By the end of the semester, students will demonstrate their understanding of the course material by submitting a final term paper (5 pages in length + title page and a references page) which will discuss, analyze, and exemplify Social Psychology in Our World. This will be accomplished by selecting one project from the list of project options provided by your professor (presented below).
Your final term paper should showcase your:
-understanding of course concepts that you have learned in this class
-creative thinking skills (please don’t pick physical aggression as one of your concepts – you have known this one since you could crawl – more about this in a bit)
-ability to find, read, understand, and apply scientific research to your topic of choice
-critical thinking skills
-ability to express your thoughts in writing, and
-ability to follow assignment instructions
The WHY: Project Purpose
The Final Term Project has been created for multiple reasons:
- The most fundamental theme of this course is that Social Psychology and social psychological concepts are EVERYWHERE in our world. We are surrounded by Social Psychology in our daily life – from our interactions with other people, news events, social media platforms, and entertainment, to our daily, even most mundane, decisions that we make – social psychological concepts are at the heart of our daily existence. If, years from now, my students do not remember a single definition from this class, I want them to maintain a deep understanding and appreciation of the fact that social psychology IS OUR LIFE. It is not something that we just take a class in and then forget about. SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY IS OUR LIFE. It is the decisions that we make every day, the way we interact with others, it is how we perceive situations, how we respond to circumstances, what beliefs we hold, and how we function on a day-to-day basis. The FTP will allow students to demonstrate this fundamental understanding.
- With technological advancements, a lot has changed in our daily existence. Our ability to access information quickly and easily is at an all-time high. Cable TV, streaming services such as Netflix, search engines such as Google, smart phones, social media platforms, and so many other sources are all providing an ongoing stream of information. However, with a never-ending and quick supply of information, comes the risk of MISINFORMATION. “Fake news”, inaccurate reporting, concerns about data breaches and hacking, and tainted opinions have placed us all at risk for exposure to inaccurate and misleading information, which currently, can put us at risk for actual, physical harm (e.g., inaccurate information about the pandemic and how the virus spreads can affect how people choose to protect – or not protect – themselves, which puts EVERYONE at risk). Since the FTP requires an inclusion of a valid, scientific, recent, peer-reviewed journal article related to your topic of choice, the project will teach students how to locate, read, understand, and use scientifically based information rather than relying on unreliable, easily accessible information sources (such as social media or the first link that pops up on Google) that might be spreading misinformation. (From a personal corner, this summer, my family was almost a victim of a $1400 scam because someone in my family used the first available phone number that popped up on Google to try to rebook flight tickets. Luckily, your handy dandy Social Psychology superhero stepped in… GASP – I think I just found this year’s Halloween costume. Sketches welcome! But I digress.)
- We are all individuals and as such, have different strengths and weaknesses. Not everyone is great at multiple choice exams. Some individuals are much better at demonstrating mastery of course content via written means or in creative ways. The final term project, presented in written format as a final term paper, provides students with the opportunity to showcase mastery of course content in a format other than multiple choice exams. Providing students with an opportunity to showcase their course knowledge via multiple means fosters an environment of learning, growth, mastery, inclusivity, and fairness.
The HOW: Project Structure
How Do I Start?
Below you will find a list of options that you can choose from for your project.
You will select ONE option (and ONE option only).
Choose the option that works best with your current lifestyle, responsibilities, time constraints, interests, and your own, personal strengths. If you are very creative, pick the option that allows you to be creative. If you are more structured, pick the option that allows you to be structured. PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTHS.
What Will I Be Doing?
Watching, reading, listening to, and analyzing our world
Searching for, or creatively presenting, social psychological concepts that you have learned about in the course via the media that you choose to work with (see Project Options below)
Writing an analysis in which you present and discuss TWO social psychological concepts that you were able to find in your media of choice or that you create on your own
Please select ONE option from the list presented below.
Option #1. Social Psychology in the Movies
Choose ONE full feature movie to watch. It does not matter what the movie is about or what kind of a movie it is (no inappropriate selections please). If you want to re-watch one of your favorite movies, that is fine. If you want to watch something brand new to have a fresh perspective, that might be better – but it is not a requirement.
