How to Write a Presentation in Psychology: Guide for College Students

Writing guide
Posted on July 4, 2019

Looking for tips on how to create an effective presentation in psychology? Working on this assignment, you will be able to gain an insight into a field of psychology and human interaction. But this task is rather challenging because you need to choose an interesting topic, research it and present your findings in front of the audience. To help you cope with this assignment, we have prepared this quick guide where you will find all the necessary information for writing and delivering an awesome psychology presentation. And if you need advice on completing other type of project, on our website you can find plenty of full guides to all writing assignments our there. In this article, we will discuss specifics of presentations in psychology, give advice to how to choose a good topic, provide you with step-by-step writing guide, and give you some tips on creating visual aids for your presentation.

What Is a Presentation in Psychology?

Psychology studies the human brain and people’s behavior, interactions, and thoughts. This interesting field of study has a broad scope and is relevant to a wide range of sectors, including social services, health, advertising, and education. Psychology writing has a goal to inform the audience about new ideas, theories or experiments. Students who study psychology have to write different types of assignment, including essays where they need to develop a coherent argument, research reports where they present results of their research in the format of a journal article, and methodology recounts describing methods they used for conducting experiments and recording their findings. Besides, you may be assigned to prepare a paper presentation and deliver a talk presenting results of your research in front of the audience.

When you write a presentation in psychology, you need to convey factual knowledge which is supported by research and be as precise as possible. Making a presentation has some specifics because you need to consider the fact that your audience will not be able to read your paper. Your task is to communicate complex ideas clearly and concisely, minimizing the use of descriptive language and complex sentences and make them understandable to a wide audience. That’s why your presentation should be written in a simple language and you should try to explain complex concepts with a minimum of specific terms. Besides, you may need to prepare visual aids (slides, handouts, posters) to help your listeners follow your argument and emphasize the most important points.

Presenting results of the research can be stressful even for experienced psychology scientists because oral presentations take only 10-15 minutes and you need to decide what information to include and how to organize it so that your audience won’t be bored. Choosing an interesting topic and detailed planning are the keys to success.

How to Choose a Good Topic for a Psychology Presentation

It goes without saying that you should choose a topic you are passionate about. You will be more motivated to overcome possible challenges connected with doing research, organizing material, structuring your presentation, and building slides. But you should also consider your audience – whether they will be members of the faculty who are familiar with psychology concepts or whether they will be people who may never had a class in psychology. Knowing your audience will help you choose the scope of the topic appropriate to their level of knowledge and structure your presentation in psychology with appropriate depth. When you choose a topic, make sure is it is narrow enough so you will be able to cover it in a limited period of time and start researching it – read good primary and secondary sources and take notes of the key ideas that you may want to include in your presentation.

Looking for an engaging topic for research? Feel free to choose the one you like from our list:

  1. Maslow’s Theory of Motivation;
  2. Gender Roles in Relationships;
  3. Social Psychological Aspects of Cults;
  4. Key Theories of Albert Bandura;
  5. Causes of Personality Disorders;
  6. The Value of Self-Affirmations;
  7. Intelligence and Achievement Testing;
  8. Psychology and the Global Climate Change;
  9. NLP Communication Model;
  10. Anxiety in Children;
  11. Psychology of Dreams;
  12. Causes of Eating Disorders;
  13. Child Abuse and Mental Health Issues;
  14. Impact of Exercise on Mental Health;
  15. Physical Effects of Stress and Anxiety.

Plan Your Presentation

Planning stage is very important. Now you have to decide what main messages you want to communicate to your audience – your presentation may be informative or persuasive. Create a strong highly specific thesis statement for your presentation and organize the information you have gathered during your research. A thesis statement presents your main idea in 1 or 2 sentences and lets your audience know what they should expect. A strong thesis statement is clear, concise, specific, and original. It shouldn’t just announce your topic but also reflect your specific angle on the topic.

For example, if you are going to make a presentation on the psychology of childhood and fairy tales, your thesis statement may look like this one:

‘Fairy tales reveal a number of specific relationships between young children and their mothers and help explain some important aspects of the psychology of young children like high competition for mother’s attention between siblings and fear of abandonment.’

Use brainstorming techniques and mind mapping and decide what key points you can include in your presentation to effectively support your thesis. When determining how important each piece of content is and whether you should include it or not, you should consider its added value. Your task is to provide a logical argument. Remember: no matter how good an idea is if it doesn’t contribute to supporting your thesis, you should exclude it.

