Paper Assignment

Paper Assignment

Position Paper

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Your position paper can be on any topic related to the psychology of human memory. Your paper may explore human memory at various levels, i.e., neuroscientific, evolutionary, cultural, individual differences, or the level of human affairs such as education, law, or economics. The paper may also explore the topic at an implicit level (i.e., the influence of unconscious processing and/or the role of affect on human memory). Simple topic discussions are not acceptable for this position paper. A good paper will reflect a persuasive position on an issue supported by credible research. The paper must be in APA (6th or 7th Edition) format. The maximum length of the paper is 8-10 double spaced pages, which includes the title page, abstract and reference sections. A good paper will reflect thought and analysis on behalf of the student.



The position paper can be written in one of these forms:

(a) discuss different sides of an issue, and then argue which position you take and why.


(b) present a critical analysis of a theory or data, detailing the shortcomings, and presenting your position on how to improve the theory, experiment or interpretation of findings.


(c) write a research proposal that includes a brief introduction and literature review outlining a novel research idea and the relevance of your study.


(d) write up our class experiment on test format using the same instructions as for option c above, only using the collected rather than hypothetical data.


Purpose of the paper:

To review, evaluate, critique, and integrate a minimum of 2 primary published research studies (i.e., primary, empirical, peer reviewed articles) pertaining to a position on an issue in the human memory literature.


Step 1: Selecting journal articles to review.

Identify your research interests.

Do a literature search for research pertaining to your interest, including our class text.


Step 2: Review the journal articles you have selected.

After summarizing each paper, select the aspects of the research relevant to your issue of interest. What are the main topics/theories which relate to your position paper? What were the IVs and DVs? What were the relevant main findings/results? How did the authors interpret the results? What is the practical significance of such research in terms of the position you are developing?


Does the literature reviewed form a basis for a coherent paper? What are the common threads that bind your reviewed research? What are the relative strengths and weaknesses of the reviewed research? Do the reviewed articles make a clear argument or are there opposite points of view, and if so, how does this impact the stance of your own paper? What questions does your review leave unanswered? You may address these questions as part of your literature review section and put them in context in the discussion section. How would you design research to address unanswered question? Future directions are typically addressed in the discussion section.




Step 3: What to write.

Your paper must integrate and synthesize the journal summaries, and any other information included from our textbook or other review sources. Do not simply paste one research summary after another. The summaries should have a common theme. Also, avoid the use of unnecessary subheadings in your final draft (e.g., introduction, literature review). For options c and d, a Methods section with proper headings is required. Avoid plagiarism. Be sure to cite any ideas that you quote or paraphrase.


Your paper must contain [Marks are indicated in the square brackets]:


A title page: the title page includes a page header and page number, the running head, the title of your paper, your name, and your research institution [4].


An introduction: introduce the topic you are researching. How do you define the central terms important to your position? What are you going to discuss in your paper? Also, hint at the conclusion(s) your will make. Remember that an APA style paper repeats the title of your paper on the first page of the introduction [4].


A literature review: (not labeled as such) the literature review serves to place your research or position paper within the context of what has been done previously and to support/refute the position/argument/theory you will be discussing. You must review at least 2 published journal articles. Your literature review should form a coherent and integrated account of the research area (i.e., do not paste one review after another without ensuring that there are connecting sentences that link the ideas/concepts/research in one review to the next). Your literature review should describe each study with enough detail that the reader is not wonder what the paper’s relevance is to the position being addressed. The literature review should have a summarizing paragraph (or two) that sums up the research that you have reviewed. The literature review does not delineate your point of view (i.e., avoid “I think that…” or “I feel that…”). For the research report and proposal options, summarize hypotheses in terms of theory and the reviewed literature [16].


Introduce your question of concern: What question(s) does your review of the literature leave unanswered? Why is this an important question [4]? This should be apparent early in the paper and be addressed consistently throughout.


How you write the remainder of the paper will depend upon what type of paper you want to write (e.g., position paper, critical analysis, or research proposal)


Position paper or critical analysis:

The Discussion Section: Discuss sides of an issue, and then argue which position you take and why, (b) present a critical analysis of a theory or experimental set of data, detailing the shortcomings, and presenting your position on how to improve the theory or experiment [12]?


Research proposal:

Method Section: How can you answer the question? That is, describe how you would answer your question. What you are going to manipulate (i.e., your independent variable)? What you are going to measure (i.e., your dependent variable)? And, who will participate (demographics) [8]?

The Discussion Section: Describe the results that you would expect to find if you ran your study. Discuss the implications of your results. Would they support the past research or not? How could these findings appeal to the real world? How might teachers, parents, lawyers, etc. use these findings [4]?


All Papers must then include:

Abstract: Begin your paper with an abstract. The abstract provides the reader with a summary of what is in your paper is about. This must include the background, research question or position, method, and results if writing a proposal and the conclusions. In the abstract, you are telling the reader what the important points of your review were, what your research question was and how you answered it [4].


Reference Section: Following the guidelines set out in the 6th or 7th Edition of the APA publication manual, cite all of your references in APA format [4].


Cohesiveness: 10 marks will be assigned for whether the paper flowed together, moved from general to specific, and then back to the general level, and if it was well organized [10].


APA Style: 4 marks are allotted to proper APA citations, formatting, and overall style [4].

Use 12 point Times New Roman font, or something very similar, and 1-inch (2.5cm) margins.

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