APA INTRODUCTION

The purpose of the Introduction is to present the specific problem under study and to describe the research strategy to be used to investigate this problem.The Introduction must be both logical and concise.

The logic flow of the Introduction is from broad to narrow (like a funnel) with the general theory at the top and your specific hypothesis at the bottom.

Introductions typically begin with a statement of the point of the study.

What exactly is the issue you are investigating.

For example, the following first statement lets you know the point of the study is about memory, in particular, unusual contexts and memory.

Previous empirical research has often demonstrated that verbal material presented in, or associated with, an unusual context is remembered better than material presented in a more commonplace fashion

After you present the point of the study, you discuss literature that is relevant to your study (do your literature review). As you hopefully remember, citations of relevant earlier work of others is part of your scientific and scholarly responsibility.

When you have created a logical flow from general theory to specific research studies, with your literature review, you conclude the Introduction with a clear statement of the rationale for the present study.

In making this statement, you must
make clear your approach to solving the problem that is the basis for your study
make a formal statement of your hypotheses.

In concluding your Introduction, make sure you have:
1) operationally defined your variables (if this has not been done so already).
2) mentioned what variables are being compared.
3) mentioned what results or outcomes are expected.
4) mentioned why you expect these results.

Throughout the Introduction, you must have been precise and concise. This is NOT a term paper where where you are trying to show everything you learned. An APA research report is a scientific paper where you are to make every sentence be clear and meaningful. Especially, don't repeat the same idea or have meaningless sentences.

We will now look at good and bad examples of APA Introductions

What do you see good or bad about this Introduction?
Prayer is defined as the communication by humans to a god. There are very few theories about prayer that are widely accepted. This study is an explorative on a previous study entitled The Magic of Prayer (Faber 2002) which was based on individual, subjective prayer, subjects. It also incorporates the ideas from a study on prayer in mainstream counseling and its affects on patients (Gubi 2001). This study is also based on a study that tried to determine if academic centers should conduct clinical trials of the efficacy of intercessory prayer (Halperin 2001).This study examines the difference between prayer and goal-setting. It was shown that people who write their goals on a piece of paper and continually review them are more likely to complete their goals than people who do not. Are people who pray more likely to realize their weaknesses and be more likely to change their weakness, or what may be referred to as the answer of a prayer?
Let's analyze that Introduction one sentence at a time

Prayer is defined as the communication by humans to a god.

This appears to be a good start. It offers an operational definition of prayer.

There are very few theories about prayer that are widely accepted.

This is bad. It is an untrue statement. Religious theories of prayer are widely accepted among believers in that religion. It is also bad because in an APA paper, you talk about what IS, not about what ISN'T. It is bad because this is the second sentence and the author has not yet made a statement about the point of this study (which is required by APA to be at the start of the Introduction).

This study is an explorative on a previous study entitled The Magic of Prayer (Faber 2002) which was based on individual, subjective prayer, subjects.

This is horrendously bad. The grammar is bad. the sentence makes no sense. Also, you don't state the title of the article in the Introduction (unless there is a logical reason to do so). Worse, the Faber study is providing the general theory upon which this study is based. This connection and the nature of the theory are not made clear. Even worse, Faber is advocating a naturalistic theory of religious experience and offers it as an alternative to the supernaturalism. Naturalism says that scientific laws are adequate to account for all phenomena associated with praying. This theory should have been made clear and logically integrated into the Introduction.

The worst mistake of all is that prayer was operationally defined as communication with God. The general theory of prayer should agree with the operational definition. What is stated here is contrary to the operational definition. Thus, the logical flow of information required by APA is totally absent.

It also incorporates the ideas from a study on prayer in mainstream counseling and its affects on patients (Gubi 2001).

The "it" is totally ambiguous. It should be referring to the present study, but there is no logical flow to tell us this. The narration jumps from not telling us the general theory, to not telling us if Gubi is presenting a counter theory, or support for Faber's theory or what. What seems to be happening is that the author is just finding articles with "prayer" in the title and just tossing them into the paper.

Worse, I looked up the article by Gubi. It is about "Christian" prayer only, and it is about the spiritual development of people who are in counseling. It has NOTHING to do with the present study. It also is redefining what is meant by prayer in the present study. This is horrendous.

This study is also based on a study that tried to determine if academic centers should conduct clinical trials of the efficacy of intercessory prayer (Halperin 2001).

Again, the "this" is ambiguous but appears to be referring to the present study. On the surface, this Halperin study has nothing to do with the author's study. The author is examining the relationship between prayer and goal setting. The author of the Introduction must make a logical connection between this Halperin study and the author's own study.

This study examines the difference between prayer and goal-setting.

