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Psychology 242
Research in Psychology
Dr. David J. McKirnan

The Paper Assignment

The paper
The body of your research paper must be a maximum of 12 pages, including a separate title page and abstract (thus, 10 pp. of actual paper text). References, tables or figures, and appendices are outside the 12 page limit. The content of your Appendix is given below. The paper must be typed in 12 point font, double spaced, on 8 ½ by 11 in. paper, using American Psychological Association (APA) style. See your book for examples and discussion.  Do not include plastic or cardboard binders, folders, or other paraphernalia.

Use the links to the left for all aspects of your paper (speak to me or your TA if you have specific questions). Examples of final course papers are here and here (do not just copy these).

Relevant research
The paper will be the description of an actual or hypothetical experiment. Do not base your paper on a correlational or measurement study. I provide data during Week 12 as part of your statistics (t-test) assignment: Most students base their paper on those data. You can also collect real data, or make up data that fits a specific experiment you have in mind.

However you structure your data, you will specify two variables, appropriate measures, and a number of research participants, and plug in a data set. You must append all your hypothetical measures (experimental observation sheets, interviews, etc), your "raw" data, and statistical calculations to the paper.

If you have real data available -- either through another project, or that you can collect during the course -- you may use that, but must discuss it with me or your TA before you collect it.

Extra credit on the paper
You can get up to 5 points of extra credit on your paper by performing a correlation or a chi square as well as a t-test on your data. If you make up or collect data that both compares two groups and has (an)other variable(s) correlating with your outcome measure, you can discuss those correlations as part of your theory and results. Work with me or your TA on this if you like.

References from scientific journals
All papers must have at least two references from peer reviewed scientific journals, used and formatted in APA style. Your TA will spend time on this during discussion group. Copy the Abstract page from the two articles and append it to the paper.

General UIC reference materials are at: http://library.uic.edu/.  For electronic journals available at UIC go here. The UIC electronic journals are very comprehensive, and most have full text articles.

You cannot use Wikipedia or any similar electronic encyclopedia for references: you must use a regular scientific journal. We will be covering this in the Week 5 discussion groups.

Two ways to search for Psychology articles.

UIC has complete access to all American Psychological Association (APA) and American Psychological Society (APS) journals in PschInfo. The best way to get there is:

  1. Go to the library opening page ( http://library.uic.edu/).
  2. Click on "Databases A - Z" (small text just to the right of the search field).
  3. On the alphabet list that comes up click "PQ".
  4. Scroll down to PschInfo., click.
  5. Log in with your netID and password.
  6. During discussion group your TA will cover strategies for searching for articles.

For another search service (that I prefer - it is easier) use Web of Knowledge. In step 3 from above go to "W“, then click "Web of Knowledge". This will include most of what is in PschInfo, plus a lot of Public Health and Medical journals. It is also more straightforward to search.

 Search using key words by topic or author.  Both search services allow you to combine different key words, limit the years searched, etc.  Most references available through these services have the full article available, typically in "PDF" format.

Some resources

Late papers
You will lose 5 of the available 30 points each work day the paper is late.  This works out to about a full letter grade for each two days the paper is late. You have a lot of assistance in getting the paper done on time, so there are no exceptions to this rule./

Plagiarism in any form is a serious offense.  Even minor plagiarism will cost you points.  If we determine that you have plagiarized a major part of your paper you will receive a ‘0’ on the paper.  In serious cases you will also fail the entire class, and I will file official judicial charges against you with the Dean of Students, who will place a notice about the incident in your permanent record.

You must explicitly cite the source of any text or ideas you use in your paper, using APA citation style.

Plagiarism includes:

Read the web section on reference citations carefully and follow it.  We will be using SafeAssign in Blackboard to check for plagiarism.

Comments on your paper
If you want your TA to provide comments on your paper submit it with a return envelope (no stamp necessary). TAs will provide comments only on papers that are submitted with a return envelope.