Categories
Psychology

FORMAT • About 4-5 pages, double-spaced, 12-point font (don’t go under 3 pages,

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FORMAT
• About 4-5 pages, double-spaced, 12-point font (don’t go under 3 pages, or over 7 pages.)
• Essay format, with introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion
• This is not a formal research paper; the tone can be conversational, but appropriate.
(You can use the word ‘I,’ and can discuss your personal opinion/observations; but it
should be clear when you’re stating your own thoughts vs. info from research articles.)
• Cite at least 3 outside sources: one peer-reviewed research article that was not discussed
in class or readings; and two additional sources (which can, but don’t have to be peerreviewed- ie, a book / newspaper / magazine / reputable website / TED talk / etc.) You can
cite sources from class, but these should not be included as one of your 3 outside sources.
• Cite your sources in APA format (internally, and at the end of the paper under References.)
The rest of the paper does not have to be APA format (you don’t need a cover page, etc.)
CONTENT
• Choose a specific topic within cognitive psychology. Discuss what interests you about this
topic, and some aspect of the research / theories on this topic that stood out to you.
o The topic of your paper should relate directly to a major cognitive process (perception,
attention, imagery, memory, language, decision-making, intelligence, creativity, etc.)
o Keep your topic relatively narrow (in other words: your topic should not be ‘memory’ or
‘long-term memory’; but some specific phenomenon related to memory–e.g., the effect of
REM sleep on memory; context-dependent memory; the cognitive interview; etc.)
o Your topic should relate to, but go beyond, something we learned about in class.
o A good way to choose a topic is to combine a cognitive process with your interests
outside of class. (Some examples: if you’re interested in clinical psych, you can investigate
cognitive symptoms of a psychological disorder, such as negativity bias in depression. If
you like sports, you might look at the use of mental imagery in athletics. If you’re
interested in meditation, you might delve deeper into the benefits of mindfulness practice
on attention… etc. If you’re not sure how an interest of yours might relate to cognitive
psychology, try using your interest [e.g., “video games”] + “cognition” as search terms.)
• Introduction: Briefly describe / define the cognitive topic you chose.
• Some subjective elements (optional) that you might include, in the body paragraphs:
o What about this topic resonates with you? (Why did you choose it?)
o What is its application to your life, and/or popular culture?
• Discuss some of the experimental evidence and theories on the topic you’re discussing.
o Summarize the basic methods/results/inference of your peer-reviewed article.
o You can use the other articles to provide context or additional support for the
inferences from that study, and/or to offer competing or additional perspectives.
o To find peer-reviewed articles, you can use the BC Library databases (APA
PSYCInfo is a good database to use), or Google Scholar (scholar.google.com.)
• Conclusion: Bring the paper to a clear ending point. You shouldn’t be introducing any new
ideas in the conclusion; but rather wrapping up and emphasizing the main ‘take-away’
you’d like to leave the reader with. (Both introductions and conclusions should take a
‘bigger picture’ perspective, while the body paragraphs should go into more detail.)
• See ‘Writing tips for papers’ (posted under the Assignments tab) for more.

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