Written Report: The written report should address the biological study of a specific behavioral or mental phenomenon (normal or pathological) covered in your textbook. You should select a behavioral or mental phenomenon (e.g., language, schizophrenia) and then select a biological strategy (e.g., hormones, neurotransmitters, physiology, imaging). As an example, the theme of your report might be imaging approaches to the study of schizophrenia. Your paper should summarize fundamental issues, questions, and controversies and provide a general overview of the topic. It should also elaborate on your understanding of the brain processes that are revealed through imaging research in schizophrenia. To accomplish this, you will have to use research articles to illustrate relevant points. You may use any of a number of resources to find research articles that deal with your topic, including the library and the Internet.
This paper is not a “commentary” or “editorial” style paper, but rather a formal research paper using scientific references as the basis for your topic. Personal experience, while sometimes relevant, should not be included for this assignment unless these experiences are linked to course concepts and the brain. Also, you should avoid using personal pronouns such as “I” or “myself” in this type of paper. The requirement for the research articles that you select is that they must have appeared in a peer-reviewed (i.e., refereed) scientific journal. (Please contact your instructor to confirm whether a particular journal is peer-reviewed.) You must use two peer-reviewed scientific articles and they must be recent, i.e., have appeared in the literature during the most recent three years. You might use the online databases from MEDLINE and PSYCH ABSTRACTS as a source of full-text articles from refereed journals. Newspaper or magazine articles should not be used as your major reference, but can be useful if they lead you to the appropriate research article. You should avoid simply repeating the articles in summary form; rather, use them within the text of your paper to illustrate important points. To ensure that you are on the right track, you should discuss with your instructor the topic and the research articles that you have chosen.
Your paper is to be 7 to 10 pages, or about 1,800 words in length. It must be typed, double-spaced, with one-inch margins, and fully referenced in APA format (see http://www.apa.org). Check the course schedule for your due date. Your instructor will determine a late paper policy.
The text of your paper should be preceded by an abstract (about 100 words) that summarizes the key points in the paper (i.e., statement of problem, major findings, conclusion). All abstracts will be posted in a conference for all students to review. You should respond to these abstracts to stimulate discussion. Your responses will be evaluated and will constitute part of your grade for online conference participation.
The paper will be graded on (1) content and understanding, and (2) how effectively you have communicated your ideas in writing. You will receive a separate grade for each of these elements, weighted equally. Content and understanding are evaluated on the basis of whether the paper (a) identified important issues, questions, and controversies; (b) used recent and relevant research literature to illustrate the issues; and (c) demonstrated an understanding of brain processes and how brain research revealed an understanding of the behavior in question. Effective communication is evaluated on the basis of (a) organization and structure that help communicate the ideas (e.g., headings throughout the text), (b) use of your own language and style (no cutting and pasting), (c) connecting ideas in the text with research papers, and (d) correct usage of APA format in the text and references.
Your paper is to be submitted in Microsoft Word format (.doc file) and formatted in APA style (please consult the APA Style Manual, sixth edition, for proper format). Papers not in .doc file format or APA style will not be accepted for a grade; in this case, a grade of “zero” will be assigned for the paper. It is highly advised that you take care to use proper APA style. If you have technical issues related to Word, please notify the instructor immediately so that an appropriate solution can be found.
During the semester the Effective Writing Center (EWC) will be holding a conference to assist in paper preparation. You are highly encouraged to submit a draft of your complete or near complete paper to th EWC (located on the drop-down menu on the left side of the screen; under “Course Content,” click on “Writing Resources”) for review and comment, prior to the due date of the paper. This should be submitted well in advance of the due date, in order for the EWC to respond and for you to make the necessary corrections. Once you receive feedback from the EWC, you can copy and paste it into a Word Document, then post it in your assignment folder with your final paper by the due date, for your instructor to view as necessary. The EWC can help address questions regarding format, structure, writing style, and appropriateness of references.