between ……………………., as shown in Table 2/Figure 1 (scatter plot with fitted line). The highest correlation coefficient was WB and receiving SS; WB and giving SS; giving and receiving SS?

Discussion (350w)

Was the hypothesis supported or not? Why so? How does this compare to previous literature in your introduction?

Limitations of this study include; how could this research be better designed? Are there other variables not measured in this study that could be impacting on the findings? Suggestions for future research.

(Conclusion 150w)

Anticipate how research such as this contributes to broadening knowledge and understanding to health psychology and [the target group, i.e., sample for this study]

References (at least 10)

APA format

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