How To Write An Assignment Introduction To Psychology

The General Idea

Over the course of the term, you need to write three different kinds of papers and revise one of them.

Each of these will be about 6 pages long (about 1800 words). The revision will be a bit longer.

On the server, there is a folder associated with each lecture and/or chapter. In the folder you will find pdfs of an article or two (sometimes a URL pointing to an article). The contents of the folder will be described on the handout for that lecture/chapter. The handouts are also on the web. Your work for each of the papers begins with one (or more) of these articles. What you do with the article(s) will depend on the kind of paper you are writing. (See below).

General Requirements: Sources

  1. Each of the first three papers must use at least one of the articles posted on the server.
  2. Each of the first three papers must use at least two sources beyond what is on the website.
  3. Those two sources must be published in the scholarly literature or in book form (College level textbooks are fine for one of the two sources. can't use Gleitman.)
  4. If you are in doubt about the scholarly nature of a source, ask your TA or ask the librarians (good reason to go to a library workshop).
  5. A random webpage found by 'Googling' cannot be counted toward the two scholarly resources; BUT it might be useful. You can use such sources. You can cite them (give the URL). You just can't rely on them exclusively.
  6. Electronic versions of scholarly publications (like most of what I have put on the server) are just fine.
  7. When in doubt, ASK.

General Requirements: Writing

  1. Always, always make sure you are using your own words. Direct quotation can be used but only very sparingly. It is rarely needed in this sort of writing. Direct quotes should be "in quotes" of course and a proper citation should be given. What we really want to avoid are papers where you read a paragraph and then write a paragraph that is a close paraphrase of your source. Changing "I discovered" to "She discovered" is not "using your own words". Read your sources. Take notes on your sources. Think about the material. Then write something of your own. If your paper is a pastiche of near quotes, we are going to give you a really bad grade. You have been warned.
  2. Citation: We are not particularly concerned about the form of citation that you use. I suggest following the model used in Gleitman. You put an author and year marker in the text at the relevant point (Wolfe, 2004) and a suitable bibliographic reference at the end of the paper.

    Wolfe, J. M. "Writing Assignments for Intro." Psych. Journal of Course Requirements 12, no. 4 (2004): 403-405.

    The critical requirement is that we should be able to find the source of any facts and ideas that you gleaned in your reading. Again, when in doubt, ask.

The Four Papers

Paper 1: Writing for the Public (PDF)

Paper 2: Taking the Next Step (PDF)

Examples of Good and Bad Writing (PDF)

Paper 3: Rewriting the Textbook (PDF)

Paper 4: Revision (PDF)

Lansing Community College
Division of Arts and Sciences

Psychology 200: Introduction to Psychology
Spring Semester, 1997

Instructor: Mikhail Lyubansky, M.A.

  • Phone (at LCC): 483 - 1152
  • Phone (at MSU): 432 - 3314
  • E-mail:
Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays: 5:30 - 6:00 PM
Room: 381-F

I encourage you to take advantage of office hours to ask questions about the course material and/or discuss your progress in this course. I will not be on campus during other times. However, I will be happy to make an appointment with you if you are unable to make the office hours. I will also be happy to answer questions via email. In fact, this is often the best way to get an answer to a quick question.

 Required Text:
Coon, Dennis. Introduction to Psychology: Exploration and Application (seventh edition).
Minneapolis/St. Paul: West Publishing Company, 1995.

Course Description

This course is designed to introduce students to the study of psychology. It is intended to provide broad coverage of the field by presenting basic theories, research, and applied use of psychology. It will give students a background from which to either pursue more advanced psychological courses, or to retain the information as a basic knowledge of psychology in general.

 Areas that will be covered include: research methods, biological bases of behavior, human development, sensation, perception, learning, intelligence, motivation, emotions, personality, mental disorders and their treatment, and social psychology. These areas will be approached from both theoretical and applied perspectives.

Course Objectives

See handout on departmental course objectives and where they can be found in the text

Course Requirements

Class participation
Students are expected to attend and actively participate in class. Ten percent of the course grade (40 points) will be based on class participation.
There will be two in-class examinations. Each exam will have a possible 75 points and will consist of 25 multiple-choice questions (worth 2 points each) and one or two short essay questions (worth a total of 25 points).

 The department final examination will consist of 60 multiple-choice questions and will be worth 120 points. This examination must be passed in order to receive a grade in the class, regardless of whether all other course requirements were passed.

 All exams must be taken on assigned days. No exceptions will be made without prior arrangements. The department final will be given on December 12, 1996.

