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How to Conduct a Psychology Experiment


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4. Conduct Background Research
Background Research

Before you start your psychology experiment, you need to review the previously existing literature on your topic.

Image courtesy Sanja Gjenero

Once you have developed a testable hypothesis, it is important to spend some time doing some background research. What do researchers already know about your topic? What questions remain unanswered? You can learn about previous research on your topic by exploring books, journal articles, online databases, newspapers, and websites devoted to your subject.

Reasons to conduct background research:

  • Reading previous research helps you gain a better understanding of what you will encounter during your own experiment.

  • Understanding the background of your topic provides a better basis for your own hypothesis. After conducting a thorough review of the literature, you might choose to alter your own hypothesis.

  • Background research also allows you to explain why you chose to investigate your particular hypothesis and articulate why the topic merits further exploration.

As you research the history of your topic, remember to take careful notes and create a working bibliography of your sources. This information will be valuable when you begin to write up your experiment results.

Step 5: Choose an Experimental Design

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