The final step in a psychology study is to report the findings. This is often done by writing up a description of the study and publishing the article in an academic or professional journal. The results of psychological studies can be seen in peer-reviewed journals such as Psychological Bulletin, the Journal of Social Psychology, Developmental Psychology, and many others.
The structure of a journal article follows a specified format that has been outlined by the American Psychological Association (APA). In these articles, researchers:
- Provide a brief history and background on previous research,
- Present their hypothesis,
- Identify who participated in the study and how they were selected,
- Provide operational definitions for each variable,
- Describe the measures and procedures that were used to collect data,
- Explain how information collected was analyzed, and
- Discuss what the results mean.
Why is such a detailed record of a psychological study so important? By clearly explaining the steps and procedures used throughout the study, other researchers can then replicate the results. The editorial process employed by academic and professional journals ensures that each article that is submitted undergoes a thorough peer review, which helps ensure that the study is scientifically sound. Once published, the study becomes another piece of the existing puzzle of our knowledge base on that topic.