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PSYC 465 (Dolins): Experimental Psychology

Research Guide for Dr. Dolins' section of the PSYC 465 course

Developing Your Thesis

Your thesis clearly identifies the topic being discussed, includes the points discussed in the paper, and is written for a specific audience. Your thesis statement belongs at the end of your first paragraph, also known as your introduction. Use it to generate interest in your topic and encourage your audience to continue reading. Your thesis should:

  • State the essay's subject -- the topic that you are discussing
  • Reflect the essay's purpose -- either to give your readers information or to persuade your readers to agree with you
  • Include a focus -- your assertion that conveys your point of view
  • Use specific language -- avoids vague words and generalizations
  • May (but don't have to) state the major subdivisions of the essay's topic

To focus your research topic, do some exploratory research and ask yourself questions like: 

  • What approach to this topic do I want to take? 
  • What interests me about this topic as I learn more about it?
  • What relationships are there between different aspects of this topic?
  • How does the topic relate back to the larger themes discussed in this course?
  • What are the major issues, debates, and disagreements of the topic you are studying?

Ask Dr. Dolins for feedback on your thesis 

Picking Your Topic IS Research

Once you've picked a research topic for your paper, it isn't set in stone. It's just an idea that you will test and develop through exploratory research. This exploratory research may guide you into modifying your original idea for a research topic. Watch this video for more info:

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