Paper Option

Deadline Winter Quarter 2024: Papers due Thursday, June 6th at 5PM.

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

Overview: (1) Each paper should be 700-1000 words. (2) Each paper is worth 2 research credits. (3) Each paper must review a research article from this list.  It should include a summary of the article and present your reactions to it as per this template. (4) Papers are due last day of instruction of the quarter. (5) You will upload your papers to the Papers for Research Credit Canvas course — if you are not already added to this course, please email the subject pool coordinator at

What is the paper option?

If for any reason you cannot or do not want to participate in your required 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 or by reading articles and writing 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.

What if my paper is late?

Late papers will not be accepted. If you turn in a late paper for PSC1, PSC 1Y and/or PSC41, you may receive an Incomplete for the class.

How do I turn in my paper?

You must be part of the “Papers for Research Credit” course on Canvas. If you are not currently added to this course, please contact the Subject Pool Coordinator.

Once you have been added to the Canvas website, you will see 6 assignments (Research Papers 1 -6).  To submit a research paper, you will upload your writing as a MS Word or PDF document in Canvas under each assignment.

Be sure to include your name and your student ID on your paper, and the name and section 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 contains multiple research papers.

What journal articles can I write about?

You can receive two research credits for writing a 700-1000 word summary and reaction on any article included on the list of papers here.  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 2020 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.

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 700 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. Don’t just paste parts of the papers without quoting and not consider it quoting either, I can tell that you copied and pasted.

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.