Guidelines for Final Paper
Write a 5-6 page paper that explores a specific topic in abnormal psychology/psychopathology in-depth, drawing from the scientific literature. Example topics include the exploration of an evidence-based treatment for a specific disorder, a current topic in the news related to psychopathology (e.g., the use of medication to treat mental disorders in children and adolescents), a protective/risk factor that increases/decreases the risk for developing a specificpsychological disorder, or exploring multisystemic causes of a disorder (e.g. exploring the individual, family, and societal causes). Topics can include disorders that are not formally covered in class.
You must cite at least 5 peer-reviewed journal articles published in the last 5-10 years (more recent is better). Use these and other sources (including the textbook, if you choose) to introduce your topic, review the relevant research literature, and support your conclusion. You only have 5/6 pages to explore your topic, so make sure your writing is focused and clear. You do not need to include an abstract for your paper (*you’ve already submitted one!), but you must include a title page (the title page does not count toward the 5 page length of the paper).
Your paper must be in APA style. You should follow the guidelines in the 6th edition of the APA Manual. Thus, your paper must be typed using 12-point Times New Roman font and double-spaced with 1-inch margins.
Your paper will be graded on the following elements:
INTRODUCE THE TOPIC (introductory paragraph) [10 points]
Brief introduction to the issue
E.g., how many people are affected by your topic? What are the basic facts or prevalence rates of a disorder or the use of a treatment?
Brief description of why this topic is important
Why is this topic important? What is the debate surrounding this topic (if there is one)?
What are the ethical, social, cultural implications of the topic? Is there an ethical dilemma associated with the topic (e.g. use of medication)? Does this disorder present itself differently among different ethnic groups?
Cleary articulated specific aims (i.e., what your paper will address)
A succinct description of what you will accomplish in this paper (e.g., review treatments for a specific disorder, determine whether the literature supports using medication to treat a specific disorder in children, review what is known about the impact of X on the development of Y)
CONSULT & CRITICALLY EVALUATE THE RESEARCH LITERATURE (main body of your paper) [45 points]
What are the major empirical findings and/or theories that have guided your lit review?
Review the relevant research literature (i.e., present the methodology, participant characteristics, and findings of your peer-reviewed journal articles) to clarify the issues.
This lit review should lead to/support your conclusion/opinion.
DELIVER A CONCLUSION / OPINION BASED ON THE LIT REVIEW (one paragraph) [10 points]
Refer back to the aims stated at the beginning of your paper and then state your conclusion.
Provide your position and briefly summarize the main supporting evidence.
This could be as simple as stating that a particular treatment you reviewed appears to be effective and the best choice for treating X.
PROVIDE DIRECTIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH (one paragraph) [10 points]
What work still needs to be done?
Where are the gaps in the current research?
You may gain ideas for this paragraph by reading the future directions proposed at the end of your peer-reviewed journal articles.
PAPER FORMATTING / APA STYLE / GRAMMAR (throughout the paper) [10 points]
Use formal language (i.e., do not use colloquial terms, insensitive language, or the first person).
Use clear and concise sentences to state your points.
Proofread your paper to ensure that it is free of grammatical errors and typos.
Use APA style for in-text citations, headings, reference list, title page, etc.
Use headings to enhance the clarity and organization of your paper.
PAPER GRADING CRITERIA
INTRODUCE THE TOPIC
_____ / 10
CONSULT & CRITICALLY EVALUATE THE RESEARCH LITERATURE
_____ / 45
DELIVER A CONCLUSION / OPINION BASED ON THE LIT REVIEW
_____ / 10
PROVIDE DIRECTIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH
_____ / 10
PAPER FORMATTING / APA STYLE / GRAMMAR
_____ / 10
OVERALL PAPER GRADE
_____ / 85
Look at your word processing software’s (e.g., Microsoft Word) spacing—do not allow extra spacing before or after paragraphs!
Do not use direct quotes. In APA style, writers summarize and paraphrase the content of others’ writing instead of quoting it directly.
Don’t write “et al.” in the text of your paper—this shorthand is only used inside of in-text citations; for example, (Torres et al., 2017). Use “and colleagues” if you refer to the authors of a paper within a sentence; for example, Torres and colleagues (2017) studied …
“et. al.” isn’t correct—it’s “et al.”
When writing the names of disorders or treatments, use lower case letters