“What is genius and what is its psychological impact on the individual?ORWhat are the causes and characteristics of bipolar disorder?”Requirement are in the file
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Materials for Writing Research Papers
How to Write a Psych Research Paper:
Thesis Statements and Introductions
How to Write in APA Style
Introductions and Conclusions
Using “I” and “You”
It’s okay to use ‘I’ in research papers, even though many writers believe it is not. Just be sure
that you don’t end up expressing your opinion where you should be presenting facts.
Avoid using “you,” for two reasons:
a. Addressing the reader as “you” assumes the material in the paper applies to the reader, and
it likely does not.
b. “You” is often an ambiguous term that can refer to anyone. Academic writing must
E.g., “Canvas is hard to navigate. You have no idea where anything is.” “Students have no idea
where anything is,” or “I have no idea where anything is,” etc. In other words, be specific.
Avoid Weakening Expressions
Avoid using statements that make you sound weak or unsure of what you are saying. These
include phrases such as the following:
I think/dont think
I believe/dont believe
I feel/dont feel
In my opinion
It makes sense/doesnt make sense to me that . . .
I accept/dont accept
Although it is appropriate to use these phrases in conversation, in an academic paper they have
the effect of making you sound like you dont want to take a firm stand.
Remember that the only two places where you can express an opinion in your paper are the
Introduction and the Conclusion, and even there, you should omit the above phrases. Instead
use phrases like, It could be, It may be, It is possible that, It is likely/unlikely that . . . , etc.
If you use these, however, make sure you have enough data to suggest that they are in fact
possibilities, or not possibilities, depending on the phrase.
Sample APA Paper
Instructions for Research Paper
This term you will be writing a research paper on a particular topic relating to human
psychology. You will choose your own topic, but you need to get it approved by me, unless you
choose one of the topics suggested at the end of this document.
I suggest you choose a topic you know nothing about and have little interest in. You may be
surprised at how much interest you develop in the process of doing your research. In fact,
learning about topics you know nothing about and perhaps dont care about is at the heart of
getting an education.
I have posted a lot of information on how to write a research paper, and we will discuss the
process in class. If you dont know how to write a research paper, I guarantee you will by the
time this course is over, as long as you pay attention to all the materials provided.
Instructions for Research
1. You may use the MCC online library or any academic online library, or any walk-in library
such as the Boston Library. Look for recently-published books by recognized experts,
peer-reviewed journal articles, and other academic sources.
2. You may use the Internet, but you must restrict your sources to sites that end in .edu,
.gov, or .org. If you feel a .com website qualifies under those criteria, check with me to
get permission to use it (e.g., TED.com is always acceptable). Above all, you must use
sources that are accurate, up-to-date, unbiased, and written by a recognized expert.
3. You must use at least five (5) sources. YouTube talks are acceptable, as long as the
speaker is an academically recognized expert on the topic (e.g., a known scientist or
psychology professor). If you are not sure about the speakers credentials, research that
individual. If I challenge your research choices, you will have to find new ones.
4. Avoid taking the majority of your information from a single source and only briefly
mentioning your other sources in your paper. If necessary, find more sources. It is
important to have multiple sources of information.
5. Wikis are NOT acceptable research sources, although the list of original sources they
include at the bottom of each article generally are. You must always use only original
sources for research papers.
6. Your textbook is also not a resource. You should always use original sources for your
papers. Textbook authors are simply reporting research that others have doneand
sometimes theyre simply quoting other textbooks. And sometimes theyre wrong. Go
to the original source.
7. Popular magazines like Psychology today are not acceptable resources, as articles are
either not written by the original source of the information or are just excerpts from the
8. If you absolutely cannot access the original source, but another reliable source has cited it, you
may cite it as an indirect source. The APA rule is to exclude the indirect source (called the
“original source” below) from your Reference list and include only the work you have in-hand
(the “secondary source”):
Name the original source in your signal phrase. List the secondary source in your
Reference list and include the secondary source in the parentheses, with the page
Johnson argued that . . . (as cited in Smith, 2003, p. 102).
9. You may not cite your previous academic papers, even if you got As on them, because
neither you nor your instructor is an expert on the subject matter.
10. Interviews with topic experts are acceptable and recommended where possible.
11. You are an expert on your own experience and may use that under certain
circumstances. For example, if you write a paper on the psychological impact of
workplace shootings and were the victim of one, you can tell your story as an example
to support your point.
Instructions for Format
1. APA style required (include a title page and abstract):
2. A non-generic title that makes your topic clear is required.
3. Microsoft Word is required for submission. If you dont have it, type your final
paper on a computer that does.
4. Five to seven pages, not including the title page, abstract, or References page
(papers shorter than five pages will be graded down by 10 points, and papers three
pages or less will not be graded). Padding (irrelevant information), visuals, and
repetitiveness will not be included in your page count.
5. Double-space throughout. Do not use triple or quadruple spaces. Remove the add
space before paragraph and add space after paragraph options from your
6. Standard 11- or 12-pt font throughoutTimes New Roman, Calibri, etc. No fancy or
handwriting fonts, and please, no super-large fonts on your title page.
7. One-inch margin on all sides.
8. A running head and pages numbered according to APA regulations (upper right-hand
corner of page)
9. Pictures and graphs (credited directly under the visual) should be included where
helpful to making your point. If you use these, make sure that your written text still
amounts to at least five pages.
Instructions for Content
1. Write an introductory paragraph that provides some background information and ends
with your thesis statement. Supporting details and examples do not belong in your
2. Write a strong thesis statement that takes a position on your topic. Generally, your
thesis statement will be the answer to your research question. A thesis statement is one
that takes a position or states an opinion. It is not an announcement of what you are
going to write about. Generally, it is the answer to your research question.
3. Use appropriate paragraph structure, with a topic sentence and detailed supporting
material. Make sure each topic sentence supports the thesis statement. If it doesnt,
you can eliminate the entire paragraph.
4. Minimize use of direct quotations. If you can paraphrase, do so, and usually you can.
Use a direct quotation only if paraphrasing would destroy the statements meaning or
impact. If you do use direct quotations, include no more than two or three and keep
them to no more than three lines.
5. Include a reasonable conclusion that pulls your paper together for the reader. It can be
a brief summary of your thesis and supporting points, although that is the least
interesting kind of conclusion. More interesting options are a call to action, your
personal reactions to what youve learned, or a projection of your findings into the
Final Note: Students often struggle with the issue of length in papers. There are three ways to
get to the required length:
1. Provide details in each paragraph. Detailed paragraphs are more interesting and more
informative than general, superficial ones, and they yield a longer paper.
2. Provide specific examples of each point; examples help the reader understand your
point, they make your paper more interesting, and they yield a longer paper.
3. Add additional relevant information that you think should be addressed.
Late Policy: Late papers will not be accepted. No exceptions! You have an entire semester to
get the paper done. Start now.
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