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Effective: Late Spring 8-Week, 2017/2018

PSYC 175: *Introduction To Theory-Based Research And Writing

Course Description

Introduction to theory-based research and writing in social and behavioral sciences.

Cross-listed as PSYC 175 and SOCI 175.

Prerequisite: PSYC 101 or SOCI 111; grade C or higher in ENGL 111

Proctored Exams: None



Syllabus Contents

Textbooks

Required

  • Beins, B. (2012). APA style simplified: Writing in psychology, education, nursing, and sociology. .Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
    • [ISBN-978-0-470-67123-8]
  • American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed). Washington, DC: APA.
    • [ISBN-978-1-4338-0561-5]

MBS Information

Textbooks for the course may be ordered from MBS Direct. You can order

For additional information about the bookstore, visit http://www.mbsbooks.com.


Course Overview

PSYC/SOCI 175 is designed to introduce you to the professional writing style used by scholars in the social sciences. This course will prepare you to format and write empirical research reports using APA style. This is a core course for psychology and sociology majors at Columbia College. It is an important course in your curriculum. By enrolling in it early in your college career, you will improve your grades in courses that follow. Most courses in sociology and psychology have writing assignments. If you automatically use APA style in all of your writing, you will see a marked improvement in your grades on those assignments. At Columbia College, the psychology and sociology programs are designed to provide a foundation for understanding different perspectives within the disciplines. Each of the faculty members in this department is here because he has a love of teaching about this discipline.

This course focuses on APA style because many journals in the social sciences accept APA style as a default style. Some journals in sociology use ASA style or Chicago style, so it is necessary for scholars who wish to publish to learn the styles that are used in the publication to which they will submit their work. For this course, APA has been chosen because the majority of students taking this course will use APA styles for graduate and professional studies in the future.



Technology Requirements

Participation in this course will require the basic technology for all online classes at Columbia College:
  • A computer with reliable Internet access
  • A web browser
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Microsoft Office or another word processor such as Open Office

You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site.


Course Learning Outcomes

  1. To distinguish critical thinking from non-critical thinking.
  2. To identify bias in scientific writing.
  3. To develop research skills using library resources in digital and print media.
  4. To engage in peer-review of academic writing.
  5. To complete an archival research and writing project and present it to a forum of academic peers.

Grading

Grading Scale
Grade Points Percent
A 900-1000 90-100%
B 800-899 80-89%
C 700-799 70-79%
D 600-699 60-69%
F 0-599 0-59%
Grade Weights
Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussions 350 35%
APA Briefs 300 30%
Final Research Paper 350 35%
Total 1000 100%


Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1
Assignment Points Due
Introductions - Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 1 20
Discussion 2 20
Week 2
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 3 20 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 4 20
APA Brief 1: History of Psychology/Sociology 100 Sunday
Week 3
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 5 20 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 6 20
APA Brief: Research Practice 100 Sunday
Research Paper Topic 20
Week 4
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 7 20 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 8 20
APA Brief 3 100 Sunday
Week 5
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 10 20 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 9 20
Annotated Bibliography 65 Sunday
Week 6
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 11 20 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 12 20
Research Paper Abstract 65 Sunday
Week 7
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 13 20 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 14: Peer Review 50
Week 8
Assignment Points Due
Final Research Paper 200 Thursday
Discussion 15 20 Thursday/Saturday
Discussion 16 20
Total Points 1000

Assignment Overview

Discussions

There will be two weekly online discussions each week. Your posts and responses should reflect critical thinking about the material. Be creative and think about how APA writing will remain important throughout your academic and professional career.

Your answers must be in your words. If you obtained information from another source, be sure to provide the proper citation. Grades will be based on the quality of contributions, e.g. no fill-in-the-blanks, or true/false questions. In particular, I will be looking for the originality—no duplicate questions, accuracy, and punctuality of your responses.

All students are expected to post early in the week and respond with substance to at least two classmates’ posts. Your initial post for each discussion is due by 11:59 PM Central Time (CT) on Thursday, with all responses due by 11:59 PM CT on Sunday each week (Saturday in Week 8).


APA Briefs

You will write three different APA briefs in this class.  Find an  article (see specifics in the course) and write a brief summarizing the article. View the sample three-page brief in the Content area as an example of how to format your paper.

Note that the sample paper has a title page formatted in APA style, one page of text that contains a citation in the text, and a reference page. This sample paper is the standard for article briefs that you will be writing in this class.


Research Paper

You will submit several small assignments throughout the course as you develop your research paper, including choosing a topic, developing an annotated bibliography, writing an abstract, engaging in peer review, and submitting your final draft.

The final research paper will be due during Week 8 and should include a title page, an abstract page, three pages of essay text, and a reference page. Your final document will be six pages long. You must use exactly three references for your paper. Fewer or greater than three will result in a loss of points. See the Content area for a detailed rubric and sample APA research paper.



Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.

Week 1: Introduction to APA Writing
Introductions
Introduce yourself to your classmates. Include in your introduction where you are from, why you are studying psychology and/or sociology, what is unique about you, and what you hope to learn from this course.
Discussion 1
This course is an introduction to doing research and writing literature reviews in American Psychological Association style. Why do the disciplines of psychology and sociology use a standard publication style? What reasons can you find (in your text or research) to explain why APA style is the standard for publication in all social sciences? Your initial post is due by 11:59 PM CT on Thursday, then respond with substance to at least two of your classmates’ posts by 11:59 PM CT on Sunday.
Discussion 2

William James (1842-1910) was the first professor of psychology in the United States. His textbook, The Principles of Psychology, was first published in 1890 and was adopted as the text for the first scientific psychology course taught at Christian College in 1916. The course it replaced was titled “Mental Science.” Before that, the course was titled Moral Science and before that, Moral Hygiene. Do a bit of research about the content of William James’ textbook and suggest what you think might have been some of the topics first taught at Columbia College, providing a reference for James’ text in APA style. Your initial post is due by 11:59 PM CT on Thursday, then respond with substance to at least two of your classmates’ posts by 11:59 PM CT on Sunday.

The APA references for volumes 1 and 2 of James’ (1890) work are as follows:

  • James, W. (1890). The Principles of Psychology, (Vol. 1) Dover Publications: Reprint edition (June 1, 1950)
  • James, W. (1890). The Principles of Psychology, (Vol. 2) Dover Publications: Reprint edition (June 1, 1950)
Plagiarism Tutorial and Quiz
Read the Plagiarism Tutorial found in the Content Area; then take the Plagiarism Quiz found in the Quizzes section. Note that you will not have access to the Dropbox to submit your first writing assignment until you have viewed the Tutorial and taken the Plagiarism Quiz. Note that you may not “recycle” your work from previous courses. Plagiarism detection tools will pick this up, and you will be cited with plagiarism and held accountable.
Week 2: Writing Professionally
Readings
Beins, pp. 1-14
APA Manual, pp. 9-20
Discussion 3
Professional writing is different than other kinds of writing like fiction writing or persuasive writing used by advertisers. After completing the suggested reading in Beins, B. C. (2012), describe some of the major differences. Include what you think are some of the reasons for these differences. Provide an example of how a writer might establish the credibility of their statements in professional writing for psychology or sociology. Your initial post is due by 11:59 PM CT on Thursday, then respond with substance to at least two of your classmates’ posts by 11:59 PM CT on Sunday.
Discussion 4
Social and behavioral scientists report their research work in a variety of different types of reports and submit them to a vast array of professional journals for peer-review. Complete the suggested reading in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association and identify two different types of articles. Compare them and provide a summary of the key differences between them. Your initial post is due by 11:59 PM CT on Thursday, then respond with substance to at least two of your classmates’ posts by 11:59 PM CT on Sunday.
APA Brief 1: History of Psychology/Sociology

Consult the PSYC/SOCI 175 Course Guide at the Columbia College Stafford Library Online and find a peer-reviewed journal article that explores the history of psychology or sociology as a discipline. Write a 3-page brief in which you summarize the article content, cite the author in the text, and provide a reference in APA style. Submit your final draft to the dropbox by 11:59 PM CT on

View the Sample three-page brief as an example of how to format your paper. Note that the sample paper has a title page formatted in APA style, one page of text that contains an in-text citation, and a reference page. This sample paper is the standard for article briefs that you will be writing in this class.

Week 3: Elements of Style and Structure
Readings
Beins, pp. 15-31
APA Manual, pp. 21-28
Discussion 5
The structure of a manuscript defines its function. The overarching question related to this discussion is “Why do scholars in sociology and psychology use uniform reporting standards in the publication of their research?” Do the reading for this week in the Publication manual of the American Psychological Association before you answer this question. Your initial post is due by 11:59 PM CT on Thursday, then respond with substance to at least two of your classmates’ posts by 11:59 PM CT on Sunday.
Discussion 6
This is an introductory course that helps you build a basic literature review paper based upon research. Read the Sample APA Paper in the Content Area and use it as a model for the structure of your research paper in this course. What are the basic parts of a research paper? Identify the parts and discuss the role of each of the parts of a paper. Your initial post is due by 11:59 PM CT on Thursday, then respond with substance to at least two of your classmates’ posts by 11:59 PM CT on Sunday.
APA Brief: Research Practice
An ongoing debate among sociologists and psychologists is the question of whether people are predisposed to crime due to genetic makeup, or whether criminal behaviors have their origin in childhood experiences or environmental conditions. Consult the Psychology/Sociology Course Guide at the Columbia College Stafford Library Online and find a peer-reviewed journal article that explores this question. Use the Sample 3-page brief as a model for how to format your paper to write a three-page brief in which you summarize the article findings. Provide an in-text citation and a reference in APA style. Submit your final draft to the dropbox by 11:59 PM CT on Sunday.
Research Paper Topic

As a scholar in psychology or sociology, you no doubt have many interesting questions that you would like to answer. Review your burning questions and choose a question that interests you and is possible to answer in a 3-page essay. (You will use this question for writing your final paper in this course.)

