Picking a research problem can be one of the most challenging steps. After all, there are so many different topics you might choose to investigate. Stumped for an idea? Consider some of the following:
- Investigate a commonly held belief. Folk psychology is a good source of unanswered questions that can serve as the basis for psychological research. For example, many people believe that staying up all night to cram for a big exam can actually hurt test performance. You could conduct a study in which you compare the test scores of students who stayed up all night studying, versus the scores of students who got a full night's sleep prior to the exam.
- Review psychology literature. Published studies are a great source of unanswered research questions. In many cases, the authors will even note the need for further research. Find a published study that you find intriguing, and then come up with some questions that require further exploration.
- Think about everyday problems. There are many practical applications for psychology research. Explore various problems that you or others face each day, and then consider how you could research potential solutions. For example, you might investigate different memorization strategies to determine which methods are most effective.