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PY 301 - Research Methods

Follow the tabs below for help writing each section of your Research Methods paper.

Step Five - Method - Formatting

This section describes the methodology of your research in detail.  This section does not begin on a new page but it does have headings.  Begin your method section by typing Method, centered on the page, and bolded.  It includes three subsections: Participants, Measures, and Procedures.

Step Five - Method - Content


This section includes information about your participants including basic demographic information so that the reader knows who makes up your sample. 


  • number of participants
  • age range
  • gender breakdown
  • ethnic breakdown
  • sometimes SES
  • sometimes marital status
  • Include other information that is relevant to your study.  For example, if you are studying college students it may be relevant to discuss how many of your sample are in sororities. 

You will find this information in SPSS.


One or more paragraphs describing each measure used in your study


  • a description of your measure/s
  • what your measure is designed to measure
  • number and format of items in your measure
  • how measure is administered
  • how measure is scored and interpreted [range of scores and what scores mean, subscales and what they mean]
  • reliability and validity of measures

You will find this information in Mental Measurements with Tests in Print which we have in print in the reference section of the library or in reviews that you find in the databases.


This should be a description of your sampling methods.


  • how you ensured human subjects’ protection
  • where the tests were administered
  • how the tests were given.  For example, if the students filled out a packet of self-reported assessments on paper then you should describe this. 
  • how long the assessments took to complete. 
  • what happened to the assessments after they were collected.  For example, if the assessments were scored and entered into SPSS then you should include this information.


Assessment Databases

You will need to show that the assessment (test/measure/scale/whatever) is valid, so it actually measures what it's trying to measure. You can search for this in a psychology database by searching for the name of the assessment AND valid*

You can also check for this in the Mental Measurements Yearbook. This is a print book set in the Reference section of the Trustee Library (REF BF176 .B87). You can check which volume might have your assessment at this website: . Tip: press CRTL-F and search the name of your assessment to find it on the page. 

Freebie for anyone using Social Readjustment Rating Scale:

The official name of the test is the Social Readjustment Rating Scale or the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory. Neither of these names appear in the MMY so you will have to use the databases to seek validation studies in the databases.  When looking for validation it is easier to find information using Holmes Rahe than SRRS.