Psychology Paper Writing Guide:
Are you working on a psychology research paper this semester? Whether or not this is your first research paper, the entire process can seem a bit overwhelming at first. Knowing where to start the research process can make things a lot easier and less stressful.
The following tips will help you organize your research and improve your writing. While a research paper can initially be very intimidating, it is not quite as scary if you break it down into more manageable steps.
Start by finding out what type of paper your instructor expects you to write. There are a few common types of psychology papers that you might encounter.
Original Research or Lab Report
The first type is a report or empirical paper that details your own research that you conducted. This is the type of paper you would write if your instructor had you perform your own psychology experiment. This type of paper would follow the basic format similar to an APA format lab report and would include a title page, abstract, introduction, method section, results section, discussion section, and references.
The second type of paper is a literature review that summarizes the research conducted by other people on a particular topic. If you are writing a psychology research paper in this form, your instructor might specify the number of studies that you need to cite as well as the length. Student literature reviews are often required to cite between 5 and 20 studies and are usually between 8 and 20 pages in length.
The format and sections of a literature review usually include an introduction, body, and discussion/implications and conclusions.
Literature reviews often begin by introducing the research question before narrowing the focus down to the specific studies of interest in the paper. You should then described each study in considerable detail. You should also evaluate and compare the studies that you cite and then offer your discussion of the implications of the findings.