Write the introduction
i. Provide a context by defining general topics or issues
ii. Explain the organization of your paper
iii. Discuss previous literature as it relates to your hypothesis. Make claims that are supported by evidence (e.g., X and Y are related).
iv. Make clear the theoretical and/or methodological gaps that exist in the previous literature.
7. Include a short summary of the research discussed, and the main justification for your hypothesis.
8. Include a short overview of the methods that will be used to test the hypothesis.
Keep in mind. Your introduction should justify your research proposal by
• Placing your study in the context of other work that has already been done in the field
• Informing the reader about the theories upon which your study is based
• Establishes the need for the research by identifying how it fills a gap in knowledge
• Establishes the logic behind your specific research question or methods (e.g., explains the basis for your research strategy)
Do’s and don’ts for your paper
o Organize your paper before you begin writing
o Provide strong transitions between the discussion of one idea and another (e.g., transitional statements help the reader follow your line of thought and create “flow” throughout the paper [see Mitchell, Jolley, & O’Shea, 2013, pp. 18-19])
o Reference appropriately
o Write well and see someone in the success center or smart thinking if you need help
o Simply review and paraphrase previous research in the introduction
o Use more than one or two quotes
o Rely heavily on secondary sources (use primary articles published in peer reviewed scholarly journals)
o Include anecdotal information
o Discuss each article separately as if writing an abstract on each
Students who choose to plagiarize will earn a zero on their paper and risk failure in the course. All instances of plagiarism will be recorded with the Dean of Students and placed on one’s permanent academic record. The turn-it-in software where students will upload their paper will alert the instructor of any sentences or phrases that closely match published work. Remember, to avoid plagiarism you should ensure that you have written your report in your own words. Each sentence that you create should bear little to no resemblance to the reports you read. To paraphrase effectively you must clearly understand the research you are discussing. This may require that you read scholarly work several times or may require that you find a tutor to help. If you must quote text do so sparingly and be sure to enclose quotes in quotation marks. It is expected that students in this class have mastered the ability to write about psychology. Thus, plagiarism in any form will not be tolerated.
Suggestions for success:
Write. Rest. Revise. Repeat. I recommend completing these assignments early and then letting them “rest” before you revise them. Two to three days after you complete a draft, read it, revise it and improve it. No one writes brilliantly on the first draft. Brilliant writing comes only after countless revisions.
Read the Mitchell, Jolley, and O’Shea text. This book is invaluable because it not only describes how to write research papers, it also describes how to build logical arguments. Critical thinking and reasoning are essential to write well in psychology.