Your paper will be based on references that you are able to locate, using books or book chapters, articles from professional and scientific periodicals, and appropriate Internet sites that I have approved. Among your references (of which there should be a total of at least 6), you will be required to locate at least two research studies published in scientific journals that provide some hard data that are directly supportive of your answer to the question you have chosen to investigate. Use my guide to locating references that is available here in Supplementary Materials. The paper itself should be organized as follows (no title page, and no page breaks between the sections, and use headings only for 4-7):
- Title: Include your name, the title of your paper (which should be up to 15 words long and should clearly indicate the precise focus of your paper), and your name.
- Abstract: Following APA style, this will be approximately 150 words and represents a brief summary of your question, your answer, information presented in support of your answer, and your conclusion. The entire abstract should be indented one tab.
- Introduction (usually only a page or so): Begin with a brief discussion of the question you will be looking at. Maybe include a few statistics, some descriptive information, key definitions, perhaps some background or history. Be sure to also include a brief summary of some of the different ways that psychologists and others have been thinking about this question and the possible answers that have been proposed, as well as some consideration of how the issue is important. Then clearly state exactly what you intend to do in the pages that follow – the question you are asking and the particular answer you intend to argue for.
- Review of Literature (the main body of the paper): Present what you have learned from the reference materials you have located, organized thematically around appropriate sub-topics. Discuss in some detail the various opinions, arguments, research findings, and theories that deal with your question, with particular emphasis on those that provide support for the answer you are arguing for. Remember that at least two of your sources must be research studies published in scientific journals and that you need to present them in some depth, with careful attention to the methods used; be sure to present specific results. Especially important here is that you clearly identify the sources you are using. Keep using such phrases as “According to…,” or “In a study conducted by…,” or “In the opinion of…,” or “So-and-so has argued that…,” or “So-and-so believes that….”
- Analysis: Begin with a summary of the key findings from your review of literature, clearly identifying any important similarities or differences in these findings. Now you also need to analyze the information you presented and the sources for it, objectively and critically, to enable you to decide how believable and consistent is the information and whether it strongly supports the answer you are arguing for. How sound are the arguments? How logical and consistent are the opinions? How much supporting evidence is there from research studies? How solid is this evidence? For the research studies, was the methodology sufficiently rigorous? What are the possible counter-arguments? Especially important here is your appreciation of the difference between opinion and statements that have a reasonable amount of consistent and reliable scientific support, and your recognition that you can’t always believe everything you read.
- Conclusion and Discussion: Flowing directly from your analysis, you should now be ready to end with your conclusion. Summarize what you now believe to be a supportable answer to your question. Are there other possible answers? What sort of additional research would help? What are the implications of this question and its possible answers? Especially important here is your appreciation for the complexity of the issues involved and your ability to think through these issues carefully and critically before arriving at a conclusion that is supported by the information you have presented and your analysis of it.
- References: At the end of your paper, attach a list of all references you cited in your paper—and only those references, along with full bibliographical information for each (authors’ or organizations’ names, year of publication, title of book or article or Internet page, book publisher information or name, volume and page of article or URL for Internet site), arranged alphabetically by first author’s last name. Look at any of our texts to see how this is done.
