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History and Systems of Psychology

History and Systems of Psychology


The abstract is on a page of its own after the title page. It is a brief summary of the content of your paper (typically 100-250). The word abstract at the top of the page is not bold since it is not a heading within the paper.

Full Title of Paper

This is the first page of the body of your paper. The full title of your paper is repeated at the top of the page. Like with the abstract, the title at the top of the page is not bold since it is not considered a heading within the paper. You will see below that headings within the paper are in bold and follow the heading styles required by the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.; American Psychological Association, 2009).

This first section of your paper is the introduction of your paper. It is not labeled separately. It introduces the topic of your paper and the points you intend to make. Why is this topic important to psychology? This section also introduces how your paper will be organized, such as stating that you will review the historical background of the topic and then follow it with an overview of related current trends and discussion.

To summarize the introduction needs to be one to two pages in length. The introduction provides a brief overview of what will be covered and the purpose of the research paper.

Literature Review

This is the beginning of your literature review. Keep in mind, the literature review is not just a summary of each individual article. It is also a critical analysis of your topic supported by information you learned when reading the background literature. Your APA formatted citations for the sources of the information you are discussing is your indication of the literature reviewed.

This section will give an overview of the history of your topic and the theories being covered. It will discuss where the theories came from and how they have evolved over time. Depending on your topic, it may include comparisons and contrasts between the historical theories you are covering.

To summarize the literature review is taken in part from what you wrote in Week 3 Assignment 2. It should include at the very minimum the 6 articles that you found for that assignment. The literature review is not a copy of that material. Rather, it is a synthesis of the material you found into a cohesive review of the literature on your chosen topic.

Subheading 1 Example

Depending on your topic, you may find it necessary to use subheadings within sections of your document. For example, if you are comparing and contrasting Western and Eastern theories, you may have a subheading for Western Theories (and would change the example of a subheading above to reflect the topic of the subheading) and one for Eastern Theories.

Subheading 2 Example

Only use subheadings if you have more than one area you want to distinguish as a sub-section. Otherwise, leave them out and simply use separate paragraphs.


This section of your paper is where you discuss your opinions about the topic you have been covering (backed by the information you have learned and citations for that information). What are the similarities and differences between what you learned in reviewing the literature and what you previously knew about the topic? What is the quality of the research you found on this topic? Did you find any biases in the information you found on this topic? How has this topic influenced psychology as we know it today? What role do you see it playing in today’s psychology? Are students learning enough about it based on what you are seeing in your textbook (Brennan, 2003)? What work is still needed related to this topic (needed research, needed professional debate, etc.)?

To summarize the difference between a great paper and a marginal one is the depth and originality of the conclusions section. This is where you bring together what you learned from the literature review (as well as through the course) in your concluding remarks regarding your topic. The discussion and conclusions section should be one to two pages in length. What is expected that you will integrate what you learned from the course which would also mean providing supporting evidence from your course and text readings (i.e. cite the text as well).

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