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Psychology: Critical Thinking Assignment- 1101

Library Resources for assignments in Lanier Tech's Psychology courses

What is a Thesis Statement?

THESIS: A statement that identifies the TOPIC and main point of a piece of writing, giving readers an idea of what the text will cover.  A thesis identifies the topic of your paper along with the claim you are making about it.

Four Steps to Moving from a Topic to a Thesis Statement:

1.  State your topic as a question: You may have an idea for a topic, such as "analysis of 'real women' ad campaigns".  That may be a good topic, but it's not a thesis statement, primarily because it doesn't actually make a statement.  A good way to begin moving from topic to thesis statement is to turn your topic into a question:  Are ads picturing "real women" who aren't models effective?

2.  Turn your question into a position: A theses statement is an assertion -- it takes a stand or makes a claim.  Your thesis statement announces your position on the question you are raising about your topic, so a relatively easy way of establishing a thesis is to answer your own question: Ads picturing "real women" instead of models are effective because women can easily identify with them.

3.  Narrow your thesis: A good thesis is specific, guiding you as you write and showing your audience exactly what your paper will cover, often in the same order you will cover it.  The preceding thesis statement needs to be qualified and focused -- it needs to be made more specific. For example: Dove's "Campaign for Self-Esteem" and Cover Girl's ads featuring Queen Latifah work because consumers can identify with the women's bodies and admire the women's confidence in displaying them. 

4. Qualify your thesis: Sometimes you want to make a strong argument and to state your thesis bluntly.  Often, however, you need to acknowledge that your assertions may be challenged or may not be unconditionally true.  In those cases, consider limiting the scope of your thesis by adding to it such tens as may, probably, apparently, very likely, sometimes, and oftenDove's and Cover Girl's ad campaigns featuring "real women" may work because consumers can identify with the women's bodies and admire the women's confidence in displaying them.* 

Creating a thesis statement:

  • Think of a topic that interests you
  • Review the key terms/concepts listed at the end of the chapters in the text book
  • Search Psychology topics
  • Narrow your focus down to a subject within a specific branch of psychology.
  • Think of some ideas regarding the topic
  • Thesis statement should discuss how the topic relates to human behavior
  • Create a specific statement/ thesis statement about the topic. Thesis should not be a question.

How to create a thesis statement:

  • is a one-sentence statement that expresses your claim or theory 
  • should never be so broad that it’s difficult to discuss all of the relevant information.
  • is narrow, rather than broad. If the thesis statement is sufficiently narrow, it can be fully supported.
  • is specific rather than vague or general.
  • has one main point rather than several main points. More than one point may be too difficult for the reader to understand and the writer to support.
  • should align with a topic in psychology and list a resulting behavior.

Avoid using terms such as: 

  • long-term effects
  • affects
  • adverse effects
  • will influence
  • impacts

Instead, list what you mean by those terms, be specific in your thesis statements: 

For example: Thesis statement: The type of parenting style you are raised in is the way you are going to parent your children.  

  • This thesis statement is too general and vague. Which parenting style? Effect, how? What do you mean by outcome?
  • An acceptable thesis would be: "People who were raised with a permissive parenting style will become adults who are not accountable for their actions."
    • This is specific and concise. It lists a specific parenting style and a specific outcome.

The goal of this assignment is to ensure that your thesis statement is specific and aligns with the instructions. If you do not adjust it, you will lose significant points.

*Bullock, R. & Weinberg, F. (2021). The Norton field guide to writing with handbook, 5th ed. W.W. Norton & Co. 387-389

What is Empirical Research (Research Study)?

The word empirical describes any information gained by experience, observation, or experiment.  One of the central tenets of the scientific method is that evidence must be empirical, i.e. based on evidence observable to the senses. In well-conducted research, observations about the natural world are cemented in a specific research question or hypothesis.  Empirical studies are studies based on actual and objective observation or experimentation.  Descriptions and results of empirical studies are published in scholarly/peer reviewed journals.  Literature reviews are summaries of published research on a particular topic and are not empirical studies.
When reviewing a journal article, look for the following key components which identifies it as an empirical research study:

  1. Abstract
  2. Introduction
  3. Method
  4. Results
  5. Discussion / Conclusion
  6. References

Check these databases for articles: (You will need to login to GALILEO with your LTC email and pw for access)

Parts of the Paper

Your paper will have 3 distinct parts:

  1. Introduction: The key is to summarize what is known about your topic. This is an overview of the topic. The introduction starts by providing some background information about your topic, so the reader understands the key thesis being addresses and why it is an issue worth writing about. It is important that you only include information that is directly relevant to the topic.  Include any key terms and provide definitions. 
    Clearly list your thesis statement. Discuss why this topic is relevant or important.
  2. Article Analysis
    • Summarize the background information (found in the introduction)
    • State the hypothesis, theory or research question(s): (found in the introduction)
    • Describe the methods used (found in the methods or measures)
    • What were the results (found in the results)
  3. Conclusion: The conclusion wraps up your paper.  You should briefly summarize what you learned from the articles.  Evaluate the information you obtained from the research studies and form personal conclusions.  Explain why you agree with the articles.  Discuss your own interpretation of the topic and findings.

Format / Requirements

This paper must be in APA format, including a title page and a reference page. This paper must be at least 5 pages in length, which will be a total of at least 7 pages.

2.22 Margins:  1" on all four edges of the page

2.19 Font:  Choose a single, readable, and widely available font such as Times New Roman or Arial. In general, use the equivalent of at least eleven-point Arial or twelve-point Times New Roman for the body of the text. (Some fonts like Arial, take up more space on a line and appear larger than other fonts at the same point size.

2.21 Spacing:  Double-space the entire paper, including the title page, abstract, text, headings, block quotes, reference list. table and figure notes, and appendices, with the following exceptions:

  • title page: Elements of the title page are double-spaced, and an additional double-spaced blank line appears between the title and byline.  At least one double-spaced blank line also appears between the final affiliation and any author note.
  • table body and figure image: The table body (cells) and words within the image part of a figure may be single-spaced.
  • footnotes: Footnotes that appear at the bottom of the page on which they are called out should be single-spaced and formatted with the default settings of your word-processing program.  Footnotes on their own page after the references should be formatted like regular paragraphs of text - that is, indented and double-spaced.
  • displayed equations: It is permissible to apply triple- or quadruple-spacing in special circumstances, such as before and after a displayed equations.

It is not necessary to add blank lines before or after headings, even if a heading falls at the end of a page.  Do not add extra spacing between paragraphs.

2.23 and 2.24 Paragraph Alignment and Indention: Paragraphs should be left justified and indented 0.5 in. or use the tab key to indent the first line of each new paragraph.

*Publication manual of the American Psychological Association: The official guide to APA style. (Seventh edition.). (2020). American Psychological Assocation, 44-45. 

Requirements for the selected articles:

  • Must be an empirical research study (contains a methods section)
  • Must be from a peer-reviewed social science journal from GALILEO (You will need to login to GALILEO with your LTC email and pw for access)
  • Published after 2010


Example outline for paper

  1. Title Page
  2. Introduction
  3. Article #1
    • Background
    • Hypothesis
    • Methods
    • Results
  4. Article #2
    • Background
    • Hypothesis
    • Methods
    • Results
  5. Conclusion
  6. References

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