The Writing Process in Psychology Custom Essay

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The Writing Process in Psychology: Choosing a Topic-2

Section 2: The Writing Process in Psychology: Choosing a Topic
The writing process in psychology involves several key steps. Choosing a topic to write about is the first important step to take in writing, and involves key thinking and writing skills. This section focuses on the skills you need to choose a topic for course papers, and even for your dissertation! You will also continue with your APA style practice in this section.

Assignment 4 Introducing Your Topic
In this activity, you will write an introduction to your topic. You will develop a coherent argument that explains why your topic is important and worthy of research.

Activity Resources:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – FastStats
Jones, R. (2010)

Warm-up Activity 4.1
Review this information on how to further refine your topic, and how to follow through with investigations of your topic in future courses in your program.

Introducing the topic: When writing an introduction to your topic, there are several points you want to consider:

Choose a topic that is meaningful to you. You will spend years working to become an expert on your topic, finally demonstrating that expertise in your dissertation. So, your topic has to be something that you can live with. (Note: Do pick topics that are of concern to you, but do not choose a topic that may be painful or personally distressing. Traumatic experiences in the past, current stressful life transitions, and painful problems being experienced by loved ones may not be topics that you can tolerate well for the next few years).
Choose a topic that is on the cutting edge of research. The topic should strike a balance between having enough research done on it thus far to make it a worthy topic of discussion among academics, and being a topic that has been chewed over so much that it’s old news. To put it another way, there has to be research available on your topic, as well as a gap in the research, that you hope to fill.
The topic you choose needs to be one that has an impact on the field of psychology and on the condition of the human being. This is sometimes known as the “so what” factor. Suppose you find that there is a gap in the literature on whether the fragrance of roses or the fragrance of limes is more stimulating to performance on intelligence tests. Well, you had better be able to answer “so what”. Maybe you have an excellent background in neuroscience and can relate this to a theoretical framework which is establishing the firing of neurons in response to olfactory stimulus.

Good. But what major issue will this solve for the human being? How will we all be better off as a result of this research?
One way of approaching the issue of choosing a topic is to find an important unsolved issue in the welfare of the human being, narrow in on that topic, and then find the gaps in the literature regarding the explanation or solution of this issue.
An example: A Health psychology major may be concerned about the importance of medical compliance�why some people take their medicine and follow health plans and others don’t. The topic is narrowed to a specific disease, one which is currently having a huge impact on health: Diabetes.

Health psychology “Medical compliance” Diabetes

Now, we have the topic of medical compliance in diabetes. A further search shows that there are thousands of articles on this topic, so the Learner further narrows the topic to a particular type of diabetes: Diabetes A. Research shows that ethnic groups, such as Native Americans and Hispanics are particularly impacted by Diabetes A, yet there is little research regarding medical compliance in these groups. This narrows the topic a step further: Medical treatment compliance for Diabetes A in non English speaking Hispanic Americans in the United States.

Diabetes “Diabetes A “Ethnic groups “Hispanics” non English speaking

This could be an appropriate topic level for Learners just beginning the PhD program. Note that several themes are present here that the Learner might want to pursue in later courses:

How does ethnicity impact social perceptions? (social psychology)
How are generational cohorts more likely or unlikely to adapt to their new country and absorb information in that culture? (developmental psychology)
What is the history of psychology in relation to developing research programs for ethnic groups? (history of psychology)
What factors impact medical compliance in ethnic groups? (biopsychology)
What programs currently exist to deal with medical compliance? (consulting in health psychology)
With such a topic in mind, the Learner is now poised to follow this topic throughout the program, investigating and pondering various aspects of it. Of course, the Learner may well choose to further refine and narrow the topic according to knowledge gained from the content courses and new developments in research that take place throughout the Learner’s course of studies.

Warm-up Activity 4.2
To establish that the topic you have chosen is one with significant impact on the human condition, you will want to cite federal or local health statistics. Be sure to consult the following resources and also check the Northcentral University Library for further appropriate resources on this aspect of your topic.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – FastStats

Warm-up Activity 4.3
When preparing your introduction, you will be essentially presenting the reader with an argument; you will be arguing that you’ve located a significant problem which has been insufficiently researched. In fact, making a coherent, logical argument is a writing tool that you will be using throughout your PhD course of studies, where you will be asked to take a critical look at issues, review the literature, and explain and support your own stance.

For now, carefully read this important article Jones, R. (2010) defining an argument and how to prepare a logically sound argument. Download and save this article to your computer; you will use the information in this article when preparing this activity, and in later work as well.

4 Activity 4: Main Task
In this activity you will present an illogical and logical introduction to your topic. Begin with your illogical introduction. With regard to the rules of logic presented in Warm-up Activity 4.3, prepare an introduction that disobeys three of these rules. Try to make the presentation realistic, using typical logical fallacies that might be found in non scholarly arguments. Then, do a rewrite of this introduction. Present a logically sound introduction to your topic, eliminating the logical fallacies and preparing a sound argument.

In the end you should present the following three documents:

An introduction to your topic containing a fallacious argument.
The fallacious argument which you have marked with Track Changes, explaining where the fallacies lie and which rules each fallacy relates to.
A rewritten introduction that contains only sound arguments.
Your topic introduction should include at least two new references. At least one of these should refer to federal or local statistics, or other reliable sources, on the scope of the problem or issue you are introducing.

Length: The introduction itself, in each version, should be between 1.5-2 pages.

My topic is “Teen depression/suicide”. Please use “peer-review authors, articles, journals, etc.

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