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PSYC 499: History of Psychology

Term Paper Instructions

The purpose of the term paper is to allow you to make connections in a way that is meaningful to you. To begin, you will need to think about a topic/phenomenon/idea that first you got interested in learning more about psychology. For the paper, you will trace the history of this topic/phenomenon/idea starting with a current piece of research and working your way backwards to its philosophical or physiological roots.

            You will need to select a recent (since 2010) empirical paper from a major peer reviewed psychology journal that addresses a topic/phenomenon/idea that interests you. Next, trace back the development of research and thinking on that topic, going back at least 100 years (you will likely go much farther back). For your paper, you will start with a description of the current study you are using as a springboard for this historical analysis. Then follow, the influences and development of research on that topic, working your way backwards until you get as close as you can to the source of the idea. Pay particular attention to developments in theory and important findings, as well as influential contemporary events. Be sure to relate your ideas to other trends in psychology at the times of the articles you are using as references.

            All starting points need to be approved by me, so your first assignment for the project is to submit a one paragraph summary of your source article, as well as one paragraph summaries of two articles referenced in your source paper that you believe will be relevant to tracing the history of this research topic. (You’ll also want to describe this relevance – that is, how did the two cited articles contribute to your starting article?). (See due dates on Syllabus/Canvas).

            The next step is to turn in a detailed outline of the flow of the paper. This is not just going to be a few bullet points. This outline is going to be very detailed so that you get a good start on your paper and I get to provide feedback sooner in the process. The outline should include at least 10 citations that you plan to use and trace back in your paper. You will want to put these in order from most recent to oldest (or vice versa, depending on the way you plan to write your paper). You should include the proper citation in APA format and below the citation, you need to include 1-3 sentences explaining what the paper is about and why you plan to use it for your paper. In addition, you need to add a connection to the previous citation. All of your citations should be connected in some way to help you progress farther back in time. Your connection should not be “the next article discusses…”. Instead, it should be something like “While Author X describes the theory of XXX, Author Y really began this theory by examining….”. This outline is worth 10% of your grade.

            A nearly complete draft of this paper (at least 5 pages) is by the date noted in the Syllabus/Canvas so that it can be reviewed by a classmate. The peer-review is worth 5% of your grade. 2% for turning in a minimum of 6 pages that proves to be a good start for the paper, and 3% for submitting quality feedback on a peer’s paper. The majority of your references must come from primary sources. Secondary or internet sources will not count toward the 10 required for this paper (you need at least 5 for this draft). I want you to have freedom with the overall organization of the paper, however, you MUST cite your references in proper APA style.

A complete “draft” is due on the date in the syllabus/Canvas. Do not be confused by the word “draft” here. Your paper should be no fewer than 8 and no more than 10 pages in length (double-spaced, the proper sized font for the font chosen; not including title page, abstract, or references), using a minimum of 10 different sources. The majority of your references must come from primary sources. Secondary or internet sources will not count toward the 10 required for this paper. I want you to have freedom with the overall organization of the paper, however, you MUST cite your references in proper APA style.

            After you have turned in the completed “draft”, you will need to come in for office hours or schedule a meeting with me if you have any questions or concerns. The “draft” is worth 15% of your final grade, so drafts that you have polished will result in more productive feedback.

            The final paper will be due on the date provided in Canvas. This gives you two weeks to make more revisions. It will be worth 20% of your final grade.