Psy 3902W: Major Project in Psychology

Psy 3902W: Major Project in Psychology

Psy 3902W: Major Project in Psychology Satisfaction of the Psychology Major requires completion of a major project, intended to demonstrate a student'...

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Psy 3902W: Major Project in Psychology Satisfaction of the Psychology Major requires completion of a major project, intended to demonstrate a student's analytic and conceptual skills as well as an understanding of the modes of inquiry common to the field of psychology. The major project is intended to be the capstone experience of the student's work in the major. For most students, the format will be a literature review paper. Students who have access to research data (i.e., some working in research labs) should plan to write a research-style paper. In those cases, the literature review will support the Introduction and Discussion sections. The course consists of three main elements. First, it is an opportunity for synthesizing the knowledge you have gained over the past 4 years. You will review the discipline of psychology by reading the book by Stanovich and by reflecting on your experiences in your degree program. This will be supported and demonstrated by group discussions and online quizzes. Second, we will provide you with access to professionals who are alumni of the psychology program. You will have the opportunity to hear these career professionals speak about their varied career paths and to network with them for advice and connections to other professionals. Third, you will focus your efforts this semester at formulating and reflecting in written form on a culminating experience. For some of you, that will mean working in an active research lab with a faculty led team of researchers. For others, it will mean working in a community service setting and relating what you have learned in classes to issues in the “real world.” For others, it will mean learning more about an issue you choose to research in depth from a psychological perspective. Before starting, you must meet the registration requirements of your section:  Research Option—you must have completed a contract with a faculty member for work in a research laboratory--most often involving concurrent registration in Psy 5993: Directed Research in Psychology. To complete this course, you must complete the requirements of your contract. 

Community Service Option—you must have arranged a servicelearning/community involvement placement through the Community ServiceLearning Center (CSLC). To complete this course, you must complete the requirements of your placement contract, including 40 hours of service.

Individual Interest Option—you must complete the additional reading/contact activities listed under your specific paper requirements.

The form and substance of your paper will differ depending on which course registration option (section-type) you have chosen. These differences are detailed in the following general guidelines. 

Paper Requirements A. All Papers:  Must strictly follow APA Style guidelines.  Will likely need to be between 15-20 pages in length. Papers are not graded on length.  Must reference at least 15 articles (primary sources). You will likely need more sources to learn about your topic and these additional references may be secondary sources.  Must cite the Stanovich book that we use in this course. In his book Stanovich reviewed critical thinking of research and a good place to consider some of the points made by Stanovich is in your discussion/summation (though you may choose to do this elsewhere).  (FOR THE FINAL DRAFT ONLY) Must attach a page to provide an overview of your revision, to include the following: -Summarize (in your own words) the peer and instructor feedback you received on an initial draft. -Identify and explain how you have used this feedback to make substantive revisions to the first draft. -Evaluate the major strengths and limitations of the revised draft. B. Research Option Papers must satisfy A. and also:  Be derived from the activities of the research lab you are working in. The paper could be a report of a study for which you helped collect and analyze research data, a report of the development of a research technique, or a literature review related to research in your lab.  For many research students, the paper format will be the traditional research format with the APA required subsections. In these cases, the literature review work done in the assignments will support your Introduction and Discussion subsections. If you do not have the chance to do empirical work, you may limit your paper to the literature review.  Describe your lab research experience, including your role in the data collection and/or analysis. This will most naturally be done using first person narrative. Since this will be different from the voice of the rest of your paper, plan to place this section in an appendix.

C. Community Service Option Papers must satisfy A. and also:  Relate to your placement. For example, you might use psychological theory and research work to suggest ways a service delivery problem might be addressed or an organization might run more smoothly or to learn more about the population served by your placement site.  Reflect on your placement experience. This will most naturally be done using first person narrative. Since this will be different from the voice of the rest of your paper, plan to place this section in an appendix. D. Individual Interest Option Papers must satisfy A. and also:  Relate to a personal or occupational interest of yours.  Be informed by extra reading or contact with people working in your area of interest. The most common way to satisfy this requirement will be for you to read a book written by a psychologist for a general audience (not a textbook) or to interview at least 3 professionals working in an area of interest to you. You must have your choice to satisfy this requirement approved by your Section Leader.

The above guidelines are meant to guide you rather than restrict your creativity. If you have good reasons to depart from them, discuss them with your Section Leader. He or she will confer with or refer you to me. We will find a way to make your Senior Project as meaningful and useful to you as we can. You will learn more about the specifics of these requirements as you do assignments for this course. As always, we want to help you understand your task and how you can be successful.

Course Assignments Some work on course assignments will be done during the weekly lab meetings. All course assignment submissions and the resulting feedback from your Section Leader will be transmitted via the course website. As you work you will be creating an electronic portfolio consisting of your drafts, your Section Leader’s comments on them, and any redrafts that may be required. Missed assignments may be made up only under special circumstances approved by your Section Leader. **Be advised that we will be randomly submitting students’ work to online systems that check for plagiarism.** Assignment 1 requires you to write briefly about how your psychology degree will be valuable to you personally, what kind of career(s) you see yourself pursuing after you graduate, and about a topic you might like to write about for your Major Project. Assignment 2 requires you to read an article about evaluating the psychology major, construct an APA style title page with your reaction to the article reflected in the title, summarize the article relating it to your psychology degree, and construct an APA style references page. You will write how your degree experience (a) meets your goals and objectives, (b) relates to what the (Lecture: week 2) panel members said, and (c) suggests how the UofM should change its degree. Assignment 3 helps you select your paper topic. Assignment 4 helps you begin your literature search. Assignment 5 helps you organize the information you have collected. Assignment 6 helps you develop your thesis.

Assignment 7 is the first submission of your paper. The closer it is to a finished product, the better feedback you'll get and the less work you'll need to do on your final draft. The feedback you receive will help you produce a high quality final draft. Assignment 8 requires you to do a peer review of a classmate's paper draft. Assignment 9 requires you to create a PowerPoint presentation consisting of 6-8 slides that briefly describe what you did for your paper. The first slide must be a title page and the last a conclusions page. You must also include an abstract. Assignment 10 is the final submission of your paper. Assignment 11 requires you attend the Poster Session to present your poster and to find 3 posters by students not from your section and talk to those students about their papers at their presentations. You will write briefly about what you learned from each of them.