Your term paper should be a review of current research on a topic within Psychopharmacology. The basic criteria is that it should consist of a minimum of 5 pages not including the Title page, Abstract, or Reference sections. It should be double-spaced, use either Times New Roman or Calibri 12 point font, have 1-inch margins on each side, and conform to APA-style. It should also contain a minimum of 7 peer reviewed sources which collected original data (that means no literature reviews, web-sites, books, or opinion pieces from experts) from within the last 5 years.
The literature review paper should summarizes the research, highlight where there are conflicts and similarities between studies, and discuss directions for future research.
Research Summary/Literature Review
The primary goal of a literature review paper is to synthesize research on a topic while also shedding a new light on that topic. Writing a literature review paper involves first doing substantial research both online and in the library. The goal of your research should be not just to find all of the relevant articles on the topic, but also to evaluate those sources. Reliable sources in psychology are generally those that have been peer-reviewed by other experts in the field prior to publication.
When you are writing a literature review, you should not rely on other research summaries; rather you should go to original sources. Original sources are empirical sources–those that report research findings for the first time. After reviewing the research on your topic, you will want to come up with a thesis statement for your paper. Your thesis statement should present some conclusion about the research on that topic—a statement that summarizes, integrates, or reinterprets the data. Your thesis may be, for example, a theory that explains why two sets of research seem contradictory or a theory of how two seemingly disparate research traditions are relevant to one another. Literature reviews are not divided into a fixed set of specific sections, but you should use sub-headings when introducing new topic areas within a paper. At the very least a good research summary should include a clear introduction, a body in which the evidence is presented, and a discussion. Here are some questions to consider as you draft your research summary:
Why is this topic important? What is the history of this topic? What are the related theories or findings? What is your claim or thesis statement?
What is the evidence that supports your claim? What evidence runs contrary to your claim and how do you reconcile that with your claim? The body of your paper should describe the research that has previously been done on this topic, as well as any controversies or alternate opinions. At each stage of your discussion, you should relate the evidence you present to the major conclusions you are trying to make.
What is your final conclusion? What questions remain? What does your conclusion mean for other people’s theories
or explanations? In this final section you will want to synthesize the findings you described in the body into a succinct summary. You should return to the issues that you raised in the introduction, and close the loop. You should also discuss the possible implications of your argument for existing theories and for everyday life.
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