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Pubertal timing and psychological impacts ( focusing on the The effect of pubertal timing on the psychological well-being of boys and girls.

• Pubertal timing and psychological impacts ( focusing on the The effect of pubertal timing on the psychological well-being of boys and girls.

Late pubertal timing affecting boys in psychopathology while early pubertal timing affects girls more.)

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School of Psychology, University of Queensland
PSYC3152: Applied Topics in Lifespan Development
Summer Semester, 2011-2012
Essay Marking Criteria and Guidelines (25%)
Due 10pm 16th January 2012 (via Turnitin)
Goals of Assignment
Weight: 25%
In the essay you will explore an area of recent research in developmental psychology through your own independent reading. This assignment will assess your skills in presenting an accurate, critical and thoughtful summary of your chosen topic that reflects your understanding of how research studies in developmental psychology should be effectively conducted and interpreted.
In planning your essay, it is important that you express yourself clearly and succinctly in your own words. In general, a thoughtful analysis of a small number of key studies is best. You should display an awareness of why these studies are theoretically and/or methodologically important. This is a more appropriate use of the 1500 word limit than an undigested cataloguing of a large number of research studies. Focus your efforts on a carefully selected, small number of readings (up to 5 articles in research journals) rather than expending a large amount of time in exhaustive bibliographic searches. Be sure to stick to the topic you have chosen.
It is possible to select your own essay topic if you obtain the written consent of your tutor 2 weeks in advance of the due date, with a fully articulated alternative essay question that the tutor has discussed with you and approved. Any variation on the listed topics should to be in line with the main research areas covered by this course.
You are free to choose any topic from the list below. Though some will be relatively novel and others may be closer to the topic of your poster conference presentation, you should not let these considerations constrain your choice. Choose a topic that you are interested in, read relevant sections of your textbook, and begin your independent search for relevant research articles. At least 2 of the articles you analyse should be from Tier 1 or 2 journals, and all should be from psychology journals. The journals must be available through the UQ library.
Remember that a major criterion in assessing your essay will be its originality, and the critical, independent thought that it displays. Remember it is your job to read the original research articles, seek out additional research studies, and report your
conclusions in your essay completely independently of lectures, textbook or other second-hand sources of input.
Be creative and let your own ideas emerge as you write your essay: originality and critical analysis of research design and thoughtful conclusions are important. Be concise and to-the-point in summarizing research, a simple descriptive catalogue of lists of studies will not earn a high mark. Instead, your understanding of strengths, weaknesses and overall importance of the studies you have chosen should be clearly displayed.
The word limit for the essay is 1500 words, not counting references (10% over or under the word count is acceptable). Please note the word count at the end of your assignment.
Essay Topic Suggestions
Suggested essay topics appear below. Additional guidelines are below.
Remember: Please feel free to come up with your own topic, but if you do you must get your tutor’s approval of the title in writing at least 2 weeks before the essay is due.
1. Critically evaluate research evidence suggesting that the onset of biological puberty, more so than chronological age, alters the nature and stressfulness of parent-offspring relationships during adolescence.
2. Discuss recent research evidence for and against Laura Carstensen’s theory of
“social-emotional selectivity” (i.e., the proposition that old people cope best with the social constraints and characteristics of old age via a process of socioemotional selectivity in relationships and relationship investments).
3. Consider research on the factors that may influence adults’ decisions about (a) whether to have children and (b) when to embark on the parenthood transition. How is adult adjustment likely to be affected by these choices?
4. Consider the developmental changes in friendship understanding and in the meaning of friendship that take place from childhood through adolescence to young adulthood. Discuss how cultural background could influence this developmental pattern.
5. Consider cross-national and ethnic/cultural factors that may make the transition from employment to retirement easier or more difficult for individuals. How is psychological adjustment and functioning likely to be affected by retiring from work?
General Issues
• DO NOT COLLUDE OR PLAGIARISE! The essay must be your own independent work and you must reference all sources appropriately. Consult the UQ Academic Integrity and Plagiarism policy (
• Consult guidelines for writing in psychology (on the UQ Psychology website):
• Word limit = 1500 words +/- 10%
• 12 point legible font (e.g., Times New Roman or Arial)
• At least 2.5cm (1 inch) margins all around
• Double-spaced
• Using this format, you should fit approx. 300 words on each page
• Recommended that you place your student number (NOT your name) in the header or footer of each page
• Do not use headings for Introduction, Main Body, Conclusion in an essay
• Use the PsycINFO database to find additional references (or Scopus, Web of Science)
 Click “Databases” on the UQ library site
 Click “PsycINFO” under the list of Top 10 databases on RHS
 Type in search terms
 You can Limit your search (e.g., to just journal articles, only English articles, to particular years or particular age-groups) by clicking on “Set other limits”.
HINT: Press Ctrl to select multiple entries in a particular category
 Press search to see list of references relating to your search term
 You can print, email or save this list
 You can also tick those that are relevant, then click “show marked records” on the RHS, and save or print those records.
Referencing in the text
• Never refer to the articles you read by the title or by phrases like “the article”, “the first article”, or “the journal article by …”, etc. Instead, refer to them by the author’s names as follows:
‘Various studies have suggested that infants can communicate their emotions (e.g.,
Bloom & Roberts, 1999).’
‘Bloom & Roberts (1999) have argued that….’
