University of Evansville

FALL 2017 SYLLABUS

Psychology 490

Senior Review and Senior Thesis

Class of 2018

 

INSTRUCTOR

John R. Lakey, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology

206 Hyde Hall: 812-488-2531 or 488-2520 (Home: 812-858-9378)

OFFICE HOURS: M:12&5; Tu:4&5; W:12,3,4&5; Th:nil; F:12&3.

CATALOG DESCRIPTION: Considers contemporary issues, developments, trends and leaders in psychology through readings, discussion and independent study summarized in a major paper, the Senior Thesis.  Includes preparation for Senior Comprehensive Examinations.  Prerequisite: Senior psychology majors and minors or neuroscience majors in their last year.  Fall.

GENERAL EDUCATION OBJECTIVE/OVERLAY:  This course meets the General Education requirements for Outcome 11 and Overlay E Writing.

MEETINGS:  This course meets 2-2:50pm MWF in Schroeder Building, Room 272.

 

METHOD OF INSTRUCTION:  Large seminar.

 

REQUIRED TEXTS:

(1) Weiten, W.  (2013). Psychology: Themes and variations (9th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson (ISBN: 978-1-111-35474-9).  See Text Supplements for free sample quizzes, flashcards, glossary, and web links.

(2) Rosnow, R.L., & Rosnow, M. (2012). Writing papers in psychology (9th ed.). Wadsworth/Cengage (ISBN: 1-111-72613-2).

(3) Struck, W., Jr., & White, E.B. (2000). Elements of style (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Longman (ISBN: 020530902X).

 

RECOMMENDED TEXT:

(4) American Psychological Association (2010). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th Edition.  Washington DC: APA.  (ISBN: 978-1-4338-0561-5).  Use of the Free APA Tutorial is encouraged.

(5) Sapolsky, R. (2004). Why zebras don’t get ulcers (3rd ed.). NY: Holt.  (ISBN 0805073698).  From Amazon.  A good review for neuroscience seniors.

 

COURSE OBJECTIVES: Systematic review of psychology and identification of topics supportive of personal career goals.  Specific objectives include: a solid knowledge base in one area of your major field of study.  You will search and access the literature with modern technology.  You will gain a clearer understanding of personal interests and values.  You will further develop skills in oral presentation and in substantive writing.

 

COURSE REQUIREMENTS

(I) SENIOR REVIEW:  Required attendance, participation, and presentations. 

(II) SENIOR EXAMINATIONS:  Review of general psychology for the Senior Comprehensive Examinations and the ETS Major Field Test in Psychology (similar to the ETS Graduate Record Examination in Psychology).

(III) SENIOR THESIS:  The Thesis Proposal, Prospectus, and Thesis with Portfolio.  The Thesis must extensively review a selected topic in contemporary psychology or neuroscience related to your career goals. Original research is not required but may be presented in the context of that extensive review.

COURSE GRADE:  Each of these three requirements contribute about 1/3 toward computation of the course grade:  Presentations 32%, Thesis 33%, Exams (25%) & Quizzes (10%).

GRADING CRITERIA: The weighted total grading criteria (no rounding up) are:

94.00% A    87.00% B+   80.00% B-   74.00% C    67.00% D+

90.00% A-   84.00% B     77.00% C+  70.00% C-   60.00% D 

 

I.  THE REVIEW [500 points for 32% of the course grade]

PARTICIPATION:  The Review is a “large seminar” which means that all participants share responsibility for making it a worthwhile experience.  You are expected to be attentive to presentations, display interest, and positively participate in discussions.  As a simple rule, at least three good questions should be asked of each presenter. 

(1) SEARCH ARTICLE:  You will present a brief, 5-minute report of a recent article obtained from your literature search for a thesis topic. You must use a PowerPoint outline (2-3 slides).  These PowerPoint slides should include the article’s title, its author(s), their institution(s), the abstract, and an outline of the points you wish to emphasize. The presentation schedule is tight, and individual presentations must adhere to time limits. Individual presentations are scheduled for specific time slots (see Class Calendar). [25 points]

