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As you probably realized from the unit studies, there are many interesting and challenging topics and research questions to pursue in the field of psychology. For this discussion, share your experiences delving into the research related to your interests. Respond to the following questions:
What topic and research question did you pursue?
How is your research question relevant to your passions and interests in psychology and your purpose?
What was your final RAILS score? What skill areas were recommended for improvement and what skill areas did you do well on?
What strategies did you use to locate relevant articles?
Did you find Boolean commands (for example, AND, OR) confusing? What tips would you give others for learning these commands?
What insights did you gather about your research question?
What conclusions did you come to about the role of research in your future career vision?
Choosing a research topic is not a trivial matter. While a great many topics in psychology may be of interest, when you put forth the time and effort to research and write on a topic, it is best to focus on one that will help you learn more about your specialization area.
In this study, you will further explore your interests and passions in psychology by reflecting on how you would use research as a practitioner, then:
This activity will lay the groundwork for the unit discussions and the remaining assignments in this course.
Complete the following:
Skim through the Select Topics page of the PSY5002 & PSY5005 Research Guide. Scroll down to the Suggested Specialization Topics section for topic ideas and select the ones that are most interesting to you and relevant to your specialization.
Review the Topics section in the APA Web site for supplementary ideas for topics relevant to your psychology vision and goals.
Review the Improve Your Topic page for additional explanation and resources to help you clarify the task of topic selection and locate articles.
Consider the following questions to explore further ideas if you have not found any inspiring topics in these resources:
Can you remember an experience in your personal or professional life that you did not understand or would like to explore further?
Have you read anything in a discussion post, your courseroom, a textbook, or a course reading that you wanted to learn more about?
Have you observed anything unusual or intriguing recently (on television, online, in the newspaper, or in your job) that piqued your curiosity?
Rank the ideas you came up with and select the most important topic to pursue during the course. Keep your list of unused topics for future courses. You will have many opportunities for research throughout your program.
Now that you have chosen a topic, your next step is to formulate a single clear, concise, and specific research question related to the topic. The question should not be so narrow that it is difficult to research, but if it is too broad or multifaceted your research task may seem endless.
Use the four Ws—who, what, where, and why—to think about how to define and narrow your area of inquiry:
Who: Define the population you are concerned with in terms such as age, ethnic background, special characteristics, or other factors.
What: Focus on a particular issue (such as violence, family issues, or poverty) the population facing.
Where: Determine a specific type of setting where the issue would be observed, or where an intervention would impact the target population. Private practice, clinic, school, or others?
Why: What could be possible benefits of this research?
As an example, if your topic is adolescent depression, your research question might be: “What biological factors are associated with adolescent depression?” Try to state your research question in a single sentence that you will answer in your research and writing.
After you formulate the research question, list the reasons why this question is important.
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