The Major Sections of a Research Study According to APA Video

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  • 0:05 Research and APA
  • 1:04 Sections
  • 5:44 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Devin Kowalczyk

Devin has taught psychology and has a master's degree in clinical forensic psychology. He is working on his PhD.

This lesson explores how the American Psychological Association recommends research articles and projects be set up. Each section is sufficiently explained to increase familiarity with the pieces of a research article.

Research and APA

The American Psychological Association, also known by the acronym APA, is the scientific and professional organization representing psychologists from the United States. A handful of side notes on this:

  • APA can also stand for American Psychiatric Association and the American Pediatric Association, so be careful when searching for it.
  • There is also a Canadian Psychological Association, or the CPA.

The APA has established a standard by which research studies are structured, as well as how referencing other works are cited in-text. But, citation is a little beyond this lesson, right now we are going to focus on the major sections of a research study. In the early 1900s, there was no established way to write a research paper, making each author's paper a little different and a little confusing. The sections acted as a way to unify and ease reading.


Briefly, here they are, and then we will examine each closer:

  • Title
  • Abstract
  • Introduction and Literature Review
  • Method
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • References


A good study begins with a good title that is descriptive without being too long. Your title should adequately inform the reader of the important aspects of your study, which may include population, the focus of the study, and/or unique methods. When people go and search for articles in literature reviews, the search engines often go off of a title. A general rule of thumb that I have heard is to not make a title longer than 12 words.

Let's try and make a title for a study on the effects of caffeine and no caffeine on button pushing and moving weight. A title might read, 'The Effects of Caffeine on Simple Tasks.' So anyone searching for information on caffeine or simple tasks will come across your study.


The abstract is a one-paragraph summary of the entire study. The purpose of the abstract is to give a brief overview of a study so the reader can quickly determine if they should read the full article or not. The focus should be on what is important, such as the participants, the results, and briefly what the results mean.

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