Due Dates: Initial Submission: insert date.  Final Submission: insert date.

Papers submitted after the final due date will be penalized by 20% immediately and an additional 20% per day.  Failure to meet the Initial Submission deadline will earn a penalty of 10%.

The paper MUST be about a topic in Social Psychology.

Requirements: The student studies the literature about a question or controversy surrounding a topic related to the class concepts, forms a thesis statement based on his/her understanding of the material read, and then argues for that thesis statement. The student moves beyond simply reporting the information gathered from the literature to a complex analysis of the material, formulation of a position related to the question or controversy, and then supports his/her position with material drawn from the literature.

When picking a topic, consider the following:

  1. Pick something you are really interested in, maybe something that you were interested in before you took this class.  This will help you tremendously because this paper won’t even *seem* like work if it is something you enjoy.  And, you’ll do a better job if you are really interested in the topic.
  2. Pick something for which you can find a reasonable number of papers.  Take your X and Y variables and go plug them in to PsycInfo/PsycLit, or even Google Scholar (but be careful, it returns a lot of fluff).  I highly recommend starting with review papers.  These papers won’t count toward your “Peer Reviewed Journal Article” total, but they will be packed with good, readable information AND references to papers that are empirical original sources.
  3. I highly recommend using Contents pages at the front of our textbook.  Read over the section titles.  Not all of them make for good paper topics (e.g. “Arousal” is way too vague), but some of them make for good paper topics (e.g. “Culture and Socialization: Cultures of Honor” and “Violence in TV, Movies, Music Lyrics, and Video Games” are both reasonably specific and reasonably controversial for an Argumentative Essay).


Length: 5-7 double-spaced pages of text, 1 Title Page, 1 Abstract page, and 1 References page; Submit: 8-10 pages.


References: Include a reference to our textbook and at least four (4) additional peer-reviewed journal articles. See our course syllabus for examples of professional journals.

Style and Format: Use APA style. See the Guide for Writing in APA Style in Course Home and Doc Sharing. Your grade will be impacted by your use of APA style as well as proper grammar, sentence structure, organization, spelling, punctuation, and the overall presentation of your work. Submit your paper as a Microsoft Word document using Times New Roman font, 12-point type, double spacing, and 1 inch margins. Number pages in the upper right hand corner. Place page numbers opposite the running head as your header. Insert this onto your title page (do not type it onto the page).

Instructions for Crafting the Argumentative Essay:

What to Include in Your Essay: (1) title page, (2) abstract, (3) an introductory paragraph that includes your thesis statement and a description of the debate/controversy, (4) body of the essay that includes a review of literature that explains, supports, interprets, and analyses your thesis (and includes consideration of alternate viewpoints), (5) concluding paragraph that summarizes your thesis, interpretations, and original conclusion, and (6) reference page.

Each paragraph in the body should cite at least one original peer-reviewed journal article.  The paragraph should describe the findings of the source(s), and explain how the findings provide support for the thesis statement and the topic sentence of the paragraph.

Writing: Your paper should be written in your own words. Do NOT copy and paste from other documents or web sites. Quotations should be used very sparingly and only when absolutely necessary.

Papers containing an excessive number of quotations will earn a score of zero.

Format:  The paper must be submitted as a Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx) or Text Rich Format (.rtf) document using a 12 point font and double-spaced.  Use 1 inch margins. Follow general APA guidelines as detailed in the Course Home section of the class.  Number pages in the upper right hand corner.

Sources:  The paper must include material on the topic from the course textbook and at least four (4) full-text peer reviewed journal articles.  Internet sources are acceptable and should be primarily sources from professional journals (e.g., Journal of Personality and Social Psychology).  You can also use some information from major government agencies such as the National Institute of Health, but these articles are not peer-reviewed and will not count toward the 4 needed. Peer-reviewed papers are papers that present original research findings.  They typically have the following sections: Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion.  They will cover theory and background, present a detailed methodology, present data and statistics, and then make some conclusions about the findings.  THESE are the papers that will count toward the 4-paper minimum for Peer Reviewed Journal Articles.



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