Step 1: Concept maps
You'll be preparing three topics that
you might be interested in pursuing. Your homework is to start
turning them into good, answerable, psychological questions,
and we'll do that by making them more specific and more psychological.
How we can do that is by fitting them into the framework for psychological
thinking that I presented, with three possible levels (neuroscience, cognitive
science, and social science) and three possible methods (development, abnormal,
and individual differences) of psychological analysis.
First, simply state the topic you're interested in.
For instance, "alcohol use." From there, come up with an
approach that you could take based on each of the three
different methods: one for individual differences, one for
abnormal, and one for developmental. For instance, a possible
individual difference for alcohol use could be different settings of
alcohol use (with friends, at parties, alone, etc.); an abnormal approach could
focus on comparing people with alcohol use disorders (addictions) vs.
non-disordered people; and a developmental approach could focus on change that
occurs over the span of time from when someone first starts drinking to
when they're an experienced drinker.
Next, for each of the methods you've come up with,
pick one of the three levels (neuroscience, cognitive science,
or social science), and briefly state what you could focus on. For
instance, going off the previous example, if I'm focusing on different
circumstances of alcohol use, I could pick the cognitive level by focusing on
how people monitor their own alcohol intake in these different circumstances,
or the social level by focusing on how alcohol affects how they socialize
differently in these different circumstances, or the neuroscience level by
seeing how the brain responds to alcohol differently in different
settings. [You only need to pick one level for each of
the methods, you can re-use levels, and you don't have to use
all of them.] See below for an example of a concept map based on these
Note about neuroscience: Since
neuroscience focuses on the biological and chemical aspects of psychology, it's
recommended that you only pick a neuroscience question if you're already
familiar with these areas and feel comfortable reading and writing about
biology and chemistry.
Step 2: Turning it into a question
Finally, pick the level/method that you like best,
and state this as a full question. Again, based on the example above, I
could pick an individual differences/cognitive approach and say: "How do
people's abilities to monitor their alcohol use change in different
Ultimately, you'll be doing this for 3 different
topics, meaning you should end up with 3 total questions.
Concept map example:
Topic: Alcohol use
§ Ind. diff.: different
settings of consumption
§ Abnormal: alcohol use
§ Developmental: change over
becoming an experienced drinker
§ Social: socialization w/
§ Cognitive: monitoring of
§ Cognitive: attitudes
towards alcohol consumption
o Question: "How does
consuming alcohol in different settings affect how people socialize?"