Besides, you should remember that you have limited time for your oral presentation so you should be concise when presenting the background and the theory for your research in order to have more time for presenting your study and findings. Share only the necessary information and emphasize your key points to convey a clear message to your audience. It’s important to create a working outline that will help you stay on the track as you write your presentation. Creating an outline in the form of a mind map, a summary table or using another method will make the writing process easier and quicker. There is no set formula for the structure of your presentation but you may follow a basic structure that includes an introduction, main body, and conclusion.

Write a Draft for Your Psychology Presentation

When you start writing your draft, you should remember that your task is to present a logical sequence of ideas. Don’t just write all the information that you know but articulate your argument and discuss it. Your presentation should “flow” and each paragraph should be linked to the previous one. Besides, every paragraph needs to represent one main theme which is explained, developed, and illustrated by evidence and examples. Now let’s discuss how to write each part of a psychology presentation in detail.

Introductions typically take about 10% of the full word count. A good introduction:

  • begins with a general statement that introduces a topic;
  • provides background information and defines the key terms;
  • sum-ups in 1 or 2 sentences the overall goal of your presentation or reveals your position concerning the issue;
  • identifies the main themes that will be discussed;
  • outlines the presentation’s key argument.

For example, you may start your introduction with a general statement that introduces a broad topic like this one:

‘Recent studies on personality development have revealed insight in specific areas which were earlier considered inexplicable such as early interpersonal environment but there are some inconsistencies that require additional examination.’

Sometimes, it is better to write your introduction after you have finished the main body. This approach is preferable when the topic area is not familiar to you. Writing your introduction last will allow you to show a better understanding of the topic and make the beginning of your psychology presentation more powerful. If you write your introduction first, you should check it after you finish the body to ensure that it introduces all your arguments.

Body paragraphs typically take about 80% of the total word count. Every body paragraph should convey one main theme and present a number of points relevant to your overall argument. All points should be explained, evaluated, and supported by high-quality evidence and examples.

You may also include relevant quotations that support your point of view but you should use them sparingly. You should take into consideration that in psychology, all evidence should rely on data and not on someone’s opinion. For example, if you want to state that attitudes towards gay rights have more liberal in the US, you may convey this idea like this:

‘Recent research has shown that people’s attitudes towards gay rights have typically become more liberal over the last 10 years (Brown, 2015).’

Begin each body paragraph with a topic sentence that introduces the main idea. Include supporting sentences to develop this idea and examples, facts or expert ideas that prove the key point. Provide an evaluation of the evidence and explain why you think it is relevant to your topic. Sum up the ideas of each paragraph with a concluding sentence. Use specific phrases and sentences to show transitions between the paragraphs, for example, in addition, consequently, however, therefore, nevertheless, obviously, on the contrary, in the same way, etc.

Ideally, a conclusion summarizes and ties together all the key themes and arguments of your psychology presentation. You shouldn’t include any new information here – only the information and arguments you have already discussed. You may restate your position, briefly sum up and evaluate the key points, and suggest some ideas for further research in the concluding sentence.

Revise and Edit Your Draft

When you finish the first draft of your presentation, you must revise it and check if it “flows”. A logical flow is an essential feature of an effective communication as well as correct grammar and spelling. Reread your presentation to take a second look at your ideas and make changes to ensure that all paragraphs follow a logical order. You may change or add information to make your ideas more accurate or more convincing. You may need to rearrange your paragraphs to different positions so that their themes were arranged in a logical sequence.

The next stage is editing when you need to improve the writing style. You should check how you expressed your interesting ideas. You can change or add words to improve word choice. You need to fix sentence structure and eliminate spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes. Do your best to make your presentation in psychology a polished piece of writing. Finally, format your psychology presentation using the APA style.

Tips on Making Visuals for a Presentation in Psychology

Visual aids (slides, handouts, graphs, charts, posters) help you guide your audience through your talk and communicate the essential information more clearly. For example, if you are talking about a specific part of the human brain, it would be better if your audience could see a picture of the human brain where this specific part is highlighted. But if you use something like humorous animation or clipart, your visual aid will not be helpful in enhancing the audience’s understanding.

Here are some tips on how to create effective slides:

  • Make your slides simple and only add elements, for example, colors that can add some value to your presentation in psychology;
  • Use large fonts – 32pt for your main points and 44pt for titles;
  • Don’t write complete sentences. Instead, use bullet points to give your audience a structure they could follow;
  • If you use graphs and charts, keep them simple and don’t clutter them with additional numbers;
  • Make your visuals professionally attractive. Use the same fonts and backgrounds for all slides and be very careful with images that are not relevant to your topic.

Creating presentations doesn’t need to be a challenge. We hope that our easy writing guide will help you create a powerful presentation in psychology and make a great impression on your audience. With our tips you will become a presentation writer with professional skills.

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