Doing research through newspaper articles, and then narrowing your search to academic peer reviewed articles will help you go from a broad overview to a specific question, instead of trying to dive into the complexities and jargon of academic articles without any previous knowledge.
Now, create your own topic to develop a research plan, following the guide below.
1.) Write down what you know about the topic AND your personal views about the topic. DISCUSS, DISCUSS, DISCUSS. (Bias cannot be part of your research, so it is important to discuss/identify prior to research). Write down your own personal views about your topic- including experiences, biases, etc.
2.) Write a question that you would like to research further on the topic. This can be phrased many ways, but one common structure to start with is What is the effect of _________ on ___________? It could be anything psychology related, such as: social media, drinking, drugs, stress, academic achievements, happiness, interpersonal relationships, success in career, job choices, self esteem, caffeine, exercise, meditation, sexual orientation, ect.
Ex.) What is the effect of homelessness on mental health?
3.) Form a hypothesis: what do you think the data of your study would show? WHY do you believe that? (based on pre-knowledge, articles you’ve read, etc.) This is where you further specify your research criteria to make sure your hypothesis is falsifiable (it can be proven wrong). Make sure you can operationally define your independent and dependent variables.
Ex.) The longer someone is homeless, the more negatively it affects their ability to regulate their emotions.
We believe this because…
4.) Choose a research method: case study, naturalistic observation, survey/interview, correlational, experimental. Why did you choose that method?
5.) What would be your VARIABLES of interest?
6.) WHAT type of data would you collect (numbers, test scores, weight, interview data, etc.)?
7.) WHO would be your participants? (BE SPECIFIC)
8.) WHERE would you get your participants? HOW MANY? WHY?
9.) What type of sampling method would that be?
10.) HOW would you collect your data? (step-by-step)
11.) Who would benefit from your study? (GENERALIZE, BIG PICTURE)
12.) What are some possible limitations or issues that may occur with your study? (INCLUDE ETHICAL ISSUES)
Your paper should be a minimum 4 pages of your own writing, along with a title page, an abstract, and a reference page. This means that the total page count should be AT LEAST 7 PAGES.
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