Step 1: Choosing Your Aim and Explaining its Relevance

Instructions: Click on the sections below to see the explanations.

Aim and Research Question (Click)

The aim of your IA is to conduct an experiment to answer a research question about the potential influence of a certain factor on a certain behavior among a certain population. 

Oftentimes, students choose to replicate/modify a study that has been previously conducted by professional researchers. This is not a requirement, but a common practice that can make it easier to find a relevant research question.

NB. Words and expressions in bold indicate that these elements will have to be included in your IA report after you conduct your experiment.

Relevance of the Research Question (Click)

When choosing your study, you should indeed ask yourself: “What is the research question?”, and select the one that your group finds the most relevant.

Although this preference is a matter of opinion, you must be able to justify the relevance of your aim, which means that you will have to discuss as a group and be able to answer the following questions:

  • How does this question arise from a real-life problem related to the target population?
  • How does answering this question align with the overall goal of psychology?
  • What could be some concrete, practical applications of the answer to this question?

Target Population (Click)

As can be seen in the table above, the mean ratings were very similar for previously studied words and critical lures. This suggests that schematic associations led to false recollections. The low mean rating for weakly related lures also indicates that the results were not due to the participants using wild guesses.

That being said, you should also take into consideration that both the behavior under consideration and the factor under investigation may make your research question only or particularly applicable to a particular class of people. For instance, if you are exploring the influence of listening to music with lyrics while studying (factor) on memorization and recall (behavior), your target population should be limited to people for whom this influence is relevant, i.e., students. Of course, keep in mind that your target population should be one that you can realistically draw participants from when the time comes to conduct your experiment!

NB. This should not be a problem if you choose one of the recommended studies, but to meet IA requirements, your research question can not compare a particular class of people to another one or to the general population. More generally, the factor under investigation can not be a characteristic that is attached to the person (such as age, gender, race, native language, life experiences, background knowledge and skills, personal opinions or preferences, habits, etc..). The reason is that your IA must be an experiment, which is a research method characterized by the manipulation of the factor under investigation. Concretely, you must compare the behavior of participants drawn from a relevant population in two different conditions that you create.

Whether your target population is human beings in general or a particular class of people, you must be able to explain why the research question applies to them (in general or in particular). To do so, you must be able to explain how it arises from real-life situations.

Goal of Psychology and Practical Applications (Click)

Generally speaking, the goal of psychology is not only to understand human behavior, but to use this understanding to help improve people’s lives at the individual and collective levels. When justifying the relevance of your research question, you should not only explain how it relates to a real-life problem, but also how solving this problem would be beneficial. 

Finally, you should be able to explain how the answer to your research question can have concrete, practical applications that help solve the underlying problem.

QUESTIONS: Click on the sections below to see the worked examples

Answer all questions below on your individual Experiment Creation Form.
Your form will automatically be saved in your Google Drive.
NB. You will need to create a Google account if you do not already have one.

Question 1: List all partners in your IA group

Question 2: Choose an original study to replicate / modify (Click)

This website contains a list of interesting studies that will enable you to meet all IA requirements and that can be replicated / modified online if you need.

Additional studies can also be found through these external resources: 



Question 3: What is the aim (research question) of your experiment? (Click)

Your answer to Question 3 should be based on the original study you chose, but does not need to be strictly identical. It should indicate the following: 

  • Behavior under consideration 
  • Factor under investigation 
  • Target (relevant) population
  • Potential influence of the factor on the behavior among the relevant target population

Table 1: Example of Research Question

Question 4: Explain the relevance of your aim (research question) (Click)

Your answer should indicate the following:

  • How does this question arise from a real-life problem related to the target population?
  • How does answering this question align with the overall goal of psychology?
  • What could be some concrete, practical applications of the answer to this question?

Table 2: Example of Relevance of Research Questions