Half of the battle is figuring out what to write. Since you are not given much guidance in picking a research topic, you will have to spend some time brainstorming. Depending on what your academic goals are, this can take several hours, or only several minutes.
First, identify your area of interest. Psychology has many sub-fields. Some like to study mood disorders, others like to study relationships, and there are even aspiring pet psychologists. Does abnormal psychology fascinate you? Or would you rather understand the more uncommon reactions of normal people i. At first, you want the topic to be broad, so you look up articles and books related to your subject i. After devouring much of the literature on depression, you may want to narrow your focus.
Over the course of your browsing, you notice depression tends to adversely affect stigmatized groups in the population i. No matter what you are asked to write, gathering reliable sources will enrich the content of your paper.
The best places to look are academic databases such as JSTOR and Sage Publications for peer-reviewed journal articles and the library for books. Most professors would prefer that you restrict your source-findings to these media. However, if there are news articles, movies or unpublished dissertations relevant to your research, then by all means include them as well. Usually, teachers would want you to refrain from using open-source media such as Wikipedia or answers. After choosing a research topic, you want to gather and review the relevant source material.
In order to produce a polished research report, you must rewrite the paper several times until you have a neat product, as your teacher will tell if you have typed it up the night before.
The process will include not only correcting spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors, but also pruning unnecessary statements, sources that are not relevant to your argument, and ensuring that you have followed the format put forth by your professor. If possible, have someone else review the document because, quite often, you are too invested in your own work to cut the dead weight such as brilliantly diverting but useless arguments.
Sometimes, you can get a brilliant paper within three drafts. Unfortunately, the process usually takes longer than that and can often take several more drafts before it can be submitted. It is routinely used in this day and age, often in desensitisation and dealing with phobias. However due to the lack of interest in the inward workings of the mind many cognitive psychologist feel that behaviourism misses out the internal thoughts associated with learning and development.
It is also felt by many that the behaviourist use of animals in experimentation is not particularly ethical. The Cognitive Approach studies the internal workings of the mind and how these workings contribute to development, learning and behaviour. It is the main school of psychological thought followed today. The approach was first studied in the late 50s and 60s, in the s with development of computers psychologists started comparing the mind to a processor.
Psychologist believed, unlike in the behaviourist theory, that internal mental processes were important in understanding how behaviour developed. It was felt that like computer processors the mind could process, organise and effectively use information it absorbed. The cognitive approach is used often used in modern psychology and medical practice.
During treatment therapist help their patients to understand that the obsessive urges of their OCD are irrational thoughts known as Cognitive Distortions. Therapist can use a type of treatment called Exposure and Response Prevention where the patient is encouraged to confront their obsessional fears without trying to make things better by carrying out their compulsion.
Through therapy patients can recognise their obsessions and finally rationalise them. Nowadays we recognise that the Cognitive Approach can over simplify the workings of the mind. We know the limits to computers and can see the human mind is much more complex and intricate in comparison.
The fourth and final approach to psychology is the Biological Approach. It is the most recent and up to date psychological study made and is sometimes referred to as the Physiological Approach.
As the name suggests, it concerns the physical internal workings of the mind. The more that is known about human anatomy and the anatomy of the brain the more is learnt about how biological factors affect behaviour. The brain is investigated during laboratory experimentation and observation. Scientists are able to research in to the mental processes by observing the live brain during CT scans. Through making correlations between family members it is possible to work out if genes play a part in mental illness, learning and behavioural development.
Psychologists researching in to schizophrenia have made many developments in understanding the condition by carrying out CT scans on identical twins. It has been found that in examples of twins where one individual suffers from the disorder that their brains do not entirely mirror each other. Scientists have found that in schizophrenics the ventricles of the brain are often enlarged although it is not yet known if the schizophrenia causes the enlargement or if the abnormality causes the condition.
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