CAUTION: two movies that are OFF-LIMITS for this project are: “Mean Girls” and “Crash”. DO. NOT. USE.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find 2 social psychological concepts which you have learned about in the course, within the movie that you select. Select 2 short movie clips to present as your media to illustrate your concepts. Each movie clip should demonstrate one of the social psychological concepts that you have found in the movie and that you will be discussing in your paper.
-Movie clip #1: presents your first social psychological concept (e.g., fundamental attribution error)
-Movie clip #2: presents your second social psychological concept (e.g., hindsight bias)
BOTH MOVIE CLIPS AND THUS BOTH CONCEPTS SHOULD COME FROM A SINGLE MOVIE. Most popular movies are long enough and complex enough that you should be able to find 2 social psychological concepts in ONE MOVIE.
CAUTION: for the purposes of grading, the movie clips that you select cannot be longer than 3 minutes each and MUST BE available for review via a FREE, non-subscription platform (e.g., YouTube).
Option #2. Social Psychology on TV
Choose a TV show to watch. It does not matter what the TV show is about or what kind of a TV show it is with a few exceptions – no game shows, no sports events, etc. These are NOT good options for this project. This option is intended for popular TV series – drama, comedy, sitcoms, potentially reality TV (though this can vary in appropriateness), etc. If you want to re-watch one of your favorite episodes of a show, that is fine. If you want to watch something brand new to have a fresh perspective, that might be better – but it is not a requirement.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find 2 social psychological concepts which you have learned about in the course, within one or two episodes of a TV show that you select. Select 2 short clips to present as your media to illustrate your concepts. Each clip should demonstrate one of the social psychological concepts that you have found in the episode(s) and that you will be discussing in your paper.
-Episode clip #1: presents your first social psychological concept (e.g., fundamental attribution error)
-Episode clip #2: presents your second social psychological concept (e.g., hindsight bias)
Since TV episodes are generally shorter than movies, you can use two separate episodes of a TV show to find your two concepts, but both clips / concepts should be from the SAME TV show. If you can find 2 concepts in a single episode, that is fine as well. Whether you use one single episode or two episodes of a TV show, BOTH CONCEPTS NEED TO COME FROM THE SAME TV SHOW. Please do not mix and match from different shows.
CAUTION: the episode clips that you select cannot be longer than 3 minutes each and MUST BE available for review via a FREE, non-subscription platform (e.g., YouTube).
Option #3. Social Psychology in the News
Watch / read the news. There is SO MUCH happening right now in terms of current events. Almost every story is filled with social psychology in some way. Find one or two stories that resonate with you and that clearly demonstrate social psychological concepts in what they discuss / how they present the information.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find 2 social psychological concepts which you have learned about in the course, presented / evident in the news. It would be best to find these stories in print (e.g., get a news article online so you can save it for submission with your paper). If you use TV news stories, they must be available for my review.
Since news stories are shorter than movies, you can use two separate news stories to find your 2 concepts. If you can find 2 concepts in a single news story, that is fine as well.
-News story #1: presents your first social psychological concept (e.g., fundamental attribution error)
-News story #2: presents your second social psychological concept (e.g., hindsight bias)
CAUTION: the news story MUST BE available for my review. If it is in a print format (e.g., online news story in print), secure a copy of the printed article. If it is in other media format (e.g., TV newscast), it needs to be available somehow for my review. Overall, the same rules apply to this option as to project options #1 and #2. It cannot be a 20-minute news story. If the news story is in print and would take more than 3 minutes to read, you will need to point out the section that is most relevant to your discussion / that demonstrates your social psychological concept. If it is a newscast story, the clip cannot be longer than 3 minutes. Overall, regardless of the format of presentation, the media cannot take longer than 3 minutes to review.
Option #4. Social Psychology in Existing Memes
Scroll through social media, look on Google, etc. to find some memes. Memes have become a common way of communicating with others. They often provide humorous stress relief, a political commentary, or offer a unique point of view on a topic of interest.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find 4 existing memes that demonstrate two social psychological concepts which you have learned about in the course. TWO memes should demonstrate the SAME concept and TWO OTHER memes should demonstrate a SECOND, separate concept. You want to find 2 separate social psychological concepts and demonstrate EACH concept using 2 memes (for a total of 4 memes in your paper).
