PSY 348: Lab in Animal Communication & Cognition
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Doing the PSY 348
Writing Assignments

In this course, you are earning a natural science credit. An especially critical part of science is the sharing of information and exchange of ideas generated through empirical research. Learning how scientists exchange information is an important part of understanding natural science. That is why there are several writing assignments in this course, in which you report to others the results of your own investigations, using the template of the trade: a lab or research report.

The Audience

Imagine as you write these that you are writing for an educated audience, but one that does not know much about your topic of study. Do NOT write these as though you are writing them for another member of the class, or for me. Rather, I want you to use the following “Instructions to Authors” (modified from the Journal of Comparative Psychology). For all research reports and for all revisions, you must include a cover letter as appropriate, and remember that the intended audience is a professional journal editor and set of reviewers.

Journal of Comparative Psychology
to Authors
The Journal of Comparative Psychology publishes original empirical and theoretical research from a comparative perspective on the behavior, cognition, perception, and social relationships of diverse species. Studies can be descriptive or experimental and can be conducted in the field or in captivity. Papers in areas such as behavior genetics, behavioral rhythms, communication, comparative cognition, behavioral biology of conservation and animal welfare, development, endocrine-behavior interactions, evolutionary psychology, methodology, phylogenetic comparisons, orientation and navigation, sensory and perceptual processes, social behavior and social cognition are especially welcome. Both Regular Articles and Brief Communications will be considered.
Manuscript Submission Guidelines

Submission. Submit manuscripts electronically (RTF, PDF, or .doc) to the Editor:

Gordon M. Burghardt
Department of Psychology
University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN 37996

General correspondence may be directed to Gordon M. Burghardt.
In addition to addresses and phone numbers, authors should supply electronic mail addresses and fax numbers, if available, for potential use by the editorial office and later by the production office. Authors should keep a copy of the manuscript to guard against loss.All copies should be clear, readable, and on paper of good quality. A dot matrix or unusual typeface is acceptable only if it is clear and legible. It is suggested that authors use both sides of the page for the three photocopies in order to reduce postal charges (Morgan’s Note: Feel free to do this if you like and if you can). In addition to addresses and phone numbers, authors should supply electronic mail addresses and fax numbers, if available, for potential use by the editorial office and later by the production office. Authors should keep a copy of the manuscript to guard against loss. Upon acceptance, authors will be requested to submit an electronic version on diskette.

It is acceptable for an author to suggest individuals qualified to do the reviewing. Masked reviews are optional, and authors who wish masked reviews must specifically request them when submitting their manuscripts. Each copy of a manuscript to be given masked reviews should include a separate title page with authors' names and affiliations, and these should not appear anywhere else on the manuscript. Footnotes that identify the authors should be typed on a separate page. Authors should make every effort to see that the manuscript itself contains no clues to their identities. (Morgan’s Note: This is not relevant for our class.)

Manuscript preparation. Authors should prepare manuscripts according to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (5th ed.). Manuscripts may be copyedited for bias-free language (see chap. 2 of the Publication Manual). Formatting instructions (all copy must be double-spaced) and instructions on the preparation of tables, figures, references, metrics, and abstracts appear in the Manual. See APA's Checklist for Manuscript Submission.

Abstract and keywords. All manuscripts must include an abstract containing a maximum of 125–180 words typed on a separate page. After the abstract, please supply up to five keywords or brief phrases.
References. References should be listed in alphabetical order. Each listed reference should be cited in text, and each text citation should be listed in the References. Basic formats are as follows:
Boysen, S. T., Berntson, G. G., & Mukobi, K. L. (2001). Size matters: Impact of item size and quantity on array choice by chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Journal of Comparative Psychology, 115, 106–110.
deCatanzaro, D. (1999). Motivation and emotion: Evolutionary, physiological, developmental, and social perspectives. New York: Prentice Hall.
de Waal, F. B. M., & Aureli, F. (1996). Consolation, reconciliation, and a possible cognitive difference between macaque and chimpanzee. In A. E. Russon, K. A. Bard, & S. T. Parker (Eds.), Reaching into thought: The minds of the great apes (pp. 80–110). Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
Figures. Graphics files are welcome if supplied as Tiff, EPS, or PowerPoint. High-quality printouts or glossies are needed for all figures. The minimum line weight for line art is 0.5 point for optimal printing. When possible, please place symbol legends below the figure image instead of to the side. Original color figures can be printed in color at the editor's and publisher's discretion provided the author agrees to pay $255 for one figure, $425 for two figures, $575 for three figures, $675 for four figures, and $55 for each additional figure.
Supplemental materials. APA can now place supplementary materials online, which will be available via the journal's Web page. To submit such materials, please see Supplementing Your Article With Online Material for details.
All manuscripts must include on separate pages:
  • a. an abstract containing a maximum of 125–180 words (Morgan's Note: Use the Word Count feature of your word processor to ensure that you do not exceed this maximum word number in your abstract.)
  • b. author footnotes, which include acknowledgments of support, change of affiliation, and name and address of the author to whom correspondence should be sent
  • c. a title page with the author's name and affiliation when the research was done

For ease of editing, provide serial page numbers. Number all pages (including pages containing the title and authors' names and affiliation, abstract, text, references, acknowledgments, tables, and figure captions).

