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If you’re taking a psychology class, you might be asked to write a research paper as part of your final assignment. After all, one of the key components of any psychology degree is gaining knowledge through research. In fact, most psychologists begin their career by writing research papers. If you’re nervous about tackling this assignment, don’t worry! Writing a research paper is similar to writing any other type of essay, but it requires different methods and techniques to ensure that it fits the criteria for a research paper. Read on as we explore everything you need to know about how to write a psychology research paper and what pitfalls to avoid when writing one.
What is a Psychology Research Paper?
A psychology research paper is a paper where you conduct an experiment on a psychological topic, describe your findings, and present your final conclusions. Psychology research papers are typically used to explore topics that are still being explored by researchers. You may be asked to conduct research on a topic like the effects of social media use on adolescents, or the relationship between mental health and physical health. As a psychology student, you’ll likely be asked to write several research papers throughout your undergraduate degree.
Why Write a Psychology Research Paper?
Research papers allow you to challenge yourself and demonstrate that you’ve mastered the subject matter. You also get the chance to be creative and think outside the box. The process of conducting a research paper will help you learn how to research a topic, identify what questions you can answer with your research, and see how you can apply the concepts from the classroom to real-world situations. If you write a research paper and get an A, you’ll have a writing sample that you can use in your cover letter and CV when applying to graduate school. A psychology research paper also demonstrates to your professor that you’re willing to go above and beyond.
Step 1: Choose Your Topic
When you’re writing a psychology research paper, you’ll need to decide on a topic to research. Although your professor may assign a topic to you, you’ll be better prepared if you choose a topic that interests you. If you choose a topic that interests you, you’ll be more motivated to complete the paper and more excited to share your findings with your classmates and professor.
If you need help choosing a topic, you can turn to your syllabus or speak to your professor. Your professor may be willing to assign you a topic that he or she is currently researching. When choosing a topic, make sure that it’s not too broad or too narrow. You’ll want to research a topic that is narrow enough to allow you to make new discoveries, but broad enough that you can find enough information.
Step 2: Conduct a thorough research
After you’ve decided on a topic, you’ll need to conduct a thorough research. You’ll want to explore different perspectives on your topic so that you can understand other people’s points of view. By doing so, you’ll be able to create a more balanced and informed paper that explores more than one point of view.
You should start by developing a research plan. A research plan will help you keep track of all of the resources that you’re using while researching. You can use a notebook, computer spreadsheet, or online research tool to create your research plan.
When conducting a research, make sure that you are reading peer-reviewed articles rather than non-academic articles. You want to read articles that have been published by experts in the field, as peer-reviewed articles will offer the most accurate information. For example, if you want to research the effects of social media on adolescents, you’ll want to read research from experts in the fields of psychology, sociology, and communication. You can find research articles by conducting a keyword search in an online database like PubMed or Google Scholar.
Step 3: Finding Relevant Sources
Once you’ve conducted a thorough research, you’ll need to identify the most relevant sources. You’ll want to focus on finding scholarly articles that are published in peer-reviewed journals. You can determine if an article is a scholarly article by checking the publication information. You can also use an online resource like the J-Gate to find scholarly articles. When you’re identifying the most relevant sources, look for sources that are up-to-date and offer a unique perspective.
You can also select sources that offer opposing perspectives so that you can explore different points of view. You can use the most relevant sources in your psychology research paper by including them in your reference list. You can use tools like Endnote or Zotero to build your reference list.
Step 4: Brainstorming and Outlining Your Research Paper
After you’ve conducted a thorough research and identified the most relevant sources, you’ll need to brainstorm and outline your psychology research paper. You can use a brainstorming grid to organize your ideas. You can also use an idea mapping technique to organize your thoughts and generate new ideas that you can explore in your paper.
Make sure that your outline covers all of the standard components of a research paper, including the introduction, body, and conclusion.
- The introduction should give a summary of your research question, as well as the relevant psychological concepts that you’ll explore in your paper. You can also use this section to briefly discuss the importance and relevance of your topic.
- Your body should discuss the details of your research. You should provide a summary of your research method, and then discuss your findings.
- When writing your conclusion, summarize the main points that you explored in your research paper. You can also use this section to discuss the limitations of your research.
Step 5: Developing a Thesis for Your Research Paper
After you’ve brainstormed and outlined your research paper, you’ll need to develop a thesis for your paper. Your thesis statement should be a single sentence that captures the main points that you explored in your paper. A strong thesis will help you organize your paper, and will ensure that you stay focused on your argument throughout the writing process.
Depending on the guidelines that your professor has set, you may need to use a direct or an indirect approach. An indirect approach would be something like “Social media has negative effects on adolescents.” A direct approach would be “Social media is harmful to adolescents.”
Step 6: Writing the Introduction for Your Research Paper
After you’ve written your thesis, you can start writing the introduction for your research paper. Your introduction should include the following elements:
- An engaging opening sentence: You can start your introduction with a rhetorical question or use a shocking statistic. Your introduction should grab your readers’ attention and make them eager to read the rest of your paper.
- A clear thesis statement: The first sentence of your introduction should clearly state your thesis.
- A brief overview of the paper: In your introduction, you should provide a brief overview of the paper that you’re about to write. You can start your introduction by briefly discussing the topic you’re exploring, and then go on to discuss the significance of your topic.
- A call to action: Your introduction should also include a call to action by asking the reader to do something. You can ask them to contemplate a certain question, draw a conclusion, or simply read the rest of the paper.
Step 7: Write the Body of your Research Paper
After you’ve written your introduction, you can start writing the body of your research paper. The body of your research paper will explore and discuss the findings that you discovered in your research. You can use subheadings to organize and break up the content in your paper so that it’s easier for your readers to comprehend.
While writing the body of your paper, make sure that you stay true to your findings. Avoid taking liberties with the data that you’ve collected because it may lead to inaccurate or false conclusions. You may want to reread your research sources to ensure that the information that you’re citing is accurate.
Step 8: Write the Conclusion
After you’ve written the body of your paper, you can move on to write the conclusion. The conclusion is your last chance to make an impression on your readers. You can use your conclusion to summarize the main points that you explored in the body of your paper, and