Research Paper: Outline & References Assignment Instructions


The Research Paper: Outline & References Assignment is intended to encourage you to start thinking about the Research Paper: Final Assignment in more specific terms. The Research Paper: Final Assignment is the capstone project for this course and will require a great deal of time to be done well.


Your Research Paper: Outline & References Assignment must include:

  1. Your topic
  2. At least a few statements about back ground information for the learning principle and applied research
  3. Your hypothesis
  4. Five references

Please find below a guideline for your Research Paper: Outline & References Assignment. Some example statements have been provided to illustrate the required material. Your Research Paper: Outline & References Assignment should follow this example closely. You may find that your Research Paper: Final Assignment will flow better if you move some minor sections around; see the Research Paper: Final Assignment instructions for a list of material that must be included. It is not necessary to have all of the applied articles you will be discussing in the literature review sections. You are also not required to give specific information in the discussion and assessment sections. Note that it will be helpful to read the Research Paper: Final Assignment instructions before completing this Research Paper: Outline & References Assignment.


  1. Introduction
    1. State your topic (e.g. “This paper will examine the roles of spontaneous reinstatement of operant behavior in drug addiction.”).
      1. State why this topic is important (e.g. “More than 80% of individuals who go through substance abuse treatment will relapse within 5 years”).
      1. State your initial research questions (e.g. “What are the critical variables that contribute to spontaneous recovery of operant responding for drugs of abuse?”).
    1. Background information about the issue
      1. Learning principle (e.g. “Spontaneous recovery was first reported by _______. Later research revealed that _____,_______, and ______ influence spontaneous recovery in animal studies.”).
      1. Principle’s application to the problem or issue (e.g. “______ initially suggested that drug relapse may work through a similar mechanism. The methods used to study spontaneous recovery of drug seeking behavior are…”).
    1. State your hypothesis. Your hypothesis is the main focus of the Research Paper: Final Assignment (e.g. “While stress is a critical factor in the reinstatement of operant behavior for drugs of abuse, its effects can be mitigated by an enriched environment.”). Everything discussed in the Research Paper: Final Assignment should be related back to the hypothesis. Does a study support or contradict your hypothesis?
      1. Define all terms in your hypothesis, referencing appropriate sources
      1. Discuss any points of clarification
        1. Point 1
        1. Point 2
          1. … (as needed)
  2. Literature Review
    1. Theoretical literature pertaining to the learning principle
      1. Overview and summary of each theory or explanation
      1. Relevance of each theory/explanation to the issue
      1. Application of the theoretical findings to the issue
    1. Applied literature—Repeat for each study
      1. Rationale of the study
      1. Overview of the study
      1. Methodology (key elements)
      1. Key findings related to your hypothesis
      1. Critique of the study
        1. Design?
        1. Appropriate methods?
        1. How do the findings relate to your hypothesis/thesis?
  3. Discussion
    1. Summary
      1. Summary of all relative findings
    1. Recommendations
      1. What can be learned from this research?
      1. What are the implications?
      1. To whom are these recommendations relevant and why? (e.g. parents, government agencies, organizations, educational institutions, mental health professionals)
    1. Future Research
    1. Conclusions
      1. Recap the importance of your topic (no new information)
      1. Revisit your thesis statement (did you find support or no support?)
      1. Conclusion based on information derived from the literature
  4. Assessment of Paper Writing Process (this section is based on your process)
    1. How your process worked (evaluate your own writing process)
      1. Outline
      1. PowerPoint presentation
      1. Article review assignment
    1. What have you learned
    1. How is this assignment going to impact your career goals
  5. References
    1. Reference 1
    1. Reference 2
    1. Reference 3
    1. Reference 4
    1. Reference 5

Make sure to check the Research Paper: Outline & References Grading Rubric before you start the Research Paper: Outline & References Assignment.

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