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How to Write Psychology Research Paper

How to Write Psychology Research Paper | Outline & Format

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The goal of research in psychology is to study and understand how people feel, think, and behave or a combination of trying to understand all the above issues. The significance of psychology research is relevant today more than ever because of the several critical applications of psychology currently.

Essentially, an outstanding psychology research paper can provide insights that psychologists can use to help people manage stress, improve decision-making, and understand themselves better. Overall, psychological insights help people gain self-confidence, improve their relationships, thrive in their careers, and become better communicators.

Psychology is a broad field. For this reason, conducting your research and writing your research paper can seem overwhelming at first. But if you utilize the tips below, writing your psychology research paper should be as easy as working on any other coursework assignment.

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1.      Understand the Objective of Your Research Paper

The first step of writing your psychology research paper is understanding which category of psychology research your paper falls under. Below are examples of psychology research papers you may encounter.

  1. Lab report or Original Research

If your research paper falls under the lab report category, your instructor expects you to write an empirical report based on the research that you have conducted. A lab report is what you would write if you were conducting psychology research on yourself. Typically, an original research paper is divided into six sections.

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methodology
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • References
  1. Literature Review

If you are writing a psychology research paper as a literature review, you are expected to read on a specific topic then summarize your findings. Remember that a good literature review should involve more than gathering and summarizing information. First, the information you gather should be looking to prove or disprove a particular thesis. Finally, you must evaluate your research based on the available scientific merits rather than just summarizing facts.

After learning what is expected of your research paper, the next step is to create an outline.

2.      Develop an Outline

If you wish to write an outstanding psychology research paper, it is essential to remember that as much effort goes into planning as does in the actual writing. The best way to plan your research and writing tasks is to develop an outline. Here are a few reasons why an outline is essential to your writing.

  • It helps you save time by providing you with an overview of your paper’s structure.
  • It will streamline the writing process by organizing tasks logically.
  • It is a great way to determine the amount of time needed to begin and conclude your research paper and to spot and rectify any potential problems with the structure earlier in the writing process.

.To write your research paper outline, start by noting the basic sections of your research paper, including the introduction, body, and conclusion. If you already have a thesis statement, you may include it. After, note down all the questions you need to tackle as you move along with the research and writing process.

3.      Select a Research Topic

Remember that your choice of topic will guide the direction of your content and consequently affect the overall quality of your research paper. For this reason, you must spend a sufficient amount of time researching topics before you settle on a specific topic.

Use the tips below to select the right topic for your psychology research paper.

  • Consider a topic in your psychology field of interest. Writing about something important to you is easier and is also likely to result in quality writing.
  • If you cannot select a topic on your own, refer to available literature in your local library and other online sources. Remember to select a topic in an area with good sources of information. Selecting broad topics will likely overwhelm you with information, while narrow topics will have minimal sources to support your thesis.
  • If topic selection is still challenging even after referring to available sources, seek the help of your instructor or college professor. Alternatively, discuss different psychology fields with your peers for unique topic ideas.

4.      Do your Research

Before beginning your research, consider working on an effective research plan to get an overview of all the information you need for your research paper. While a research plan can be in bullet point form, research questions are a more effective guide in the step-by-step process you need to follow when conducting research. Good research questions can be descriptive, interpretive, comparative, or a mixture of all.

When conducting your research, notice the gaps in theories of other researchers and prepare to tackle them in your paper. Addressing these gaps is the best way to give your readers new and innovative conclusions yet to be published.

Remember to take careful notes in every step of your research process. Writing your psychology research paper is much harder if you constantly refer to sources for detailed information. It is also equally important to note down references while writing your research points. Make sure that you include your source’s title, author, and topic in your notes.

5.      Write the Introduction

After concluding research on your paper, it’s time to start on the actual writing. A proper psychology research paper introduction achieves two main objectives. First, the introduction provides the necessary information needed to understand the topic, then persuades the reader to continue reading by stating the gaps in research that your paper tackles.

Use the steps below to write your introduction and achieve the objectives mentioned above.

  • Begin with a few sentences regarding the research topic
  • Inform the reader on the significance of your psychological research, whether clinical or practical.
  • Give a brief overview of the findings of other researchers in the same field, then point out the gaps you tackle in your paper.
  • Reveal the focus of your research through the specific research question you intend to dwell on in your paper.

Remember that the introduction will dictate the quality of writing for the rest of the sections. For this reason, you must get it right.

6.      Write the Body of Your Research Paper

The body of your psychology research paper will mainly cover the research method, the research results, a discussion of the ideas emanating from your findings, and the references. If you are working on a lab report, begin this section by detailing the study design and procedure, materials used, and the participants involved. Omit the unnecessary steps when working on literature reviews. Remember to give information that is enough for other researchers to follow.

After writing the method section, briefly describe the procedure followed in any experiments performed, then describe the results. You might require multiple result sections if you performed several experiments in your research.

The final section of the body of your research paper is the discussion. In this section, expound on the results of your research, discuss how your findings relate to the main topic then provide supporting evidence. Remember to organize your body in paragraphs, each presenting a different idea related to the main topic. Additionally, ensure that the beginning statement of each paragraph is a thesis statement.

Below are pointers to writing a proper psychology research paper body.

  • Remain as clear as possible and explain any complex terminologies used in the paper
  • Consider your readers to be acquainted with the field of psychology you are tackling but not knowledgeable enough.
  • Be objective and neutral in your language.
  • Avoid crowding your text with several direct quotes from other researchers. Remember that opinions are not facts; instead, focus on the information with supporting evidence.

7.      Conclude your Research Paper

The conclusion to your psychology research paper will depend on whether your paper is based on original research or literature reviews. In both cases, it’s best to begin your conclusion by briefly reviewing your main argument and then summarizing the ideas discussed in the body of the paper.

After, highlight the significance of your study by detailing how evidence provided in the paper proves the thesis statement. Note the difference between emphasizing how your research proves the thesis statement and introducing a new idea. A new idea would mean discussing a theory that has not been presented in the paper. This should not be the case.

In the next part of your conclusion, explain the major outcome of your research, then finalize by suggesting future research areas or making particular recommendations if you were working on a literature review.

8.      Edit and Proofread your Research Paper

Ensuring that your research paper is as error-free as possible is how you upgrade your work from basic to excellent. Begin editing your paper by correcting any sentence and paragraph structure, tone, and ambiguity errors. Please pay attention to the sentences beginning paragraphs and ensure they relate to the thesis statement. Additionally, ensure that appropriate phrases are used to link paragraphs.

After editing, proofread your paper by rectifying errors or inconsistencies in grammar, citations, referencing, margins, and numbering. After proofreading, go over your paper several times to ensure that everything is as required.

If you are satisfied with the final quality of your paper, you may submit it.

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