Research in Psychology
Examples | Methodology | Student Resources | Glossary | Teacher Resources

Research in Psychology is a subcategory of Social Sciences Research.

  • Read the description and explore the various fields of psychology research.
  • Study the examples to see what others have done.
  • Navigate through the Steps to plan your methodology.
  • Use the Student Resources to assist in carrying out your research.

The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines psychology as the scientific study of the human mind and its functions, esp. those affecting behavior in a given context.  

Some different fields of study in psychology

  • Abnormal Psychology - studies the nature of individual pathologies of mind, mood, and behavior
  • Cognitive Psychology - studies the higher mental processes such as attention, language use, memory, perception, problem solving, and thinking.
  • Developmental Psychology - concerned with interaction between physical and psychological processes and with stages of growth from conception throughout the entire life span.
  • Gestalt psychology - maintains that psychological phenomena can be understood only when viewed as organized, structured wholes, not when broken down into primitive perceptual elements
  •  Health psychology -  studies the ways people stay healthy, the reasons they become ill, and the ways they respond when they become illPersonality Psychology -
  • Social Psychology - studies the effect of social variables on individual behavior, attitudes, perceptions, and motives; also studies group and intergroup phenomena

HCPS G & T Student Learning Conference 

  • Clarissa Schilstra --The Psychology of Teen Oncology
  • Jesse Schwarz--A player that's changing the Game:  Social Networking in Sports 

NSDL  "Psychology Experiments"  Links to ongoing experiments, completed projects, and  psychology research papers

Presidential Power & Personality  Research PPT 

Psychological Research on the Web Hanover College- Psychology Dept. see surveys, questionnaires, participate in ongoing studies. 

Research Methods in Psychology:  Excellent overview for researching step by step contains methods, design, sample psychological theory statements, definitions, charts, graphs, etc. 

Research article: Rios, V.. (2010). Navigating the Thin Line Between Education and Incarceration: An Action Research Case Study on Gang-Associated Latino Youth. Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, 15(1/2), 200.  Retrieved July 16, 2010, from ProQuest Education Journals. (Document ID: 2025198011). 

Safari Live video conferencing

Senior Integration Projects: Covenant College suggested topics for psychology research  Podcast


psychology research method

Psychological Research

  •  Psychologists do research to measure and describe behavior; to understand when, why, and how events occur; and to apply knowledge to real-world problems.
  • Psychologists use the scientific method,  which is a standardized way of making observations, gathering data, forming an hypothesis (based on theory), testing predictions, and interpreting results. 

Research Methods

  • Psychologists use naturalistic observation and/or laboratory observation.

  • They design tests, surveys, and questionnaires to collect information about personality traits, emotional states, aptitudes, interests, abilities, values, or behaviors. Tests must be reliable and valid.

  • They develop experiments to collect information about causal relationships. between variables. In experiments, researchers include both experimental and control groups.

  • Throughout the process psychological researchers may need to refine initial theory based on findings.

Follow the steps outlined on this site  for detailed steps in the research process.

Psychologists must consider ethical norms when doing research involving humans or animals. 

Interpreting Data

  • The term statistics refers to the analysis and interpretation of this numerical data. Psychologists use statistics to organize, summarize, and interpret the information they collect. 

  • Researchers analyze and interpret the data they’ve collected by using descriptive statistics and organizing their information in histograms or bar graphs.

  • Researchers use inferential statistics to determine the likelihood that a result is due simply to chance.

  • Statistical significance means that a result is probably not due to chance. To be statistically significant if a result occurs just by chance 5 or fewer times out of every 100 times a study is done.


The researching Psychologist will Define a Theory based on data analysis.  Findings must be verified . Conclusions must be logical and measurable. Methodology must must provide enough detail so that others can understand the reasoning, provide criticism and/or review.

(adapted from Sparknotes) 



Psychology Today Blogs    
Psychology Blogs, Podcasts and RSS Feeds

Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center 
SIRS: Social Issues Resources Series  
Social Psychology Network: link to list of general psychology journals 
ProQuest Database-link to full text articles about a variety of psychological journals that include:

  • The British Journal of Developmental Psychology

  • Clinical Child and Family Psychology

  • Educational Psychology

  • Journal of Social Psychology

Professional Organizations:

American Psychological Association
Association for Psychological Science

Research  & Writing Guides:

APA Style Guide
APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists & Code of Conduct
ePsych: Online textbook, demos, experiments, modules, and videos 
Glossary of Psychological Terms
A Brief Guide to Writing in Psychology :  Harvard College Writing Center
How to Conduct Social Science Research: methods for developing a thesis and doing research
Library Research in Psychology: American Psychological Assn.- Suggested library resources for psychology
Online Psychology Lab:  peer-reviewed materials includes online studies and correlational studies, large data sets, demonstrations ... research methods, practical applications, and ethics
Psychological Tutorials and Demonstrations:  Hanovor College: Psychology Dept. hypertext tutorials in psychology for 12 different suggested areas of study
Research in Action: American Psychological Assn.- is a web-based compendium of psychological research...a sampling of the many successful and promising research areas in psychology

teacher resources