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Nash - 3rd Quarter Research Review: Assignment


AP Psychology -  Ms. Nash

Third Quarter Research Review


Your task is to choose a topic of interest to you in psychology (a list of possible, but not comprehensive, topics is included here).  Locate four or five relevant and recent scholarly journal articles or books (written within the past 10 years) that report useful research findings on your topic.  Review the research carefully and critically.  Then synthesize what you have read, form an opinion, and write a persuasive paper on your topic.  Do not merely state facts; take a stand on the issue.


Learning to synthesize and organize ideas to support a thesis is among the most important skills one can acquire.  Beyond the acquisition and development of writing and thinking skills, this assignment also provides the opportunity to learn about a topic you find interesting in greater depth than the parameters of the class would otherwise allow.


We will use the APA (American Psychological Association) style for all aspects of this paper.  A detailed description of APA requirements for research reviews will be provided.  A few additional specifics:


Length:  4 ½ - 5 pp., typed in 12-pt font (Times New Roman or a similarly plain font), double spaced, 1-inch margins on all sides.  The title page, abstract, and references are in addition to the 4 ½ - 5 pp. of text.


Nature of research reviews:  There are a number of kinds of research reviews. Whatever the kind of review, the goal is to organize, integrate, and evaluate previous research in order to clarify a particular problem or issue.  Note:  This is not a report. Your paper should state a definite position and then present research evidence in defense of that position.


Grading Standards

  • Clear, concise, and compelling thesis; topic narrowly defined so as to be defensible in 4 ½ -5 pages
  • Focus maintained throughout paper
  • Clear organization; strong topic sentences, effective transitions, logical order of paragraphs, logical order of ideas within paragraphs
  • Sufficient evidence to support thesis
  • Appropriate credit to authors whose ideas you use (via internal parenthetical citation)
  • Supporting evidence drawn from at least four or five scholarly sources
  • Clear and thorough explanations of evidence/ideas
  • Concise style
  • Adherence to formal writing standards (e.g. no 1st or 2nd person pronouns, no contractions or abbreviations, no colloquialisms)
  • Proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation
  • Adherence to APA style


SAMPLE TOPICS:  You may choose one of these topics or another of interest to you.  Your thesis must be narrow enough that you are able to effectively defend it in 4 ½ - 5 pages.


Is hypnosis a special state of consciousness or fakery?

Do collectivist or individualist societies produce happier marriages?

Are married people happier than their single counterparts?

Why are eating disorders more prevalent among white women than any other demographic group?

Why are rates of depression twice as high among women as among men? Why have depression rates risen over the past century?

Why is anti-social personality disorder so much more prevalent among men than among women?

Should psychologists attempt to identify people with biological and/or social risk factors for violence?

Can psychological studies of animals reveal truths about human behavior?

Do psychologists overstate the negative impact of corporal punishment?  What types of punishment are most effective, and why?

Is there sufficient evidence to support the evolutionary perspective in psychology?

Evaluate the effectiveness of abstinence-only sex-education programs or comprehensive sex-education programs.

What is the psychological impact of abortion?

Should trans-racial adoptions be encouraged or discouraged?

Does divorce do permanent harm to children?

Is electroconvulsive therapy an effective and/or ethical treatment for depression/bipolar disorder?

Evaluate the evolutionary explanation for female fidelity and male infidelity?

Defend the Social-learning theory or evolutionary theory regarding attractiveness

Should schools try to promote self-esteem among students?

Is day care harmful to young children?

Should states expand or restrict the use of standardized testing in public schools?

Evaluate the evidence for either the g-factor theory of intelligence or for the multiple intelligence theory.

Is addiction a disease?

What is the effect (if any) of violent video games/media/music on children’s mental health/behavior/school achievement?

Evaluate the validity of repressed memory claims.

Is there any neurological evidence for the Freudian idea of an unconscious?

Evaluate the claim that certain prescriptions are being over-prescribed to young people. 

Examine causes of racism – evolutionary, genetic, social

What are the most effective interrogation techniques?

What is the main cause of obesity: evolutionary, biological or socio-cultural?

Why do we prefer certain foods : Personality and food preference? Or socio-cultural?

How have online databases and search engines affected our memory?

What affect has the increase in online connections had on our interpersonal relationships?

How is modern technology affecting our cognitive skills/memory/abilities? 

What should (if anything) be done about the relationship between repetitive head injuries from contact sports and future brain damage?

Happiness – what is it? How to get it?  How to keep it?

Tyranny of choice/decision fatigue – how is the increase in choice in our modern society affecting our ability to choose and/or be happy/satisfied with our decisions?

Why is (or is there?) an increase in mass shootings?  What are possible causes?  Ways to prevent?

Same sex schooling; does it produce better academic outcomes? Why?

Gender differences in math and science: socio-cultural or evolutionary causes? 


There are many other topics; this is a sample list to get you started.   Whether you choose one of these topics or come up with one on your own, you must get my approval.  I do not want many repeats in a class; I will work with you to refine a topic.



Third Quarter Research Paper Due Dates


Library research time- 1/13 and 1/17


Thurs 1/19   -   topic check in


Friday 1/27 -   sources check during class


Thursday 2/16 - initial notes check during class


Thursday 3/9-    Outlines (printed out) due, checked during class


Friday 3/24 or Monday 4/3  - PAPERS DUE!!!!!!  No exceptions, no sob stories!!! You must bring in a physical paper copy of your paper.  NO emailed/Google doc sent copy accepted.


You will receive points each step of the way for work completed on each due date.  The topic = 5 pts, the sources = 10 points, the notes = up to 15 points,  the outlines can be worth up to 25 points (depending on the thoroughness and quality of the work), and the final paper is worth 100 points.


Late work at any step receives ½ credit, no more than one day late. More than one day late is a zero.  Do not turn this in late.  It will be extremely detrimental to your quarter grade if you do. If you are absent on 3/24 or 4/3, you must get me your paper.   Do not plagiarize. I will give you a zero.  You have been warned.