Social Psychology final paper
Percentage of Final Grade: 24%
Please read this instruction carefully. You need all the information that is mentioned in this instruction if you want to get a good mark on this assignment.
Goal: The purpose of this assignment is to develop your analytical skills and the ability to think critically.
Choosing a topic
• You will select a contemporary social issue and write a 7-8 pages (excluding title page and reference list) paper using concepts, theories and models you have learned in class, supplemented by your outside research.
• The most important point about choosing a topic is that you can use some of the social psychology concepts and theories that you have learnt about them in the course, in your paper. Remember that this is an analytical paper.
o Examples of social issues could be gender equality, LGBT rights, political issues, on-campus issues, civil rights, environmental issues, politics, etc. You may choose any of the above broad topics and focus on one aspect of them that you like or any other topic of your own.
• Note that the above examples are general topics; your essay subject must be more detailed. It is important to choose a specific topic, do not choose topics that are too general and very broad.
• Your topic must be about a particular issue. For example, if you want to write about LGBT issues, you must specify what the issue is exactly. For example, you may want to write about discrimination against such people. It’s still a broad topic, what kind of discrimination and where? In the workplace? In public places? In health care? Etc.
• If you were not sure about your topic, you should consult me about your topic before writing about it. Please note that if you choose a broad topic instead of a detailed and specific topic, you will automatically lose 30% of your grade and your paper will be marked out of 70% of the assignment worth instead of 100%.
• Try to pick an issue you care about, it will make writing the paper a more enjoyable task and improve the quality of your work.
• Your essay will ultimately answer the following questions regarding your chosen topic:
o What is the social issue you’ve chosen?
o Why is it important to you?
o What are the reasons the issue exists? What are its background and historical/social context?
o What is the solution?
Resources for writing your paper
• In academia, any well-written essay will rely heavily on the use of scholarly sources. Mainly peer-reviewed journal articles. Because of this, you need to use and adequately cite scholarly sources in this assignment.
• Scholarly sources can be found by searching the university library database: http://www.smu.ca/academics/the-patrick-power-library.html
• You should use at least three peer-reviewed articles that are published in academic journals during 2010-2020. This is the minimum requirement for your paper, using more academic resources improves the quality of your paper, and you will get a better mark.
• Make sure that your chosen articles are published in peer-reviewed journals. If you were not sure if the journal is peer-reviewed or not, google the name of the journal and read about it to know if it is a credible academic journal or not.
• Please note that website articles, magazines, and books are not peer-reviewed journal articles. You can use other resources such as academic books in addition to the above-mentioned journal articles but try to avoid non-academic sources such as blogs, Wikipedia, and magazines.
• If you had difficulties finding journal articles or you are not sure if your chosen articles are peer-reviewed or not, you can go to the library research help desk and get some help and instruction about it.
Writing Your Paper:
Step 1: Preparing your materials
• Once you have chosen a social issue, you must research your chosen topic before starting to write about it.
o Your research should help you answer the questions listed above.
▪ Find more about the background of the issue
▪ Find concepts, methodologies and theories from the textbook that apply to it.
▪ Search online and at the Library for articles, books, etc. that expand your knowledge.
• Next, you will want to develop an outline. An outline doesn’t have to be handed in, but it will help make writing your essay a less tedious task. Having an outline will help you plan how you want to present the information you’ve uncovered in your research.
o When outlining your paper, you will want to make a note of what you want to include in the body of your essay and where.
o Writing your ideas in bullet-point form can make organizing your thoughts much easier.
o Make a note of any quotes, statistics, ideas from the sources you’ve read that you think will back up what you are trying to say.
▪ These are the pieces of information you will end up citing in your essay.
Step 2: Writing the essay
• When you have all the information you need and know what you want to say, you can begin to write. Your paper should include at least three main parts. Your paper should include at least three main parts. An introduction, body and conclusion. You can add other parts to your paper as you see fit (such as discussion, limitations, etc.)
o An Introduction:
▪ Introduce your topic. This is where you will describe the social issue you have chosen and why you have chosen it.
▪ Provide general background information on the issue that will help readers understand the topic more.
▪ It is recommended to write your introduction after you finished your paper. It is better to start with the discussion and conclusion first.
▪ This is the “meat” of your essay, where you use the research you have done to your chosen topic
▪ Use critical thinking to describe how your topic relates to social psychology concepts, methodologies, or theories that have been discussed in class or that you have found in your research.
