Long story short, I have some ideas regarding the field of psychology and I am looking into ways to validate them with people with experience.

Options I see:

  1. Submit a paper and wait feedback from a journal. I understand the hurdles that come with this option. I'm wondering if this is totally unrealistic for non statistics based psychology.
  2. Contact people in academia. I'm not sure if anyone would even listen. Moreover, I am not very familiar with the jargon and I can't quite communicate my ideas in a casual conversation.
  3. Write a book. This is definitely a non-scientific approach but may be more feasible considering how revolutionary Eric Ries and Lean Startup were in the field of management.
  • 2
    There'll be a problem if you are truly "unfamiliar with the jargon", whether you try to talk to people or submit a paper to a peer-reviewed journal. Likewise, if you write a book but/and without connecting to "the jargon", no one will take it seriously. Commented Aug 9, 2019 at 23:36
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    Why not get a PhD and learn how to do it from inside academia? The whole point of a PhD is to answer the question you are after if you skip the last couple words. If you don't think the effort is worth it then neither are your ideas.
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Aug 10, 2019 at 2:20
  • You can also present at a conference, where you will get an opportunity to discuss your research with many people (as well as hear about and discuss theirs). Some conferences are meant for students and networking and have minimal peer review. The downside is the cost of travel and the conference itself. Commented Aug 10, 2019 at 3:03
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    What do you mean by validation?
    – deags
    Commented Aug 10, 2019 at 3:12
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    "I am not very familiar with the jargon and I can't quite communicate my ideas in a casual conversation" This is concerning, not because your paper doesn't use the jargon, but because it suggests that you haven't read enough of the existing literature to have gained a good understanding of the current state of the field you hope to extend.
    – Ray
    Commented Aug 10, 2019 at 7:33

3 Answers 3


First, I am not from the field of psychology, but I assume that the research rules are equally applied to all fields.

A general comment: any idea you think is new -in any research area-, is more likely to collide with the fact that it has already been explored and patented -if you have a small experience in the field of course-.

Validating your idea does not necessitate a direct involvement in academia. However, it is important to know the academic process, which consists of:

  1. Reviewing the state-of-the-art sufficiently. This means, reading the recently published papers (mainly from reputed journals and proceedings) and books by using specific search engines (e.g. Google Scholar) and references/cited-by of the publications you know. Please be aware that keywords might be different across different communities.
  2. If you are not directly involved in research, you may contact researchers interested in your topic and idea. Btw. your assumption that they wouldn't even listen is wrong. Researchers and academics (regardless of their research area) are always open to new ideas. We (a CS research group) do this all the time, where we discuss with companies and individuals about new ideas and collaborations.
  3. If you don't prefer contacting research groups and labs or you don't get an answer for any reason (which I don't it would happen), you can write the paper by yourself following what you have learnt in reviewing similar works (you can also check tutorial how to write a good paper). You will need to follow the journal or conference instructions (e.g. number of pages, etc.). You then submit the paper and wait a couple of months to get the first decision.

Now regarding your assumption:

Write a book. This is a non-scientific approach ....

It is incorrect if you aim to publish a scientific book. Generally, good publishers won't easily publish the work of unknown authors unless they publish it in a series which requires the acceptance of its editor. Here also, the work has to be proved by the editor to have the chance to be published.

  1. Submitting a paper to a journal is not an unrealistic option. There are a vast number of reputed, peer-reviewed journals out there, each with a specific focus. You need to find the journal that will be the best fit for your ideas.

For eg: the journal Emotion Review specifically looks for theories, commentaries, reviews, and ideas, and is not particularly interested in new empirical studies.

It doesn't matter if your ideas don't involve statistics-based or empirical results, as long as you can find a journal that fits, and follow its guidelines.

Also, a lot of these journals have a double-blind review process. So the only thing that matters is the structure and content of your manuscript.

  1. Not being acquainted with the jargon will be a problem. There's no harm if you've developed your ideas independently or if your vocabulary is a litte different - in fact, that could be critical to thinking outside of the existing conventions and creating a much-needed paradigm shift. But you still need to acquaint yourself with the work that's already been done in that area.

You need to explore, and review the existing literature, and figure out the existing concepts, ideas, and methodologies. This can seem daunting as an independent researcher at first, but the process gets easier as you go. You could take some courses online or access open universities' materials on research and scientific writing for some added help.

This will help you fine-tune and polish your own ideas - even if you decide that the existing concepts and constructs are worthless. (In this case, you can choose to critique them and propose your new models and terms.)

And when you know the jargon, you can communicate much more effectively and precisely, find mentors, and get collaborators interested in your ideas.

  1. You could write a book to share your ideas, but at the end of the day you're still going to have to market it. Loads of books are published every day, content is burgeoning, and everyone has a hot take. You need to think about why anyone would invest their time and effort in choosing and reading your book specifically.


You probably feel excited about your ideas and may want to get them across as quickly as possible, but the scientific process is more of a slow burn.

So start reading books, papers, journals, make notes, ask a lot of questions, be skeptical and stubborn and critically analyze what you're reading. Get acquainted with what people are doing/thinking and the different approaches/theories present in the field. Write about this. Writing is a critical skill, and not only does it help you communicate your ideas, it also streamlines them and makes them crisp and focused. You need to be able to communicate your ideas without getting muddled and lost. Not just to experts or scientists, but also to a more layperson audience. And if you can't, this usually means that your ideas are still raw and need to be formed more clearly.

This is not going to be quick and easy, and it's unlikely that you'll have a clear picture or path right from day 1. But as you read/explore more, and write/summarize more, you'll slowly find the puzzle pieces falling into place.

Along the way you'll probably find researchers and authors you want to talk to or network with. You can probably form connections on social media sites like Twitter and LinkedIn or follow their blog if they have one. You may find conferences and seminars you want to go to. The process will just unfold itself as you go, and you'll find new options, avenues and opportunities.

Maybe you could even go for further studies and enrol in a PhD program - if that's feasible for you and your circumstances.


Try publishing on trade and industry magazines. Some do have a sort of review process.

Especially if your psychology ideas are interesting to marketing they might be picked up, and do write a book, it will be just for copyright, though.

Remember that academia is a vicious cycle full of insidious incentives to publish as many random papers as unnecessarily as possible, which is why a lot of practical research is being done outside of it now.

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