Conducting a Research for Psychology Term Paper

Though at first glance you may think you’re just writing another boring old research paper, you might want to think again. You’re writing about psychology. Sure you’ll be writing in the same old format as any research paper, sure you’ll be making sure you have just enough word count to meet the minimum requirements you’re instructor has set in ink, sure you’ll be checking and verifying all your sources, sure you’ll spending countless hours reading through dusty library books and visiting sites (Wikipedia…) all over the web, and sure you might put it all off until the night before the assignment is due.

Except you’re writing about psychology, a very intriguing subject. Notice the first word in the title of this article. Conducting. You’re not “doing” research for a psychology term paper. You’re “conducting” research, which probably means you could be conducting an experiment or two…

  • The Scientific Method
  • To conduct research for your psychology paper, you’ll be employing the same method you learned all the way back in sixth grade science class: 1. Question 2. Research 3. Hypothesis 4. Experiment 5. Analyze 6. Results

  • Come up with a Question
  • This can be harder than it sounds once you start thinking about it. If you have trouble coming up with a question, turn to books and sites. Skim the surface of psychology, and either challenge a consensus opinion or see if you can’t find a question posed by psychologists.

  • Research
  • Once you come up with a question you’ll need to answer, conduct extensive research. Define your terms, read about past experiments that were related to your experiment, begin to plan out your hypothesis, and if given the opportunity, talk to real psychologists in person.

  • State your Hypothesis
  • Once your research is complete, state a hypothesis that can be tested where you predict the result of your experiment, which you should begin to plan out.

  • Conduct your Experiment
  • Plan out your experiment. Determine where and when it will take place and the necessary funds, materials and resources it will take to successfully conduct the experiment. Make sure you have enough time and that the location is suitable (if it matters). Determine who your subjects of the experiment will be, whether they be chosen specifically or by random selection. Confirm you have the permission from each of the test subjects.

    Once your experiment is planned out in full detail, you can officially conduct the experiment. Collect data as the experiment is underway.

  • Analyze the Data
  • Once the experiment is complete, you should have all your data. If not, conduct your experiment as many more times (with the permission of your test subjects) as you need to collect all the data you will need. Analyze the data closely.

  • Reveal the Results
  • It’s time to reveal if your experiment proved your hypothesis right or wrong. Don’t be afraid either way. Write up a report explaining what led you to this subject in the first place, how you performed the scientific method, any sources you used, and any graphs or statistical data you put together. You can either publish the paper or turn it in to the instructor.

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