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Personal Interest Research Paper Assignment Psych 101 Faculty: Laura Feren, PhD

The assignment on researching a topic of interest is due according to the course syllabus deadline. You may, of course, turn in your finished paper before the due date. Papers must be turned in as a paper copy. E-mailed assignments will not be accepted. Late assignments will not receive full credit. Presentations will occur in the last two meetings of class. The paper is worth 20 points in the course. The grade for your paper will be in part determined by how well you follow these instructions. I recommend that you carefully read them more than once! Your paper should be based on your reading and reference materials in the form of scientific journal articles, books, media reports and web sites. Ideas or facts taken from other sources should be appropriately referenced. The additional purpose of this assignment is to increase your familiarity with research for psychology and informational databases. This is important because you will need to use articles, studies and books to find references for your paper. For Example: Note that you can locate review articles with PubMed by using the “limits’ menu to limit the search to the “publication type” = “review” PubMed may be assessed from the DVC library website: You are required to use a minimum of five (5) references in researching your topic. References may be scientific articles, web sites, books, media reports, and so forth. Of course, you may use as many references as you wish, beyond this minimum number of five. These 5 required articles should have been published within the past ten (10) years. There is an important distinction between PRIMARY and SECONDARY sources. PRIMARY scientific articles/literature/sources are: * articles that describe original research * these would be peer-reviewed prior to publication SECONDARY scientific articles/literature/sources are: * review articles, books, etc that summarize/overview the primary literature * may or may not be peer-reviewed; often are written in response to invitations from journals, book editors, or publishers Paper Outline Introduction Section First, you must pick a topic related to psychology. The project is meant to be an opportunity to learn more about a topic that you find particularly interesting. Your topic should be about something to do with the content of the course as outlined by the syllabus. You may expand upon material covered in class – that is address material beyond that presented in course lectures or the text. It is also essential that your topic be on for which there is current scientific research material. Discuss why the topic is of interest to you. Provide examples and discuss the examples to you.

I. Research Section You need to identify your selected topic. Discuss past and present literature and literature studies of your topic. Summarize and discuss the studies that are important or of particular interest to you. Discuss any trends or gaps in the studies or research. II. Conclusion Section You should summarize overall about the information you have researched. What did you learn new about the topic as it relates to you? List your references or sources on a reference page following the text. Be prepared to discuss your research in class at the end of the course.


General Instructions The paper should be typewritten, double-spaced, on standard 8.5 x 11 – inch white paper with 1-inch margins. A cover page should be a title page containing the title of your paper, your name, and the name of the course. The main text of the paper begins on the second page and should consist of 6 double-spaced pages in length. The text should be clear and concise, conforming to accepted standards of English style and usage. Abbreviations must be spelled out the first time they are used. Special Notes: Grammar, spelling, and clarity of presentation are all very important and will be considered when grading your paper. It is recommended that you give your paper to one or more friends to read before turning it in. It is also recommended that you read your paper aloud, even if only to yourself, in order to perfect its grammar and clarity. Following the text, there should be one of more pages (as needed) containing the reference list (bibliography) of the paper. Pages should be sequentially numbered in the lower margin. The title page, reference list pages, and any illustrations and tables do not count as part of the 6 pages of required text. Originality: All papers submitted for this course must be original in content and composition. Your paper must be written expressly for this course and it is not acceptable to turn in the same paper for more than one class. In particular, if you have taken other classes and have written papers in these classes, you should not be using any part of these other papers for this assignment. The main point of this assignment is to learn in depth about a new subject. Choose a new topic and write a new paper for this course!

