The term paper should be 3500 to 4500 words in length, which is roughly 12 to 15 double-spaced, word-processed, pages. Note that this does not include the title page, reference pages, figures, and appendices. The typical type size is 12 points (minimum acceptable type size is 11 points). Finally, use one-inch margins all around. You are expected to submit the paper electronically in Microsoft Word format (.doc or .docx) or Rich Text Format (.rtf) through the online drop box (found on the main course page). Please contact your tutor for further instructions or to make alternative arrangements.
Your paper should be written according to the style described by the American Psychological Association (APA): American Psychological Association. (2010).
Characteristics of a Quality Term Paper
- A well-organized term paper will consist of an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. It must include a title page and a reference list, and may include figures and appendices. The introduction must provide relevant background information, and should contain the rationale and scope of the paper. It should be concise, and contain a clear thesis statement. The body of the paper is based on the review of the literature, and should support the thesis proposed. The conclusion should summarize and integrate the main points presented in the paper, reinforce the thesis statement, and provide recommendations for further study.
- Cite authorities (i.e., authors of research) to back up your statements. Unfounded conjecture (i.e., statements by you or an author that are not based on research or logical extrapolation from empirical or experimental research) has no place in scientific writing. Avoid citing exhortative literature and non-scientific authors or sources. Your supporting citations should be dominated by current journal articles (i.e., primary sources). While textbooks, other books, and Internet documents can be used as references, these should be minimized and are considered secondary sources. In particular, minimal reference to Goldstein’s text is expected and acceptable, but a significant reliance on it is unacceptable. Keep in mind that you can also include sources from the Supplementary Materials List given in this Course Manual. As a guideline, a reasonable number of sources to include in a paper of this nature would be 10 to 15.
- Your term paper should have a structural theme. You can order it chronologically, logically, or in accordance with some paradigm, such as the thesis you have proposed. The structure should give unity and coherence to your paper. An overall system permitting infinite variation would include the following general structure: Introduction, Background Information, Review of the Literature, Summary, Conclusions (or Discussion and Implications), and References. Considering that the largest portion (i.e., the body) of your paper will be the literature review, it is recommended that it be organized into appropriate subheadings, relevant to the specific material.
An additional feature of the paper might include a figure or diagram to enhance discussion of complex anatomy, circuitry, or mechanisms of specific physiological processes.
The Reference List
A reference list contains all the sources referred to in your paper. Every source mentioned in your paper must appear in the reference list, and every item in the list must have a corresponding reference in the text of your paper. A list containing articles and/or books that you read but did not actually cite in the text of your paper is called a bibliography, and typically is not included in a paper of this nature. The reference list is arranged in alphabetical order, as in the example below.