As discussed in the early days of the course, the papers may be one of three typesâ€”a
straightforward analysis of a social problem with recommendations for intervention, a
philosophical paper exploring the philosophy of Radical Behaviorism with regard to
some question (e.g., comparing to other philosophy, conflicts with US law, analysis of
religion, or any of myriad others), or a historical analysis of the development or evolution
of some element of culture (e.g., effect of geography on US character, or on our roots in
Greek culture). As you can see, there is considerable room for you to choose a topic that
For the first assignment, I am looking for a proposal and an annotated set of at least five
good references. â€œGoodâ€ sources will be appropriately high level (peer-reviewed journal
articles are the gold standard, but other things may work as well, depending on your
topic), appropriately behavioral (if the only sources you can find are, say, physiological
psych articles, you may have chosen an inappropriate topic), appropriately recent (the
world changes rapidly; you canâ€™t talk about todayâ€™s problems with sources that are
obsolete). Ideally, you want a paper topic that you are enthusiastic about, and that has a
substantial literature you can use.
The proposal may be in many different forms, depending on your paper topic: it may be a
thesis statement, a paragraph presenting the social problem and justifying intervention, or
even an outline of your proposed paper. I understand that your final paper may vary
greatly from this proposalâ€”you will not be held to every detail. The purpose of this
proposal is to allow me to give you feedback on your choice, to let you know early in the
process whether major changes might be required.
The annotated sources may be presented as a list or as a literature review. The purpose of
this is simply to encourage you to find a topic that has sufficient support in the literature.
â€œAnnotatedâ€ simply means that you have not merely found the title of a source, or even
merely its abstract, but that you have actually located that source and looked it over
enough to know that it will be appropriate for your paper. The â€œannotationâ€ I am looking
for is just a sentence or two (or a paragraph, if appropriate) explaining what it is you will
be able to glean from this particular source. If a source does not seem helpful, it is better
to find this out early than later in the process.
This assignment should make the next steps of your paper significantly easier. Of course,
the more detailed your proposal, and the more sources you are able to find, the easier the
remainder of your paper will beâ€”so it is in your best interest to do more than the
minimum required of you at this point.
In evaluating your ABs, I will be looking at:
Are your sources of an appropriate levelâ€”peer reviewed journals, scholarly books,
primary sources? (other sources can be used, but if you canâ€™t find appropriate sources to
support the meat of your paper, thereâ€™s only so much the gravy can do.)
Is it an appropriate topic? Applying a behavioral perspective to cultural-level problems,
so not a clinical, developmental, or classic social psych question.
Do you have sufficient sources to be able to know it is an appropriate topic?
Do you have sufficient sources to adequately address the question? (there are topics
where conflicting views mean that you could accidentally only present one side of a
Does your annotation address how the paper will fit
paper, and not just reword the
As always, APA format for references and citations.