You will listen to (or watch) outside source material chosen from the options below. This is a chance to explore a topic that interests you in more detail and to think about course concepts in new contexts. The paper will also give you the chance to practice your academic writing skills and receive practical feedback.
Consider the source material as a springboard for your own ideas and reactions. This paper is not an exercise in simple summarizing. It is an exercise in applying and integrating your new knowledge. Try to draw connections between this source, the material we are learning in class, and your own thoughts and feelings.
“I was disturbed by Nim’s placement with a human family who knew nothing about chimpanzees or sign language. Not only was this situation risky, but it limited the researcher’s ability to provide convincing support for his hypothesis. It would have been more appropriate to observe Nim and the family in a lab setting where the influence of extraneous factors could be better controlled.”
is preferable to ….
“Researchers placed Nim with a human family in the city and studied his development to see if he could learn language. When this arrangement became too dangerous, he moved into a rural research facility with new handlers.”
Format: (5 points/ 20)
- 3-4 pages, double spaced, 12 point font size, 1 inch margins
- Your name and page # on each page
- An Introduction –
orient the reader to which source you used and what to expect from the rest of the paper in the opening paragraph
- Body Paragraphs –
organize your reactions so that each paragraph contains one or two main ideas and links to the next paragraph with logical transitions
- A Conclusion –
remind the reader of the most important point or two that you want them to ‘take away’ from your paper
You will earn points for following this format and structure; however you will not be graded on grammar or writing style. (I may still offer you that kind of feedback if I can, or suggest the writing center for help)
Content: (15 points/ 20)
You will earn points by making at least three thoughtful observations with a related reaction that ties the source material to your own experience and/or to course information. A sample student paper is available upon request.
To generate thoughtful content, I suggest an initial review of the material followed by immediate ‘freewriting’ of your reactions. Later, after considering related course information and the following questions (or others you might come up with- these are only brainstorming suggestions), listen again and take notes. Then identify the main ideas that interest you most, select at least three, and organize your paper around them.
- Which areas of psychology does this material address? How?
- Did this story remind you of your own experiences? How?
- Was this information believable/credible? Why or why not?
- What questions are you left with and how might you guess at an answer?
- Which psychological perspectives were represented? By whom and how so?
- Did you recognize any of the concepts we have read about in this material?
The following podcasts are rich with research, applied, and human-interest psychology content and are available to listen to online or download for free. Please browse the titles and descriptions and choose one that interests you (excluding clips under 15 minutes). Sample it early to make sure you can work with this style of presentation.
- If you prefer to use an alternate source, you must email to propose it by 10/8. I will consider substantive documentaries, books, programs, and articles related to psychology topics (and can sometimes help you find something appropriate on a topic if you inquire early enough). Be sure to describe the source and why you think it is appropriate and I will email you confirmation of approval (or disapproval) within the week following your request.
You will submit your papers electronically on Canvas by 11:59 pm.
I will grade your resubmission again from scratch (if you decide to resubmit) and you will receive the better of the two grades. *Please note, you must submit a first assignment to be considered for a second submission- (even if it is in very rough draft format).