How to Write a Psychology Research Paper

Updated: June 13, 2023

Writing on psychology is always fascinating and self-educational, with new insights into not only the subject of your inquiry but also your own motivations, aspirations, and behavior.

However, the task of completing a well-written, A-grade psychology research paper is not manageable for all students as it is often too hard to structure the found material, identify the flaws in your writing, and polish the paper comprehensively.

Thus, we have prepared a guide to help you improve the research paper writing skill, including:

  • Comprehensive psychology research paper guidelines.
  • Instructions on pre-writing work.
  • Structuring recommendations.
  • Tips on the content to be included in all parts of the assignment.
  • Outlining tips and examples.

Study the guide attentively to hone your psychology research paper writing skills and succeed in your studies. But if you still feel unsure about your ability to compose a top-rated paper, keep in mind that you always have an alternative.

If you’re short of time, lack writing skills, or don’t understand the topic well, it’s time to turn to our professionals for assistance. You’ll get a well-researched, perfectly written research paper in no time, saving your psychology grades and ensuring a stable performance at college.

What Is a Psychology Research Paper

Let’s begin with the fundamentals, which is the definition of a psychology research paper. This academic assignment is typically larger than a standard essay, taking 5–10 pages in length (sometimes even more). The key difference is in the depth of insight and breadth of research required from the student.

Here, you have a wonderful possibility to examine the subject of your interest and produce some academically valuable insights and conclusions, which is usually unattainable in a simple essay.

How to Start a Psychology Research Paper

The beginning of every academic work is the topic formulation and preliminary research. As the field of psychology is quite extensive, you need to narrow down your focus to some specific area of specialization. Maybe you are interested in mental healthcare policies, clinical guidelines, diagnosis, and treatment of depressive disorders, substance use problems, the mental health side of gambling, or the psychological side of adolescent deviance? Whatever your topic is, make sure that it is interesting, current, and manageable in terms of available professional literature.

Once you have identified the topic of interest, conduct some preliminary research to collect some credible, authoritative sources on the subject. At this point, you will have some initial understanding of where research takes you, and with that preliminary data at hand, you can proceed to structure the draft version of your psychology research paper.

How to Structure a Psychology Research Paper

When it comes to structuring, your psychology research paper may take different forms depending on the content required by your professor. Make sure to follow their instructions to the dot to get a high grade; negligence of the academic requirements may cause a serious reduction of your points.

But notwithstanding the task you get from a tutor regarding the internal content of the psychology research paper, as a rule, it still follows a universal three-component format mandatory for all academic writing pieces:

  • An introduction setting the context and clarifying what your subject of interest is.
  • A body of the paper containing all your major arguments and evidence supporting them.
  • A conclusion, reiterating your key points and restating the thesis.

Once you keep this structure in mind, you already have a correct roadmap for psychology research paper completion.

How to End a Psychology Research Paper

Once you’re done with writing, it’s time to take a fresh look at your brainchild and polish it to perfection. It is vital to be as objective and detached at the post-writing stage as possible to see all the potential flaws in the content cohesion, flow, and mechanics of the text, such as grammar and spelling.

Make sure to read the text attentively several hours after its completion so that some details and wording are a bit erased from your memory. In this way, you’ll be able to approach the text critically and remove some sentences or words without regretting your time and effort.

Psychology Research Paper Outline

Now let’s illustrate everything we have just discussed with a handy example of a psychology research paper outline. It will help you design your own one every time you’re tasked with such an assignment.

We have chosen the topic of “effective PTSD therapies” for this sample. Here is the tentative structure we recommend.


Definition of PTSD and adverse consequences it produces on people’s lives. A brief introduction to PTSD causes and symptoms. Statistics on affected Americans. Thesis statement: given the adverse, pervasive impact of PTSD on people’s life quality, it is essential to consider effective PTSD therapies.

Body of the Paper

Paragraph #1 – A discussion of PTSD in a bit more detail (when an official diagnosis was formulated, who the major affected population is, how their lives change as a result of PTSD), a transition sentence to the need to provide PTSD patients with effective therapies

Paragraph #2 – Review of available therapies (pharmacological and behavioral). The difference between therapy types, empirical research on their effectiveness.

Paragraph #3 – Review of emerging therapies (art therapy, CBT, AR/VR-assisted therapies). Their potential and clinical research results suggesting their effectiveness.


A summary of effective existing and developing therapies for PTSD. A reference to a broader context: the importance of treating PTSD as a contribution to people’s mental well-being and public health improvement.

Now let’s see how this outline can take the shape of a well-written research paper. We present several paragraph samples in the following sections.

Psychology Research Paper Introduction

As we have already discussed, the introductory part should set the general context, introduce the central concept we’re analyzing, and end with a concise thesis statement.

Here is an example of how the introduction can be written:

Previously considered a mental health disorder of war veterans, the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is taking new forms and affecting broader population categories. Today, people who fell victims of street or domestic violence, acts of terror, or intense negative stress can develop PTSD as well. According to CDC (2021), 5 million of Americans are currently affected with PTSD, with the incidence rate rising every year. PTSD patients experience serious deterioration of their life quality, with traumatic flashbacks, chronic stress, panic attacks, and sleep disorders hindering their productivity, family life, and social relationships. With such a pervasive impact of PTSD on the human life quality, the need for seeking effective therapies is imperative. In this paper, the researcher considers available and developing PTSD therapies to present an evidence-based review of what works well for PTSD patients.”

Those wondering how to write a psychology research paper in APA format should take the CDC (2021) reference as an example of APA citation. Study the APA guide and make sure to follow the author-date citation method to have your paper properly cited and plagiarism-free.

Psychology Research Paper Body

Now, coming to the body of your psychology research paper, look at the tutor’s instructions and develop meaningful blocks of information.

For example, in this study, we would recommend developing paragraphs dedicated to:

  • A more detailed review of PTSD as a disease (its mechanisms, symptoms, and impact on human health and productivity).
  • Pharmacological treatments for PTSD (efficiency, side effects, precautions, strengths, and drawbacks).
  • Non-pharmacological treatments for PTSD.
  • Emerging treatments (art therapy, the use of AR/VR).

Depending on your psychology research paper’s word count, you can make the blocks larger or smaller to meet the needed size.

Psychology Research Paper Conclusion

When coming to the concluding part, you will already have many empirical data at hand. In the final section, you should summarize the study findings to conclude what the best treatment method is, what promising treatment directions are currently developed, and what implications this progress has on the lives of people with PTSD.

Psychology Research Paper Help

Delving into the intricate world of psychology, students often find writing a research paper a formidable task. From understanding the nuances of psychological theories to analyzing complex data, it presents numerous challenges.

Moreover, effectively communicating these complex concepts can further complicate the process. In such circumstances, students can greatly benefit from professional help. Turning to vetted writers with expertise in psychology can provide invaluable assistance, guiding students through the process and ensuring a well-articulated, cohesive research paper.

George Lynch
George Lynch
Literature, Psychology, Religion
Experience: 3+ years
I’ve been enjoying academic writing since day one in college. Today, having a full-time job, I’m still looking forward to writing essays and research papers online for others.
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