Signature Assignment Reflection Papers
Due: 2 Dec 2018 at 11:59 PM
Signature Assignment Psychology 1010
Instructions:You will discuss 3 separate concepts that you learned about in psychology 1010 across these reflection assignments. You will have a lot of concepts to choose among because we cover many in this course. For example, we will cover attachment theory in development, positive and negative reinforcement, why people forget, how to cope with stress, and many more. You will choose 3 that are most pertinent to your life experience. Your overall goal is to use clear writing to apply the ideas that you are learning about and show me that you understand the concepts and can apply them to the real world.
Completing the Assignments:
You will write 350 to 400 words for each concept. You can hand these in all at once at the end of the semester (see syllabus due date), or you can hand them in sequentially as we go through the class (recommended approach). One reason to go the sequential route is that if you have an “insight moment” of “Aha, that research or that theory that we are covering helps me understand something that I have experienced…”, finding research on it and writing about it right away should help you understand it even better. Thus, I strongly recommend that you complete these as we move through the semester rather than at the end of the semester in a single batch. You need to define and explain what the concept means. Explaining things in your own words means that you do MORE than just quoting word for word from your textbook. It means that you take the concept and explain in your own words what the concept means. You then cite the source where you got the information. For example, if I wanted to explain what a circadian rhythm is, I wouldn't just cut and paste the info from the text and quote and cite it. I would read the information for myself and then interpret what it means. For example: "Circadian rhythms are changes that happen in us across a day. These changes include things like how our body temperature increases throughout the day (peaking about 6 pm) and then drops, or another example is how our bodies want to sleep at night and be awake during the day. These rhythms help prepare us for the day/night and help us survive." If you just quote the book or your source, I don't know that you really understand what the concept means, so imagine you are explaining the concept to someone who has not had intro psych. (Fowler, 2018, personal communication)”
You will write about each concept as if you are turning a manuscript in for an “expert” in the field to review. Clear, grammatically correct college-level writing that is free of slang, and that properly cites sources and has a reference list is required. Everything you write, including definitions of each concept, should be in your own words. You will discuss an example of how you experienced each concept in your life. For example, maybe you saw it on T.V. because it is in the news, or someone that you know experienced it and you are witnessing it secondhand but with that person. You will support your explanation of these concepts with a reputablesource (your textbook, research articles, etc., see example below).You will cite those reputable sources in each paper and you will create a references page that lists each source that you cite (see examples below).Remember that your job is to apply the conceptby discussing how it has been expressed, experienced, has come up in your life, and what you have learned about it from your readings of reputable sources. By completing the signature assignment, you will be addressing the Big Question that frames this class: How does scientific psychology help us understand our experiences?
You need to write using 12-point font, double spacing, 1-inch margins all around with a clear font such as Times New Roman or Calibri.
You must use at least two primary research articles to support your illustrations. This means you need to find an article that describes what you are interested in describing and you should read the article.Then use the information from that article to help support your illustration. You must use a minimum of two articles, but you can use other sources, too (like your textbook and other reputable sources, such as websites that are maintained by the government, newspapers, etc).
To avoid plagiarism and to receive credit for your assignment, you must properly cite the sources of your threeillustrations (see also Plagiarism and Cheating). Submissions without appropriate citations will not receive credit.
If you include materials taken verbatim, or word-for-word, from your source (i.e., you cut and paste information from a website, you copy a quote from a magazine article), you must put that material in quotes and put the reference at the end (e.g., the URL web address, the name of the magazine and date of publication). However, this should only be done if there is no way for you to say the information in any other way.When you quote material, it tells me you can’t say it in your own words, which means you probably don’t understand it. To get full credit, you should figure out how to summarize and paraphrase the information you are reading.
If you paraphrase material from your source (i.e., you rewrite another writer’s ideas in your own wordsand in your own sentence structure), cite the source at the end of the sentence and then include the source in your references. This means that when you elaborate on how your illustration defines or explains the relevant course concept, you must also include a reference to your textbook (Okami, 2014) and/or lecture notes (Mansfield, 2018), and/or your primary research articles.
