Overview on how to Write a Psychology Research Paper

Psychology research papers are a major course requirement in psychology. They are meant to evaluate you understanding of and ability to apply acquired knowledge in contemporary cases.

Generally, such research papers could assume two different forms that include original research and a literature review research. Both approaches requires you to understand the respective guidelines on how to write a research paper.

Structure of a Psychology Research Paper

Structure encompasses important guidelines on how to write a psychology research paper. In most cases, psychology research papers adopt a structure similar to that of medical research papers. Such a structure is as discussed below:

a) Abstract: the abstract is usually the first part of the research paper. It is quite essential since it provides a concise highlight of the paper’s contents.

In this, the abstract should include such key information as the research question, research participants, research method employed, research results, and research results implications.

It should be written last and the reader should be able to understand what the entire research paper is all about by reading though it.  

b) Introduction: The introduction should introduce your topic with a general statement on the issue under study. It should as well cover a literature review on the issue being researched.

Generally, it should start from a broad view and then narrow down to the main topic issue(s). It should end by stating the research hypothesis.

c) Method: This section contains detailed and clear processes and techniques used in arriving at the research results. It is critical in ensuring that the psychology research paper is reproducible.

The section usually have three parts that include participants, materials, and procedure.

d) Results: A summary of collected and data and statistical analysis results is provided in this section. The data and results are presented in numerous forms like tables and graphs, without any interpretations.

e) Discussion: In psychology research papers, this section interprets study results and their respective implications. The discussions should illustrate how the research results relate to the research hypothesis.

You should also compare the attained results with those from studies in the literature review part. Finally, you should summarize the research conclusions made.  

f) References: All the resources used in the research are found in this section. They should be in the recommended format.

g) Appendices: This section contains extra tables and graphs, lists, and surveys.

Steps on how to Write a Psychology Research Paper

The process of writing a psychology research paper could be defined by various steps. As noted below, this process could slightly differ from one research paper to another. This makes the entailed steps quite unique compared to the usual research paper writing process. These steps include:

a) Determining the nature of the research paper: this step entails evaluating the type of research suitable for your set of instructions. As earlier mentioned, you need to determine whether you are required to write an original research (lab report) or a literature review research.

This is realized through a thorough examination of the research paper requirements. You must dissect the particular instructions to determine all the factors to consider when writing the paper before deciding on the research topic and nature of the entailed research study.   

b) Selecting the research topic: in some cases, the research topic is selected for you. However, you could also get the discretion to choose your own topic. Having to choose the topic for yourself could be challenging and exciting at the same time.

Choosing the right topic requires you to explore different issues in the psychology discipline and select one interesting area you wish to center your research around. You should then go ahead and narrow down on the most noteworthy issues in your area of interest.

Then identify a common theme among these issues to come up with a topic for your psychology research paper. This should be followed by the development of the research thesis.

c) Gathering relevant data: this step requires you to search for pertinent data/information while making notes to generate points to support your argument(s).  

You should explore both library and online resources to secure relevant information. This demands a critical evaluation of all the sources to establish their credibility.  

A good record indicating the relationship between particular sets of data and their respective sources should be kept. In this, you should ensure that all points can be traced back to their original sources.

d) Developing an outline: in this step, you should arrange your points in a logical manner. This step is essential in ensuring that the research paper flows in a lucid manner.

You should organize data to generate particular themes that support the research paper thesis. Each theme should be advanced by a point or specific number of points.

The points in each theme should be well organized and prioritized. This entails ranking such points starting with strongest ones.

e) Creating the final draft: This steps involves compiling the points in the outline to develop coherent arguments. It seeks to organize all the entailed themes and points to ensure that they systematically address the key issues in the research paper.

Creating the final draft entails reconciling the data gathered with the thesis statement. In this, you must illustrate how the data obtained helped resolve the problem(s) under study.

After creating the final draft, you should re-read and re-write the psychology research paper to ensure that it is devoid of any type of mistakes.

f) Compiling the reference list: This step requires you to assemble all the resources used in the research paper. All the secondary data sources used in the research must appear in this section.

The section is critical in enhancing the credibility of the research as well as curbing incidences of unethical academic behaviour. Usually, the references for psychology papers assume the APA formatting style.