General written assignment guidelines



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PSY 202: Developmental Psychology – ADOLESCENCE

GENERAL WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT GUIDELINES:

  1. Choose your topic/ PAPER

    1. Described on the following 3 pages. CHOOSE ONE!!!




  1. Format for papers:

    1. Heading: The first page should include the following:

      1. Your name, date, A title (DO NOT INCLUDE A SEPARATE COVER PAGE)

      2. The Heading should occupy no more than three lines of the page. ;)

    2. Length: 3-5 pages double spaced. (Note: Papers must be at least 2- FULL, well-written pages to receive full credit.)

    3. Margins: 1 inch margins all around. (If you use Microsoft Word, be aware that the default margin is 1.25 inches. Change the margins to 1 inch using page set-up)

    4. Font: 12 point Times New Roman or Arial font.

    5. Source: Cite your sources.

    6. Specific information about content of the paper is provided in the description of the options.




  1. Due dates for the papers are listed in the syllabus. You will be given the option of modifying your paper to improve your grade.

Writing Assignment Option 1: Research Report

PSY202, Developmental Psychology - Adolescence


For this assignment you will read an original source in psychology and write a short report on what you read. One purpose of this assignment is to practice finding and using reliable information sources in psychology, so that in the future you can continue to learn from recent psychology research.
Requirements for the research you select to write about:

  • It must be an article in a scholarly (peer reviewed) psychology journal.

  • It must be related to the content of Adolescent Development

  • It must have a recent publication date (not before 2000).

  • It must be empirical, that is, it reports on original research done by the authors. Hint: Look to see whether it has a section that is clearly labeled “Methods” or “Procedures”.

  • It must be something that you can understand. If you feel that the article you have picked is beyond your grasp, pick another one. You will not be able to write a good report on an article you don’t understand.

Detailed Instructions:

Step 1 – Select an appropriate article. If you have any doubts as to whether your selection meets these requirements, ask!

Step 2 – Make a complete photocopy or printout of the article, including the references. Highlight or underline the important points.

Step 3 – Write a report on the article you selected, following the format described below.

Step 4 – Hand in written report and your highlighted photocopy/printout of the article by the due date.


CONTENT: Refer to the General Paper Guidelines. Also, provide information in the following order, but write it as a complete paper, not just answering the questions.


  1. Summarize the BACKGROUND information that was available to the authors that prompted them to do the study – state why the study was done. Reference the source of your information through in-text citations, using the name and date system of APA style.

  2. State the HYPOTHESIS or RESEARCH QUESTION of this study. A true hypothesis makes a specific prediction, and is used in experimental research. A research question might be used instead for a descriptive study.

  3. Describe the METHODS used. Identify the subjects, and try to identify the type of research method (case study, naturalistic or laboratory observation, correlational study, experiment?). If it is experimental research, identify the independent and dependent variables, the experimental and control groups. Explain enough about the procedures so that your instructor knows what was done. Do not include statistical methods.

  4. What were the most important RESULTS of the study? What information did they obtain? (Do not confuse this with the conclusions of the study.)

  5. What was the CONCLUSION of the study? Did it support or refute the original hypothesis? What are the implications for further research?

  6. Furnish complete reference information in APA format. There should be at least one in-text citation for each article listed in your reference section. Articles not listed in your report should not be included in your reference section. Don’t forget to cite the article you are reporting on in the text, and include its reference.



Writing Assignment Option 2: Movie/ Book Review
For this option, you will review or movie or book about an adolescent and relate concepts from the course to the characters. You can watch any movie or read any book of your choosing that has a protagonist that meets our books standards for “an adolescent.” The paper should include an introduction to the topic, a summary of your main observation, and a concluding summary.

Content of the paper:

  • Refer to the General Paper Guidelines

  • You MUST have one scientific citation to support your paper. The citation may come from the textbook or popular press. Better sources include scientific (peer reviewed) journals.

  • For this assignment, students are asked to discuss the psychological development of a fictional adolescent.

  • Students should select at least three areas of psychosocial development that are discussed as part of this course (e.g., cognitive development, culture, parent-child relationships, peer relations, etc.) and discuss the development of the character in the context of what we know about adolescent development in these domains.




  1. What are the most significant aspects of this character’s development during adolescence?




  1. What do you find interesting about this character?




  1. What seem to be the pressing issues that this character must resolve?




  1. How have the specific factors inherent in the context in which the adolescent lives (or had lived)

  2. affected his or her development in adolescence?




  1. To what extent is this character’s development typical, in the sense that it appears to correspond

  2. (or not correspond) to what we have learned from scientific research and theory about adolescence?




  1. What might have been done to help the adolescent develop more optimally? In other words, what buffers might have been to prevent any downfalls? Give specific examples from the scientific literature that focus on aspects of the adolescent (e.g., personality, cognitive development), family, peer, and greater social context.

Be sure to introduce briefly the character and the story so that the reader of your paper is familiar enough to understand the references to the novel or movie. You may use direct quotes (with proper citation) from the scientific articles or movie for the purposes of illustration. You should not rely on this as an alternative to providing your own interpretation or opinion. Students are required to tie in references and information from the scientific literature.


Writing Assignment Option 3: Debate Review
For this option, you will review both sides of a controversial topic in the field of adolescent development. Choose one of the topics from the Middle Childhood or Adolescence section of the text: Taking Sides: Clashing Views in Childhood and Society, 8th Edition (Del Campo, Diana; Del Campo, Robert). If you don’t already have it, you can look into temporary internet access to the book here: http://www.coursesmart.com/0077304608?__professorview=false&__instructor=2834574
Each of the topics presented in the text continue to be controversial. BEFORE you read the arguments for or against your topic, write a brief (half page) summary about your thoughts related to the lead question. This summary will not be graded for formatting and may be as simple as a bulleted list. This summary counts towards your page count for the paper ONLY if the rest of the paper is at least 2 pages long.
After you have written your brief summary, read each side of your chosen debate. As you read through both sides of the argument, try to separate facts and opinions. Determine whether the author’s argument is based on opinion, correlational data, or experimental data. Also, when reading about an experiment, pay attention to the age of the children involved.
Detailed Instructions:

Step 1 – Select a topic. If you have any doubts about your topic, please feel free to ask!

Step 2 – Make a complete photocopy or printout of the article, including the references. Highlight or underline the important points.

Step 3 – Write a report on the article you selected, following the format described below.

Step 4 – Hand in written report, your highlighted photocopy/printout of the article, and your initial summary.
Content of your paper:

Your paper should include an introduction, a summary of the main points in the debate of regarding your chosen topic, and a concluding summary paragraph. Include:



    1. Select at least three areas of psychosocial development that are discussed as part of this course (e.g., cognitive development, culture, parent-child relationships, peer relations, etc.) and discuss the development of the character in the context of what we know about adolescent development in these domains.

    2. What were the compelling arguments for and against the topic?

    3. Were there any surprising data or arguments?

    4. Highlight one piece of information from each side that you hadn’t previous considered.

    5. Did your position change? Why or why not?


Be sure to introduce briefly the topic so that the reader of your paper is familiar enough to understand the references to the arguments. You may use direct quotes (with proper citation) from the articles. You should not rely on this as an alternative to providing your own interpretation or opinion. Students are required to tie in references and information from the class.


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