The assignment is pretty easy but will test what you have learned this semester. You are to write a paper (minimum of 2000 words) to define who you are and how you got to be who you are today. You are to use the textbook a minimum of ten times and you can include outside research. You will be graded on your ability to make connections that are theoretical and substantial that define your personality and the related developmental milestones which led you to that direction.
Please note this paper is not for everyone, and if reliving areas of your past or synthesizing the material at a high level causes you discomfort – please write the research paper.
How the paper is graded (Final Paper Rubric)
“C” (70-79%) papers generally include:
Writing between 2000-2200 words
Using the textbook ten times
Including limited theoretical models
Does not use a variety of textbook uses (But still uses the mandatory 6 chapters)
Does not include outside research
Describes development but does not explain why development occurs
“B” (80-89%) papers generally include:
Writing longer papers than 2000-2200 words (Closer to 2500-2700 words)
Using the textbook more than ten times (12-15 on average)
Integrating more theoretical models
Shows a good variety of textbook uses (Uses 7-8 different chapters, and a good variety of information)
May include outside research but not really relevant to answering “why” – answers “what”
Describes development but does not explain development in a substantial way which shows critical thinking.
“A” (90-100%) papers generally include:
Writing longer papers than 2500-2700 words (Closer to 3000 or more words)
Using the textbook more than ten times (16 or more on average)
Shows a strong foundation of multiple theoretical models of the paper
Showing a complete understanding of multiple topics in the textbook (9 or more different chapters or more used)
Includes outside research that helps to answer “why” instead of just “what”
Describes and explains development throughout the lifespan
Other areas of deduction
Writing under 2000 words will be a strong deduction. Writing between 1900-1999 words will be a 5% deduction, 1800-1899 words will be a 10% deduction – and so on as low as the paper goes. This deduction will be right off the top of the paper – so if you write 1000 words and your 1000 words fit what would otherwise be a 70% paper – you would receive 70% of 50% – which is 35% of the grade. Your paper must be a minimum of 2000 words with no exceptions. I have the option of deleting long quotes and “fluff” when determining word count.
Your paper must include a minimum of six different chapters used in the textbook. If your paper focuses on only one chapter (i.e. personality disorders, drugs, personality, or development) and you write your whole paper on just one chapter – there will be a significant deduction of up to half of the final grade.
Inaccurate information can be up to a letter grade deduction per inaccurate information stated. For instance, if you are writing about classical conditioning and you get the terminology wrong – that is a deduction.
Several students have written a paper about other people and never talked about themselves. You will not pass this paper if you do not write about yourself and your development. You’re welcome to bring other people into your paper (i.e. if you dated someone who is bi-polar) – but the focus of your paper (51% of your paper) should be about you and your development. If you don’t want to write about yourself – write the research paper.
Using quotes or fluff to get you over the 2000 words will be deleted. I had a student once write nearly 300 words about how he or she didn’t know what to say in the paper. This will not be allowed. If you ramble to fill space or quote long websites to fill space – I will delete it and count the words as if it wasn’t there. (This only happens about 1-2% of the time – it’s not a common thing)
If you are going to use an outside source, you must properly cite it by saying “According to XYZ.com” and then put anything that you got directly from that website in quotes. Unintentional plagiarism could result in stylistic deductions. Intentional plagiarism could result in the paper being referred to the Dean of Students, and upon being found guilty – a 0 could be issued on the paper.
When using a theory – using multiple parts of a theory counts as using the theory once. For instance, take Erikson’s eight stages. Even if you describe throughout your paper all eight stages (which is a good thing) – it will only count as one of your ten textbook uses. Students in the past have written a paper applying their life through Erikson’s stages using 6 or 7 of the stages. This is great; however, when you are counting uses – count this as one use.
Using less than ten references will result in a huge deduction. I had a student write a 5,000 word paper once and use the textbook once. This is not a psychology paper at that point – it is an English paper. In general, you can expect a 20 point deduction above and beyond what grade you would have normally had for each use of the textbook not made.
If the quality of your 10 textbook uses is not up to par and they are so random that it is clear you didn’t learn anything this semester (i.e. most of your textbook uses talks about something completely irrelevant like survey research and the history of psychology) – I may at my discretion lower your grade despite technically being in a “C” category.
Writing your paper and ignoring major areas of your life will also result in deductions. Let’s say you are writing an autobiography and you write a detailed paper until you are 12 – and then just quit writing the paper – that will be a significant deduction as well. Your paper should be complete and not just focus on one or two areas.
In general – most of these things do not apply to most of the papers – and if you are worried about any of them – remember, you have the option of completing your paper a week early and having me “pre-grade” it. Most of the time when these things occur – it is students who wait until the last minute and haven’t learned a lot this semester who try to put together a “passing paper” so I have all of these different notes in case one of these enterprising young students tries to challenge the grade saying “well, I did everything in the “C” grade category” without actually showing they’ve learned anything. This is your final exam for the course and it should show cumulative learning.
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