How to write the final paper
The final paper is essentially a literature review that ends with an original research question and a testablehypothesis (i.e., the
introduction section of a journal article). Note that this paper should not only be areport on past research, but should focus on describing a
phenomenon you want to examine, explainingwhy a phenomenon is theoretically interesting, and providing a research question and a
testablehypothesis. it is strongly recommended thatyou stay focused! Have a clear and concise research question; preferably compare two
cultural groups,not more; examine one and at most two dependent/criterion variables.
These are the main sections of the paper:
1. Title page
2. Introduction or first opening paragraph
– First lines should be general in topic and can use an example if it’s helpful for engagingthe reader.
– Once you’ve introduced the topic, clearly describe the main problem your topicaddresses.
– Briefly explain the significance of the topic. For example, what is unknown that yourtopic addresses, and what is the theoretical or
3. Literature review
– The goal in the literature review is to set up the rationale for your research question andhypotheses so that these do not come as a surprise
when you state them explicitly in theoverview of your research question.
– Describe any conceptual variables in your paper, ideally by providing a definition frompast literature. You should also be sure to describe
any technical terms.
– Be sure to include only the most relevant literature for your paper. For many topics, therewill be lots of articles to choose from, so you
have to make good choices about whichreferences are most relevant to include. It is of course no problem to include more thanthe minimum of 10
peer-reviewed academic journal articles, but remember that your
references need to be worth citing.
– Report relevant research by topic (or points/arguments) rather than by paper/study. Notethat this should not be written in a “book report”
style, which tends to just summarize onearticle or study per paragraph. Instead, your literature review should be similar to whatyou would see
in the introduction of a journal article. The paragraphs should beorganized around arguments or points that you are trying to make in order to
set up yourresearch idea, and you should use references to support your points. Read through theintroductions of different published articles
to get a sense of the different ways you candiscuss relevant research by topic.
– Think carefully about how to organize your paragraphs across the whole body of thepaper. Each paragraph should make a clear argument or point
that follows a logical orderfrom one paragraph to the next. It can help to make an outline of your paper first so thatyou can plan the order of
– When describing relevant past research, focus on results of the articles, and set things upwith information from the methods only when
necessary (i.e., if you can’t understand theresults without it). Do not summarize the entire article.
– As you review past research, be sure to interpret the findings. Explain what the findingsmean for your research question or hypothesis.
Remember that throughout your literaturereview, you should be making a clear argument for why findings are relevant to orimportant for your
– Include articles for and against your hypothesis if there’s some debate in the literature.
– In your paper, do not use the heading “Literature Review.” You may choose to make useof subheadings in this section in order to organize your
points more clearly (e.g.,“Emotion Suppression and Well-being”), but subheadings are optional. Again, you canrefer to other published articles
to see some examples.
4. Research question and hypothesis
– At the end of your literature review, you should give a brief overview of your newresearch question and hypotheses. You can label this
section “The Present Study” orsomething similar to this.
– State the purpose of your study or your research question.
– Address how your research question is different from what has been done before. How isit new compared to the literature you just reviewed?
– Explain how your research would contribute to the past literature (i.e., theoretical
– Explain the potential real-world impacts of your research (i.e., practical implications).
– State your hypothesis with specific predictions. From reading through your literaturereview, the reader should be able to guess what your
hypothesis is at this point. That is, itshould not be a surprise what your research question is or what you predict because youshould have set
up a clear argument for your research question and predictions
throughout the body of the paper.
– Your hypothesis should include independent and dependent variables (for an experiment)or predictor and criterion variables (if you instead
envision that non-experimentalmethods are more appropriate); it is a statement about how your variables relate. Forexample, what is the effect
of the independent variable on the dependent variable for each
cultural group? Or what is the association between the predictor and criterion for eachcultural group?