From the Syllabus:
Each student will write a paper on the life, theoretical position (i.e., their personality theory), and influence (to include empirical research studies) of a theorist. Students will sign up for a theorist and presentation date on Scholar 360. All papers must be written in accordance with the Publication Manual (5th ed.) of the American Psychological Association. Pay close attention to style, syntax, and grammar. All papers must be sent to the professor in a Microsoft Word Document format by e-mail to the professor. He or she will review your papers, make corrections and/or suggestions, and return the paper to you via e-mail.
Be sure to approve paper topics with the instructor. Only one student will be permitted to write a paper on any particular theorist. The paper must cover three important areas: 1) the individual and their personal/professional history, 2) their theory of personality, and 3) their influence upon the field, including their contemporary influence. Students must choose one of the theorists listed on Scholar 360. For more information about the theorist you can choose from, click here.
Scholarly Paper Tips
Hopefully, all of you are well versed in writing scholarly papers at this point of your academic career. If not, I would strongly recommend that you utilize the writing resources on this web site and seek out tutorial assistance. Let me offer a few tips based on common mistakes I've seen students make.
- Be sure to have a point! While this seems obvious, it is one of the most common mistakes students make on scholarly papers. While this is not a position paper where you are articulating your position, you are still advocating for a position which you hold. However, the presentation is different. A scholarly paper should be more objective, focus more on content and scholarly resources, and focused on a particular topic. Journal articles provide a good example of what a scholarly paper should look like. Given the focus on the topic for this class, it could be easy to allow 'the point' of the paper slip aside to make it simply a stating of more factual information about the theorist. The easiest place to try and integrate your point is in the influence section of the paper. Then make sure the rest of your paper is consistent with this.
- Integrate your resources. It is not uncommon for a paper to take turns addressing a different sources one by one. This is not good, academic writing. This is just linking reviews of similar articles. Part of the art of academic writing is making the paper your own. When students struggle with this, I will at times recommend they write the paper and without any references and then go back to integrate the references into the paper. While I wouldn't normally recommend this approach as it often leads to a choppy paper after the sources are integrated back in, it does help illustrate the idea that you are to write the paper around your own organization.
- Organize your paper logically. In a paper like this, it can become easy to just focus on the three areas which need to be addressed and not focus on trying to fit the paper together as a coherent whole. However, if you just focus on hitting the content areas, you will probably not do well at synthesizing the information. These three areas of focus fit together well. Part of the skill of synthesizing the material is making it evident how the three areas of focus fit together. An outline of your paper may greatly assist in you in outlining the paper so the general flow of the paper is smooth. After this, just be sure that your actual writing ties the sections together so they also fit together well.
- Use scholarly resources. If you are unsure what makes a resource scholarly, please read the section of the web site on determining if a resource is scholarly.
- If you are unsure about APA style, look it up! At the graduate level, it is expected that you can write at a professional level which includes using proper APA style. You will be marked down if you do not use correct APA style. Additionally, using poor style can lead to many other problems such as 'unintentional plagiarism' and creating a lack of clarity in your position. Learning APA style as you go helps make later projects, such as your dissertation or articles written for publication, much easier. This web site has a number of good resources which can help you with APA style issues.
- Do your own work! Again, this goes without saying. However, this seems to becoming more of an issue in academia all the time. Most students are surprised how easy it is for professors to recognize plagiarism. This can be a very quick way to end a career. If you find yourself tempted, just keep in mind the amount of time and money you've invested in this career choice. It's not worth the risk!!
Students may turn their scholarly paper in early to be reviewed by the professor prior to the final due date. First drafts of the paper must be turned in by the day of class on 4th week of the course and demonstrate a good attempt at writing the paper, including a good attempt at writing in proper APA style, in order to be reviewed. The instructor may only review a portion of the paper, depending upon his time availability. If the paper does not reflect a good attempt to write in APA style or to write a quality paper, it will be returned to the student without feedback. If the student is able to make revisions to meet these standards and resubmit the paper by the deadline, the professor will review the paper. Papers will only be reviewed one time. Please note this is optional, but highly recommended if you are not confident of your writing skills.
Other Paper Requirements
1) The paper should be 10-15 pages of text (not including the title page or references). Margins should be set at 1" and the font should be one of the fonts allowed in APA style. Additional points will be deducted for going over 15-pages or not attaining the minimum requirement of 10-pages of text.
2) The paper should be written in APA style unless otherwise noted. No abstract is required.
3) The paper should include a minimum of 5 references from scholarly sources from material outside of class. A general textbook on personality theory which has a chapter devoted to the theorist is NOT an acceptable reference as one of your primary sources and generally should not be used in a scholarly paper. Also, Wikipedia is NOT an acceptable resource and should not be used except as a resource to locate scholarly sources. You will receive point deductions for using Wikipedia. These should only be used as supplemental references beyond your 5 required.
4) The paper must be turned in electronically in Microsoft Word format to the professor unless the student receives permission ahead of time to turn in a hard copy. The paper must be received by time class begins on the due date to avoid the deduction of late points. It is strongly recommended that you send a copy (cc) of your paper to your own Email address to be able to verify your attempt to send the paper. If there is an error in transmission and the student is unable to demonstrate evidence they attempted to send the paper, late points may be deducted from the paper.
Each student will sign up on Scholar 360 to make a presentation covering an important personality theorist including a Power Point presentation. The presentation should be made available on Scholar 360 for the other students.
This assignment counts for 25% of your grade. Seventy-five percent of this is determined by your paper and 25-percent is accounted for by your presentation.