The requirements of this assignment include reading the assigned text, “The Demon-Haunted World,” by Carl Sagan, weekly discussion boards, and combining this with your choice of a superstitious phenomenon (can be directly from class or a specific one that interests you) and preparing a well focused summary and analysis of the readings. This is your chance to combine what you have gained from the course and to obtain additional empirical and theoretical articles to write a successful term paper worth a total of 100 points.
Compelling Analyses: The best essays (those awarded As and Bs) will include a compelling and interesting analysis of the research you find and discuss how it applies to a particular thesis that emerges from the research the student has read. The analyses in these essays should include theoretical perspectives (defined and explained) and empirical results.
1. Abstract: 5 points
A well written abstract will describe exactly what your paper is going to be informing the reader about. This is usually done in about 4 to 5 sentences and provides the reader useful information about the document. This will be the “bare bones” version of your entire term paper. The abstract can be no longer than 100 words.
2. Content: 30 points
The title of your term paper should reflect your thesis and a title page is required with your name, and class.
Your essay should have a thesis statement and MUST maintain focus on that statement. An author presents their main idea and supports it with various evidence and relevant logic; this will be how you write a successful thesis statement. Essays that include a thesis and supporting evidence are more sophisticated and interesting compared to those that merely summarize a group of studies. Your thesis should be in the first paragraph and should be compelling and reasonably specific.
Your essay’s content should focus on a particular supernatural or superstitious phenomenon. You can write on any supernatural or superstitious phenomenon that you would like, provided it is not one that was discussed in class. For example, we do not cover vampires and werewolves in class, but you are welcome to write about them for this paper. See the list of topics that is on Moodle for an idea. You are not required to choose a topic from this list, but your topic must be approved by me before you begin writing on it.
In this essay, you should choose a specific supernatural or superstitious phenomenon, discuss the history of this phenomenon (i.e., where does it originate and how has the myth developed over time?), if it – or similar phenomena – exists in multiple cultures, why it seems to exist (i.e., is it related to religion – like demons ? Or is it related to history – like dragons? Or is it related to the stars/planets/universe – like astrology? Etc.); and – most importantly – discuss evidence that shows the phenomenon is not real. Please discuss any other aspects of your phenomenon that you think are significant. Essays must include detailed information from at least six empirical articles or books. Be sure to cite these reference in-text as well, using APA format.
Conclusion. Your conclusion should restate your thesis and summarize the evidence that supports this thesis. Avoid overly poetic endings. Just state your ideas clearly so that the reader can be sure that they understand what you’ve been writing about in a way that wraps things up without stating new information.
3. Writing Style: 5 points
Your term paper should read like an essay written by a college student who has been in college for a couple of years. Cute anecdotes, definitions (i.e., Webster), or simplistic and obvious statements should be avoided. You should focus on writing an essay that someone would find compelling; one that presents an idea that would be interesting to readers; and one that presents a well-substantiated conclusion
Theoretical, empirical, and academic essays and journal articles written by psychologists use a particular style. We are careful NOT to overstate our points in order to maintain a high level of accuracy. For example, avoid words like “prove,” or “true,” also avoid the first person, e.g., “I believe,” or “In my opinion.” In most student writings, these phrases can just be eliminated, thereby improving the essay.
4. Writing Mechanics- APA Format: 5 points
In short, essays should be double-spaced, using Times New Roman 12. Margins should be 1”. Do not use full justification (left justification only). Page numbers should be in the upper right corner with a running header. Students MUST use APA formatting for citations. You should provide a 6-12 word title that pertains to your thesis.
4. “References” section: 5 points
This is the last paper of your essay where you cite your sources that you used for the essay. You can refer to an APA Style manual for any question about style or formatting. Essays must include detailed information from at least six empirical articles or books.
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