Your reflection assignments should ALL be submitted on canvas no later than the due date listed there and on the syllabus. Be creative and have fun finding illustrations of psychology in “real-life”! You can upload your document as a word document, an rtf, or a pdf. Please do not cut and paste into the assignment. NO LATE ASSIGNMENTS WILL BE ACCEPTED! Please consider turning the assignment in early, as there are NO late assignments accepted.
For Extra Credit:
I encourage you to write drafts of each of your papers, get feedback from the writing center on each draft, and then incorporate that feedback in to your papers before you hand them in. You can get extra credit for taking drafts to the writing center and incorporating their feedback.
Go to the writing center https://www.weber.edu/writingcenteror submit your writing to a writing center tutor online. Get a copy of their feedback - either the “brown sheet” they provide or the online consultation report. Scan those as needed and upload those as well as a short 1-paragraph description (or complete list of bullet points) detailing the SPECIFIC changes you made to your writing because of the feedback. If you are not specific you will not get full extra credit points. Specific details means saying something like: “The tutor indicated that I was using the word effect where I needed to be using the word affect. So in paragraph 1 of reflection paper 1 and paragraph 3 of reflection paper 2 I changed the sentence “He effected me so much” to “He affected me so much” and “She didn’t know how yelling at the dog would effect it” to “She didn’t know how yelling at the dog would affect it.”
Providing the evidence of feedback and evidence of your changes can earn you up to 5 points on each reflection assignment. Those 5 points are 20% that you can earn back for each reflection. Taken together, the entire 15 points that you can earn is about 2% of your total class score. I strongly recommend that everyone take advantage of this opportunity to develop better writing skills. Please do NOT wait until the last week of the semester to contact the writing center. They get very busy then and you are less likely to get quality feedback. As always, you are better off doing things as early as you can.
How do I find concepts to illustrate?
ANS: This is where you get to get creative and make this about YOU! You may notice that I write about my daughter and my pets a lot when I give examples. You can use your own life to find examples of concepts in class, or you can find things in the news, current events, or even concepts from TV shows. You can pick ANY concept related to Psychology, and it can be something we covered in class or something in our book that we didn’t cover. It is completely up to you!
How do I find primary research articles to use as sources, and why do I have to use them?
ANS: Primary research articles are research articles that describe the research that was conducted, and the article is written by the researchers. The value of these articles is that they are coming straight from the source of the research and are not interpreted by others. Often when you see research presented on the news, they will put their own spin on the interpretation, frequently interpreting the data incorrectly.
To find a primary research article, you have a few options. One of the easiest options is to use Google Scholar. Go to http://scholar.google.comand type in the concept you are interested in. Your search will return a ton of articles related to your concept, and on the right side of the page, you can see if the full text of the article is available. Another option is to use library databases. Go to http://library.weber.eduand click on SEARCH and then DATABASES. Then you can select your topic (Psychology, probably!) or Neuroscience or Social Sciences and you will be asked to login. Within those databases, you can search for full text articles. Finally, you can also access virtually ANY article by using the interlibrary loan tool from the library. Go to http://library.weber.eduand select USING THE LIBRARY, then INTERLIBRARY LOAN. You can fill out the form and have virtually any article sent to you (in pdf format) within about 48 hours.
3. How do I “read” primary research articles?
ANS: Concentrate and do your best. First read for the gist of the information. Read through the introduction and methods and the results and discussion. Try not to get bogged down in complicated statistics. Instead shoot for understanding things like: What was the research question? What were the hypotheses? What were the findings? What did the researchers conclude from the study? Here are some more great tips for reading such articles
How do I cite in text?
ANS: When you use another source for information, and the information is not common knowledge (i.e. you had to look it up to know the information), you must cite where that information came from. For this assignment, this is especially important! For this assignment, you may cite the source using only the first author’s last name and the date. Using the reference shown in the next section, I would cite the article as (Barnes, 2011), or you could cite the text as (King, 2015). You could say something like, according to Barnes (2011), lack of sleep can contribute to unethical behavior. Or you could say that people are more likely to make unethical choices if they don’t get enough sleep (Barnes, 2011).
