Manuscript Structure, Style, and Content Guidelines

Manuscripts must be submitted in the style of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th edition, with the exception that figures and tables should be embedded within the main text near to where they are discussed rather than at the end of the manuscript. The APA Guide for New Authors is a helpful resource for information on manuscript preparation. Other considerations regarding elements of Psychological Science submissions can be found below.

The structure described here applies to all articles other than Commentaries. Note that although Short Reports are published without an abstract, an abstract must be entered during the submission process to facilitate review.

Manuscript Main Text

Cover Page

The cover page should include the title, running head, all authors’ names and affiliations, and full contact information for the corresponding author.  If all authors are at departments of psychology, specific departmental affiliations are not needed; if any author is not at a department of psychology, the specific departmental affiliation is needed for every author.

Abstract

The abstract should be on a separate page and be no longer than 150 words. Five to seven relevant keywords should be listed directly under the abstract on the same page.

Introduction

The introduction should explain the rationale behind the current study, placing the research topic and study within the context of the current research landscape. Authors should summarize and cite previous research relevant to the current study and highlight the gap in knowledge being filled by the present research. The introduction should clearly pose the research question, describe the experimental design, and outline the authors’ hypothesis.

Method

This section (or sections: e.g., Participants, Materials, Procedure) should contain a clear and concise description and, when needed, justification of the conditions and procedures of the study, as well as the analytical tools or methodology used. All excluded observations, independent variables/manipulations, and dependent variables/measures must be reported, and authors should be sure to explain how the sample size was determined.

Results

This section should present the collected data and analysis. Results for all measures should be reported in a concise, straightforward manner, using tables or figures when appropriate. Duplication of information that is presented in tables or figures should be minimal in the text, and all results should be reported in the text, rather than figure captions. We encourage authors to include effect sizes accompanied by 95% confidence intervals rather than standard deviations or standard errors. Authors should be mindful to exclude interpretation and discussion of the findings or any details related to methodology from this section.

Discussion

This section should discuss the findings in the context of the research question initially posed and the authors’ hypothesis. The Discussion should also explore the broader implications and significance of the findings, as well as specific recommendations for the direction of future research on the topic.

A Note on Manuscripts Presenting Multiple Studies: For some Research Reports or Research Articles that include multiple studies, an alternate structure might be appropriate, e.g., general introduction – Study 1 introduction – Method – Results – Discussion – Study 2 introduction – Method – Results – Discussion – etc. – General Discussion. Authors who choose to structure their manuscript in this manner should note that Results and Discussion sections for each study should not be combined; a combined Results and Discussion section will be treated simply as a Discussion section and will be counted toward the word limit.

Author Contributions

After the body of the main text and before any acknowledgments, each submitted manuscript must include a paragraph (not included in the word count) that states each author’s contribution.

Example: “D. P. Smith developed the study concept. All authors contributed to the study design. Testing and data collection were performed by D. P. Smith. D. P. Smith and A. C. Brown performed the data analysis and interpretation under the supervision of H. L. Jones. D. P. Smith drafted the manuscript, and A. C. Brown and H .L. Jones provided critical revisions. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript for submission.”

References

Every citation in the text should be listed in the reference list, and vice versa.  Note that online sources should be cited in the same manner as print sources (i.e., author and date in parentheses).  References should be formatted in accordance with APA style. Relevant examples:

Journal article:

Russano, M. B., Meissner, C. A., Narchet, F. M., & Kassin, S. M. (2005). Investigating true and false confessions within a novel experimental paradigm. Psychological Science, 16, 481–486. doi:10.1111/j.0956-7976.2005.01560.x

Authored book:

Krumhansl, C. L. (1990). Cognitive foundations of musical pitch. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Chapter in edited book:

Mazziotta, J. C., Toga, A. W., & Friston, K. J. (2000). Experimental design and statistical issues. In J. C. Mazziotta & A. W. Toga (Eds.), Brain mapping: The disorders (pp. 33–58). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

Source with more than seven authors:

Balota, D. A., Yap, M. J., Cortese, M. J., Hutchison, K. A., Kessler, B., Loftis, B., . . . Treiman, R. (2007). The English Lexicon Project. Behavior Research Methods, 39, 445–459.

Online source:

Nelson, D. L., McEvoy, C. L., & Schreiber, T. A. (1998). The University of South Florida word association, rhyme, and word fragment norms. Retrieved from http://w3.usf.edu/FreeAssociation/

 

Tables

Tables should be editable and created using the tables function in Word rather than using tabs to separate columns. There should be no empty rows or columns. Tables should be embedded near to where they are discussed in the text. Example:

Table 1.

Title of Table 1

Stub column head

Column head 2

Column head 3a

Straddle head 1

Straddle head 2

Column head 8

Column head 4

Column head 5

Column head 6

Column head 7

Row head 1

                Row 1 label

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                Row 2 label

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                Row 3 label

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Row head 2

                Row 4 label

.1*

.0

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.3**

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                Row 5 label

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                Row 6 label

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                Row 7 label

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Note: [Explanatory notes that apply to the entire table or large sections of the table go here. Explanations of all abbreviations and symbols used (except symbols indicating statistical significance) also go in this note.]

a[Specific notes that apply to a particular column, row, or cell entry are called out by letters a, b, etc.]

*p < .05. **p < .01. [If asterisks (or daggers) are used to indicate results of tests of significance, the symbols are explained here.]

Other considerations:

 

Figures

For original submissions, figures should be embedded near to where they are discussed in the text. For revisions, authors should also submit separate production-quality figures. For a graph or other line art, we ask that authors submit a computer file in the native file format, which is the format of the program in which the figure was originally created. For example, if you created a graph in Excel, supply the original Excel file rather than an Excel file embedded in a Word document. Photographic images such as brain scans or photos of the experimental setup should be submitted in standard image formats, like JPEG. To avoid images appearing blurry or pixelated in print, use a minimum resolution of 300 pixels per inch (PPI; more information about pixel density can be found here). Do not submit images in TIFF format.

Please adhere to the following format when naming figure files: AuthorLastNameFigX.fileformat (e.g., SmithFig1.xls, SmithFig2.jpg, etc.). More details can be found in the APS Figure Format and Style Guidelines.

Figure Captions

Figure captions should be provided in the main text document; they should not be included in the figure files.  Each caption should begin with “Fig.” and then the appropriate number, following by a period (e.g., “Fig. 1.”). The text of the caption begins on a separate line.

A caption should be concise and describe only what is shown in the figure itself. Results should not be summarized. Each caption should begin with a sentence fragment that serves as a title and covers the entire content of the figure (not just selected panels), at least in a general way. All the text following this fragment should be in complete sentences.

Other considerations:

 

Checklist for Submission Components

In Manuscript/Main Text File

__Title page that includes all authors’ names and affiliations, and full contact information for the corresponding author

__Abstract (150 words or less)

__Text organized according to above guidelines

__Tables formatted according to guidelines (using the tables function in Word)

__Tables and figures embedded near to where they are discussed in main text

__Captions in main document rather than in figure files

__Author Contributions paragraph

__References formatted in APA style

Other Submission Files

__Separate figure files (revisions)

__Supplemental Material, including reviewed supplemental online material (SOM-R) and unreviewed supplemental online material (SOM-U)

SAGEtrack Submission

__E-mail and affiliation information for all coauthors

__Answers to 3 questions

__Author Contributions section

__Disclosure Statements (starting January 1, 2014)