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Daria B.
Former Psychology Professor, Current Market Research Project Manager
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Writing
TutorMe
Question:

I'm having a difficult time organizing my research paper, how can I best present the material?

Daria B.
Answer:

With research papers, it is best to start with an hour glass shape approach - start with the broad strokes, narrow down to your specific topic area, then situate the new information you've uncovered in the context of the previous knowledge. Introduce your topic in a larger context - why should we care about the information you're presenting. Capture the reader's attention with an example. State your hypothesis/ research question/ thesis statement. Then, present the evidence you've found through your searches to support your hypothesis or thesis from broader information, narrowing to answering specific questions you had. For example, if you're writing about Freud's psychoanalytic theory, you may open with an imaginary therapy session on his couch, with examples of the kinds of questions he used. Then, define the psychoanalytic theory through the components (e.g., id, ego, superego), then the stages of development. As you get to the middle of the paper, there should be examples of specific case studies Freud used to support his theory. Then, that could evolve into how Freud's contributions are viewed today and how the psychoanalytic theory is used currently in talk therapy or clinical psychology settings. Tie the end back to the beginning.

Study Skills
TutorMe
Question:

I got through most of my classes in high school without studying much, but I'm finding that my first semester courses are really difficult. How should I go about studying?

Daria B.
Answer:

My first question to you is how have you been studying up to this point? Are you cramming for your exams or working through the material in small chunks? Most professors or teachers provide you with a syllabus that breaks down the test dates. First, note those in your planner/ calendar. This will give you a timeline of when you should expect the exams. Next, you should set aside time every week to review the material you learned in your class meetings. The human brain can only concentrate on a topic for about 45 minutes at a time, so it is important to break down your studying into smaller chunks. I always recommend reading the chapter a little bit at a time with a piece of paper next to you while reading. This way, you can write down the concepts that were difficult for you to understand the first time around. Then, go back to your notes from class to see whether those topics are clarified. Then, when preparing for the exam, take the paper you had while reading, along with your notes to review the topics. Read through the notes and the paper with the more difficult topics. This can give you a better idea of what you know well, what's shaky, and what you don't really remember. Write down what's shaky and what you don't remember and pay more attention to reviewing those topics. To summarize: Read the chapters for the exam during the weeks they are covered, take notes on your reading, and pay special attention to the topics that are more difficult for you to grasp. Then, review the notes along side the difficult topic list. After the first read through, make a list of topics that are shaky and not remembered well so that you spend most of your time on those topics. Remember, your TAs and professors are excellent resources and you can always go ask them questions based on your topic lists.

Psychology
TutorMe
Question:

What are the five steps to helping? Describe each step with an example and provide a barrier to that step.

Daria B.
Answer:

The first step to helping is to notice the event. If someone is in a hurry, they may miss the event entirely. For example, shoppers during the busy holiday season may not notice someone who has fallen over on the street. The second step to helping is labeling it as an emergency. Even if you notice the event, you may not perceive it as something that needs attention. This is called pluralistic ignorance - where one looks to others for help with interpreting an ambiguous situation. If you see a person laying on the street and others are not reacting to this as an emergency it is likely that you won't either. The third step to helping is accepting responsibility. Once you notice the event and interpret it as an emergency, you have to take it upon yourself to act. Diffusion of responsibility may be a barrier here. When there are other people around, we feel less individually responsible, and are therefore less likely to help. For example, if you're out shopping for presents in late December, even if you notice a fellow shopper fallen down and believe it is an emergency (maybe they need medical assistance), you may think to yourself that there are lots of other people around who probably noticed the same event and someone else must have called 911 already! Step four in this process is knowing the right form of assistance. If you don't know how to help, you're probably not going to even if you've successfully passed through the previous 3 steps. It could be as simple as having a phone and being able to dial 911 to complicated training like CPR or water rescue. Take the same shopping example - if you know how to call the paramedics and you've successfully completed the first three steps, you'll probably pull out your phone and start dialing. If you can't find your phone, don't know how to call the paramedics, or don't know CPR you probably won't act to help the fallen shopper. The fifth step in helping is to implement the decision. This is the final step in the process of helping, but you can still decide not to help if you feel that you may look foolish or if the situation is really dangerous. If the costs of helping outweigh the benefits, you're most likely not going to help the fallen shopper. If you fear embarrassment (what if you're wrong about it being an emergency?!) or if you feel like the situation is very dangerous (running into a burning building) you may choose not to help, even if you have noticed the event, interpreted it as an emergency, assumed responsibility and knew the proper form of assistance. With the fallen shopper example we've been using throughout the answer, it is probably likely that dialing 911 would be easy to do and the benefits (getting the person medical attention) outweigh the potential costs.

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