For this assignment, turn in a one-page document that includes your research question, a paragraph detailing your plan for research, and another paragraph explaining what you believe the conclusion of your research will be. Submit your final draft to the dropbox by 11:59 PM CT on Sunday.

The final paper will include a title page, an abstract page, three pages of essay text, and a reference page. Your final document will be six pages long. You must use exactly three references for your paper. Fewer or greater than three will result in a loss of points.

Week 4: Formatting Papers in APA Style
Readings
APA Manual, pp. 41-53
Discussion 7
Last week we looked at the structure of a basic research report. This is the type of paper you will write for this course. The first reading for this week is a sample experimental research report. Read this paper and note the major headings. Many of the elements of research papers are the same. Can you provide a description of why professional styles for writing, like APA or ASA, are important? Your initial post is due by 11:59 PM CT on Thursday, then respond with substance to at least two of your classmates’ posts by 11:59 PM CT on Sunday.
Discussion 8
Do a bit of research and write a response to the following question. What does it mean to say that a Journal and the articles published in it are peer-reviewed? Your initial post is due by 11:59 PM CT on Thursday, then respond with substance to at least two of your classmates’ posts by 11:59 PM CT on Sunday.
APA Brief 3

Identify one peer-reviewed article that you plan to use for your research paper. Write a brief paper in APA style in which you answer the following questions:

1. After reading the abstract of the article:

  • What was the research question?
  • What were the findings?
  • What research methods were used?

2. After reading the entire article:

  • How do you know that this is a credible source of information?
  • What makes this article relevant to your research question?
  • Does this article cause you to rethink or refine your original research question?

Be sure to include a complete bibliographic reference in APA style for the article at the end of your paper (review the sample in the Content Area). Submit your final draft to the dropbox by 11:59 PM CT on Sunday.

Week 5: Improving Your Writing
Readings
Beins, pp. 65-70
APA Manual, pp. 32-42
Discussion 10
Writing well accomplishes a great deal. Beginning your research report with an introduction is essential. Read Beins, B.C. (2012) pages 32-42 and consider how this advice about writing might change your approach to writing. Identify one of the “Different approaches to starting the introduction” on pages 34-37, and say why you might use this approach in a future writing projects. Your initial post is due by 11:59 PM CT on Thursday, then respond with substance to at least two of your classmates’ posts by 11:59 PM CT on Sunday.
Discussion 9
After reading pages 61-70 in the Publication Manual, (APA, 1010), choose one of the general principles of writing that are discussed that you think would improve your writing. Explain why you believe this particular principle would be useful to you. Your initial post is due by 11:59 PM CT on Thursday, then respond with substance to at least two of your classmates’ posts by 11:59 PM CT on Sunday.
Annotated Bibliography

Identify three articles that you plan to use for your research paper. For each, provide the following:

  • A full reference in APA style
  • A brief summary of the article
  • A statement about the validity of the resource
  • The relevance of the resource to your research question

Submit your annotated bibliography to the dropbox by 11:59 PM CT on Sunday.

