Title: Describe your take home message in 12 words or fewer

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The second level of subheading should be left justified, bold, and it’s own paragraph. There should not be a period. (Pro tip: any section with one subheading should have a minimum of two.)

Describe your sample—number of participants, average age, breakdown by gender, and possibly by race and/or ethnicity. Include other pertinent info as appropriate. Also, talk about how your sample was recruited and compensated here (or sometimes in the procedure).


In some papers it’s appropriate to describe your stimuli/materials (e.g., what the participants read, heard, looked at, etc.). When describing materials, examples always help. As always in the method section, be concrete and precise.


In some papers it’s appropriate to describe your design. For example, you could say you conducted a 2x2 experiment in which you investigated the effects of treatment (therapy versus control) and participant gender (male or female) on happiness ratings. This section generally contains information like what your variables were, how many levels they had, and whether they were within or between. If it isn’t obvious what your dependent variables were you can cover them here too. You probably don’t need this section for your first lab report.

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