Written assignments
All students are required to submit two 4-5 page written assignments. The first written assignment, "designing a research project" will be done by the entire class. However, for the second assignment, you may pick one of the two available choices. Specific guidelines and requirements for both writing assignments will be distributed separately on the first day of class. All papers must be typewritten and double-spaced with standard margins. You should have a cover sheet with your name, the course, date, my name, and the title of the paper. You should also have a bibliography, properly citing the articles and any other sources that you use (e.g., your textbook). The cover sheet and the bibliography are not part of the 4-5 page length requirement.

 The two written assignments are worth 75 points each and will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Writing and Presentation (Approximately 20% of the grade) -- You must precisely follow the assignment requirements outlined in the preceding paragraph. Your ideas should be expressed clearly and specifically, and the paper must be free of grammatical errors and typos. Overall neatness is important.
  • Content (Approximately 80% of the grade) -- What you write should be accurate, based on the current psychological literature. Be sure to give credit to others through citations and references. In addition, your work should reflect a great deal of thought and organization. It should demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the topic, beyond that provided by the textbook.



Any assignment that is not handed in on the due date will be marked down 25% of the allotted points for each class period that the assignment is outstanding. Late means anytime past the end of the class period that the assignment is due. Thus, a paper handed in two class periods after it is due is marked down 50%. I will not accept papers after the second class period following the due date. All papers not handed in by that time will receive zero points.

 I encourage you to submit drafts of your papers to me, prior to the due date. I will review your draft and return it to you with comments and suggestions. This often leads to a better grade.


The final grade for this course will be based on the total number of points the student earns on class participation, the two in-class exams, the departmental final exam, and the two written assignments. There are 460 total possible points, which break down as follows:
           Attendance and Participation         30 points          Writing Assignment 1                 50 points          Writing Assignment 2                 50 points          Exam 1                               40 points          Exam 2                               40 points          Exam 3                               40 points           Departmental Final Exam              60 points Grades will be assigned according to the following scale. I reserve the right to make the grading scale easier, but I promise not to make it harder!
           Grade       Total Points     Percentage            4.0          281-310        91- 100%            3.5          266-280        86 - 90%            3.0          250-265        81 - 85%            2.5          235-249        76 - 80%            2.0          219-234        71 - 75%            1.5          204-218        66 - 70%            1.0          186-203        60 - 65%            0.0         under 186       below 60%

Course Schedule

Introduction to Psychology: Definition, History, and Applications
Assignment: Chapter 1; pp. 717-721

Research Methods and Basic Statistics: Part I
Assignment: Chapter 2; pp. 722-729

Research Methods and Basic Statistics: Part II
Assignment: Review readings for 1/16/97

Child Development
Assignment: Chapter 12; pp. 485-486; pp. 490-492; pp. 495-496

Adolescence, Adulthood, and Old Age
Assignment: Chapter 13

Biological Bases of Behavior
Assignment: Chapter 3

Assignment: Chapter 4

Assignment: Chapter 5

** Examination 1 **

Sleep and Hypnosis
Assignment: pp. 155-173; pp. 186-189; p. 240: Highlight 8-1

Substance Use and Abuse
Assignment: pp. 173-185; pp. 189-193; pp. 313-314

Learning I: Classical and Operant Conditioning
Assignment: pp. 194-220

Learning II: Beyond Conditioning
Assignment: pp. 220-233

Assignment: Chapter 8
** 1st Writing Assignment Due **

Spring Break: no class

Spring Break: no class

Cognition and Creativity
Assignment: Chapter 9

Motivation and Emotion
Assignment: pp. 297-319

Health, Stress, and Coping
Assignment: Chapter 11

** Examination 2 **3/25/97
Assignment: Chapter 14

Personality: Psychodynamic Theories
Assignment: pp. 474-488

Personality: Behavioral and Humanistic Theories & Personality Assessment
Assignment: pp. 488-510

Assignment: Chapter 16

Major Mental Disorders
Assignment: Chapter 17

Psychological Treatments and Interventions
Assignment: Chapter 18

Assignment: Chapter 19

** Examination 3 **4/22/97
Social Behavior: Conformity, Obedience, and Compliance
Assignment: Chapter 20

Social Behavior II: Attitudes, Prejudice, and Stereotypes
Assignment: pp. 660-674
** 2nd Writing Assignment Due **

Social Behavior III: Aggression and Helping Behavior
Assignment: pp. 674-687

Applied Psychology
Assignment: Chapter 22

Catch Up on Lectures / Review for Final Exam
Assignment: Catch Up on Readings; Study for Exam

** Final Examination **

Final Comments

If there are any questions about this document or other class hand-outs, please see me as soon as possible.

Last updated by Mikhail Lyubanky on 1/22/97


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