Description As discussed in the early days of the course, the papers may be one of three types—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 interests you. For the first assignment, I am looking for a proposal and an annotated set of at least five good references. “Good” 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 can’t talk about today’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 proposal—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. “Annotated” 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 “annotation” 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 be—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 level—peer reviewed journals, scholarly books, primary sources? (other sources can be used, but if you can’t find appropriate sources to support the meat of your paper, there’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 contentious debate)
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