Research paper | psych 235 | Liberty University


Research Paper Instructions

Description: This paper will provide a glimpse of the current state of knowledge in a specific subfield of adult development. You will choose a research area in adult development, locate 3 articles from peer-reviewed, academic journals that examine that area, and write a 4-page paper synthesizing the articles and summarizing the findings.

Due date: This assignment is due by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Monday of Module/Week 7

Purpose: In addition to teaching you about a particular research area in adult development, this assignment will enable you to engage in critical thinking, hone your writing skills, enhance your intellectual curiosity, and apply psychological concepts and research findings to everyday life.


1. Select a topic from the following research areas:

o A research area described in the textbook (for example, the relationship between personality and career choice).

o A research area in adult development not described in the textbook. (You must explain how it’s related to adult development topics in the textbook.)

2. Find 3 peer-reviewed articles (no more than 5 years old) that speak to your topic. (Contact the Liberty University Online Reference Librarian(s) if you are not sure how to find articles from peer-reviewed, academic journals.) 

o No web articles allowed (e.g., Wikipedia,

o No magazines, newspapers, or trade journals allowed.

o Not all sources in the ILRC’s journal database are peer-reviewed.

o Articles can include those referenced in the textbook.

o An article must be a research paper, not a book critique or editorial.

(If your article is only 1–2 pages, it is probably not a research paper.)

o Original articles only. (Do not cite a study that was referenced in an article you read—you must read it yourself and use it.)

o Do not use books (including the textbook) or lecture material as a source.

o If you have questions about a source, verify its appropriateness by emailing the instructor before you use it.

o Using sources that violate the criteria will significantly lower your grade.

3. Read the articles, taking notes on the main ideas.

4. Write a thesis statement that will guide your paper.

o Example: A review of literature demonstrates that personality is an important factor in one’s career choice.

5. Write the paper (see format below).

6. The instructor will not proofread papers, but it is acceptable for a friend to proofread for clarity, grammar, and spelling.

7. If you need assistance, contact the Online Writing Center.


Paper format:

§ Paper text must be 4 pages, excluding references and title page.

§ Times New Roman 12 point font, 1” margins.

§ Sections:

o Title page

o Body (4 pages)

§ Each journal article must be cited in the paper, according to current APA format.

§ You must use your own words…quotations are not allowed, even if you give the author credit. Copying material from an article and passing it off as your own words will count as plagiarism and will cause you to fail the course.

§ Avoid 1st person pronouns (I, my, etc.) and 2nd person pronouns (you, your, etc.). Talk about the articles and ideas, not your personal opinion.

§ One approach:

· Begin by introducing the topic and clearly stating your thesis at the end of the first paragraph.

· Show how Study 1 addresses the thesis.

· Show how Study 2 addresses the thesis and describe how this study is similar to/different from studies already addressed in the paper. What does it add?

· Repeat the above for Study 3.

· For the conclusion, summarize the findings of the paper in terms of how they support the thesis (from one to three paragraphs). 

§ Citations:

· 2 formats: 

o One study found that… (Jones, 1999).

o Jones (1999) found that…

· If you refer to the same reference multiple times in one paragraph, you do not need a citation after each sentence (if it is clear the whole paragraph is talking about that source).

· Each factual claim must be accompanied by a citation.

· Biblical references are fine, but the Bible does not count as a peer-reviewed source.

o References:

§ Make sure to use current APA format.

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