Applied Writing Assignment Criteria

The applied writing assignments in this course are designed to get you thinking about the scientific content preseted in a journal article, course content and how they both relate to phenomena in your life. These assignments also satisfy the course goals of “Learning to tolerate ambiguity and to think about scientific information flexibly and creatively” as well as “Having the opportunity to practice relevant and marketable job skills”. 

These applied writing assignments require that you spend some time researching a specified topic and that you think critically about the topic and how it relates to the journal article information, course content and your understanding of yourself/others. It also requires you to communicate these thoughts in a professional manner through writing.

These applied assignments differ from the journal article writing assignments you might have had before in your Psychology classes in an important way.  More traditional assignments have you reading and evaluating a journal article and then discussing it in an APA style paper. However, in these applied writing assignments you will conduct the “research” for the homework assignments through careful, controlled observations and then discuss those observations and how they relate to the topic. In doing so, you will use scientific information from the journal article and course content to 1) support the points your are making about the topic in question, 2) to discuss whether your observations are consistent with that scientific information, and 3) to comment on/explain reasons for the consistencies/inconsistencies.  Consequently, you will be thinking critically about your observations and how those observations relate to the course content under discussion.

Keep in mind the following:

You should organize your paper around a main point, support that point with clear reasoning and illustrate the point with clear examples.

Though you should write in a professional manner, there will be some latitude in these papers to express yourself and your thoughts about the data you collected, the process by which you collected that data and your thoughts about the phenomena.

Document format

The document you submit to be graded needs to meet the following criteria

Grading Rubric

Your paper (not the data sheet you include with your paper) will be graded on the basis of the following criteria using a 4 point scale (1= Unsatisfactory, 2 = OK, 3 = Good, 4 = Excellent)

Description of how you collected your data on your data sheet (4 points)

Integrating course content into your discussion of the assigned topic (8 points)

Critical thinking and/or creativity (8 points)

Satisfying the requirements for the homework assignment (12 points)

Language (4 points)

Includes appropriate use of words, paragraph form and paper organization

Mechanics (4 points)

Includes spelling, grammar, and lack of typographical errors