(2) CHAPTER REVIEW:  You will assume responsibility for one full class (50 minutes) to provide a thorough review of an assigned chapter in Weiten (latest edition), Psychology: Themes and Variations.  BlackBoard provides a basic PowerPoint slide set that is to be significantly improved (new slide design, rewritten text, added video clips, and new slides with material from past courses and online searches).  A final copy of your enhanced PowerPoint file must be submitted to the Instructor to be placed on our Blackboard website for later class review.  Presentations will be graded assessing: (1) effective preparation for the MAJOR FIELD TEST IN PSYCHOLOGY, (2) inclusion of appropriate supplemental material, (3) construction of an improved slide set, (4) effective oral presentation (talk, explain things and “tell the story” -- don’t just “flash slides”), and (5) worthwhile utilization of the entire class period.  This evaluation rubric will apply.  With multiple presenters, you may elect team presentation (one slide set and both receive the same grade) or divided presentation (separate slide sets and presenters receive separate grades).  With divided presentation, each person will present half the material using half the class period (25 minutes).  You will upload your PowerPoint slide set to LiveText.com – with multiple presenters, each must submit the same slides to LiveText.  [300 points]

(3) THESIS PRESENTATION:  You will present a 15-minute formal summary of your Thesis. You must use a PowerPoint outline.  Presentations will be graded primarily assessing: (1) an effective PowerPoint slide set and (2) an effective oral presentation. This evaluation rubric will apply.  Individual presentations are scheduled in advance, must be delivered when scheduled, and limited to the allotted time.  If you miss your assigned slot, you may standby to fill in for any opening that occurs (with multiple standbys, lower presentation numbers get the open slot).  Faculty and students are invited to your presentation and it may be recorded for department review.  If you have an outside Thesis Supervisor, you should specifically invite that person to your presentation. You will upload your PowerPoint slide set to LiveText.com.  [175 points]

II.  THE EXAMINATIONS [About 680 points for 35% (Exams 25% and Quizzes 10%) of the course grade]

(1) ONLINE CHAPTER QUIZZES over the 16 chapters and the B (statistics) and C (I/O psychology) appendices of the ninth full edition.  Quizzes are available two week in advance and may be taken before or after the presentation.  Quizzes must be completed within one 25-minute period by midnight of the day following its presentation.  Quizzes consist of 20 unique multiple-choice questions randomly selected from a larger question pool for each quiz.  Each quiz is worth 20 points, and the lowest four scores will be dropped. [about 280 points for 10% of the grade]

(2) First Preliminary Senior Examination consists of approximately 100 questions covering the first half of the textbook and APA format (Rosnow & Rosnow’s Writing Papers in Psychology, APA’s Publication Manual, and APA Format reviews linked in our class website). [100 points for 5% of the grade]

(3) Second Preliminary Senior Examination consists of approximately 100 questions covering the second half of the textbook and composition rules (Rosnow & Rosnow’s Writing Papers in Psychology, Strunk & White’s Elements of Style, and reviews on good writing linked in our class website). [100 points for 5% of the grade]

(4) Comprehensive Senior Examination, currently the Educational Testing Service’s Major Field Test in Psychology, consists of 140 questions covering all psychology.  This test is very similar to ETS’s GRE in Psychology, and it requires a two-hour period scheduled outside of class during the evening (see the Class Calendar to reserve that date: Everyone is required to sit as one group for standardized administration).  The Major Field Test is our final examination, and we will not use the two-hour period normally scheduled during finals week.  [200 points for 15% of the grade]    

III.  THE THESIS [500 points for 33% of the course grade]

All Senior Theses are required to thoroughly review the literature concerning a topic related to your career goals.  All literature relevant to that topic will be methodically searched, effectively organized, and concisely presented.  The current state of our knowledge about that topic is then to be evaluated for unique insights, valid conclusions, and noteworthy perspectives.  Any original research (your own study) will be integrated into this review.  Most acceptable Theses will range from 20 to 30 pages and cite at least 25 references with copies of key references, or parts thereof, in your accompanying Portfolio.  You are to become an expert about this topic.  Topics are individually proposed and must be approved by the Instructor.

