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PSY 221 Childhood and Adolescence

Using Search tools to find a good topic

Finding a good topic is more art than science, and there is not an exact formula. But there is a process, and it gets easier the more practice you have.

A good topic should be:

  • Manageable (not too big and not too small!)
  • Interesting (not too boring!)
  • Relevant (not- not about the psychology of children and adolescents)
  • Original (not too overdone but of interest to other scholars!)

Coming up with a topic can feel like playing Goldielocks sometimes - you continually narrow and/or broaden your research question.



Population or Problem


Comparison or Control




Population (P) Intervention (I) Comparison/Control (C) Outcome (O)
Do adults who binge drink compared to adults who do not binge drink have higher mortality rates?
Are children placed in kinship care (with grandparents or other relatives) and not foster care more likely to graduate high school?
Parents who do not live together family counseling individual counseling more involved fathers

Identify the PICO in the following question:

Does music therapy help children with autism spectrum disorder communicate more effectively with their families?