The journal also publishes brief communications, not to exceed 265 lines of 12-point Times Roman type (including references) and no more than two figures or tables.

Publications policies. APA policy prohibits an author from submitting the same manuscript for concurrent consideration by two or more publications. APA's policy regarding posting articles on the Internet may be found at Posting Articles on the Internet. In addition, it is a violation of APA Ethical Principles to publish "as original data, data that have been previously published" (Standard 8.13). Because this journal is a primary journal that publishes original material only, APA policy prohibits as well publication of any manuscript that has already been published in whole or substantial part elsewhere. Authors have an obligation to consult journal editors concerning prior publication of any data upon which their article depends. In addition, APA Ethical Principles specify that "after research results are published, psychologists do not withhold the data on which their conclusions are based from other competent professionals who seek to verify the substantive claims through reanalysis and who intend to use such data only for that purpose, provided that the confidentiality of the participants can be protected and unless legal rights concerning proprietary data preclude their release" (Standard 8.14). APA expects authors submitting to this journal to adhere to these standards. Specifically, authors of manuscripts submitted to APA journals are expected to have available their data throughout the editorial review process and for at least 5 years after the date of publication.

Authors will be required to state in writing (Morgan's Note: generally in the cover letter that accompanies the manuscript submission) that they have complied with APA ethical standards in the treatment of their sample, human or animal, or to describe the details of treatment. A copy of the APA Ethical Principles may be obtained from the APA Ethics Office web site or by writing the APA Ethics Office, 750 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242.
APA requires authors to reveal any possible conflict of interest in the conduct and reporting of research (e.g., financial interests in a test procedure, funding by pharmaceutical companies for drug research).

Authors of accepted manuscripts will be required to transfer copyright to APA.

You will get your writing assignments back with comments as to how to improve them and thus how to improve your research writing. The goal is to help you to become a skilled researcher and communicator, as well as for you to learn more about how natural scientists communicate with one another.

Just to give you an example of the kind of feedback one actually gets from a journal, below is a copy of the Reviewer Form used by the journal Developmental Psychobiology, for which I have been a reviewer myself. In addition to whatever other comments I submit to the Editor for any manuscript that I review, I have to submit a completed copy of this form. So you see, all this writing and commenting on writing is just preparation for the "real world!"


Please email your comments within three weeks to If email response is not possible, please return this form by fax at 773-325-7888 or by mail to the following address:

George Michel, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief
Department of Psychology
DePaul University
2219 N. Kenmore Avenue
Chicago, IL 60614-3504
Please destroy your copy of the manuscript upon completion of review. Thank you for your assistance.


Manuscript Number:



1. Scientific Quality      
2. Originality      
3. Quality of Research      
4. Importance      
5. Organization      
6. Quality of Writing      
7 Ranking with respect to other published research      


_____ 1. Strongly recommend acceptance
____ (a) as is
____ (b) with slight revisions as noted
_____ 2. Recommend acceptance with some reservation
____ (a) paper worth publishing as is but not exceptionally important or substantial
____ (b) needs a few major revisions as described in my review
_____ 3. Potentially publishable manuscript. Needs extensive revision, but could be made publishable.
_____ 4. Doubtful. Probably should be rejected. Needs major revisions and even if undertaken would still be borderline.
_____ 5. Reject (Please indicate major reason)
____ (a) contribution not substantial enough
____ (b) not appropriate for Developmental Psychobiology
____ (c) major methodological flaws that preclude publication
____ (d) other, please explain in Comments for the Editor.

Comments for the Editor only:

Please consider whether this manuscript makes a theoretical, conceptual or empirical contribution to the literature. An acceptable manuscript should have appeal to the scientists studying other taxa and other problems as well as to specialists on the topic of the manuscript.






Comments for the Author(s):

When providing comments for the author(s), please address any or all of the following questions, if relevant.

Is there a clear rationale for the study?
Is there a clearly presented purpose for the study?
Is the appropriate and relevant literature cited in the Introduction?
Are methods clearly described?
Are the methods appropriate to answer the questions raised, or address the issues presented, in the introduction?
Do you have concerns about animal welfare or the protection of human subjects?
Are statistical procedures clearly described and appropriate?
Are sampling methods adequate and appropriate?
Is the design of the study adequate and appropriate for the questions asked?
Are the results clearly presented?
Do the Figures and Tables present the data clearly? Can any Figures or Tables be eliminated or added?
Is the Discussion focused on the data presented without excessive digressions and
Are alternative hypotheses presented and evaluated?

A Few Things
to Remember

1. Use the spell-checker function to proof your paper BEFORE you turn it in. Yes, spelling will count!

2. When referring to the genus and species of an animal, put these Latin names in italics. The tradition is italicized genus and species names, with the first letter of the genus name capitalized. Ex. Homo sapiens, Macaca mulatta, Eublepharis macularis. Your papers should include the Latin names of the species that is their subject.

3. Use the grammar checker, too, if you know you have some trouble with run-on sentences, sentence structure, etc.

4. If you include graphs, tables, or figures in your paper, be sure to refer to them in the body of the paper, so that your reader knows that s/he should go looking for them.

5. REMEMBER: Do NOT write your paper with me as the intended audience. Write your paper with an intelligent, science-minded audience in mind, but an audience that does NOT consist of people in our class. DO NOT ASSUME that the reader knows what YOU know about what the assignment was, or what we have done in class.

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