This statement is finally the point of the study. It should have been the very first sentence. Then an operational definition of prayer and of goal-setting should have been next.

It was shown that people who write their goals on a piece of paper and continually review them are more likely to complete their goals than people who do not.

This sounds like a different study. There is no mention of prayer.Clearly no logical connection has been made.

Are people who pray more likely to realize their weaknesses and be more likely to change their weakness, or what may be referred to as the answer of a prayer?

This is the last sentence in the author's Introduction and should be stated as a hypothesis. It isn't. Additionally, the author is bringing in new issues that have not been logically integrated into the discussion. What does realizing one's weaknesses have to do with anything that has been discussed? Why is the study now about changing weaknesses? What do "answers" to prayers have to do with all of this?

IN SUMMARY
It was not concise. There were many meaningless statements.
It did not begin with the point of the study.
It did not have a logical flow.
There is no hypothesis, much less a clear statement of a hypotheses.
There were no operational definitions and they were needed.
There was an attempt to have three references but none were relevant to the author's study. Therefore, there are not references.

This Introduction earned 0 points.
The student thought he should get 6 or 7 points.

HERE IS A SUGGESTION FOR AN IMPROVEMENT IN THE INTRODUCTION

This study examines the relationship between prayer and healing. Prayer is defined as non-contact therapeutic touch in which the prayor is able to unconsciously induce balance in the energy field of a diseased person resulting in the alleviation of that disease. Quantum theory states that all of reality is made up of energy fields (Carrol, 2002). Taylor (2001) has taken this general theory and suggested that human beings are quantum mechanical bodies which are in constant and continuous energetic exchange with other human beings. Dossey (1996) has taken Taylor's idea even further and has suggested that prayer can be a medium for exchange of energy between people, and that in this way, prayer can produce healing benefits.

Studies have been done supporting this idea of a relationship between prayer and healing. Byrd (1988) has shown beneficial effects of prayer in helping people recover from heart attacks. Austin (2001) has done studies indicating that patients who are prayed for, experience less pain and have a faster than expected recovery time.

The present study attempts build upon these studies by adding the element of intentional focus to the praying. Intentional focus is gathering one's healing energy into a more coherent state and then projecting this healing energy toward people in need of this healing energy. Participants will be taught a technique for intentional focus and then will use this focus to direct prayers towards a group of patients who have volunteered to have their fingers slightly cut. Another group of participants will simply pray for an equivalent group of patients who have volunteered to have their fingers slightly cut. A control group of equivalent volunteer will have their fingers cut but will not be prayed for. The hypothesis is that the group of patients who are prayed for with intentional focus will heal faster than the group that is simply cut, and will heal faster than the group that is simply prayed for.

WHAT DO YOU SEE GOOD OR BAD ABOUT THIS INTRODUCTION?

Adding an irrelevant item to the end of an auditory to-be-remembered list increases error on the last list items appreciably, known as the suffix effect. The phenomenon of auditory capture (e.g., Bregman & Rudnicky, 1975), namely, the tendency for a sequence of similar items to form a stream that at the same time isolates perceptually dissimilar members of the sequence, is exploited to explore the suffix effect (e.g. Nicholls & Jones, 2001).

In a separate study done of the effect of successive color matching, some relevant data pertaining to my study. For one, they found that, while normal trichromat observers do not remember yellow as well as dark orange, dark blue, and violet, in anomalous populations this happens only between yellow and dark orange. Also, the authors found that by memory some reference tests show a correlation between the behavior in some of the components of color difference and the observers' type of color vision anomaly. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2000 APA)

This study will test the effect of color on the suffix effect. To do so, this study will use a typical suffix effect study format, however color will be used during the non-control tests to see if it has some effect on what is remembered.

This study's results on memory could have a very important impact on how we understand memory. Since memory is such an important part of today's society this study could end up yielding very important results. Memory effects everything, from learning as a youth to the standard of life as a senior, this study will hopefully tell us more about the human mind and lead us into other important discoveries.

LET'S ANALYZE THAT INTRODUCTION ONE SENTENCE AT A TIME

Adding an irrelevant item to the end of an auditory to-be-remembered list increases error on the last list items appreciably, known as the suffix effect.

This is not worded in a way that the reader can tell if it is the "point of the study". Also, there is a problem in wording.

The phenomenon of auditory capture (e.g., Bregman & Rudnicky, 1975), namely, the tendency for a sequence of similar items to form a stream that at the same time isolates perceptually dissimilar members of the sequence, is exploited to explore the suffix effect (e.g. Nicholls & Jones, 2001).

This is strange wording. It looks like the Bregman & Rudnicky reference was part of the Nicholls & Jones reference (which would not be acceptable as two separate references).