Week 6: Formatting Abstracts
Readings
Beins, pp. 114-116
APA Manual, pp. 25-27 and 169-177
Course Evaluation
Please evaluate the course. You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link sent to your CougarMail will allow you to access the evaluation. Please note that these evaluations are provided so that I can improve the course, find out what students perceive to be its strengths and weaknesses, and in general assess the success of the course. Please do take the time to fill this out.
Discussion 11
All types of research reports that are written in APA style contain abstracts. Look at one of the articles that you plan to use in your research paper and identify the types of information that are provided. In your discussion, identify the elements that the abstract contains. Describe the essential characteristics of a good abstract. From the researchers’ perspective, explain why you think these pieces of information are necessary to include in the abstract. Your initial post is due by 11:59 PM CT on Thursday, then respond with substance to at least two of your classmates’ posts by 11:59 PM CT on Sunday.
Discussion 12
Citing references in-text is a skill that takes practice. The fastest way to learn this skill is to use the Publication Manual (APA, 1010) as a resource. What are your thoughts on why it is necessary to credit sources of information when doing a review of research? Provide at least three reasons for including references to sources in psychology and sociology research reports. Your initial post is due by 11:59 PM CT on Thursday, then respond with substance to at least two of your classmates’ posts by 11:59 PM CT on Sunday.
Research Paper Abstract
Write a complete abstract of your research paper in APA style. You will find more information and details on the assignment in the Content Area of the course. Submit an abstract of your research paper to the dropbox by 11:59 PM CT on Sunday.
Week 7: Citing References
Readings
Beins, pp. 100-113.
Discussion 13
By now you should have a good sense of what the structure of a research paper in psychology or sociology should look like. There are differences between these disciplines that focus on inquiry and the targets of research, but many of the details of conducting a review of research and writing reports are the same. As a student of sociology or psychology, what do you think are the key reasons for using styles of writing that are consistent across publications? Your initial post is due by 11:59 PM CT on Thursday, then respond with substance to at least two of your classmates’ posts by 11:59 PM CT on Sunday.
Discussion 14: Peer Review
This week you will be finishing up your final paper. Present a complete draft of the body of your paper to your classmates in your initial post (preferably as an attachment) by 11:59 PM CT on Thursday. Then provide a thorough peer review of two of your classmates’ papers. Identify at least one positive quality in each of the papers and one area that could use some improvement. Provide detailed and helpful feedback to your peers by 11:59 PM CT on Sunday. This discussion may earn up to 50 points for detailed feedback and editing to at least 2 of your classmates. You will find more information and details on the assignment in the Content Area of the course.
Week 8: Putting It All Together
Readings
Beins, pp. 171-187
Final Research Paper
Submit your final paper to the dropbox by 11:59 PM CT on Thursday. Review the full directions and instructions in the Content Area.
Discussion 15
By design, this course has provided you with some of the basic things you need to know about writing papers in Psychology and Sociology using professional styles used for publication. In your view, why is it important and even necessary to use professional styles for writing in your discipline? Your initial post is due by 11:59 PM CT on Thursday, then respond with substance to at least two of your classmates’ posts by 11:59 PM CT on Saturday.
Discussion 16
By now, you should have a good overview of how to write a basic research paper using a professional style, and you know what it means to say that a journal is peer-reviewed. What is your view about the value of peer-review? How does peer-review improve the research and publication process? Your initial post is due by 11:59 PM CT on Thursday, then respond with substance to at least two of your classmates’ posts by 11:59 PM CT on Saturday.


Course Policies

Student Conduct

All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.

Plagiarism

Your grade will be based in large part on the originality of your ideas and your written presentation of these ideas. Presenting the words, ideas, or expression of another in any form as your own is plagiarism. Students who fail to properly give credit for information contained in their written work (papers, journals, exams, etc.) are violating the intellectual property rights of the original author. For proper citation of the original authors, you should reference the appropriate publication manual for your degree program or course (APA, MLA, etc.). Violations are taken seriously in higher education and may result in a failing grade on the assignment, a grade of "F" for the course, or dismissal from the College.

Collaboration conducted between students without prior permission from the instructor is considered plagiarism and will be treated as such. Spouses and roommates taking the same course should be particularly careful.

All required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the Turnitin.com reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the Turnitin.com site.

Non-Discrimination

There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

Student Accessibility Resources

Students with documented disabilities who may need academic services for this course are required to register with the office of Student Accessibility Resources. Until the student has been cleared through this office, accommodations do not have to be granted. If you are a student who has a documented disability, it is important for you to read the entire syllabus as soon as possible. The structure or the content of the course may make an accommodation not feasible. Student Accessibility Resources is located in Student Affairs in AHSC 215 and can be reached by phone at (573) 875-7626 or email at sar@ccis.edu.

Online Participation

You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Attendance Policy

Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

Cougar Email

All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

Late Assignment Policy

An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.

No late discussion posts will be accepted.

Research Paper assignments submitted late will lose 20% for each day the assignment is late. Assignments will not be accepted after midnight on the Tuesday following the due date. The final paper will not be accepted after the due date. The score for the final paper submitted after the due date will be zero.

Course Evaluation

You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.


Additional Resources

Orientation for New Students

This course is offered online, using course management software provided by Desire2Learn and Columbia College. The course user guide provides details about taking an online course at Columbia College. You may also want to visit the course demonstration to view a sample course before this one opens.

Technical Support

If you have problems accessing the course or posting your assignments, contact your instructor, the Columbia College Helpdesk, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance. Contact information is also available within the online course environment.

Online Tutoring

Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to all Columbia College students. Smarthinking provides real-time online tutoring and homework help for Math, English, and Writing. Smarthinking also provides access to live tutorials in writing and math, as well as a full range of study resources, including writing manuals, sample problems, and study skills manuals. You can access the service from wherever you have a connection to the Internet. I encourage you to take advantage of this free service provided by the college.

Access Smarthinking through CougarTrack under Students -> Academics -> Academic Resources.


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