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Psychology Project Guidance Notes

Psychology Project Guidance Notes

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Published by David
Doing a research project or dissertation is an integral and extremely important component of most psychology courses. It should be an enjoyable and immensely rewarding piece of work. However, more often than not, planning, executing and writing up research become a source of great stress and worry for many psychology students.

With this very much in mind, I put together the following guidance notes for my students, which I hope you find useful.
Doing a research project or dissertation is an integral and extremely important component of most psychology courses. It should be an enjoyable and immensely rewarding piece of work. However, more often than not, planning, executing and writing up research become a source of great stress and worry for many psychology students.

With this very much in mind, I put together the following guidance notes for my students, which I hope you find useful.

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Categories:Types, Research, Science
Published by: David on Jun 13, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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09/29/2010

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Introduction
Doing a research project or dissertation is an integral and extremely importantcomponent of most psychology courses. It should be an enjoyable and immenselyrewarding piece of work. However, more often than not, planning, executing andwriting up research become a source of great stress and worry for many psychologystudents.With this very much in mind, I put together the following guidance notes for mystudents, which I hope you find useful.
 
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Getting Started
(Photo Credit: Matt Westervelt)In many cases the first thing you will have to do is to submit, or at the very least thinkabout putting together a research proposal. At this stage, any general ideas you havewill probably be too broad or too vague. Don't worry; you belong to the 99.9% of psychology students in exactly the same position.The good thing about putting together a project proposal so soon into the process isthat it will force you to refine your ideas sooner rather than later. What follows, isdesigned to get you thinking about the early key stages in the research process.
Establishing A Focus
(Photo Credit: Dani Ihtatho)This preliminary stage of the project process assumes that you have a general researchidea in mind. Whether you consider this idea to be somewhat vague or well developed
 
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(the former being the most likely) you must establish and maintain a clearly definedfocus throughout your investigation.Unless you intend to conduct exploratory or emergent research, wheretheoretically/philosophically you do not envisage issues and questions arising until theinvestigation is underway; it is extremely important that you establish your focus atthe beginning of the research process.I can't emphasize this point enough because not only will it make the whole researchprocess much more manageable but it will also make it much more likely that youreceive a very good grade when your psychology project is assessed.The main reason for this is that it will provide the foundation for what is known as the
golden thread
i.e., the major concept within your research that influences every stageof the research process; and as such, can be seen developing within each section of your project write-up.To give you some idea of the thought processes involved in establishing a focus, thefollowing example relates to a psychology project I supervised a couple of years ago.The student I was supervising wanted to examine whether any of the techniques usedin criminal profiling could be adopted or adapted to investigate financial fraud. Inorder to develop a focus within this general area of interest, between us we exploredthe following questions and issues:
 
The profiling techniques the student was particularly interested in.
 
Eliciting the profiling perspectives that these techniques reside within e.g. classic
psychodynamic FBI type profiling and the more ‘scientific’ approaches e.g.
statistical modelling.
 
Could a theoretical link be established between profiling and employee/financialfraud? The most obvious link might be that it may tell us something about thepersonality of the offender.

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