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PSY105: Introduction to Psychology: Topics & Keywords

Example Topics

Ideas for topics:

  • Achievement Motivation
  • Addictive Disorders: Online Gambling Addiction
  • Addictive Disorders: Substance Abuse
  • Alzheimer's Disease
  • Animal Therapy
  • Anxiety Disorders: in Children
  • Anxiety Disorders: in College Students
  • Anxiety Disorders: Generalized Anxiety Disorders
  • Anxiety Disorders: Panic Disorders (panic attacks)
  • Anxiety Disorders: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Anxiety Disorders: School Phobia
  • Anxiety Disorders: Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Art Therapy
  • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorders
  • Children and Trauma
  • Children and Violence
  • Depressive Disorders: Major Depressive Disorder
  • Dissociative Disorders: Dissociative Identity Disorder
  • Drugs and Brain
  • Dyslexia
  • Eating Disorders: Anorexia
  • Eating Disorders: Bulimia
  • Peer Pressure During the Teenage Years
  • Personality Disorders: Antisocial Personality Disorder
  • Personality Disorders: Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Personality Disorders: Narcissistic Personality Disorder
  • Portrayal of Mental Illness in Media
  • Positive Psychology
  • Psychology of Eating
  • Psychology of Happiness
  • Psychopathy of Serial Killers
  • Psychophysiology Effects of Martial Arts
  • Psychotic Disorders: Schizophrenia
  • Self Esteem
  • Self Harm
  • Sleep: Dreams
  • Sleep: REM and non-REM Sleep
  • Sports anxiety & performance
  • Sports-related concussion
  • Stress
  • Suicide in the U.S.
  • Teen Suicide
  • Therapy Animals

Choosing Search Terms

Search terms, sometimes called keywords, are used in the databases to help you find articles about your topic. You have to use single words and short phrases instead of the entire topic statement. Here is how to choose search terms:


1.)  Write out your topic statement

How do the sleep habits of college students affect GPA?


2.) Pull out the main concepts

Take your topic statement and circle the main concepts. The circled words will be your search terms.

How do the sleep habits of college students affect GPA? Words circled: sleep habits, college students, GPA


3.) Brainstorm synonyms

Think of some synonyms for each search term. These will be helpful later in the databases to expand your search. 

Sleep habits: Sleep deprivation, Sleep. College Student: University Students, Undergraduates. GPA: Grade Point Average, Grades.

Narrowing Down Your Topic

Thinking about the questions below will help you if your topic is too broad.

Broad topic example: Sleep habits

Questions to Consider:

  • So What?- What is the point of the paper? What about this topic?
    • Ex: How does it affect GPA?
  • Who?- Is there a demographic you can focus on?
    • Ex: College Students
  • Where?- Is there a geographical location you want to focus on?
    • Ex: United States
  • When?- What time period can you limit yourself to?
    • Ex: Past 10 years

Take some or all of these questions to form your topic statement:

  • How do the sleep habits of college students affect GPA?

Creative Commons License
PSY105: Introduction to Psychology by Diana Hellyar is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License unless otherwise noted.

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