(1) THESIS PROPOSAL:  See Rosnow & Rosnow (2012), 3.5 (pp. 57-60).  Add a Tentative Title in the heading that clearly and effectively conveys the topic of your review.  After your name, insert the name of your reader, “Thesis Supervisor:  [Name].”  If an outside reader, someone other than the course instructor, that person must have agreed to supervise and grade your work.  As part of an extended Background section, you will reflect on your education thus far, explain your educational and career goals, and specifically note how your thesis will support those goals.  Your Proposal should be about five pages (including a minimum 2 pages of well-written text) that cites at least 10 references that are listed in your References section, all with good APA format (see APA Publication Manual 6e). You may also add an optional APA-formatted Title Page (required for the Prospectus). You will also attach an updated copy of your Résumé or Curriculum Vitae.  Should your Proposal include collection of original data, you will also attach copies of the IRB Proposal and any related Grant Proposal.  The Thesis Proposal will be graded by Dr. Lakey with attention to correct APA citation and references:  Submit a paper copy to Dr. Lakey, upload file copies to both TurnItIn.com and LiveText.com, and provide a second paper copy to any other Thesis Supervisor for their review and comments.  [50 points]

(2) THESIS PROSPECTUS:  See Rosnow & Rosnow (2012), Chapter 5 (pp. 85-93) and Appendix B (pp. 171-190).  The Thesis Prospectus is due about six weeks before submission of the Thesis (see Class Calendar), and submitted to the Instructor, TurnItIn.com and LiveText.com, and any other Thesis Supervisor.  The Prospectus provides the initial draft and basic file that you will expand into your final thesis.  This Prospectus will provide an APA-formatted Title Page with any Author Note (modified from your Proposal’s Background), a tentative Abstract (modified from you Proposal’s Objective), and a Table of Contents that outlines the tentative sections and subsections of your thesis; one of those content sections must provide at least five pages of well-written text that will be graded for both content and correct citations  by Dr. Lakey:  Submit a paper copy to Dr. Lakey for grading, upload electronic copies to TurnItIn.com and LiveText.com, and provide a second paper copy to any other Thesis Supervisor for their review and comments.  [150 points]

(3) THESIS PORTFOLIO:  As part of your literature search, you will collect PDF files burned to a CD or flash drive, printouts and photocopies of key journal articles or sections of books in a folder. These will be organized as your Portfolio to be used to prepare your Prospectus and Thesis.  The Portfolio will be submitted with your thesis to your Thesis.  Articles available on the CD will be asterisked in your References section [*Smith, J., and Jones, R. (2011)….] to alert your reader that they may access the original article when needed.  Double-asterisk photocopied articles [**Smith, J, and….] in any accompanying folder.

(4) THESIS:  Evaluation of the Thesis is primarily based on (1) content: (a) thorough review of the primary literature and (b) your appreciation and evaluation of that literature, and (2) form:  (a) organization, (b) effective writing, and (c) adherence to APA format.  The Thesis is graded by your Supervisor:  When the original copy of the thesis is read, it will be assigned a grade, and you will meet with your Supervisor to review your effort and suggested revisions. Your revised thesis will be reassessed for a higher grade (limited to one grade step, e.g., B- to A-) with detailed assessments of component sections using the evaluation rubric and reported to the Instructor using the Thesis Assessment and Grade Report form.  Paper copies of the original and revised thesis are submitted only to your Reader, and both will be returned directly to you by that person.  Also upload electronic copies to TurnItIn.com (both the original copy and any revised copy) and LiveText.com (only the final revised copy).  [300 points]

Good Thesis Content:  Theses will thoroughly review the literature, including “primary” journal reports with data and statistical analyses, not just the “secondary” literature (books and review articles) that summarize those reports.  Avoid overuse of a few secondary references.  All literature relevant to the topic should be methodically searched, effectively organized, and concisely presented.  This review is then intelligently evaluated for unique insights, valid conclusions, and noteworthy perspectives.  Any original research on the topic (your own study) should be integrated as a primary report following this review and evaluation (good research begins with a good literature review—your results should contribute to that literature).   As a goal, you are to become an “expert”—knowing more about the topic than your faculty reader (the best Theses are those that educate or update the Reader).  This expertise can help you achieve your career goals.       

 

Good Thesis Construction:  Senior Theses will be well written and carefully edited – the emphasis is quality, not quantity of pages (30-page maximum).  Effective writing skills must be demonstrated to pass the course—regardless other performance.  If needed, you are authorized to obtain assistance writing and editing your Thesis from our Writing Center (you must acknowledge this and any other assistance with a title footnote).  See the Rosnow & Rosnow’s Writing papers for psychology, APA Publication manual, and linked APA Format websites for good construction information.  See Rosnow & Rosnow’s Writing papers for psychology, APA Publication manual and Struck & White’s Elements of style for basic style information.  Avoid verbosity.   Avoid awkward and nonparallel constructions.  Avoid discursive and logical transition errors.  Avoid lexical and grammatical (semantic and syntactic) errors.  Avoid APA citation and reference errors.  Don’t over-cite references.  Direct quotations may not exceed 5% of the total word count.  Start early to have the time to write, rewrite, edit, and rewrite some more!

