Instructions: The key assignment in this class will be to write a 10-12 page research paper. The paper will be divided up into sections that are due throughout the semester (see syllabus for specific deadlines). The topic for your paper will be self-chosen, but must fall within the realm of the general broad topics that we will cover in the class. Below is a list of ideas for a research paper.
The main concern you should have in choosing a topic (and later a research question) for this paper is INTEREST!
What fascinates you about development? What puzzles you? What have you observed in your own development or that of a friend or family member that you would like to know more about? See the document on Blackboard with ideas for topics.
The paper will be organized into three major sections:
– Introduction and literature review
– Research questions, research design and methods, limitations of your study
– Expected findings, discussion of the implications of the expected findings, conclusion + an abstract
At the end of the semester you will compile the three sections into one paper and submit to Blackboard as one paper. The formatting of the paper will follow that of a traditional APA research paper. See online sources for how to format according to this standard on Blackboard.
Basic formatting of your paper includes the following: Times New Roman, font size 12, doublespaced, 1-inch margins all around.
You will have to submit a Word file for all the written assignments (not PDF, Google Docs, pages document, etc.). I only accept a Word document file and it is your responsibility to make sure that this is what you upload. If you upload anything other than this kind of file you will receive 0 points on the assignment.
Turnitin: Please note that I use a plagiarism software called Turnitin. Turnitin will automatically scan your paper for any issues with plagiarism. This means that it is imperative that you properly cite any sources that you draw on. If you wish to include a direct quote (where you copy-paste an entence or paragraph from one of the research papers that you use) make sure to appropriately cite this according to APA. Turnitin automatically generates an originality report with a percentage of the paper’s match with other papers/publications online.
The introduction and literature review (due March 11), 4 pages min.
Section I is the first part of your research paper and contains two vital sections: an introduction and the literature review. The introduction should be about ½ to ¾ of page long and start with a captivating sentence that brings the reader into the topic. See this excellent resource for how to write a good introduction. For the literature review (which should be about 3.5-4 pages long): you will need to include at least 4 pieces of academic literature (e.g. a peer-reviewed article, a book chapter, etc.), but you might use more. See this excellent resource on how to write a good literature review. As stated in this resource on the literature review: “Your review has two purposes: (1) to describe and compare studies in a specific area of research and (2) to evaluate those studies. Both purposes are vital: a thorough summary and comparison of the current research is necessary before you can build a strong evaluative argument about the theories tested.” (University of Washington Psychology Writing Center, Literature Review, p. 1)
Research Questions, Research Design and Methods (due April 1), 3-4 pages min.
In this section of your research paper you will focus in on your specific topic by first articulating a research question (see this resource on developing good research questions) and perhaps a hypothesis if it is relevant in your study (see here for how to articulate a good hypothesis). You may choose to either propose
(1) a traditional research design in order to explore a topic further (e.g. you may propose a design that includes interviewing both parents and children on the children’s ADHD diagnosis.
If you for example propose this kind of design you will need to develop an interview guide. If you propose a survey, you will need to develop the survey.) or you may choose to (2) develop an intervention/a program to address and explore a
need that you have identified through your literature review (e.g. if you in your literature review have reviewed different ways of treating/addressing ADHD in children that may conflict with each other, you might want to develop your own program/intervention based on the knowledge you have just acquired and synthesized.)
See this sample APA paper for how to structure the methods section. What is important in the design and methods section is to be very specific about the following:
– Participants: who are you participants and what is the rationale for choosing this demographic?
– Materials: here you list any kinds of materials you used to engage the participants
– Procedure: here you outline in detail exactly how you (hypothetically) conducted the study.
It is imperative that your research question, design and method grows out of what you have learned in the literature review. While it should not be an exact copy of a study you have reviewed, your design should be informed by what you learned in the lit. review.
“Is this question part of your assignment? We Can Help!”