Paper Option

Papers are due by August 4th, at 5 pm.

Please read through everything on this page before beginning the paper option. It will help you to avoid common mistakes.

TURN IN PAPERS HERE:   Sona Papers SmartSite 

If you are not a member of the Sona Papers Smartsite, email me, and I will add you.  I will need your UCD email address.

Links to papers

What is the paper option?

If for any reason you cannot or do not want to participate in six hours’ worth of research studies, you may write brief research papers instead. These papers are based on reviewing one or more research articles written by faculty members in the Psychology Department. The idea behind this assignment is that you can learn about the research conducted by the faculty in the Psychology Department, either by participating in studies yourself (and receiving brief explanations of them at the time) or by reading articles and write summaries of them. If you are under 18, you cannot participate in research studies.

What exactly should I write in my paper?

Instructions for writing your paper are provided Paper Template. Be sure to follow the prompts carefully. Failure to do so may lead to your paper being rejected. See the end of this page for a list of common paper errors.

When is the paper due?

The deadline for turning in papers is the same as for completing research. However, it is recommended you turn in your paper(s) early in case there are revisions needed.  You can turn in your paper any time before the deadline.

When if my paper is late?

Late papers will not be accepted. If you turn in a late paper for PSC1 and/or PSC41, you will receive an incomplete for the class. You may use the paper to clear your incomplete.

How do I turn in my paper?

Write your paper, then copy and paste it into the blank space provided on SmartSite assignments.  Type your name and your student ID on your paper, and if you are taking more than one class that uses Sona, the name of the class you want to use the credits for.  Each paper should be uploaded separately; that is, do not submit one big file that has all three summaries.  Do not submit your paper twice.

If you cannot paste into the space provided, then there is probably hidden text in your document. To remove hidden text, copy and paste your paper into a plain text editor, such as Notepad (Microsoft) or TextEdit (Apple). That will remove the hidden text. Then you can copy your paper from the text editor and paste it into SmartSite.

I will not accept papers via email.  If you are not a member of the Sona Papers SmartSite, and you want to turn in a paper, email the subject pool coordinator and ask to be added to the Site.

What journal articles can I write about?

You can receive two research credits for writing a 1000-1500 word summary and reaction on any article included on the list of papers linked above. Articles not on this list will not be accepted. These papers are all written by UCD faculty members, and represent the diversity of research that takes place in the Psychology Department.

Can I reuse papers for more than one class?

Each paper must be written on a different article. We do have a record of what papers you’ve summarized already. You should be able to see what papers you have already summarized by looking at the comments column on your credits page.

Note: The article list was updated as of March 2015 to include some newer articles. If you previously summarized an article by a specific faculty member and there is now a new paper from that faculty member, you are free to summarize this new paper.

How many credits is each paper worth?

One paper counts as 2 research hours (2 credits).

Can I earn partial credit?

No, you cannot earn partial credit. Each paper is worth 2 points, period. If your paper is unsatisfactory, you will not earn any credit.

But I do not need 2 full credits. Can’t I just write a shorter version of the paper?

No, you cannot. If you are going to use the paper option, you must write the paper according to the requirements. This is the only option, and these papers are graded Pass/Fail. So even if you only need one more credit, you can’t simply write half of the paper.You need to fully complete the assignment in order to avoid an Incomplete.

Can I write papers and still be in studies?

Yes, (as long as you are 18 or over) you can complete your requirement by participating in studies, writing papers, or any combination of the two. As long as you have 6 total credits, you will have met the requirement.

What happens if my paper is rejected?

Typically, you are given a chance to edit your paper and make any necessary changes to make it acceptable. However, if you turn your paper in on the final due day, you will not have time to make these changes before the deadline and you may receive an Incomplete. So be sure to turn in your papers well in advance of the due date to leave time to make any changes.

How long does it take for my paper to be graded?

Papers will typically be graded within 48 business hours, but it may be slower near the end of the quarter due to the high volume of submissions. I urge anyone wanting to turn in the paper option to do it early, as the very end of the quarter has an extreme flood of submissions which will prevent me from giving you possibly necessary edits.
If you send me your paper on the last day I will NOT give you revisions. You will get an incomplete which you will need to make up over the break or in the next quarter. In the last few quarters I have received up to 200 paper submissions on the last day. In order to reach credit report deadlines, I am having to stop giving revisions on the final day.

What can I do to make sure my paper is not rejected?

DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Plagiarism is a serious offense. It is theft of intellectual property and will result in referral to Student Judicial Affairs (SJA). Plagiarism includes rearranging the words of the author’s original sentence, copying the author’s words and changing one or two of them, copying the author’s words and not using quotation marks. To be sure you know how to avoid plagiarism, see This document from SJA. Also, do not quote the authors. Write the paper in your own words. See the next sections for more on this.

Also, see below to avoid common paper mistakes.

Common Paper Mistakes
Paper is not long enough.

Your paper needs to be at least 1000 words. This DOES NOT include your name, direct quotes, headings, or references. Direct quotes do not count because the purpose of the assignment is to demonstrate that you understand the journal article you read not that you know how to copy and paste. See the next item on this list. The word count also does not include author names. Some articles have over 6 authors with long last names, and listing them all seem to be an easy way to pad your paper. However, these will not be included in your word count.

Your paper contains quoted sentences from the journal article, rather than your own words.

Your paper needs to be in your own words. If you quote sentences from the journal article instead of writing the material in your own words, your paper will be rejected outright.

Your reaction section contains the wrong information.

This section is supposed to be your reaction,so it should be hard to get wrong: you liked it, you didn’t like it, it reminded you of xyz that you learned in class, etc. Do not simply restate the results here. You also should not be too broad and say something like, “It applies to what I learned in class because it is psychology and an experiment.” We’re looking for specificity here, as well as your personal opinion and thoughts regarding the paper.

Your paper is unreadable.

One or two typos are forgivable, but please proofread your paper. If you have incomplete or incoherent sentences, too many words spelled wrong, etc., your paper will be rejected.