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Comprehensive Guide to Writing a Psychology Literature Review

Literature Review in Psychology

If you’re going to excel in psychology and eventually make that 90k paycheck, you’ll have to learn to write a literature review. Literature reviews are an important part of psychology. They are, essentially, a “summing up” of what’s been done on a certain topic. Literature reviews serve as the background for a research proposal, but they can also be submitted as a paper in and of themselves. The literature review outline template will help you with your writing. When you do a literature review, you’re critically analyzing a variety of sources to discover what is known about a certain thing and what of merit has been determined. You can then build on this or use it to determine whether further research on something needs to be done.

Parts of Research Proposal

Whatever your personal opinion, you can’t deny that psychology is a fascinating field, with more than one interesting research question to explore. Did you know, that, according to Psychology Today, optimists don’t necessarily cope well with stress? Plus, in Maslow’s survey of 3000 college students, none met his criteria for self-actualization. No big surprise – college students have a lot of stress to cope with. Other interesting facts include that posting calorie charts at fast food chains lead people to make less healthy choices, and that Freud isn’t commonly taught in psych departments, despite being taught all over the rest of the university!

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On another note, according to Lansing College, psychology jobs are growing at a rapid rate. Psychology is the third-fastest growing field in the USA, and that growth is likely to be steady for another twelve years or so. Those with a doctorate in the field can make up to $90,000+ – an impressive paycheck. Clearly, psychology is a field with a lot of potentials.

tips for writing a psychology literature review

How to Write a Psychology Literature Review

So your first lit review is due. You’ve thought about a topic, worried about your grades, and asked your professor for details. It’s time for action. But whether this is actually your first time or whether you’ve done plenty of reviews before, it’s always helpful to have a few tips.

Emily Crawford also suggests collaboration. Your labmates, colleagues, and classmates are a resource! You should discuss things with each other to better your understanding. Each person you talk with will have a different specialty than you, and you can all share insights with each other. Crawford also suggests spending some time with your web browser and PDFs closed, just writing without looking at your sources. Although this can be stressful because you might be concerned about getting things wrong, it helps you focus on what you want to say, not what’s already been said.

Figuring out how to put it all together? Here’s our step by step guide to writing a lit review.

  • Get comfy. Find a spot to write where you feel secure and there aren’t too many distractions.
  • Think about your topic. What are you aiming for? Consider the things you love to write about and what you want to do with your future. Use this to help you learn more about fields you’re passionate about.
  • Find a sample. Getting a good sample of a literature review can really help you understand what the point is.
  • Narrow it all down. Think about what you want to write, and then get a little more specific to help yourself focus.
  • Find yourself some sources. Research time! Get onto JSTOR or EBSCOhost and go.
  • Decide on a structure. Think about how you want to organize your sources, and create an outline for yourself.
  • Get going! You’re ready to start writing! Go forth and get a great literature review done.
writing literature review in psychology

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Psychology Literature Review Topics

Not quite sure about your psychology review topic? Let’s discuss the possible topics you could use. We’ll go over options from subfields like behavioral, developmental, social, and more. You can choose specific fields of research, types of therapy, or intersections of various disorders. Take a look at the mass murder literature review, and use it as a good example.

  • Is couples therapy effective at preventing breakups?
  • Does meditation work and how effective is it?
  • How do stigma and stereotyping affect people with mental illnesses?
  • What is the ethics of psychology research?
  • Nature vs nurture: how strong is each in the case of a specific trait?
  • Why do people dream?
  • What makes communication effective?
  • How important is the impact of evolution on human behavior?
  • How does animal cognition compare with human cognition?
  • How do we learn to hate certain tastes?
  • Imaging techniques for localization of brain function
  • Traditional neuroscience research methods
  • Death, dying and bereavement
  • Childhood and adolescence
  • Parental help and infancy
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Statistical techniques and analysis
  • Evolutionary perspectives on mate preferences
  • Overview and elements of comparative psychology
  • Prejudice and stereotyping

Psychology Literature Review Example

The University of West Florida provides sample literature reviews for students to check out. Here’s the abstract of one to help you get a feel for what you need:

The differences in communication styles between men and women have been a topic of interest in the research world for many years. These differences may lead to miscommunication, conflict, and even dissatisfaction between couples. This study analyzes the communication styles among genders, more specifically among married couples. It questions how differences in communication styles between married couples married five years or less affect marital satisfaction. The study will be conducted through the use of an interaction analysis. Its goal is to increase the amount of knowledge regarding effective communication and how it relates to marital satisfaction in order to ultimately aid in the rise of marital satisfaction and the decrease of the divorce rate in the United States.

Writing a Psychology Literature Review

A literature review can help you become a better psychologist. It’s easy to find a new way to look at things when you’re standing on the shoulders of giants. Your lit review will help you prep for that with analytical tools and assistance.

Writing a psychology literature review can be easier than you anticipate with help from our writers, so contact us now!