 

GENERAL REQUIREMENTS:

LITERATURE SEARCH:  The literature search is the basis of all scientific effort as well as the mark of advanced scholarship; you are required to master this important facet of intellectual endeavor.  You will search on-line databases including the Annual Review, PsycINFO, and perhaps MEDLINE.  These searches will usually provide abstracts and full text that can be downloaded as PDF files to your hard drive and eventually burned to a CD for submission with your Portfolio.  Abstracts will suffice for less important articles, but for the more important ones, the full text should be obtained.  If not available online, usually the article can be obtained through interlibrary loan.  You may also directly request a “reprint” from the author by email (also ask for “preprints” of any more recent work):  these simple contacts can you help identify possible graduate programs.  NOTE:  Do not include “junk web references” in you Thesis (see Weiten, Appendix D & E).   

THESIS CONTENT:  The majority of your review must deal with primary literature -- journal articles that present the actual data with statistical analysis.  Quotations may not exceed five percent (5%) of the total word count of the Thesis:  Instead of quoting text, paraphrase and summarize in your own words.  Avoid inadvertent plagiarism with correct APA citation.  Papers that have been submitted in previous courses are not acceptable as Senior Theses, in whole or in part -- do not plagiarize yourself.

FORMAT:  As generally specified by the latest edition of the APA Publication Manuel and Rosnow & Rosnow’s Writing Papers in Psychology (Appendix B with a Table of Contents and figures inserted in the text body).  Best Theses are posted online and provides reliable examples of what your thesis should look like.

THESIS ORGANIZATION:  Title Page (add your Supervising Professor’s name), Preface, Abstract, Table of Contents (your original Proposal outline), Text (with section headings and subheadings), References (asterisk those references with PDFs or double-asterisk photocopies in your Portfolio), Footnotes (explain Reference asterisks).  Insert tables and figures with captions in the text body as it would appear in print.  Make sure that every text citation has a Reference entry, and vice versa.  Don’t over-cite:  Avoid repeatedly citing the same reference in the same paragraph!  [Start the paragraph with “Smith and Jones (2011) studied…,” keep the discussion to that study, and you need not cite it again in that paragraph.]

PRINT SUBMISSION:  The printed Thesis must be stapled together -- without binder or cover -- and placed in the front section of your Portfolio folder.  Large heavy-duty staplers are available in the department office.  The paper-copy Thesis and Portfolio are submitted only to your Reader, and that person will return both of these to you directly.

FILE SUBMISSION:  The WORD file (or other acceptable file) that printed your Thesis must be uploaded to http://www.TurnItIn.com (course ID# and password posted on Blackboard); if your thesis is not submitted for electronic review, your thesis grade is zero.  This file copy must be submitted on or before the due date to avoid penalties (one letter grade step and an additional step each week until F).  TurnItIn.com records the date and time of formal submission. 

RETURN OF THESIS:  Your Reader will return your Thesis and Portfolio to you directly, preferably with the Assessment Report (form download form from Class Website):  You Reader will review their evaluation with you.  You are expected to make corrections that may raise your grade no more than one full letter (B to A, C+ to B+, etc.).  After assessing the revised copy, your Reader will forward your thesis letter grade to Dr. Lakey hopefully by our final examination day.  If no grade is received by that date, the course grade is recorded as an Incomplete until the revision grade is received and the revised file is uploaded to both TurnItIn.com (Revised Thesis) and LiveText.com.  No late penalty will be assessed by the Instructor, but if no grade is received by the one-year anniversary date, the Incomplete automatically reverts to F.

OUTSIDE READERS AND THESIS SUPERVISORS:  You may ask any faculty member, in any department, to supervise and grade your thesis.  This person should have the special expertise to provide sound guidance and advice for your review of the thesis topic.  You should contract early, and your Supervisor should forward a short email to Dr. Lakey stating that they have agreed to supervise and read your thesis.  You must supply your Thesis Supervisor with a copy of this Syllabus and a copy of the Assessment Report (both hyperlinked at our class website), but the specific requirements and grading criteria are solely at the discretion of you Reader (discuss their requirements and criteria beforehand using the Assessment Report form). Your Supervisor will report your thesis grade to Dr. Lakey by email.  Your Supervisor will return your graded Thesis and Portfolio directly to you (Dr. Lakey and the Department have access to your TurnItIn.com copy).  Remember to promptly submit your Thesis and any revision to TurnItIn.com -- the date and time of initial submission determines any late penalty.  Remember to personally invite your Reader to your Thesis Presentation.