Before final grades are assigned, your research paper will be uploaded to
All material taken from other sources must be referenced. Such sources include, but are not limited to, journal, books, news article, information found on the Internet, and basically any other form of published material. The originality of your paper may be checked by comparing it to the entire WWW and additional digital databases. To copy language or ideas from another source without appropriate reference is an ethical violation called plagiarism and will result in a failing grade for our paper and perhaps further disciplinary action. Quotations: Any information used as exact words from any sources is to be designated by the use of quotation marks and a citation to the source. It is not sufficient to have only a citation to the source without also using quotation marks. However, in writing a paper, the use of quotations should be limited to writing whose particularly elegant or pithy nature contributes something very special to your paper. Otherwise, say it in your own words! Excessive use of prose written by other, even if appropriately quoted and referenced, will result in a low grade for your paper. Footnotes: Do not use footnotes in your paper. Say what needs to be said within the body of the text. Note that a footnote is not the same as a reference citation, as described below. Citations and References: A “citation” is the designation of the source of an idea, fact, quote, etc. placed within the body of the text. A “reference” is the complete description of the source information material as listed in the “reference list” of the paper. There are two primary reasons for referencing sources of information: 1) to give credit to the authors of the material that you are using; and 2) to guide readers to the source, should they wish more information. Thus, information in the reference list must be complete enough to allow readers to easily locate your source material. Format for Citations: In the text of your paper, citations refer to author and year and are contained within parentheses using the following style: one author (Snyder 2002); two authors (Baranano & Snyder 2001); three or more authors (Snyder et al. 2002). If more than two references are cited by different authors,


separate the entries with a semicolon: (Snyder 2000; Goldstein 1990). If several references from different years are cited by the same first author, separate the years by commas: (Snyder et al. 1979, 1988, 1995, 2002). If more than two references with the same first author and same year are cited, use lowercase letters after the year: (Snyder et al. 2001 a,b). Lowercase letters are then inserted in the corresponding references in the reference list. To cite works with no explicitly named author, as would be the case for many Internet web sites, use whichever indicator of website authorship that you will be using in your reference list: such as, (National Institute of Drug Abuse 2008) or (Eli Lily and Company 2008). Example of how to use citations in the text: Capsaicin, the chemical component of chili peppers that gives rise to the sensation of hotness, interacts with sensory receptors that are also activated by thermal heat (Caterina et al. 1997). Format for References: Following the text there should be a list of references (bibliography) documenting the resource materials used in writing your paper. Resource materials include published or copyrighted material in any form. References are listed at the end of the manuscript and should be in alphabetical order by the last name of the first author and then by year if multiple publications by the same first author are cited. A reference should appear in the reference list if and only if there is a corresponding citation in the text. In your Reference List, you MUST use the following formats: *for books: Perrine DM (1996) The Chemistry of Mind-Altering Drugs: History, Pharmacology, and Cultural Context. Washington DC: American Chemical Society Schultes RE & Raffauf RF (1990) The Healing Forest. Portland: Dioscorides Press * for journal articles: Catarina MJ et al (1997) The capsaicin receptor: a heat-activated ion channel in the pain pathway. Nature 389: 816-824 Rudolph U & Antkowiak B (2004) Molecular and neuronal substrates for general anesthetics. Nature Review Neuroscience 5: 709-720 * for newspaper articles: Stolberg SG (2002) Warnings sought for popular painkiller. New York Times (September 20) Berenson A (2007) Mother wonders if psychosis drug helped kill son. New York Times (January 4) * for WWW sites: National Institute on Drug Abuse (2008) Methamphetamine: abuse and addition. Retrieved January 22, 2008 from Eli Lilly and Company (2008) Zyprexa Olanzapine prescribing information. Retrieved January 22,2008 from Online journals that also exist in printed from are not cited as websites, but as the printed journal. The above reference format is based on, although not identical to, the “APA style” of the American Psychological Association. For additional questions regarding reference format, you may refer to various APA style resources available on the web. It is important that you use the exact format of text citation and reference described above. Many formats of text citation and reference exist in the scientific literature. The format described above is the format for this class. Points will be deducted from your paper if the exact format of citation and reference described above is not followed. I look forward to reading your paper!


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