The e.g. is totally incorrect. The Bregman & Rudnicky looks like it could be a good theoretical basis for developing the logic for this study. The theory is defined but it is not logically connected to the author's study, and there is no logical flow from the auditory capture theory to any other part of the Introduction. It is not clear what the Nicholls & Jones reference is about other than the words "suffix effect".

In a separate study done of the effect of successive color matching, some relevant data pertaining to my study.

This is poorly worded and grammatically flawed.
The logical connection is not made.
It is probably not the "data" that is relevant (if anything is relevant).

For one, they found that, while normal trichromat observers do not remember yellow as well as dark orange, dark blue, and violet, in anomalous populations this happens only between yellow and dark orange.

The "for one" is incorrect because there is no "for two". Who is "they" if this is Nicholls & Jones, 2001, then there are problems because the sentence before says there was a "separate" study. Thus, there should be another reference. This reference is about the differential memory for yellow when compared to dark orange, dark blue, and violet.

This comparison or use of colors is not done in the author's experiment. So, what is the meaning of this reference.The meaning is not stated by the author, and so no logical connection to the author's study is made.

Also, the authors found that by memory some reference tests show a correlation between the behavior in some of the components of color difference and the observers' type of color vision anomaly. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2000 APA)

Which authors? Also, the reference at the end should be authors not a database.
This student's study does not involve color vision anomalies. Therefore, this reference is totally worthless. Additionally, no attempt was made to state the purpose for this reference or to logically integrate it into any flow in the Introduction.

This study's results on memory could have a very important impact on how we understand memory.

Ambiguous "this". "Results" is a specifically defined word in APA write-ups, and this usage is not correct. This statement says nothing and therefore is not "concise" as required by APA.

Since memory is such an important part of today's society this study could end up yielding very important results.

This statement says absolutely nothing. Additionally, it is redundant with the previous statement which also said nothing. This statement is absolutely not "concise" as required by APA.

Memory effects everything, from learning as a youth to the standard of life as a senior, this study will hopefully tell us more about the human mind and lead us into other important discoveries.

This again says nothing. It is not concise.

This study is not about memory in general. It is suppose to be about a particular memory affect called "auditory capture" or about a particular memory affect called the "suffix effect" or both.

There is no hypothesis. There is no logical flow leading to this statement.

IN SUMMARY
It was not concise. There were many meaningless statements and many redundant statements.
It did not begin with a clear point of the study.
It did not have a logical flow.
There is no hypothesis, much less a clear statement of a hypotheses.
There were no operational definitions and they were needed.
There was an attempt to have three references but none were relevant to the author's study. Therefore, there are not references.

This Introduction earned 0 points.
The student thought he should get 9 or 10 points.

HERE IS A SUGGESTION FOR AN IMPROVEMENT IN THE INTRODUCTION

Adding an irrelevant item to the end of an auditorily presented, to-be-remembered list increases the recall error of the last items on that list. This effect is known as the suffix effect. Precategorical Acoustic Store (PAS) attempts to explain suffix effects by assuming that the suffix enters into a precategorical auditory store and interferes with the last items. An overview of suffix effect research has been presented by Turner et al. (1987). Even though initial research on the suffix was with auditory presentation, more recent research has shown that visual presentations also yield the suffix effect (Hull, 1968; Murray, 1966). Revelant to the current study, Frick and deRose (1986) found that presentation of a different colored suffix did not attenuate the visual suffix effect. However, not all color combinations were tested by Frick and deRose. Nicholls & Jones(2001) have found that normal trichromat observers do not remember yellow as well as they remember dark orange, dark blue, and violet. Therefore, it is possible that different colors can have different suffix effects.

The present study will retest the effect of color on the visual suffix effect using yellow versus dark blue as the colors of the suffix. The idea is that yellow being remembered worse than dark blue may not take up as much space in the precategorical auditory store and thus will not interfere as much with the serial recall of the list. The hypothesis is that a dark blue suffix but not a yellow suffix will produce the suffix effect.

WHAT DO YOU SEE GOOD OR BAD ABOUT THIS INTRODUCTION?

The emotional stroop effect is the occurrence of a delay in the color naming of emotional stimuli. There has been much neuropsychological research done on the stroop effect. Experiments were performed that tested selective attention of the subjects (Lovett, 2001). There has also been research to determine if mild brain injury has any correlation to low stroop scores (Rojas & Bennett 1995).

This study will investigate the effect of impaired vision on the stroop effect. This experiment will determine how strong of a role, if any, the subject's eyesight ability plays in the stroop effect. It is theorized that the stroop effect test results will be lower, the more the vision of the subject is distorted. It is predicted to be a linear distribution.