 

ADMINISTRATIVE POLICIES

>GRADUATION AUDIT:  If you have not done so, immediately email Mrs. Kassenbrock (dk26@evansville.edu) to formally request your degree audit.

>BLACKBOARD & FACULTY WEBSITE:  This course will use Blackboard (http://acebb.evansville.edu/) and the linked instructor’s faculty class website (http://faculty.evansville.edu/jl3/psych490/index.htm).  The class website will post our current “official” syllabus and class calendar, and you will refer to these “master copies” for schedule changes, new due-dates, and course modifications.  Changes in the syllabus will be alerted by Blackboard email.  Generally, we will communicate with one another by email, especially when a formal record is required.  You must maintain your university email account and check it often.  If you have problems accessing Blackboard, accessing the Faculty Website, or maintaining your email account, please contact the OTS Help Desk (helpdesk@evansville.edu or 488-2077) for assistance.

>GRADE POSTING: The instructor's grade book is posted on Blackboard Gradebook for your full access. Please report any errors or omissions.

>OFFICE HOURS:  Walk-In Hours are posted on the Instructor’s door and on his Faculty Webpage, and you need not make formal appointments.  If you are waiting to see me, make sure I know you’re waiting for me. I am also available at other times,

 

>CREDIT HOURS:  This course meets the federal requirements of 15 in-class hours plus an expected 30 hours of out-of-class work per credit hour

>OUTSIDE CLASS EFFORT: According to the US Department of Education, students should spend (on average) a minimum of three hours per week per credit for a college level course.

·         This means that, as this is a 3-credit course, you should spend roughly 9 hours per week on this course.

·         Therefore, you should be willing to put in a minimum of 6 hours of out-of-class time each week on this class. 

·         Some of you may succeed and complete the work in less time.  If that works for you – more power to you.  However, if you are not succeeding as well as desired, you may want to study more.  Remember, if you’ve read the assignment once, you’ve read it, but if you’ve read it three times, then you’ve studied it.

 

>WEEKLY QUIZZES:  You have one twenty-five minute period to complete your 20-item chapter quiz -- without assistance or unfair advantage.  You should take the 15-item Practice Test at the end of each chapter before taking the online quiz.  You should have a reliable internet connection, use one of the PC’s in HH201 or SB68 if you do not. 

 

>HONOR CODE: The University of Evansville requires your support for the following statement:  "I understand that any work I submit for course credit will imply that I have adhered to the Academic Honor Code:  I will neither give nor receive unauthorized aid nor will I tolerate an environment which condones the use of unauthorized aid. Please report any problem to the Instructor.

 

>PLAGIARISM:  Any copied words in your Thesis must be in quotation marks (or offset if 25 or more words) with APA citation of their specific source (author, publication date, and page).  Any paraphrased ideas in your Thesis must be attributed to their author (at least by name in the text or by name and date).  Plagiarism occurs when you do not follow either of these two basic rules.  Presenting someone else’s work as your own is never “authorized,” and it is always violates our Academic Honor Code.  It’s also just plain stupid with TurnItIn.com and Google search.

 

>TURNITIN:  All Theses must be submitted both to the Reader and to http://www.TurnItIn.com/: A paper printout is provided the Reader for grading, and the file (used for that printout) is uploaded to turnitin.com:  you must go to this website, register for the course, and upload the file (our course ID# and password are available at BLACKBOARD Information).  The date your thesis is submitted to turnitin.com is the record date of submission that determines any late penalty

 

>AUTHORIZED AID:  Acknowledge all aid and outside assistance you obtain in preparing your thesis as a title footnote.  You may freely obtain help from the Writing Center (located in the Excel Center in front of the Library) and the Thesis Supervisor. 

 

>THESIS QUOTATION LIMITATION:  Directly quoted material may not exceed five percent (5%) of the word count of your thesis.

 

>THESIS LENGTH LIMITATION:   Theses should not exceed 30 pages in length:  The emphasis is content quality and effective writing, not quantity of pages.  Most theses will range from 20 to 30 pages.

