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Psychology 12: Overview


This library research guide helps you select your topic, develop your research question, and find information to explore your inquiry. It also contains guidance on organizing, writing, and citing the sources for your research. Please contact your librarian with any questions or to set up a meeting to help you research your chosen topic. So, what should you do first? Follow this guide for helpful tips that will take you step by step through the research process. Use this Form to start your research.

How to Choose a Topic

Tools for Developing Your Focus

More Question Prompts to Help Select Your Topic

Go to the link above to see the infographic below  more clearly. It contains question prompts to help you identify your interests and the relevance of your topic within the literature. 

Choosing Your Topic

Who, What, Where, When, How, Why graphic

Tips for Choosing an Interesting Research Topic

  • Choose a topic that you are interested in! The research process is more relevant if you care about your topic.
  • Narrow your topic to something manageable.
    • If your topic is too broad, you will find too much information and not be able to focus.
    • Background reading can help you choose and limit the scope of your topic. 
  • Review the guidelines on topic selection outlined in your assignment.  Ask your teacher for suggestions.
  • Think of who, what, when, where, how and why questions:
    • WHO are the information providers on this topic?  Who might publish information about it?  Who is affected by the topic?  Do you know of organizations or institutions affiliated with the topic?
    • WHAT are the major questions for this topic?  Is there a debate about the topic?  Are there a range of issues and viewpoints to consider?
    • WHEN is/was your topic important?  Is it a current event or an historical issue?  Do you want to compare your topic by time periods?
    • WHERE is your topic important: at the local, national or international level?  Are there specific places affected by the topic?
    • HOW is this topic important?
    • WHY did you choose the topic?  What interests you about it?  Do you have an opinion about the issues involved?

Adapted from MIT Libraries

Parts of a Research Study

Parts of a Research Study infographic was created by Instruction and Liaison Librarian, Kadie Turcotte, at the McQuade Library, Merrimack College. Reproduced with permission.