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PSY 2023: Professional Development in Psychology

Beginning Your Research Paper

Here are some helpful tips for finding and developing your research topic: 

- Create an outline, mind map, or brainstorm ideas on a particular broad topic.

- Review a variety of materials to collect background information: Encyclopedias, Newspapers, Wikipedia (but don't cite it!), or your textbook.

- Develop a research question that you are interested in.

- Use OneSearch to search your topic to see what kinds of journal articles appear (make sure there is enough relevant, timely information available for you to provide ample research) and discover whether it is easily accessible.

-  Decide what kinds of sources you may need: primary or secondary sources (i.e. primary - interviews, conduct surveys, questionnaires, or secondary - journal articles, books, trade journals); scholarly vs. popular articles



Things to Remember

When reviewing a book, browse through the table of contents and index for ideas and related terms for your research topic. 

Check for a list of references or other citations when reviewing a relevant journal article since it may lead you to related material.

Look for related keywords/subject terms in journal articles that appear in OneSearch or a subject-specific database.

When you find a particular journal artcle, make sure to use the CRAAP test:

 Currency: the timeliness of the information

  • When was the information published or posted?

Relevance: the importance of the information for your needs

  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?

Authority: the source of the information

    • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
    • Are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?

Accuracy: the reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content, and

  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?

Purpose: the reason the information exists

  • What is the purpose of the information? to inform? teach? sell? entertain? persuade?
  • Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?