Explain some behavior you have observed in yourself or other people, or to help create a plan to achieve some goal in the future.

A four to seven page (double-spaced) paper in which you apply one or more ideas from the course to something in your own experience is due during final exam week (see course calendar for the exact time). The goal is for you to use what you have learned in the class in a way that is meaningful to you. You could use what you have learned about psychology to make sense of an experience you have had, to explain some behavior you have observed in yourself or other people, or to help create a plan to achieve some goal in the future, just to name a few examples. A paper which merely cites general ideas from the textbook or lectures (“Similar contexts at encoding and retrieval make it easier to remember something”) is likely to be decidedly mediocre. One that cites specific empirical evidence in a way that supports your interpretations and arguments (“Morris, Bransford, and Franks (1977) found that words were better remembered if the way they were tested matched the way people thought about them when they studied them. I could use this ‘encoding specificity principle’ to help me …”) is likely to be a much better paper.


Begin by describing the personal goal, problem, experience, or phenomenon that you will be addressing. Explain briefly why it is interesting or important to you. (One paragraph)

Identify the topics from the course that you will be applying. (One paragraph)

Apply information from the course to analyze your experience, create a plan for achieving your goal, find a solution to your problem, etc. Try to cite specific empirical evidence to support your ideas whenever possible. This can include primary sources such as journal articles. (The library has a Guide for Research that is very helpful.) You can also refer to general principles from the course readings and lectures. (3 to 6 pages)

Sum up what you have done, and briefly discuss which information from the course you found most applicable to your issue. Also briefly talk about what questions you still have or what further information you think you might need. (1 to 2 paragraphs).


20 points: Following instructions. Are the 4 sections listed in the instructions above clearly identifiable and in the correct order?

40 points: Content. Does the paper apply relevant ideas from the course in a way that makes sense? Are they specific, or only vague and general ideas from the course? Does the way that they are applied to your issue make sense?

10 points: Empirical evidence. Is specific empirical evidence cited for the ideas that are being applied? Are references provided?

20 points: Clarity and style. Is the paper written clearly and logically? Do paragraphs have clear topic sentences and supporting ideas? Is everything written in complete, grammatical sentences? Are there too many direct quotations?

10 points: Length and formatting. Is the paper 4 to 7 pages of text, not including title, references, etc.? Are the font-size and margins reasonable? Is it double-spaced? (Note: A very short paper is likely to lose points for “content” as well as “length and formatting.”)

Turn in your finished paper using the dropbox. Please keep in mind that all submissions are automatically checked for evidence of plagiarism.

Plagiarism Warning

DO NOT USE SOMEONE ELSE’S WORDS in your paper! Do not copy from your referenced sources. Do not copy from a web site that summarizes your source. Do not copy from another paper you have written for another class. Do not copy phrases, sentences, or paragraphs from ANYWHERE! Put everything in your own words: paraphrase, condense, and summarize. Do not copy.

If your paper contains material copied word for word that is not clearly indicated to be a direct quotation (with quotation marks), you will receive a zero on the assignment for failing to follow instructions. You may also face disciplinary action from the Academic Integrity Board.

Read the information on plagiarism provided in the Finals Week Checklist for this course and in the Academic Integrity section of the DePaul web site.

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