Worcester State University
Psychology Department


Writing in Psychology

Being able to communicate effectively in your writing assignments is an important skill for psychology students. Therefore it is critical that all psychology students review the American Psychological Association (APA) guidelines. This format style has been adopted by many other disciplines as well as psychology e.g., allied health fields such as occupational therapy and social work. To assist you, we have prepared an abbreviated list of the most critical aspects you should follow when formatting a paper. The guidelines should be followed for all papers including a review of the literature on a topic, a formal term paper, and an experimental report.

The following APA guidelines are designed specifically for preparing an essay, review of the literature, or term paper.

 APA Guidelines for writing papers [doc]

The APA guidelines listed in the file above can be extended to formal experimental reports but you need to organize your material a little differently. The two sample reports below are designed to help you apply APA formatting to your papers relating an experiment carried out in your reseach methods course or an independent study.

Sample instructional experimental report [doc]

Sample experimental report [pdf]

Another good source of detailed information is available from APA Style.org


In addition, to providing you with a summary of the APA guidelines, we have included some sample papers featuring APA formatting.



On-line Resources

When writing papers in Psychology much of your grade will be based on the information you provide in the paper. The WSU Library has its databases on-line. These resources can help you search for books and journal articles for term papers and other assignments in Psychology courses. You can access the databases from home if you have a college user name and password. To access the databases and other library materials, go to www.worcester.edu/library and click on Articles and Databases. At this point a list of all of the databases will appear. Select the ones that apply to your topic. Most often you will want to go to EBSCO host which offers a variety of databases that are particularly useful for academic study. You will be asked to enter your Blackboard user name and password to access the links to the databases. You can then conduct your search of the literature. We recommend the Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection which permits you to examine abstracts and in some cases the full text of articles published in Psychology journals and chapter listings of books. PsychInfo is a useful, comprehensive collection of information in Psychology. Also, check out the databases: CINAHL (nursing, allied health & health sciences), MEDLINE (medicine, psychiatry), Eric (education). You should explore many of the other databases available through the library in your search for information.

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