PSY 2100: Research Methods

Getting Started

Brainstorm Possible topics

Consider your personal interests.

Look at the headlines in the news or in popular sources.

Review the topics covered in your psychology textbooks.


List your research topic as a question.

Pull out the nouns in your question. (These will become the key for searching for information in the library databases.

Think of synonyms, antonyms and associated words for those selected key terms.


Dogs are smarter than cats?

Dogs: canine, Golden Retriever, pets

Cats: feline, domestic pet, Persian

Smart: intelligence, IQ, clever, bright

Refining Your Topic

If your topic is too broad you will be swamped in information overload.

Example: "kids and media" or  "college students and stress"

If your topic is too narrow you will get easily frustrated trying to find enough (if any) scholarly information.

Example: "College freshmen who take more than one psychology course per semester have higher frustration levels than their peers."

What is a Scholarly Article

Assignment Requirements

Using PsychInfo, locate an article that pertains to a psychological variable that interests you (9e.g. addition, depression, religiosity, post-traumatic stress, decision-making, prejudice, learning, identity, self-esteem, relationships, etc.......)


  • Paper Citation (APA)
  • Summary of the study
  • Description of the variables of interest
  • Describe type of study method used (experiment, survey, case study)
  • Describe researcher's conclusions
  • Describe anything you found difficult to understand.