These are only examples, vary the way you present findings – A GOOD TIP: Look at the way the authors of the articles you are using reference other work in their text.
• When citing or paraphrasing a work, put the author(s)’ name(s) and publication date in brackets at the end of the sentence. When citing the authors’ names and publication date only within brackets use the symbol & if there is more than one author.
• When referring to a work within a sentence, use author(s)’ name(s) followed by
publication year in brackets. Use the word and if there is more than one author, e.g.,
Bloom and Roberts (1999) found that …
Essay Marking Criteria & Guidelines:
The Introduction (4 marks)
• Approx 10% of your word count (i.e., 150 words)
• The introduction should describe the general topic and the issues, themes and arguments that are relevant to the topic
• An introduction has three important components:
 A clearly stated viewpoint or argument that you plan to provide support for throughout your essay
 Definitions or any important concepts (e.g., suggestibility, temperament, popularity/loneliness, puberty, socioemotional selectivity, social isolation)
 An outline of the main points you will be discussing in your essay (this is why an essay plan is important!)
 Be sure to defend anything you describe in the introduction using your references
The Body/Main Arguments (10 marks – Evidence & Interpretation)
• By following the essay outline you described in your introduction, defend your argument by summarizing the relevant evidence you gathered to help you determine your position
• Acknowledging the opposing view sometimes helps provide a more convincing argument.
• You need to give clear reasons for the points you are making using research evidence.
• Two important components of the essay body:
 EVIDENCE (5 marks)
 Need to give details of at least TWO studies but generally not more than FIVE.
 Choose recent evidence where possible.
 ONLY report studies that are relevant to the essay question and ensure you include those details of the study (methodology, sample size, etc) that are relevant for your arguments.
 Any statements you make need to be backed up with empirical evidence.
 If there are any noticeable flaws in the methodology of a study, or studies that support an alternative view, these can be pointed out and may be used to discount an argument
 You need to logically, explicitly and clearly link the conclusions of each study you have reviewed back to your argument; i.e., State how the findings of the study support (or don’t support) your view.
 You need to cover all points in the essay question
Conclusion (4 marks)
• Also around 10% of word count, although it may be a bit more.
• The purpose of a conclusion is to leave the reader with a clear summary of the essay, and to make the reader aware of the outcome of the argument that you have developed.
• The conclusion should NOT include new evidence, or reinterpretation of evidence already presented.
• Begin your conclusion by briefly summarizing the major points discussed in your essay (ensure this corresponds to the outline you provided in the introduction).
• Include a statement that highlights how the evidence you have presented supports your argument and leaves the reader with the message you want to deliver in the essay.
• You might want to include a statement that tells the reader how a particular view of the subject area may need to be changed in light of the argument given in the essay.
• Make suggestions for further areas that need to be discussed or researched.
References (2 marks – including correct in-text referencing)
• If you are unsure about referencing see APA manual, and guidelines for writing in psychology may be helpful:
• Begin on a new page with the title “References” centred at the top of the page.
• ONLY list the literature that was cited in your essay. This is NOT a Bibliography.
• Do not number the references.
• List them in alphabetical order according to the surname of the first author using APA style.
• Use initials for first and middle names, not full names.
• Underline or italicize the title of the journal and the volume number. Do not underline the name of the article or capitalize beyond the first word in the title.
• Example (journal article):
Nelson, D.G.K., Hirsh-Pasek, K., & Cassidy, K.W. (1989). How prosodic cues in
motherese might assist language learning. Journal of Child Language, 16, 55 –
• If you cite more than one work in the text in parentheses, list separate citations alphabetically by first author (Anglin & Mallow, 1998, Irvine & Sullivan, 2000).
• When an article has more than one author do not rearrange their names alphabetically. The order of the names is an indication of the amount and/or importance of the work each person contributed.
• For papers with more than one author, use all of the authors’ names the first time you refer to them (unless 5 authors or more). Use the first author followed by et al. the next time you cite the reference but put all names in the reference list.
• When citing someone’s work that you have not read, refer to the work as you would above for in text citation or paraphrasing, but indicate the work that you have read and found it cited in.
e.g., “Anglin (1993, cited in Petersen et al.,1998) found that….” In your reference section, only cite the work that you have read (i.e., in this example you would put Petersen et al., 1998 in the reference section NOT Anglin, 1993).
Clarity and Exposition (5 marks)
• Your essay should make valid points as clearly and persuasively as possible. Decide what similarities, differences, or key points you want to discuss. You may find it helpful to make a clear outline of your argument first. A good rule of thumb is to present one main idea in each paragraph and ensure you link each paragraph. Address the main questions you are writing on throughout. Ask yourself when proofreading whether each point you make has relevance to your main questions. Be sure your reasoning is accurate and persuasive.
• Be careful to only include the most important details of the papers you read and their main findings. Consider the methods of studies you review and make any comments explicit.
• Clarity and organisation are important. Make sure you create and follow an essay plan, state your essay argument clearly, and relate any evidence you report to your argument (i.e., INTERPRETATION!).
• Have someone edit your work if you are unsure of spelling, punctuation, or grammar.
• Watch your sentence construction: avoid long sentences, flowery descriptions and informal language.
• Write your paper in APA format.
• Always write in the 3rd person (avoid I, we, he, she, etc).
• Reread your essay to make sure it is clear, complete and persuasive and free from typos.
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