Topic choice in writing assignments. Levels of learning: Prescription and invention Managing the fear factor: Student concerns General and psychology-specific topic selection tactics Tension: Format prescription vs. content/topic invention.
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Levels of learning: Prescription and invention
Managing the fear factor: Student concerns
General and psychology-specific topic selection tactics
Tension: Format prescription vs. content/topic invention
4. Generative: problems are more complex and ill-defined than questions posed in levels 1-3; students’ answers cannot be objectively assessed as right or wrong
--> writing assignments with teacher-selected topics?
5. Challenging: Students identify their own problem to solve, related to, but not limited by instructor-presented content
--> writing assignments with self-selected topics?
“The hardest part about deciding on a topic is….”
-Finding something that will keep my interest
-Making sure my topic is not too narrow or broad
-Clarifying which ideas will be harder to complete
-Having lots of ideas only to find out someone has already done it
-Making my research original
-Finding gaps in the research
“One thing that my instructor/ section leader could do to help me decide on a topic is…”
-Make sample papers available
-List topics past students have been successful with
-Provide general ideas or topics
-Brainstorm ideas as a class
-Give an outline of main areas of research
-Let me know what “good” journals are in my area of interest
-Ask about our interests and then offer insight or direction
-Provide doughnuts during the decision-making process
Explain a fact
Word association to create analogy
How to search PsycInfo!
“Explain another researcher’s finding”
Good for distinguishing key terms used in the lit
Not useful, except perhaps for theory creation
Who, when, and where useful for theory extension/ limitationApplying general tactics to psychology writing (read the lit)
Use conventional topic selection tactics in psychology without reading literature first
Portray topic selection as theory development
Emphasize internal validity concerns in topic selection phase
Emphasize scope of paper in prescriptive terms (i.e. APA-mandated)
Encourage keyword lists, concept mapping, and esp. who?, when? where? as topic selection tactics after reading lit
Portray topic selection as theory limitation and extension (test external validity)
Emphasize scope of paper from perspective of reader expectations (?)Summary: Recommendations to help students with topic selection in psychological writing