5 Examples of Psychology Research Topics Related to Climate Change

Are you a psychology student pondering what research topics to pursue while conceptualizing your thesis proposal? I tailor this article right for your needs.

You may explore the 5 research topics presented below and come up with your relevant psychology-based research topic on climate change. I offer specific research questions for your guidance.

A colleague asked me for guidance on how her undergraduate psychology students should approach their study considering the university’s research focus areas, prompting me to write this article. She inquired if psychology students could investigate topics related to climate change adaptation.

I initially gave several ideas that students can pursue during the lecture, but these ideas still appear to be too general. Or maybe I have not put the topic in a clear perspective.

descriptive qualitative research
Our perspective influences our interpretation of things.

I, therefore, came up with the following specific research topics based on the initial list of topics I enumerated during a brief research orientation lecture with a group of undergraduate students and several College of Arts and Humanities faculty members. The students are currently conceptualizing their research proposal in compliance with the thesis requirement for graduation.

The 5 examples of psychology research topics related to climate change are products of my online search and my research experience on environmental research and knowledge gained during my training in the graduate school. Specifically, the following research topics are psychology research topics related to climate change that students can explore.

Before anything else, they must conduct a literature review to determine the topics and issues already explored.

I drew out the following ideas mainly from the topics identified by the American Psychological Association. I changed the topics discussed on the website to prevent word repetition and maintain the quality of online articles, as I am aware of the consequences of plagiarism. I also wrote these questions in such a way that they can do it under local conditions, i.e., relevant to the thrusts and priorities of universities in the tropical regions.

1. How can well-designed environment-directed messages increase people’s behavior that is beneficial to the environment?


Examples of environment-beneficial behavior will be the three R’s of recycling, reduction, and reuse of materials. I remembered I wrote an article about an indigenous person who reused otherwise unusable materials from a nearby mining company to build a mini-hydro power plant in a remote place in Bataraza. See how Boyet, the Tagbanua, made use of materials in a materials recycling facility here.

2. Is there a relationship between climate change evidences like sea level rise, warming temperatures, and changing agricultural production to the quality of life of the members of the community?

It would be great to know the relationship between the continuing fluctuations of the weather and people’s quality of life. Will these events be beneficial or detrimental in the long term? Many studies can arise from this simple question alone.

The results will enhance the quality of policymakers’ decisions on those government initiatives that impact on people’s lives. This also streamlines their interest and attention in dealing with relevant steps to address the negative effects of climate change.

3. What prevents people from complying with the most efficient and effective policies of the government?

It will be interesting to know how people decide, whether to follow the rules and regulations, the ordinances, and the laws that pertain to climate change. What keeps people from complying with these policies and what encourages them to follow voluntarily or willingly?

We can actually represent the decision making scenario in a model which will help predict people’s compliance to policies of government. Policy makers will then have a better view of his constituency’s sentiments. We call this approach science-based policy making.

4. Why is there a general concern about nature? What are the reasons behind such an interest in conserving or protecting the environment? What can we gain from the environmental programs, projects and activities?

Surely, everybody knows some of the answers. But which of these answers are the foremost reasons people try to keep the environment intact or, at the very least, minimize exploitation? You may get exciting answers to the questions posed above.

5. How does climate change, as evidenced by unpredictable weather events, affect people?

I remembered the disastrous flooding events in Marikina in Manila in 2009 and Iloilo City in the Western Visayas in the Philippines because of Typhoon Frank. The residents of Marikina, as well as Iloilo, never expected the flooding to occur for so many years. This caused a lot of damages to property and even loss of life.

How do you think those people affected feel? What are in their minds on those times when life-threatening disasters strike? Should they have survived had they been prepared for such an unpredictable event? It’s important to be prepared.

At this point, I hope that with these research topics, more ideas will pop out of your head. You can draw out and remember theories from the lectures given you by your teachers on human psychology that will serve as your theoretical framework as you embark to write your conceptual framework.

Read more: Conceptual Framework in Research: Three Important Points to Bear in Mind

© 2012 November 19 P. A. Regoniel