Ninth Edition CoverGraziano & Raulin
Research Methods (9th edition)

Introduction to the Article

The introduction states the research problem and discusses prior research. It begins with a broad or general statement of the research problem and proceeds to narrow the focus to the specific research being reported. 

A good introduction need not be long, but it must be well organized. One should focus only on those prior research studies directly relevant to the current research study and should not attempt to review all of the research in a broad area. 

The introduction usually ends with a specific statement of the research hypotheses to be investigated. A good rule of thumb is, if the hypotheses seem to follow naturally from everything that precedes them, then the introduction is well organized and well structured. If, on the other hand, a reader finds some or all of the hypotheses to be surprising in light of what is stated previously, then the introduction is not well focused and fails to provide the rationale for the current research study.

In the introduction, other research is referred to by naming the researchers and the date when the research was published. With this information, the reader can turn to the reference list and find where the work was published. 

There are two standard forms for referring to published work, as shown in the following examples:

In previous research, most subjects found the situation to be realistic (Johnson & Hall, 1999).

Johnson and Hall (1999) reported that most subjects found the procedure realistic.

For citing several studies, we can use the following format:

Several investigators have found this situation to be realistic for their subjects (Johnson & Hall, 1997, 1999a, 1999b; Kelley, 1986; Michaels, Johnson, & Smith, 1996; Smith & Rodick, 1994).

The above statements tell the reader what was found, which researchers made the observation, and when. When there are multiple references supporting a statement, they are organized in parentheses first alphabetically by author and within authors, chronologically by date).

Each reference that appears in a research article must appear in the reference section, and all references that appear in the reference list must appear in the paper.

You may have noticed that the APA referencing conventions were used throughout the textbook.