Senior Studies I, Spring 2009

Course Assignments
Week Tuesday
(Section A)
(Section B)
Topic & Assignment Szuchman
1 1/21
Meet Advisors/Letter Proposal
2 1/27
Theory/Paradigm Review/Begin Bibliography 11
3 2/3
Journal Methods and Statistics Audit 2
4 2/10 2/12
Ethical Issues Relevant to Topic
5 2/17 2/19
Thesis Statement 8
6 2/24
7 3/3 3/5
Business Proposal- Vitae 5
3/17 3/19
Spring Break:
3/24 3/26
Methods 9
3/31 4/2
Statistics 10
11 4/7
Proposal preparation appendix
12 4/14
Peer Review
13  4/21
Peer Review 
Pilot Testing

15 Finals
Revised Proposal

The assignment descriptions below  give only a brief overview.  The links in the table above provide more information.

Assignment  1 : Letter Proposal

Write, in letter format, a brief description of the area you would like to study for your thesis, why this area is of interest to you and why you are currently qualified to begin work in this area.  The letter should fit one page and addressed to the Psychology Faculty.

Assignment 2: Theory/Paradigm Report

With the advice of your advisor select one theory or research paradigm that is appropriate for your area of research.  Prepare an illustration of this theory or paradigm using PowerPoint.  It should only be one slide. Follow the instructions for using slides for presentations in Szuchman, Chapter 11.  You may animate it if you like.  Save the PowerPoint file to your own directory and to the R: drive class folder.  Be prepared to give a five minute informal presentation to the seminar class on your theory/paradigm during seminar in week 3. Begin building your bibliography by including complete citations for all the sources you used for your theory report in your working bibliography.

By the end of the course you should have a good working bibliography with a minimum of 20 relevant and appropriate sources. 

            Inappropriate sources include:
                        Introductory Psychology Textbooks
                        Most other Textbooks
                        Internet sources other than peer reviewed journals
                        Magazines (e.g., Psychology Today)

        Coverage of the years and authors appropriate for the topic.
        Generally focus on the recent research but be sure to include the foundational or classic research. 
                    Only include articles in languages that you can read. 
                    Be sure to cover the entire alphabet of authors.

Source Types
            Peer Reviewed Journal Articles
            Edited Scientific Books (chapters)

APA Style
            Author (s)
            Journal or Publisher
            Volume Number & Pages or Place

            If you use electronic sources be sure to put them in the proper format.

Note:  This is a working bibliography.  You are expected to continue to add to it throughout the year long senior studies process.

Assignment 3:  Journal Audit

Select one Journal that is relevant to your research topic.  (Ask your advisor to recommend one.) Find an issue that was published during the last year.  Read enough of 10 articles (in the order that they appear in the journal) to determine the design and statistics used.  Code your audit onto the SPSS data template that's on the class R:Drive ProfNote folder.  Save with your own name as part of the file name to the class R:Drive work folder.  You will need to know the Journal Name, type, issue.  For each article you will need to know the last name of the first author, the type of design and which inferential statistics were reported. Update your working bibliography to include the new sources that you identified.

Assignment 4:  Ethics Analysis

Identify with your research advisor one ethical issue that is primarily relevant for the topic that you are studying.  E-mail the topic for approval to Dr. Webster.  The first student to nominate a specific issue will be allowed to report on that issue. In the unlikely event that two of you select the same issue, the second person will need to find another issue. 

1.  Study the APA Ethical Guidelines for the specific issue. 
2.  Ask your advisor if other specific resources relevant to the issue are available.  If so, read them and be prepared to integrate what you've learned from them with the APA ethical guidelines information.
3.  Prepare an informal presentation of the issue and its relevance for senior studies projects to be delivered in class.
4. Update your working bibliography to include the additional sources that you read this week, including those relevant to the ethics assignment.

Assignment 5 : Thesis Statement

Prepare one clear thesis statement for your research proposal.  It should be one sentence.  Make copies of the sentence for review by each of your seminar classmates and instuctor for the next class meeting.Paper copies due at class next week.  Be prepared in class to use the thesis statement to draft a topic outline for the introduction of your proposal. Update your working bibliography to include new sources.

Assignment 6: Hypothesis

Write your main hypothesis in one paragraph.  Revise the topic outline that you began last week to clearly link your thesis statement to your hypothesis.  Update your working bibliography to include new sourses.

Assignment 7:  Vitae

Based on what you learned in the Career Center resume/vitae workshop, prepare your own vitae.  The vitae will be part of the business proposal for your thesis.  Before the end of March meet with a member of the career center staff to review your vitae.  You must submit evidence of the review to complete this assignment.  Due by April 1. This week submit your updated working bibliography.

Assignment 8:  Design

Create a PowerPoint slide that includes your complete hypothesis and a diagram of your design.  Use the information in the Szuchman text to make the slide.  Be ready to discuss the design and why it is better than other designs for your hypothesis.  Submit to the R: Drive at least 24 hours before your next seminar class (week of March 24th). Update your working bibliography.

Assignment 9: Method

Write an outline for the method section of your thesis.  Use correct APA style headings.  Include in each section the major content, with references.  Submit the Word document to the R:Drive 24 hours before class and bring a paper copy to seminar for discussion.  Due the  week of March 30th.  Update your bibliography.

Assignment 10: Statistics
Make up a  fake SPSS data set that includes the major variables from your hypothesis.  Complete the main inferential statistic to test the hypothesis with the fake data.  Make an APA style graph or table to depict the predicted results of your main hypothesis.  Submit the graph or table to the R: Drive 24 hours before class and bring a paper copy to the seminar for discussion the week of  4/7. Update your working bibliography.

Assignment 11: Research Proposal
Read the PDF file that is the call for proposals to get all the details of this full assignment.  It is due 24 hours before class on the week of 4/13/09.  Your proposal must be accompanied by a letter of support from your advisor indicating that the advisor has read and approves of your proposal.

Assignment 12: Peer Review
Read the peer review guidelines and be ready to review one or two papers in each seminar.  There are two weeks of peer review.  Students may need an early review in order to prepare for IRRB approvals. Peer review must precede IRRB review and in all cases must occur before data collection.  Likewise, peer and department review should precede honor's reviews.

Assignment 13: Pilot Study
As soon as your study has been approved through the peer review process you may begin the appropriate pilot studies for your thesis.  Work carefully with your thesis advisor to determine the appropriate pilot for your project. No formal assignment is due.  Students are expected to attend the Best of Westminster: Undergraduate Research Conference on the 24th and/or 25th instead of seminar this week.

Assignment 14:  Revised Proposal
Revise your proposal based upon the feedback you have received from the peer and professor reviews as well as anything that you have learned from the pilot testing and preparations that you have begun. Include and updated working bibliography that includes all the new sources that you have obtained since the working bibliography was submitted last. Due at the Final Exam period.