Let's analyze that Introduction one sentence at a time

The emotional stroop effect is the occurrence of a delay in the color naming of emotional stimuli.

This could be a good first statement. If it were followed by a statement of the point of the study, then it would be very acceptable. But it is not followed by such a statement. Therefore, we don't know why the statement is there. It is not logically connected to anything. Worse, the study is not about EMOTIONAL stroop, so why define EMOTIONAL stroop?

There has been much neuropsychological research done on the stroop effect.

A theory should have come before this statement about some neuropsychological effect that is being tested by this study. If this were done, then this statement might serve as a logical bridge between the theory and specific studies related to the theory. But, there is no theory and there is no logical flow for the statement of "much research". If you are going to say "much research" give a reference to a summary article that examines "much research".

Experiments were performed that tested selective attention of the subjects (Lovett, 2001).

Selective attention is a particular effect in psychology that could have a relationship to a general stroop theory. But, selective attention is not operationally defined, and it is not logically connected to anything. Since the author's study is ultimately about distortion of vision, "selective attention" has no place in the Introduction.
There has also been research to determine if mild brain injury has any correlation to low stroop scores (Rojas & Bennett 1995).

The author's study has nothing to do with brain injury. This reference appears to be just stuck in here because it contains the word "stroop".

This study will investigate the effect of impaired vision on the stroop effect.

This is the point of the study and should be the first or second sentence.

This experiment will determine how strong of a role, if any, the subject's eyesight ability plays in the stroop effect.

This is a clarification and could be a good bringing statement between specific studies and the author's study, but it wasn't used that way. Also, it is not eyesight "ability". Eyesight is not an "ability". This statement needs to state what about eyesight is being studied.

It is theorized that the stroop effect test results will be lower, the more the vision of the subject is distorted.

This is a hypothesis not a theory. This is very poorly worded. We don't know what lower means. We have never been told how vision will be distorted.

It is predicted to be a linear distribution.

This statement makes no sense. Additionally, this student knew we were not analyzing linear distributions. You cannot make a statement about something that is not going to happen in your study.

IN SUMMARY

It was not concise. There were meaningless statements.
It did not begin with a clear point of the study.
It did not have a logical flow.
There is an attempt at a hypothesis. It is not clear, and it is mislabeled as a "theory".
There were no operational definitions and they were needed.
There were only two references and none have been shown to be relevant to the author's study. Additionally, there is no logical use or connection of the so-called references. Therefore, they are not references.

This Introduction earned 0 points.
The student thought he should get 10 points.

HERE IS A SUGGESTION FOR AN IMPROVEMENT IN THE INTRODUCTION

The Stroop effect is the asymmetrical interference pattern of taking longer to name the colors of incompatible words than to name the incompatible words. This study will investigate the effect of impaired vision on the stroop effect. Impaired vision is defined as the degradation effect in normal vision that is produced when wearing distorting lenses.

Automaticity theory says that in the Stroop task, naming the ink color draws more heavily on attentional resources than does reading the irrelevant word. Further, automaticity theory says this imbalance derives from our extensive history of reading words as opposed to naming ink colors. The idea in the present study for testing this theory is, if the automaticity for words can be interfered with, then perhaps the asymmetrical interference pattern of the Stroop effect can be diminished or made to disappear.
Klieg (1964) tried to reduce automaticity by using words that were less and less related to the colors. He found that this, indeed, diminished the Stroop effect. Shor (1970) tried to reduce automaticity by comparing "words" to "no words". He used arrows, with and without embedded words. The arrows pointed to compatible and incompatible directions. The results showed a stroop effect but not of the same magnitude as Stroop with words and colors. White (1969) further explored automaticity by using Shor's "direction" idea, but with using no color. White found the Stroop effect occurred but was diminished. These studies suggest two things: (1) the Stroop effect can be diminished, and (2) if the effect of the words is diminished then the Stroop effect is also diminished.

Building on these ideas, the present study will attempt to diminish the impact of words by diminishing the visibility of the words by using distorting lenses. One group of participants will do the Stroop task normally, with no distorting lenses. A second group will do the Stroop task wearing lenses that produce a 20% visual distortion. A third group will do the Stroop task wearing lenses that produce a 40% visual distortion. It is hypothesized that the stroop effect will be lessened the more the vision of the subject is distorted.

APA FORMATTING

The Introduction is entitled the same as the title of the paper.
The Introduction is always page 3. The title page is #1 and the abstract is #2.
Every paragraphs is indented 5 to 7 spaces or 1/2 inch (as are all the the paragraphs in an APA paper except the abstract).