 

>BEST THESIS AWARD: Theses that receive the grade of A will be read by the entire psychology faculty to select the Best Thesis of your class. This Best Thesis will be bound, indexed, and shelved by our Library.  The author usually receives a small cash prize or honorarium.  Since TurnItIn.com copies are read by the faculty, if you receive an A, please make corrections and submit a final “revised” copy to Revisions at TurnItIn.com.  Multiple Best Thesis Awards may be made, and in some years, no awards are made.

>WITHDRAWAL POLICY: A course may be dropped without a designated grade during the first two weeks of a term of the regular academic year.  From the third through the eleventh weeks, a grade of W is assigned.  After the eleventh week, a grade of F is assigned in this course (a higher grade requires that you actually complete the course).  Discontinuance of attendance does not automatically constitute a withdrawal; you must formally withdraw at the Registrar’s Office. 

>GRADUATION REQUIREMENT:  "Psychology majors must achieve a C- grade or higher in all psychology courses [each psychology course] that apply to the major.”

>INCOMPLETE GRADE: Outside of thesis revision, the grade report of I (Incomplete) grade will be submitted only when justified by personal crisis or legitimate sickness precludes timely completion of the course; otherwise, missing scores are zeroes for the course grade.  You should present your extenuating circumstances, your request for an Incomplete, and, if possible, your time schedule for completion of the course in writing.  To be assured of the Incomplete Grade report, you must receive the instructor's approval in writing (make sure you keep a copy for future reference).  All Incomplete grades automatically become F on the one-year anniversary of the scheduled final exam date. 

>LATE SUBMISSIONS TO TURNITIN.COM:  All late assignments may be penalized without legitimate excuse.

>MISSING ASSIGNMENTS:  Recorded as zeros in computation of the course grade.   

>MISSING SUBMISSIONS TO LIVETEXT.COM:  Score will be reduced one grade (usually -10%) in computation of the course grade

>MAKE-UP EXAMS:  All students must sit for the Major Field Test in Psychology.  Should you miss a Preliminary Examination without that absence being excused by Dr. Lakey, the score is zeroIf excused, you will be allowed to take a substitute exam to replace the zero.  If this “makeup” is administered by the Department’s Administrative Assistant, Mrs. Miller, you must schedule it at her convenience (call 488-2520 to make arrangements). 

>DISABILITY ACCOMMODATION:  It is the policy of the University of Evansville to make reasonable accommodations for students with properly documented disabilities.  Written notification to faculty from the Office of Counseling and Health Education is required for any academic accommodations.  If you are eligible to receive and accommodation and would like to request it for this course, please discuss it with me and allow two-weeks notice.  Otherwise, it is not guaranteed that the accommodation can be received on a timely basis.  If you have questions about services for students with disabilities or procedures for requesting services, you may contact the Office of Counseling and Health Education at 488-2663.  

>GUESTS:  As room size permits, all members of the university community are invited to attend your Chapter Review and Thesis Presentation.  If you have an outside reader, you must invite that Thesis Supervisor to your Thesis Presentation.

>YOUR OBLIGATIONS: (1) Attend class.  (2) Work together for our collective welfare.  (3) Have and share positive attitudes.  (4) Look to your future.

 

SUGGESTED THESIS APPROACH

Step 1:  Establish personal career goals and a five-year plan.  It’s time for commitment!  Career Services can help at http://careerservices.evansville.edu.   Check out Career Alternatives at http://www.uni.edu/walsh/linda1.html.  Check out Graduate Schools at http://www.uni.edu/walsh/linda2.html and start preparing for the GRE or MCAT now (see endnote links).

Step 2:  Select an area of interest and identify possible thesis topics that support your career goals.  All theses must substantially review the literature concerning a topic of personal relevance.  Consultation with faculty and career-goal professionals is strongly encouraged.  You must obtain formal approval of your thesis topic from the Instructor (this topic is likely to be refined over the course of your literature search) -- you may do this by email over the summer.

 Step 3:   Initiate the literature search as soon as possible.   You must determine if there's enough literature for adequate review (required of all theses) and if this material does indeed support your career goals.  Usually it's a good idea to start with general Annual Review articles, then move on to more specific journal reviews and research reports (often found in the AR's References).  Concentrate on recent material published within the last five years. 

