Choose a problem that's important to you, analyze the situation using social psychological concepts, then propose a solution (based on social psychological theory). To define your problem, you can draw on your personal life experiences, films, news events, etc. In the past, general paper topics have ranged from the environment, to racism on campus or in sports, to the media's portrayal of women. In developing ideas, keep a sharp eye on events in the world and your life as class progresses and generate a paper idea by noticing social psychology in your world.
The problem that you choose to analyze needs, of course, to be fairly specific and well-defined. Thus, “the environment” is not a good topic. “Recycling on campus” is better. Also, the problem you choose is merely the topic of your paper. You do need a thesis and inter-related arguments to create the architecture of your paper. Social psychological theory and empirical evidence (i.e., studies) should be laid onto that basic architecture to support your points. Your proposed solution would be the most likely place to find your thesis.
You should be cautious about generating an overly simplistic paper. I'm anticipating interesting, coherent papers with complex applications: not 7 pages listing a bunch of simple two-sentence applications. For example, most of the past papers I’ve read that exclusively define the existence of “stereotypes” or occurrence of “prejudice” (without going in to more depth using the theories we have learned) have been overly simplistic and superficial. Note that the response paper assignments were designed to elicit the sort of information I expect to see in the final paper (e.g., descriptions of studies, integration & analysis). See more hints and tips below.
Very important suggestions for this assignment:
Your paper should describe the problem and solution sufficiently, but the majority of your paper should reflect the application of social psychological concepts. For example, I don't want 6 pages about the problem exclusively and 1 page of social psych. Integrate the application with your description of the problem and solution.
When writing your applications, be sure that you apply all components of a theory or concept, noting where the theory or concept fits and where it doesn’t (giving suggestions why).
It is likely you will be analyzing your problem using a mix of various theories and concepts. Please note: quantity of links to social psychology is not as important as quality of your applications. Your paper will be graded for how thoughtful and articulate it is, not for sheer number of sources or theories. I’ve had great papers that happen to only use 3 concepts and lousy papers that use as many as 10. In-depth explanation, exploration and application matters.
Be sure to spell out for the reader, in very small and detailed steps, how social psychology helps us understand the problem and suggests a solution. Be sure your reasoning is complete and fully elaborated.
Nuts and Bolts (note below, the grade sheet lists automatic deductions for failures to follow basic instructions)
Your paper should be 7-10 pages. Double-spaced. Approximately one inch margins all around. Use 12 point Times New Roman font or the equivalent.
Attachments: You must include photocopies of the first page of your outside references and your Paper "Outline" that I returned to you.
For a paper of this length ONE quote is more than enough. Avoid paraphrasing. Paraphrasing can slip easily into plagiarism and also makes for a boring paper. Remember that the following website is required reading: Avoiding Inappropriate Paraphrasing.
Follow the APA style guidelines described at the following website for citing your sources in the text of your paper and formatting information about your References page: Finding, Reading and Citing Your Sources.
Please DO staple your pages together, but JUST staple -- no folders or fancy cover sheets.