Note that the requirement of 3,000-3,500 words does not include the words in the Title, the Abstract, and your References. [This type of term paper is kind of like all those lawyer shows you’ve seen on television. Imagine you are member of the jury and that the answer you have chosen is like the defendant. The information you have obtained from your sources is like all the evidence that the lawyers presented during the trial. Your conclusion in your paper is like the verdict you would have to reach as a juror after carefully weighing all the evidence: guilty or not guilty = supported or not supported. And just as in a trial you always know who is testifying and as a juror you have to decide how much confidence to have in that person’s testimony, so, too, in your paper you must be sure to cite your sources very carefully, and in your analysis you have to carefully weight their credibility to help you reach your “verdict.”] NOTES ABOUT CITING SOURCES: General Principle: Correctly citing sources in the text of a paper is very important for at least two reasons. First, citing sources lets your instructor appreciate the amount of work you have done to locate and use good sources. Second, it is a matter of academic honesty. Every time you make reference to an idea, opinion, fact, theory, argument, research study, finding, etc., that you have found in some source, you must clearly indicate that source to show that it is the work of another. This applies not just to direct quotes; every single time you are drawing from, or paraphrasing, one of your sources, you must cite it as your reference. To present the material without citing the source is dishonest because it suggests that the material is your own. Such dishonesty constitutes what is known as plagiarism, one of the most serious of academic offenses, and one which can lead to charges being brought against a student and/or a failing grade for this paper. Rules for Citing Sources in APA style (look at your texts to see how it is done, and consult my Guide to APA Style here in Course Resources):
- What to cite: A reference is cited by giving the last name of the author(s) or organization and the year of publication. The name(s) and year should correspond exactly to the listing on the References list at the end of the paper. When using a direct quotation (which should be done only if exceptionally important), use quotation marks, and also include the page number(s) where the quote appeared in the source. Use only last names and year of publication; no first names, initials, degrees, or affiliations of the authors, and no titles of publications or where they were published. IMPORTANT NOTE: A paper is your work and should be IN YOUR OWN WORDS; using quotations is generally not appropriate, unless there is some very special reason why you want to use someone else’s exact words. And it is also important to note what we mean by “your words”: you may not simply “cut and paste” wording from any source and pass it off as your own. You must either put the words in quotation marks and cite the source precisely (but as I have said, I don’t really want you to use quotations at all), or you must significantly rephrase to make sure you are using your own words. Failure to do so constitutes plagiarism, one of the most serious of academic offenses, and I will severely penalize any such instance of academic dishonesty. 2. When to cite: The citation should occur as soon in the sentence or paragraph as possible, to immediately draw the attention of your reader to the fact that you are drawing material from an outside source. If you continue over the course of several sentences or even several paragraphs to draw from the same source, it is not necessary to continue to cite it. The general rule is that whenever your reader may not be sure of the source of your information, you should cite the source. 3. Where to cite: Right in the text of the paper. Do not use footnotes or endnotes. References should be cited as part of the natural flow of text, and as soon as you begin to present information from the source. Do not just stick a citation at the end of a paragraph. NOTE: You can only cite as a reference the book or article that you yourself read. If that book or article contains a reference to some other work, you may not cite that other work as a reference. Thus, if you are reading a book by Smith (1996), and Smith describes a study by Jones (1992), and you want to also mention Jones’s study, your reference is Smith. You could say, “In a 1992 study by Jones (Smith, 1996)…;” or, “According to Smith (1996), Jones conducted a study…;” but you cannot simply cite Jones. In similar fashion, your References page at the end of your paper will list only the actual works that you located and used. I am providing you the opportunity to revise and resubmit. If you want to take advantage, I am asking for an initial submission of your paper by the end of Week 7. I will grade and return the paper within a week, and you then will have the opportunity to use my feedback and to discuss the paper with me to enable you to make appropriate revisions. The deadline for the final version of your Term Paper is the end of Week 10. Formatting: Please adhere to the following guidelines when writing the paper and the draft:
- Use Microsoft Word, or, if you don’t have it, any word processing program with the document saved as Adobe PDF • Use 12 point font, black, and stick to common font styles (i.e., New Times Roman, Courier, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri) • Use 1” margins all around • Center your working title and under it your name; double-space between title and your name, between your name and beginning of text, before and after any headings/sub-headings, and between paragraphs; all text within paragraphs should be single-spaced • Align all text as well as all headings/subheadings to the left; do not center any text or justify the margins • The first line of each paragraph should be indented one tab • The entire Abstract should be indented one tab • Do not use any page breaks or headers or footers; this also includes References, which should appear right after the end of your Analysis and Conclusion • Unlike APA style, do not include a Running Head • References should be cited properly in the text and listed at the end under the heading ‘References’; do not use any footnotes • Please write the paper entirely in your own words; unless absolutely necessary to make a key point, do not use any direct quotations from any of your sources (and do not take words verbatim without quotation marks and citing the source because that constitutes plagiarism, a serious form of academic dishonesty). • The References list also be single-spaced, aligned left, with double-spacing between each reference; you do not need to use the “hanging indents” called for in APA style • Citing references in the text and listing them in the References section should be done in accordance with APA style, as briefly described above and more fully in my Guide to APA Style here in Supplementary Materials • Do not insert any page numbers or footnotes • Refer to my “Guide to Common Writing Errors” included in this Course Resources folder. • Proofread your paper carefully