Many experimental methods courses require students to design and sometimes perform their own psychology experiments. Do you need to design an experiment for a psychology assignment? Finding a good experiment idea can be critical to your success, but it can be a difficult task.
Fortunately, there are plenty of places where you can look for inspiration. The key is to start your search early, so that you have plenty of time to do background research as well as to design and perform your experiment.
Explore Your Interests to Find Good Experiment Ideas
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Think about the things that interest you. During your time in psychology classes, you have probably spent a little time wondering about the answers to various questions. Are there any topics in particular that grab your interest? Pick two or three major areas within psychology that interest you the most, and then make a list of questions that you have about the topic. Any of these questions could potentially serve as a an experiment idea.
Find Psychology Experiment Ideas in Textbooks
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Another great source of experiment ideas is your own psychology textbooks. Choose specific chapters or sections that you find particularly interesting, like a chapter on social psychology or a section on child development. Browse through some of the experiments discussed in your book and then think of how you might devise an experiment related to some of the questions asked in your textbook. The reference section at the back of your textbook can also serve as a great source for additional reference material.
Discuss Experiment Ideas With Other Students In Class
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Brainstorm with classmates to gather outside ideas. Get together with a group of students in order to come up with a list of interesting ideas, subjects or questions. Use the information you gathered during your brainstorming session to serve as a basis for your experiment topic. This is also a great way to get feedback on some of your own ideas and to determine if they are worth exploring in greater depth.
Check Out Some Classic Psychology Experiments
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Looking at a few classic psychology experiments
can be an excellent way to trigger some of your own unique ideas. You might try conducting your own version of a famous experiment, or updating a classic experiment to assess a slightly different question.
Review the Literature on a Particular Topic
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If you have a general idea about what topic you'd like to do an experiment on, then you might want to spend a little time doing a brief literature review before you start designing your experiment. Visit your university library and find some of the best books and articles that cover your particular topic. What research has already been done in this area? Are there any major questions that still need to be answered? By tackling this step early, writing the introduction
to your lab report
or research paper will be much easier later on.
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Finally, be sure to check out some of our psychology experiment ideas. Most of these can be performed easily at home or at school, but always discuss your experiment with your instructor before you begin. If you are taking a college-level psychology course, you may need to get approval from your university's Institutional Review Board before you proceed.
Finding the right psychology experiment idea can be a challenge, but as you can see there are a lot of great ways to come up with inspiration. Once you have an idea in mind, the next step is to learn more about how to conduct a psychology experiment.