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PSYC 399.03 Comps Seminar Bridging Differences

Professor Sharon Akimoto, Fall 2020

Identify your research question

How to identify an interesting question with existing literature

An easy way to start is to think about what is interesting to you personally. What do you want to spend a lot of time reading and writing about? Within the parameters of this class, what has made you want to learn more? The tough part of any research finding something that has the right balance of information out there and new things to discover.

How to determine if there's enough literature

There will likely never be the perfect article on your topic. You will need to take pieces from many articles and books and put them together with your own knowledge built over your unique life experience and your college career because the perfect article on your topic is the one you are writing! Do some basic searches in the library's psychology databases to see what's out there. If your topic touches on another discipline like neuroscience, sociology, anthropology, etc., try searching in those databases as well. Meet with your professor to discuss your topic and your preliminary research, then meet with your librarian to find more or refine your searches.

How to adjust if there's too much/too little

If there is too much to synthesize in your Comps, think through how you might narrow your topic. Is there a specific population or geographic area that you might focus on? Is there another way to narrow your topic that makes sense to you? If there is too little, you will need to expand your topic. You would want to ask yourself similar questions in this case - can you expand the population you're covering or the geographic area? Can you include more studies that are related in some way?

Your librarian Sean is here to help!

If you're struggling with any of the above, please reach out for help. You can make an appointment to meet with me by clicking in the box on the left-hand side of the screen.