 (a) Find and read recent Annual Review of Psychology articles that cover your topic (or other Annual Review articles – there are Annual Reviews of Neuroscience, Public Health, Sociology, Medicine, etc.).  These reviews should help you identify the existent literature pertinent to your interests.  Importantly, if you cannot find a review covering your preferred topic, you may need to select an alternative topic!  To search for Annual Review articles, click  http://psych.annualreviews.org/search.dtl  or http://neuro.annualreviews.org/search.dtl.  You can read the full text of psychology review articles at our Library website: click http://libraries.evansville.edu/, under Databases by Subject click Psychology, and then click Annual Review of Psychology FT – you may also access other Annual Reviews from this page.  For off-campus access, go to Login for Off Campus Access and enter your Student ID barcode number.  Hardcopy Annual Reviews are also available in our Library. 

 (b) Conduct PsycINFO and MEDLINE searches to obtain the recent reviews and research reports—PsycARTICLES provides full-text articles from all the APA journals.  To conduct these searches, click http://libraries.evansville.edu/, under Databases by Subject click Psychology, and then click PsycINFO PFT or Medline PFT.  Enter the key search terms for your topic.  Print out important abstracts (or save to a floppy or hard disk).  If the journals are not available in our Library, click Request Forms to request the article (comes as an PDF email attachment and it usually takes about two weeks) or go to the author’s website if known.

 (c) Articles can often be obtained on or by the internet.  Author addresses are a part of the MEDLINE and PsycINFO output, and e-mail addresses and faculty websites are usually available at the institutional department's website (http://www.google.com/).  Often the faculty webpage will have PDFs of published articles that can be downloaded.  While a bit old-fashion now, you can also email asking for a specific "reprint" of the article and any reprints or "preprints" of any subsequent or related work.  You can also ask questions about their work -- these direct email contacts have helped some select a graduate program and gain admission to it (graduate faculty like new students specifically interested in their research).

Step 4:  Build your Literature Portfolio.   Collect your printouts of online library search abstracts, interlibrary loan photocopies, photocopies of key book sections, and PDF files of articles.  Organize everything in a quality folder, and organize PDFs in your UE My Documents folder, a flash drive, and your personal PC (backups). This Portfolio will be used to prepare your Thesis Proposal, Thesis Prospectus, and Thesis, and it must be submitted (PDFs burned to a CD) with and as part of your Thesis.

Step 5:  Prepare your Thesis Proposal for early submission:  See Rosnow & Rosnow (2012), 3.5 (pp. 57-60).  Select a tentative title that clearly and effectively conveys the topic of your review.  After your name, insert the name of your reader, “Thesis Supervisor:  [Name].”  If an outside reader, someone other than the course instructor, that person must have agreed to supervise and grade your work (see endnote).  As part of an extended Background section, you will reflect on your education thus far, explain your educational and career goals, and specifically note how your thesis topic will support those goals.  Your Proposal should be about five pages (minimum 2 pages of well-written text).  That cites and references at least 10 articles. This proposal will be graded for both content and APA format by Dr. Lakey:  Submit a paper copy to Dr. Lakey, upload an electronic copy to TurnItIn.com, and provide a second paper copy to any other Thesis Supervisor for their review and comments. Backup everything periodically.

Step 6:  Prepare your Thesis Prospectus by the end of Fall Recess. See Rosnow & Rosnow (2012), Chapter 5 (pp. 85-93) and Appendix B (pp. 171-190).  The Thesis Prospectus is due about six weeks before submission of the Thesis (see Class Calendar) and copies submitted to the instructor, TurnItIn.com, and any other outside reader or Thesis Supervisor.  This Prospectus will provide the title page and Author Note (modified from your Proposal’s Background), tentative Abstract (modified from you Proposal’s Objective); you will add a Table of Contents that outlines the sections and subsections of your thesis; one of those sections must provide at least five pages of well-written text that will be graded for both content and form by Dr. Lakey.  Backup everything periodically.

 Step 7:  The Senior Thesis is due on or before November 11th.   Most acceptable theses range from 20-30 pages citing 25 or more references with most of the references contained in the accompanying portfolio (photocopies) and CD (PDFs).  Papers that have been submitted in other courses are not acceptable as Senior Theses—in whole or in part.  Late submissions are penalized with a progressively lowered grade. You will submit your thesis to TurnItIn.com (determines your submission date) and your Thesis Supervisor.  Depending on your Thesis Supervisor, you may be allowed a revision to improve your grade (clarify this in advance).  Backup everything periodically.