• This is how you will explain why the issue exists.
▪ Propose any possible solutions to the issue you have thought of throughout your research.
o A Conclusion:
▪ Never introduce new ideas to your conclusion.
▪ Summarize your discussion in a few succinct sentences and review the main points you have made.
• This is a formal paper. It should be written in complete sentences and paragraphs with a formal language. Avoid using a personal tone, and avoid using sentences that start with “I or We.”
Proofread your paper, grammar and vocabulary mistakes indicate that you haven’t paid enough attention, and they will impact your mark heavily.
• Your paper should be done in APA format, a guide to which can be found here:
Check the link above to learn how to
1. Create a title page
2. Write a running head for the title page and a running head for the rest of the paper
3. Font, Font size, general page format, line and paragraph spacing, when to align the paragraphs and when not to, when to use space before starting a new paragraph
4. In-text citation (a. for one author, b. for two authors, c. for 3-5 authors, d. for more than five authors, e. for repeated citation of each of the above and the difference between a first-time citation and next recurring citations, f. for citation in parentheses at the end of the sentence or citation at the beginning of the sentence, out of parentheses.
5. Difference between In-text citations for a direct quote and a paraphrased sentence.
6. How to format the reference list
7. Reference list for different sources (journal articles, books, edited books, and other resources)
• 20% of your grade would be for exact APA formatting.
• Your paper should be no longer than 10 pages (not including a cover page and reference list).
• Your paper should be double-spaced and written in 12-point Times New Roman font with 1-inch margins.
• Include a title page. (check the APA OWL website to learn how to make a title page)
• Include a list of references at the end of your paper (APA format).
• You must CITE ALL OF YOUR SOURCES, including the textbook.
• All citations and your reference list should be formatted in the APA Style, a guide for which can be found here:
• Even are you paraphrasing an idea (not quoting it directly), a citation must be included.
o If you are unsure about whether or not a citation needs to be included, just cite it anyway. Marks are never lost for over-citation, and you will never be accused of plagiarism for citing too much.
• Remember, you must include a list of references at the end of the paper.
TIP: The Saint Mary’s Writing Centre is a great resource for developing your essay writing skills. Their website features handouts on how to structure papers, as well as the option to book an appointment on campus with a tutor for free: http://www.smu.ca/academics/writing-centre-student-services.html
The writing center is offering online appointments during the pandemic situation. Use it to improve your paper and, consequently, your grade.
Handing in the paper:
Save your paper in word format (Docx) and upload it in the related dropbox folder on the Brightspace. Please do not upload any other format. Any other format (including pdf or Apple formats) will be rejected, and you will not receive a mark.
Name your file as this: First name Last name
Don’t forget to write your name on the first page of your paper (in the title page)
Do not send your paper via email please, it will not be accepted.
Late submission policy:
You are expected to submit your final paper on or before the assigned due date (11:59 pm, Sunday, June 7th, 2020, via Brightspace).
Papers submitted in the first 24 hours after the due date will receive a 15% grade deduction.
Papers submitted in the second 24 hours after the due date will receive a 50% grade deduction.
Papers submitted after 48 hours will receive no grade.
APA style 20%
Citations (using high-quality peer-reviewed articles effectively, and frequently cited in the text) 20%
Writing (formal language, grammar and punctuation, clear writing) 12%
All the papers will be checked for plagiarism. Any form of plagiarism will be reported to the Saint Mary’s Academic Integrity Officer.
More information about the academic regulations
Remember that you need to cite any idea that is not your own. Also, you cannot provide any information (theories, concepts, statistics, news, etc.) from your own unless you are the original publisher of that information, and you can cite your published academic article as a reference of what you claim. If you have not published your ideas and theories in academic journals yet, you must indicate (cite) where that information is coming from, or it is plagiarism.
Additionally, remember that you must paraphrase or summarize any content that you are using and integrate it into your own thoughts and then write it down. Copy/pasting a sentence from a source or even paraphrasing it with just changing a few words, is considered plagiarism.
Try avoiding direct quotation, but if you absolutely have to quote something, you must follow the exact quoting guidelines in APA format. Also, you are not allowed to quote more than two sentences in your paper.
A Student’s Guide to Avoiding Plagiarism:
What is plagiarism?
