Da Vinci know how to find out!

Your final grade is founded on the following evaluations:

I. Three Brief Assignments (45% all told) – The midterm assignments are designed to guide you to the final and biggest assignment, your term paper, in which you will review the psychological research on a topic of your choice.  Please note that the topic must fulfill two absolute requirements: (a) it must be relevant to some aspect of the course and (b) it must be a topic on which psychologists have conducted research. For guidance on some potential topics, click on the following link for the Term Paper Generator.

A. Title Page (10%) – Here you will specify the important question that you will address in your term paper. It will consist of 1 typed title page (including a running head but not an author note). The title should be highly descriptive of your topic. Grading Criteria.

B. Title Page and References (15%) – The latter bibliography will include the main sources you plan to use for your term paper. It must contain at least one scientific journal article, one book, and one chapter from an edited book – all specifically addressing your topic.  In addition, to make sure that your review will be up-to-date, most of the publications must be published in the last 10 years and at least one publication must have appeared within the last 2 years. It will include 2 typed pages, counting the revised title page. Grading Criteria.

C. Title Page, Abstract, and References (20%) – The abstract summarizes the key points you plan to make with respect to your paper in 120 words. In a sense, the abstract represents the first draft of your term paper, albeit a much-abbreviated one!  The keywords that follow the abstract then can be said to represent the abstract of your abstract. The assignment total will be 3 pages long, including the revised title page and References. Grading Criteria.

II. Term Paper (30%) – Here you will provide a review of your chosen topic in terms of the central theories, methodologies, and empirical findings in psychological research. The paper will consist of a title page, abstract, main text, and references section, all not to exceed 10 one-sided typed pages.  It should include at least one level of headings, at least one direct quotation, at least one paragraph seriation, and at least one within-paragraph seriation (see below for relevant pages in APA manual). The same requirements that apply to the earlier assignments apply to the same sections of the term paper as well (e.g., up-to-date references). Grading Criteria. For a sample paper illustrating the principal features of APA format, go to the following link Sample Paper. Please note that this sample is designed to illustrate APA style, not to provide a template for your own paper. For example, you would be rarely justified to adopt the same or similar headings. One of the main reasons students do poorly on this assignment is because they try to fit their topic into a sample paper designed for a totally different topic.

III. Final Exam (25%) – A a take-home essay exam in which you will address a question that integrates the course material in lectures and assigned readings. The four possible exam questions are given in the page regarding themes.  The exam paper is to be no longer than 1,500 words in typescript. Title page, abstract, and references should not be used. Headings are optional. Final exams are due at the scheduled time, and late exams lose 3 points per hour.

All papers are due at the beginning of the class period. Moreover, all papers must be typed, one-sided, and double-spaced. All citations and references must be in the professional format of the American Psychological Association (APA). It is for this reason that you should purchase the 6th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, especially if you have not yet written term papers for psychology courses.

Please note that your papers will be marked down 3 points for each day that they are late! Thus, a paper that would have received 100 points but is one day late will earn 97 points. This rule is enforced to be fair to your fellow students, and so exceptions will be made only if special circumstances warrant, such as documented medical emergencies.

Last, but not least, the weighted average of all percentage scores will then be graded according to the following straightforward cutoffs: 97-100 = A+, 93-96 = A, 90-92 = A-, 87-89 = B+, 83-86 = B, 80-82 = B-, 77-79 = C+, 73-76 = C, 70-72 = C-, 67-69 = D+, 63-66 = D, 60-62 = D-. The grades are not curved, but I always make sure that there is at least one A+, most often by rescaling any assignment that turned out to be unusually difficult.

PAPER AND EXAM SCHEDULE (Fall Quarter 2015):

Assignment Item Date Useful Pages in APA Manual Illustrations in Sample Paper
 #1 Title page October 9 23-25, 41, 229-230 1
 #2 Title page and References October 26 202-205 (books), 198-201 (journal articles), 202-205 (book chapters), and 49-51 (facsimilies) 10-12: book (e.g., Eysenck, 1995), journal article (e.g., Schaller, 1997), book chapter (Durrenberger, 1999)
 #3 Title page, Abstract, and References November 13 25-27, 41 2
Term paper Title page, Abstract, Text, and References December 4 174-179 (citations), 62-63 (headings), 63-65 (seriations), 170-173 (quotations) 3-9 (citations), 3 (level 1 and 3 headings), 3 (within-paragraph seriation), 4 (paragraph seriation)
Final exam question discussed in class December 4
Final essay exam December 10
(due by 3:00 pm)

Each time you turn in an written assignment, please remember to attach on the back the graded assignment that was returned to you earlier (not all of them, but just the most recent).  That allows us to evaluate how much you improved on your previous work.  Failure to do so will result in a deduction of 3 points. This requirement also applies to the term paper!

TEACHING ASSISTANTS (Fall Quarter 2015):

Name Office Hours Room Number Phone Number E-mail Address
Helen Ku W 3:10-5:10 Young Annex N.A.
David G. Weissman MW 12-2 Young 102F N.A.


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