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Procrastination Research Group, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON. Department of Psychology email link to Tim_Pychyl@carleton.ca link to Carleton University Home Page


Existentialism is a movement in philosophy which focuses on individual existence. What does it mean to be human? How should we live our lives? How does having or not having a sense of purpose or meaning effect our lives? The premise of the self evaluation you have just completed is based on an undergraduate thesis completed by Carole Mallows in 1999. Carole examined the role that a person's sense of purpose in life played in their level of procrastination.  This links you to Carole Mallows'  discussion section. While reading Carole's findings reflect on your own procrastination and how purpose or meaning in life has an effect on your procrastination. 

To further your understanding of how research is conducted in a university environment, read the example debriefing below. 

Example Debriefing

Thank you for participating in our study!

As part of the ethical conduct of research, we do our best to ensure that no research participants are harmed in any way. Apart from the actual design of the data collection, we address this issue of harm with this written "debriefing." Please take time now to read the information on this page.

As was explained in the informed consent form, there was no deception in our study. We take a credulous approach to the collection of data in psychological research and simply ask people to reflect on their lives with "self-report" questionnaires.

The questionnaires you completed measure two broad psychological concepts: meaning in life and procrastination. I have asked you to fill these out so that I can see if there is a relationship between how much we put things off and how much meaning we find in life. If you have any questions or comments about this research, please contact: Principal investigator , Faculty supervisor. If you have ethical concerns about this research please contact the Chair, Department of Psychology  Ethics Committee (In a real debriefing form you would be provided with names and contact numbers for the aforementioned personnel).  Please direct your questions or comments to Dr. Timothy A. Pychyl




Interesting reading if you're trying to get control over procrastination in your life . . .

  • Burka, J.B. & Yuen, L.M. (1983).Procrastination: Why you do it and what to do about it. Reading, PA:Addison-Wesley.

  • Knaus, W.J. (1994). Change you life now: Powerful techniques for positive change. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

  • Knaus, W.J. (1998). Do it now: How to stop procrastinating (Revised edition). New York: John Wiley & Sons

  • complete reference list : for a more thorough list of literature related to procrastination.


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PRG Copyright 2001, Dr. Timothy A. Pychyl, Carleton University
Updated July 5, 2002 5:19 PM