First Draft Handout When is it due? Your first draft is due on the day scheduled for the “Writing and Critiquing a Paper” Lab listed in the syllabus schedule. It is worth up to 5 points. Please bring one copy of your paper and one copy of your article to class on scheduled date. The lab activity will involve one copy of your rough draft being evaluated by members of the class. To ensure your anonymity, please do not use a running header and only have your name on the cover sheet which we will remove before others evaluate the paper. What is the goal of the paper? The paper should be written so that a peer from the class could read it and be able to understand the topic. The peer should be able to understand your summary without looking at the original article. Your summary should go beyond just summarizing the text of the article. It should introduce the topic to a peer. Some questions that you should clearly answer in your summary are: Why did they do this experiment? What were the independent and dependent variables? What were the results? What general conclusions can be made from their results? Are there any problems with the research? If so, what were they? What format should it be in? Cover Page: The cover page should include your name, your affiliation (for example, Department of Psychological Sciences, Western Kentucky University) and the complete citation of the research article that you are reviewing. The Paper: All papers should include an abstract, an introduction, a methods section, a results section, a discussion section, a critical assessment section and a reference section. The abstract will be on a page all by itself and will immediately follow the cover page. It should have your paper title and a paragraph or two summarizing the research that you will be describing. It can be no longer than 200 words and should be at least 50 words. The main body of the paper should begin with an introduction section that introduces the topic and the paper. Introduce the topic as you would to a student that has just started this class. So, do not assume that the reader knows the physiology of the brain very well. At some point in your paper (usually the Introduction section or the section just before the Methods section) you should have a sentence that clearly states the hypothesis being tested. The sentence should be in bold font and should look something like: Hahn and O’Connor (1999) hypothesized that repeated exposure to caffeine would produce increases in hippocampus activity as measured during fMRI scans. Similarly, the last sentence in your methods section should clearly describe the variables manipulated by the researchers and the variables measured by the researchers. This sentence should also be in bold font. Your results section should include relevant statistics used to describe the results in the original paper. The final sentence in your results section should be a sentence in bold font that states the results in terms of the variables you identified in the methods section. The final section of your paper should be the reference page. It should start on a fresh page and should follow APA guidelines. The references in the back of the book roughly follow this format. The reference list may be fairly short. It should include the article being summarized and any sources that you reference in your review of the article. You may
reference articles that are referenced in the article being summarized and you may reference additional articles that help you introduce or critique the summarized article. The paper you hand in should be the first draft I receive, but not the first draft that you have completed. After you have completed a draft of your paper, you should proofread it with the following in mind: Do you have complete sentences? Does the structure of each subsection make sense? Check for incorrect usage of a words like were vs. where, affect vs. effect, there vs. their… It would be a great idea to have a classmate read your paper and make comments about whether enough background information is presented for him or her to understand it. Pointers on the writing style to use? Be sure to look again at the Outline/Summary handout for suggestions regarding writing style. Some additional suggestions:
• Don’t use “proof” or “prove” unless you are talking about a mathematical proof. • If you use “more” or “less” in a sentence then there needs to be two things that are
being compared. • You should use at most, one direct quote in your paper and all other text should be
your own writing. It would be good if you didn’t use any direct quote. • If you refer to other studies, then cite them and include them in the reference section. • If you use “I”, it should only be used in the critical assessment section. • Don’t write as if you have done the study (e.g., We measured the activity of…).
How will this be graded? This assignment is worth 5 points. Four points will be based on my overall assessment of your paper: How well you describe the article and the topic. Does the paper have the appropriate formality, grammatically correct sentences, and correct spelling? One point will be based on how well you performed as a reviewer of a classmate’s paper. Unstapled papers will automatically lose 2%. What if I don’t understand parts of my article? As I mentioned earlier in the semester, one thing that is important for us to do is to become comfortable with terms and concepts that may be new or foreign to us. Some of these articles have substantial neuroscience content that may be new to you or may involve material that we have not covered yet. Except for some of the most technical details, you should be able to figure out the material by using the textbook and the internet. After trying to figure out a difficult topic, please feel free to come to my office hours and we can figure it out together. There may be some technical details (cell stains used, software used, attributes of an fMRI procedure,…) that you don’t have to completely understand in order to understand the importance and the contribution of the paper. One of the purposes of this assignment is to help you realize that you can figure out the important points of a paper and converse with people outside of your expertise about how their work impacts the psychological topic that interests you. How can I avoid getting an F in the class as a result of plagiarism? The best way to avoid plagiarism is to avoid writing with any source immediately available to you. All of your work must begin and end as text that you have written. It is
not permissible to type text from your article and then change it. All text that is not written by you must be in quotes. From the syllabus:
Plagiarism in any part of a writing assignment will result in a 0 for the writing assignment. When I encounter plagiarism on a paper, I immediately stop giving feedback on that assignment.
If you are concerned that you might be accidentally plagiarizing, please ask me about it before you hand it in to me. After you have given an assignment to me, it is too late.