How do I do a reference page?
ANS: This is fairly easy, but you have a few rules to follow. To use APA style to format the reference page, use the following websites for help!
Your reference page should have a MINIMUM of two primary research articles (see the example at the end of these instructions note that it lists your textbook).
Can I use two primary research articles for ONE illustration and then use the book and other sources for the others?
ANS: YES! As long as you use two primary research articles in your entire assignment, you can divide it up however you want. However, you MUST cite a reputable source for EVERY illustration you do.
What do you mean a reputable source?
ANS: A reputable source would be a source that is widely assumed to be valid. Government websites (such as CDC.gov or https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov) tend to be reputable sources. Going to Jimmy Bob’s blog on marijuana usage is one that would make me skeptical. Keep in mind that the source you use to describe and illustrate your concept will influence others’ perceptions of the concept. So, if you use an Exxon Mobile website as a source for clean environment, this might also be suspect.
Do I have to write this as a paper?
ANS: You may write this as one big paper or three separate papers. The important thing is that you include all of the required material. Most people find it easiest to do this as 3 separate pages in one document, where each page represents one of the illustrations (don’t forget then to have the references at the end!). You will be able to hand them in as you complete them.
You will be graded on the following:
Content (70%): For each illustration, do you describe the concept and give definitions, descriptions of the concept, and make it obvious that you understand the concept? Do you give enough information to describe it sufficiently if someone else were reading it? And do you apply this concept to your life, describing in detail how this fits your life?
Resources/References/Citations (20%): Your assignment must have a reputable source for ALL illustrations, and you must use a minimum of two primary research articles. You should cite your sources in text, and you must include a reference page with all references you used.
Organization and Grammar (10%): Is your assignment well organized? Do you have grammar errors?
Example (397 words): Happiness “set-points”, do they exist?
Happiness is a funny thing. I have two close friends who I have known for over a decade. I have seen them in many different life situations both ups (new babies, new houses) and downs (divorce, joblessness). The interesting thing to me is despite ups and down they are very different when it comes to averagelevels of happiness. Here, happiness is a person’s typical degree of well-being. It is their sense that their life and experiences are mostly enjoyable and it is what I “feel” from them in terms of consistent positivity and negativity (Okami, 2014). One of my friends always seems to be happy even when in a big life challenge. The other tends to be Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh, more likely to be down than up. I would not say that he is depressed but I would say that he is often serious, humorless, and worried.
Thinking about these friends takes me to the notion of happiness “set points” described in the textbook. It is pretty clear to me that my two friends have very different happiness set points, average happiness levels that the swing back to. One’s set point is high whereas the other’s set point is lower. One of the really interesting research papers related to this topic found that people who tend to focus their life activities on having meaningful relationships, volunteering to give back to society, and trying to grow are more likely to report being consistently happy in their lives (Bauer, McAdams, & Sakaeda, 2005).
Although there are apparently many factors that influence set points (Okami, 2014), this may be one reason my friends’ set points are so different. They do very different things with their lives. For example, my friend who tends toward higher levels of happiness (high well-being on average) makes active efforts to connect with his friends, support his aging mom, and do things with others. He actively seeks out the company of others. My friend who tends toward low levels of happiness is much more socially isolated. There is a kind of chicken and egg problem here, but regardless of the source of why we have set points I think that they are pretty easy to see. That section of the text helped me understand something kind of fundamentally different about people’s well-being. Set points exist and are not easy to move away from!
Okami (2014). Psychology: Contemporary Perspectives. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Bauer, J. J., McAdams, D. P., & Sakaeda, A. R. (2005). Interpreting the good life: Growth memories in the lives of mature, happy people. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 88(1), 203-217. doi:10.1037/0022-35188.8.131.52