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PSY 291: Adulthood & Aging: Tips for Success

Things You Can Do...

Find a good paper topic. Try to identify three research questions that interest you, and then see what kind of information is available for that topic. If you cannot find enough scientific sources, or the field seems too technical, look for another topic.

When writing, first write out an outline of your entire paper.  The outline helps you to organize your ideas, and to see if your paper has a clear beginning, middle, and ending.

Write a rough first draft of your paper.  If you have a first draft, you then have a paper that you can revise.  Make sure that your ideas are clear, and that all of your references are correct.  Correct your spelling, punctuation, and your grammar.

For this psychology paper, it is important to synthesize the conclusions of the studies you are using. Overall, what is the pattern of findings? Are there disagreements among investigators? Our goal here is to not simply say what others have said, but to rephrase ideas and information into your own words. Never simply list information.

For the final version, be sure to double space your paper so that it is easily readable.  Double-check your spelling, punctuation, and grammar.                 

Proofread your paper over one more time, making sure it is in your own words, that for quotes you use quotation marks and page numbers, and that it flows well. (See Plagiarism Policy.)

Paper Grading Rubric

CONTENT: 75%
   1. Introduction: (15)
         a. Research question: The purpose, problem, or question to be considered is stated clearly. (5)
         b. Interest: The author convinces the reader that the paper is worth reading in an interesting fashion. (5)
         c. Thesis: The author presents a thesis statement of what the researcher expects to find out in the paper. (5)
   2. Body: (45)
        a. Analysis: It is clear that an analysis of the literature has been used to support the statements made, and that the assumptions are logical
         Critical thinking skills are evident. (10)
        b.  Presentation of evidence (25)
    • Integration: If sources contradict one another they are dealt with adequately. Multiple sources are compared if available. A simple listing of information is avoided.
    • The points are internally consistent, (i.e. one point follows from another), plausible and well supported.
    • References are recent, high quality, and appropriate to the paper topic (research articles and edited books).
        c. Suitability of focus: The problem chosen is focused enough to be adequately covered in the space of the paper, but not too narrow or broad. (5)
        d. Organization: Presentation is easy to follow and well organized. (5)
 3. Conclusion: (15)
        a. The author summarizes the findings adequately, and draws appropriate conclusions. (10 points)
        b. Applications of the findings are discussed (i.e. interventions, assessments, etc.), or suggestions made for future work (i.e. research studies, other areas related to your paper topic, links with work from ours or other classes, etc.) (5 points)

FORM: 25%
1. Spelling (5) 
2. Grammar and use of words correct (not awkward or inappropriate) (5) 
3. Paragraph form: Topic sentences are used to introduce transitions, and the order of transitions is appropriate. (5) 
4. Borrowed ideas and statements are given credit (citations used frequently--one or more times in a paragraph--and listed in reference section). (5) 
5. The citations and reference section are in APA format. (5)