Selecting a Problem to Research

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  • 0:06 Problems
  • 1:01 Finding Problems
  • 2:51 Selecting
  • 4:20 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Devin Kowalczyk

Devin has taught psychology and has a master's degree in clinical forensic psychology. He is working on his PhD.

This lesson explores the process, pitfalls, and requirements for selecting a good problem to research. There is a bit more to it than just having a good idea.

Research Problems

I was going to start this lesson off with a joke about 99 problems, but I don't think we have a strong enough legal team to get away with it.

Every psychological research study, from the most basic ones we do every day in our head to the ones lasting decades and involving thousands of people, revolve around a problem. That problem can be as simple as, 'Why do I have a headache?' or as complex as, 'How does socio-economic status, lifestyle, and location affect a developing person's intelligence?'

We are filled with questions all day, some we are aware of and some are half baked; however, the problem is that we need to select a problem to seriously research. In this lesson, we will develop a simple process of how to decide what problem to research. As a bonus, I'll include a personal trick on coming up with an idea if you ever get stuck for ideas on a dissertation or thesis.

Finding Problems

First off, it is very normal to feel like you have no idea what to study. Many people starting out in research often believe that everything has already been researched and that there is nothing left to study. It's simply not true. What these people suffer from is explained by a visual example of walking down a path. You can only see as far down the path as you have walked. So, if you have only taken five steps down the path, all you can see is five steps ahead.

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