Assignments

The following elaborates a bit on two of the class requirements. Some of these instructions are borrowed from instructions that I wrote for an undergraduate seminar, so they may seem a bit elementary to you.

Research paper

Imagine that you are writing this paper for a journal that reports cutting edge research in your field. Please refer back to the Research Report Form handouts you were given at the beginning of the quarter for a detailed view of a research paper. Also look at Chapter 10 in Creswell and the APA style manual accessible through the UW librarary system (Reference Tools, Citation and Writing Guides) or through various online crib sheets, e.g., http://www.docstyles.com/apacrib.htm#Stats or APA Research Style Crib Sheet.

The assignment is briefly summarized here. Your paper should present your research project by starting off with an abstract that announces the problem, summarizes the methods, and presents a snapshot of the important results. The abstract should end with conclusions and a call for future research.

The introduction to the problem follows the abstract and should explain the importance and relevance of your problem (i.e., why your reader or anyone else should care about the problem) and then a clear research question/problem statement. Next a review of relevant literature should set the stage for your project and lead into hypotheses and a study design—your literature review should consist of an organized presentation of your interpretation of the literature that led to your study. Avoid a boring listing or paragraphs of one study after another; instead, find thems in the research and organize your literature review according to those themes. The methods section follows the literature review and typically consists of at least three subsections: participants, materials, and overall procedures. Results should follow, as well as discussion, conclusion, and recommendations. You will need a reference section at the end of the paper.

I will grade the paper on content, organization, style, grammar, and what you finally say.

Remember to look back at the handouts you have received during the quarter about research report form, and our class discussions of what works well in various sections. Also please study the feedback you will receive from me and your peers on your methods and results sections; I will expect you to incorporate some of the suggestions into your final paper.

Oral presentation

You will have 12 minutes for your talk. Plan 9 minutes of formal presentation, allowing 1 minute for questions and 1 minutes for set-up. Remember, good presentations are similar to well written papers. Your audience should first hear a little background, then a problem statement, and then a quick review of the literature, followed by hypotheses. Avoid simply listing the literature by the author's names. That is, don't simply say "Jones found this, Sampson found that," and so forth. Try to group the literature by subtopic and introduce any literature cited by topic. Next you should review your design and methods; results; discussion and conclusion; and suggestions for future research. The same organizational strategies that you use in your research paper are valuable for the oral presentation. If you want to reproduce materials for the class or use transparencies, feel free. If you use handouts, powerpoint, or overheads, follow these guidelines:

  • Keep the information at the superordinate level. Extremely detailed visual information distracts your audience.
  • When possible, use bulleted or numbered phrases instead of sentences. Whole sentences (particularly long ones) or paragraphs on powerpoint slides distracts your audience. They will spend their time processing the syntax instead of listening.
  • On powerpoint slides or transparencies, use fonts large enough for your audience to read easily.
  • If using an overhead, turn it off when you are not actually referring to any slide so that the audience pays attention to you and not to the screen.

I will grade your talk on its content, organization (logical approach and how you reveal it), language, and general presentation (your physical manner, voice, visuals, poise, and so forth). Click here to see the Oral Presentation Grading Sheet.

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