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Apr 15, 2024

Assignment Task


The major assignment for HPS301/781 casts you into the role of a Research Psychologist. You will be required to analyse some data obtained from a research study and to write a report based on your findings. The assignment must be presented as a formal laboratory report (see example lab report on Cloud Deakin and/or support/academic-skills/ reading-and-writing-for- science) and should contain an abstract, introduction, method, results, discussion, and reference sections. Given that this is a Research Methods unit, the assessment of your report will focus primarily on the results and discussion sections and this is reflected in the weighting of marks (see below).

Thus, the primary aims of this assignment are to:

  1. Develop your skills in using appropriate statistical techniques to test a specific research question,

  2. Broaden your understanding of research designs,

  3. Develop your report writing skills; particularly the ability to report statistical results, the ability to interpret statistical results in the context of past research, and to integrate previous work into a structured argument.

A secondary aim is to apply the work you have been undertaking in HPS301/781 to a ‘real world’ problem in psychological research. Hopefully, you will come to appreciate the way we use statistical methods to help answer questions about important issues.

We will provide you with the data set early in the trimester (here it is: Lab Report data), as well as information about the study methods, and specific research questions. 

Your task will be to analyse the data and then write a lab report on the results. Thus, you will need to draw on the skills you have been developing over the course of the trimester. You can consult the Tutorial Activity Instructions documents on CloudDeakin for help with analysing the data and interpreting your output. Furthermore, a Lab Report Guidance session (date to be advised in a News post) will be scheduled on Zoom closer to the due date for any student queries regarding the assignment.

The main focus of the assessment is on your ability to understand, analyse and interpret the appropriate statistical analyses to test the hypotheses and to report the results correctly. Overall, your ability to write a psychology laboratory report (following APA conventions) as a whole will be assessed. The necessary readings for AT1 can be found in the Lab Report section of the HPS301/781 CloudDeakin site. There is no need to go beyond these readings, but you are welcome to source additional readings if you want.

Background to the study

Community violence is a widespread concern in Australia and is associated with many harmful outcomes. One such harmful outcome is mental health. Research has indicated consistent associations between community violence and increased depression rates, however little Australian research has investigated the role of community violence in conjunction with gender, employment and age and their combined association with depressive symptoms. The current study aimed to examine links between types of community violence, gender, employment, age, and depressive symptoms.

Your lab report will need to use the provided literature to argue for the merits of this study, and lead to the following research questions:

  1. Do age, employment and gender predict depressive symptoms?

  2. After controlling for significant demographics (identified in your model from research question 1), do experiences of physical and verbal community violence predict depressive symptoms?


The introduction needs to provide a succinct review of the literature on community violence, and mental health/depression, and end with specific hypotheses related to the research questions. The reader should come away from your introduction with a good understanding of the constructs being examined and why they should be the subject of research (i.e. why do we care?). 

The most important thing to remember is that the introduction is providing an argument for the hypotheses to follow. Therefore, you will need to develop specific hypotheses which address the research questions listed above. Each component of the hypotheses should be argued for in the introduction, and the hypotheses should flow smoothly and compellingly from the literature you have presented.


  1. What is community violence?

  2. How common is community violence in Australia?

  3. What negative psychological outcomes are associated with community violence?

  4. Is mental health (particularly depression) an issue in Australia?

  5. What evidence is there that community violence and depressive symptoms are related?

  6. What other demographic factors need to be considered when evaluating any relationship between community violence and depressive symptoms?


In the method section you need to describe the participants, measures, and procedures which were utilised in the study. The important point to remember when writing a method section is that you need to provide enough information so that the experiment can be replicated by another researcher. We have provided the information pertaining to the measures and procedure for you to insert into your method section (view and download here: Method T1 2024). However, you will need to report on the sample size, age (include age range, Mean age and SD), gender distribution (raw numbers and percentage), and employment distribution (raw numbers and percentage) of the participants by analysing our data-file.


The findings of the study should be discussed in relation to the aims and hypotheses presented in the introduction. You also need to discuss the findings with reference to prior research, in particular the literature that was cited in your introduction. There should be clear statements as to whether the hypotheses were supported.

It is generally a good idea to discuss one or two limitations. However, these limitations should be relevant to your specific research design rather than generic limitations (such as ‘correlation/regression does not imply causality’ or ‘the sample size was not large enough’). Even better is to be able to tie these limitations to future research directions.

  1. How do the present findings inform your research question(s)? (i.e., were the hypotheses supported? What do the results mean?)

  2. How do findings advance current knowledge in this area?

  3. What might explain any unexpected findings, or how might you further explore them?

  4. Were there any factors that may limit the conclusions you draw from this data?

  5. What findings were most important, and what is the big picture conclusion drawn from this study?

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