STEP 1 : Choose a topic and question for your proposed study
Determine an area of psychology that you are particularly interested in. Consult the syllabus for topics that we will cover in class (e.g. clinical psychology, language and thought, learning, personality, etc). Begin to think about what questions you have related to this area of psychology. How might you go about answering those questions? Will you need to conduct an experiment or could you answer your question through observation? What are your variables of interest? (If you are thinking that you might conduct an experiment, please state your independent variable(s) and your dependent variable.)
STEP 2 : Find and turn in 3 articles on your topic of interest and formulate a hypothesis
Before finalizing your hypothesis, you must be familiar with what is known about your topic. You will need to conduct a literature search (using PsycInfo) to find articles from peer-reviewed psychology journals on studies that have been published on your topic. How have researchers typically gone about answering those types of questions? Based on what is known about your topic, what might you expect to observe in your own study? [Please state your hypothesis as an if…then… statement. For example – If you have coffee in the morning, then you will be more alert throughout the day.]
STEP 3 : Introduction
Your introduction should clearly state your research question and your hypothesis. It should also include information that you know about this topic or “background information” about your topic. This information should come from published, peer-reviewed journal articles or your text book (not Wikipedia). Here, you will present a summary of what you learned about your topic from the 3 articles from step 2. Discuss how your research question is related to the literature that you reviewed.
STEP 4 : Methods
In the method section of your paper, you will present the design of your study. The design of your study refers to the plan for actually conducting the research. It specifies where you will conduct observations or an experiment. It also specifies and describes your sample. What types of people are you including in your study? Why? In order to test a hypothesis, it is crucial to plan an appropriate design. (Refer to the textbook and to lectures to refresh your knowledge of research design.) In the method section, you will also specify how data would be collected if the study were actually carried out. A very important part of this section is your presentation of how you will operationalize your variables.