Psychology: Background of the Problem

In this section you should explain the origins of your research question in psychology by reviewing - and not just reporting - the literature that provides the theoretical and empirical support for your specific hypothesis.

Completing the Background of the Problem section will help you to:

  • Show that you have mastered the extant research on your topic in psychology

You should show that you are familiar with what has already been done and the various methods used to conduct research similar to your proposed investigation.

  • Make a case for your own hypothesis being the next logical link in a chain of studies that helps us to understand your topic

You are joining an ongoing scholarly conversation - adding refinement, modification, or advances through your work.

This section is likely most similar to papers you have been writing in your classes. In the behavioral sciences, you will use current literature to demonstrate that your hypothesis is the most obvious next step in your field of inquiry. The Background of the Problem should be a robust section that will subsequently serve as the introduction to your psychology thesis.