Course Catalog Information
Human Relationships Capstone - Writing Intensive
Students design a study, collect data, and describe their research on some aspect of human relationships. Emphasis on survey research techniques. Enrollment limited to psychology majors with senior standing, a grade of C or better in PSYCH 3020, PSYCH 2810 or two social/personality courses.
A-F (allow student to choose S/U option)
Departmental consent required.
The Campus Writing Program conducts a two-day faculty workshop to assist with the design and implementation of your writing intensive course. Once your course proposal has been approved by the Campus Writing Program, you will receive information on time, date and location of the workshop.
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Honors Course Information
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Writing Intensive Course Information
The capstone course is intended to bring together the various components of the undergraduate psychology major. Towards that end, students taking this course will conduct empirical research on some aspect of human relationships, and produce an APA format paper detailing their research. Each student is responsible for designing a study, producing an instrument to collect data, collecting and analyzing data, and describing the outcomes. Attention will be focused on the individual components of an empirical article, including the background or introduction, the methods, the statistical results, the conclusions, and the discussion. In addition, students will describe their project in a short presentation to the class.
Over the semesters, I have tweaked many of the non-writing activities to better support the overall project each student conducts and then describes. I will continue to adjust to the changing skill sets that the students bring to the course. The central writing assignment - an APA format empirical description of a study the student designs and conducts, with multiple drafts and iterated revisions, has not really changed and probably won't in the future, because it continues to reflect the typical way that psychologists publish research in journals.
Should this course be considered for funding?
Large Enrollment Courses:
1 Goal setting essay: 500-800 words. Not revised Describe the courses taken that are relevant to Human Relationship research and areas of relationship research interests. How does this capstone fit into what you want to be doing after MU, or five years from now? Evaluated by TAs. 2 Abstract 100-200 words. 2 revisions [3 copies total]. The abstract summarizes the entire study and findings. Evaluated by Instructor. 3 Introduction: 800-1200 words 1-2 revisions Introductions review the relevant literature and set the stage for the hypothesis, which is clearly outlined at the end of the introduction. Evaluated by Instructor. 4 Methods: 800-1200 words. 2 revisions Method sections translate the hypothesis into the study design, describing the participants, instruments measures, procedures. Evaluated by Instructor or TA. 5 Results: 500-800 words. 1 revision Did the data support the hypothesis? How so? Evaluated by Instructor. 6 Discussion: 800-1200 words 1 revision How did study contribute to understanding of the research question? Limitations, implications, future directions. Evaluated by Instructor. Additional Writing: Students communicate with me and TA's via email. Non-graded aspects of the course include writing - for example, the online survey that each student programs to collect their data (which is not graded). Students will make notes and write ungraded drafts prior to submitting drafts for feedback.
Length of assignment:
usually instructor (but TA does 1st draft of methods)
instructor or TA
Writing Intensive Teaching
Instructor provided feedback
TAs will also provide feedback on sections of the paper that have more standardized formats (e.g., the method sections, title page, references)
The bulk of the assignments is the empirical paper that describes a study the student conducts. First, the student may design any study that tests a hypothesis about a human relationship. The student may then explore any aspect of the hypothesis that interests them. Once they find support (or not) for their hypothesis in their data, they will speculate about conclusions, areas of future research, limitations of their study, etc. The entire process is almost entirely creative, open-ended, and allows for endless variation in the work the students produce.
Assignments are due every week or two. Starting with a goal setting essay in the first week of class, followed by a research proposal in the second, the student build their paper section-by-section throughout the semester. Each section gets feedback at least once, with some sections going through several revisions.
Teaching assistants will grade the non-drafted writing and all other assignments. They will track attendance and maintain grade records. Most importantly, they will assist students in all aspects of the study design including crafting a testable hypothesis, survey construction, data cleaning, and data analysis. Finally, they will participate in peer review sessions, giving students feedback on their written drafts. The TA's in the class are graduate students in Psychology, who have all conducted their own research and written their own empirical articles. When I am given a TA who is less capable in these areas, I do more of the tasks that they are not yet skilled enough to do.