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PSY 3402: Experimental and Research Methods: 1: Start!

Pick Your Topic

Step 1: Pick Your Topic.

You're not just picking a topic, you're joining a community of scholars in a conversation about something you're all interested in.  This requires you get to know something about the conversation before you join in so you don't re-do someone else's research. 

So picking a topic is more than just making up a research question.  You need to...

  • start with an idea,
  • brainstorm keywords for your core concepts (independent and dependent variables),
  • find some basic background information on individual concepts (and more keywords!),
  • start searching for articles on your topic (both/all your core concepts),
  • then improve your research question, refining it to become a college-level topic.*

*The more you research, the more your research question will change and refine, until your topic is clear and the terminology reflects what is current in the discipline.  Below left - helpful videos.  Below right - an image of a sample research process.

Research Process

Research Process from choosing a topic to writing