Psychology Research Paper Writing Help
When you are assigned a research paper, sometimes the work would seem intimidating. Like term papers, research papers can be time-consuming because you are expected to choose a particular theme (bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, corporate politics) and dedicate a semester to fleshing out a paper that explores some aspect of it. However, we do not recommend that you wait until the last minute. These papers are usually worth a significant percentage of your grade and you want to do the best work you possibly can. However, this kind of work is not all doom and gloom. With this assignment, you are able to identify specific areas of interest within your major and if you are inclined to go on to graduate school, you will have an excellent idea of what you want to study. Typically, the guidelines are vague and it is up to you to formulate and explore a thesis statement, though your professor will usually give you a format to follow in completing your paper. Below, you will find some general guidelines on how to write a proper research paper.
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Choose a topic for your psychology research paper
Half of the battle is figuring out what to write. Since you are not given much guidance in picking a research topic, you will have to spend some time brainstorming. Depending on what your academic goals are, this can take several hours, or only several minutes. First, identify your area of interest. Psychology has many sub-fields. Some like to study mood disorders, others like to study relationships, and there are even aspiring pet psychologists. Does abnormal psychology fascinate you? Or would you rather understand the more uncommon reactions of normal people (i.e. mob psychology, peer pressure, status-seeking behavior)? At first, you want the topic to be broad, so you look up articles and books related to your subject (i.e. depression). After devouring much of the literature on depression, you may want to narrow your focus. Over the course of your browsing, you notice depression tends to adversely affect stigmatized groups in the population (i.e. ethnic minorities, gays/lesbians, the poor, or the physically unattractive). you then start researching how depression manifests within these particular communities, and start devising potential topics such as: the impact of social rejection on the obese, or how depression affects the academic results of gay teens, etc.
Choosing sources for your psychology research paper
No matter what you are asked to write, gathering reliable sources will enrich the content of your paper. The best places to look are academic databases such as JSTOR and Sage Publications for peer-reviewed journal articles and the library for books. Most professors would prefer that you restrict your source-findings to these media. However, if there are news articles, movies or unpublished dissertations relevant to your research, then by all means include them as well. Usually, teachers would want you to refrain from using open-source media such as Wikipedia or answers.com because they have not been edited by the appropriate authorities and arguments from there are not considered definitive proof in most academic circles. After choosing a research topic, you want to gather and review the relevant source material.
Revisions and producing the final draft
In order to produce a polished research report, you must rewrite the paper several times until you have a neat product, as your teacher will tell if you have typed it up the night before. The process will include not only correcting spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors, but also pruning unnecessary statements, sources that are not relevant to your argument, and ensuring that you have followed the format put forth by your professor. If possible, have someone else review the document because, quite often, you are too invested in your own work to cut the dead weight such as brilliantly diverting but useless arguments. Sometimes, you can get a brilliant paper within three drafts. Unfortunately, the process usually takes longer than that and can often take several more drafts before it can be submitted.
Your professor will specify the referencing format of your final paper. While most psychology professors would request the author-date referencing format of the APA style, some prefer footnotes and bibliography such as Turabian and Chicago, while others prefer MLA—especially those that had an undergraduate education in the humanities. No matter which style is specified, you can find the information in the reference section of the library. Alternatively, you may prefer to purchase your own guide from bookstore or through an online bookstore such as barnesandnoble.com.