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PSYC 363 - Cognitive Psychology

Research Guide for PSYC 363

Writing Your Final Paper

Research papers survey research done in a particular area. Their main emphasis is on bringing together theories and results from a number of studies to describe the "big picture" of an area of research.

Writing Tips

  • Decide on the research paper's main research question and main points first
  • Write the body of the research paper first and then write the introduction and conclusion
  • Everything in your research paper should point back to the research question

Guidelines

  • Use APA Style for all references, section headings, and other formatting
  • 12pt Times New Roman, Double Spaced, 1” margins
  • 7-10 pages, not counting references or title page
  • Find 8 cited sources, minimum (at least 5 must be empirical articles, no website-only sources)

Sections

1. Introduction: summarizes what you will write and puts it into context

  • Start the introduction with background that contextualizes the paper's main research question
  • End the introduction with a thesis statement, which outlines the main points of the paper and how you will address them

2. Body: presents the main points of the paper, with each paragraph representing one aspect of the paper's main focus. Prioritize and organize your main points and paragraphs to logically build your arguments to a compelling conclusion. Each paragraph should include a topic sentence, evidence, analysis, and a transition sentence:

  • The topic sentence summarizes the paragraph's main idea
  • Use evidence from your research sources to support or make the argument for your main ideas
  • Analyse your evidence to show how it makes you think about your your broader research question
  • Include a transition sentence at the end of each paragraph to connect what you discussed in that paragraph with the main idea of the next paragraph

3. Conclusion: summarizes what you wrote and what you learned

  • Restate your research question from the introduction in different words
  • Briefly summarize your main points or arguments and pull them together to answer your main research question
  • End with a strong, final statement that ties the whole literature review together and makes it clear the paper has come to an end
  • No new ideas should be introduced in the conclusion, it should only review and analyze the main points from the body of the paper (with the exception of suggestions for further research)

4. References list: a list of the sources you cited 

  • Cite your sources in APA Style
  • Format your References list in APA Style

For more writing help, contact the Writing Center and make an online appointment to meet with one of their consultants.

Grading Rubric

Detailed information about how Dr. Clark Foos will grade your Final Paper assignment

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