Simply put, plagiarism is stealing someone else’s words or ideas and presenting them as your own without crediting the source. Plagiarism is considered a serious academic offence. Acts of plagiarism can result in penalties ranging from a failing grade to suspension or dismissal from the university and, in some cases, the loss of a degree.
Plagiarism can take many forms, plagiarism can be intentional (e.g., deliberately copying a friend’s essay and submitting it as your own) or accidental (e.g., failure to correctly cite a source because of careless note-taking or citation skills). The penalties for plagiarism apply even if you didn’t mean to plagiarize.
Other examples of plagiarism include:
• Directly quoting or paraphrasing from any source without properly acknowledging the source.
• Failing to acknowledge an idea that is not your own.
• Submitting the same paper for more than one class without the permission of your professors.
• Downloading or purchasing a paper from the Internet and submitting it as your own.
• Falsifying a bibliography (e.g., making up citations or including a citation to a real source that you did not actually use).
Give credit where credit is due
Take careful notes. Keep information that is directly quoted, paraphrased, or summarized separate from your own words and ideas. Be sure to include all the bibliographic details (author, editors, title, publisher, date, page numbers, website addresses, etc.) you will need to document your sources.
It isn’t enough to simply list all the sources you used in a bibliography at the end of your paper. You also need to acknowledge borrowed words or ideas within the text of your paper. Refer to a style manual for detailed guidelines on how to document your sources. If you’re not sure which style guide to use, ask your professor to recommend one. A list of popular style guides can be found on the Library’s website under the Citations/Refworks link.
Tips and techniques
While the rules for documentation will vary between style manuals, there are a few basic guidelines to keep in mind:
• Introduce the author(s) of the material you are using (e.g., According to Johnson; As Warner and Sullivan point out; etc.).
• When directly quoting material, copy the information exactly as it appears in the source, enclose it in quotation marks, and cite the source. Longer quotations are not enclosed in quotation marks, but are indented and set apart from the text in a block quotation.
• Cite paraphrased or summarized material. When you summarize (i.e., condense in your own words the main ideas of a source) or paraphrase (i.e., restate in your own words the passage from a text) you need to credit the source of your information. Even though you put the information in your own words, you still need to acknowledge the ideas of the original author.
• Be careful when paraphrasing material. It isn’t enough to simply change a few words. To paraphrase properly you must rewrite the original passage using your own words and your own sentence structure. If you decide to keep any unique words or phrases from the original text, these must be enclosed in quotation marks. When paraphrasing, try using synonyms or related terms to reword the author’s ideas.
Change the order of ideas and the arrangement of sentences, but do not add new ideas or delete any important points. A paraphrase should accurately reflect the meaning of the original passage.
• Use a footnote or a parenthetical citation to identify borrowed information within the text of your paper (be sure to use the format that is consistent with your choice of style guide).
• Forms of parenthetical citations can vary depending on the style guide that is used, but a typical citation may include the author’s last name, publication date, and/or page number of the borrowed material- e.g., According to one advertising executive, “commercials that feature animals prove over and over again to be the most persuasive and popular” (Johnson 217).
• At the end of your paper, list all the sources you cited. This list may be referred to as Works Cited, Bibliography, or References depending on the style guide that you use.
• You don’t need to reference common knowledge (i.e., information that is known widely and that can be found in numerous reference sources such as general encyclopedias). Examples of common knowledge may include well known dates, such as 1492 when Columbus reached the Americas, familiar facts, such as the fact that Canada has two official languages, or familiar sayings (e.g., it rained cats and dogs). If you are doubtful as to whether or not a fact or idea is common knowledge, err on the side of caution and cite the source.
Better to be safe than sorry
Throw away nothing! Keep your research notes and keep careful track of all the sources you use in case you have to prove where you found your information. If using the Internet as a source of information, beware that web pages can disappear without notice. Always print a copy (or take screen captures) of the web pages you use in case you need to prove to your professor that the information did exist.
Remember, the point in documenting the sources you use is to show that you have done your research, and that you are familiar with the theories and ideas surrounding your topic. Citations also provide your readers with the information they need to find and
consult the sources you used, should they want to research the topic further. While your own words and ideas should comprise the bulk of your paper, you do not want to avoid documenting your sources because of a fear of citing too much. Cite when it is necessary. If you are unsure as to whether a piece of information needs to be cited, it is better to cite it than risk plagiarizing.
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