The piece of my project that has been the biggest struggle for me this summer has been my introduction. For psychology research, the introduction is where you lay out all of the background research that motivates your study, the gap that you are filling, all of the work that underlies your hypotheses, and the methodology for the study. The introduction should weave a cohesive and understandable narrative for the psychology researchers that are going to read your paper in the future.
My first introduction draft was a little rough, with not enough explanation on some concepts that I didn’t think warranted attention and not enough of a narrative for my research. Dr. Creswell suggested I go back to the drawing board and re-write my outline: connecting the dots before I sat down to write again.
The same week I was rewriting my introduction, I participated in a three-minute research competition. This competition required me to present on my entire summer research in three minutes to a lay audience. This meant I couldn’t use any shortcuts when explaining my background or methodology. While writing and practicing this presentation, I learned how to concisely explain the reason for my research and its implications, and I understood how to distill my research for anyone to understand.
After the competition, I focused on my introduction once again. And this time, I could use the narrative I used during my presentation to structure my argument and flesh out the research. Being required to look at my research in a different way and tell the story of my research in a different manner ultimately helped me to understand my introduction.
My advice from this experience is to try to look at your research from a different perspective. And sometimes you need to take a step back from one aspect of your work in order to understand it better.