This primer explains how to write clear, compelling, well-organized research papers.

From picking a promising topic, to finding and digesting the pertinent literature, to developing a thesis, to outlining and presenting ideas, to editing for clarity and concision — each step is broken down and illustrated with examples.

In addition, a bonus chapter discusses how to combat procrastination. You will learn that the best writing is done in chunks over long periods of time and that writing is a skill that improves with practice.

By following the advice in this book, you can not only get through dreaded writing assignments, but also become a more proficient writer.

This book is part of APA's Concise Guides to Conducting Behavioral, Health, and Social Science Research series. Aimed at undergraduate students in research methods courses or others with a lab or research project, each book describes a key stage in the research process. Collectively, these books provide a solid grounding in research from start to finish.

Table of Contents

Series Foreword



I. Preparing to Write

  1. Developing an Idea
  2. Finding Background Information and Literature

II. Writing

  1. Organizing Your Ideas and Creating a Thesis
  2. Structuring and Drafting Your Paper
  3. Revising Your Paper
  4. Managing Citations

III. Staying on Task

  1. Dealing With Procrastination




About the Author

About the Series Editors

Author Bio

Scott A. Baldwin, PhD, received his doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Memphis in 2006. He completed his predoctoral clinical internship at the University of Wisconsin–Madison Department of Psychiatry.

He's an associate professor of psychology at Brigham Young University and a licensed psychologist in Utah.

Dr. Baldwin's research focuses on research design, statistical, and measurement issues in psychotherapy and health research. He has published more than 50 articles and has focused his recent efforts on demonstrating the use of advanced statistical methods in psychological research. He teaches courses on statistics, measurement, research design, and psychotherapy.

When not doing data analysis or writing, he likes to spend time with his family, swim, bike, run, and play classic video games.

Reviews & Awards

A useful addition to the array of volumes on improving student writing. The strength of this brief book is that it encourages students to develop the mind-set necessary for competent writing. Rather than focusing on technical aspects of writing, the author emphasizes the crucial preparatory work that writers need to complete before they can establish the messages they want to convey.

Baldwin's talent as a teacher of writing shines through in Writing Your Psychology Research Paper. This crisp, practical book should be the first stop for students new to writing about the science of psychology.
—Paul J. Silvia, PhD
University of North Carolina at Greensboro

From research-based class papers to manuscripts for professional journals — this easy-to-read book provides a clear guide for any student (undergraduate or graduate) who wants to improve the quality of his or her writing and save time in the writing process.
—Joshua K. Swift, PhD
Idaho State University, Pocatello