-First social psychological concept (e.g., fundamental attribution error): meme #1, meme #2
-Second social psychological concept (e.g., hindsight bias): meme #1, meme #2
CAUTION: as with the other project options, you will need to secure copies of the memes and have them available for review along with your paper. I would suggest copying and saving the memes right when you find them in case they are moved or subsequently deleted. Your memes will be submitted for review on an additional Appendix page, submitted along with your paper. More specific information about the exact page-by-page structure of your paper will be provided closer to assignment due date in a separate document.
Option #5. For the Creative Folks: Social Psychology in Memes – Do It Yourself!
Create your own memes. Memes have become a common way of communicating with others. They often provide humorous stress relief, a political commentary, or offer a unique point of view on a topic of interest.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to CREATE 4 of your own memes that demonstrate two social psychological concepts which you have learned about in the course. TWO memes should demonstrate the SAME concept and TWO OTHER memes should demonstrate a SECOND, separate concept. You want to create 4 memes in total, with 2 memes representing one social psychological concept and 2 other memes representing a different social psychological concept.
-First social psychological concept (e.g., fundamental attribution error): meme #1, meme #2
-Second social psychological concept (e.g., hindsight bias): meme #1, meme #2
CAUTION: as with the other project options, the memes that you create will need to be submitted for review on an additional Appendix page, submitted along with your paper. More specific information about the exact page-by-page structure of your paper will be provided closer to assignment due date in a separate document.
Okay, I FOUND my media! Whoop, whoop! NOW WHAT?
Watch, read, analyze, create – think Social Psychology.
Final Mission Objectives:
Students will write a 5-page, final term paper which will present, analyze, and discuss the social psychological concepts that they have learned about in the course and have found in the media of their choice.
The final term paper will present 2 separate, specific social psychological concepts that you have learned about in the course, regardless of what media is used to showcase them.
CAUTION: please keep in mind that broad constructs such as RELATIONSHIPS, COGNITIVE DISSONANCE, PERSUATION, SELF-IDENTITY, etc. are TOO broad to present in this paper. If you want to discuss some smaller component or aspect of those constructs, that is fine to do, but the concepts presented need to be specific and they need to be clearly reflected in your media. If you are unsure if something is appropriate, please email me and ask.
Additionally, please avoid selecting concepts that you have known all your life or have learned long before you entered my online classroom. A common example of this issue is using the concept of physical aggression. Although this concept is a part of our class, there are many other, more interesting, novel, and creative concepts that you can use. Please keep in mind that one of the main purposes of the paper is to showcase your learning and growth. Using concepts that you have known long before you came to my class does not demonstrate much learning or growth for our purposes.
Each paper, regardless of what media was used, will be presented in a standardized format. Details of exact formatting are to come in the near future, but the overview of paper expectations is as follows:
-Your final term paper will need to include a title page, a references page, and of course the presentation of / access to whatever media was used as the basis for your paper. If you select Social Psychology in the Movies or Social Psychology on TV, links to the clips should be provided on your references page. If you select Social Psychology in the News, any print articles will be submitted as a separate document (more about this later). For other forms of news stories, it is up to you to supply the needed information to ensure that the content can be accessed and reviewed. If you create your own memes or are presenting memes you found online, you will add an Appendix page to your paper to provide the memes for review.
-The paper will be formatted and structured following APA style guidelines. Some APA rules as well as examples of individual paper components (e.g., APA style title page) will be posted on BBL closer to the due date (this will be located under the ‘Course Information’ tab, in the ‘Assignment Instructions’ folder).
-Finally, you will also need to find ONE peer-reviewed, scientific, empirically based, recent (less than 10 years old) journal article that somehow applies to the social psychological concepts that you are presenting in your paper. This journal article will be located through the UH LIBRARY (online). Please do not use Google, Bing, etc. to find your articles because we are trying to use peer-reviewed, validated research. Students will locate, read, and then apply the journal article content to their own discussion to supplement it with social psychological research.
CAUTION: if you choose the ‘Social Psychology in the News’ option as your project, the journal article is a DIFFERENT article than your news article. The news article is your media (the equivalent of a movie, a TV show, or a meme from the other options listed). The journal article is the scientific, research-based support for the discussion of your media content.
All project options require: some form of media to use and analyze (movie, TV show, news article, memes) AND one journal article located through the UH library.
FINAL MAJOR CAUTION: whatever you select to analyze MUST BE available for review via a FREE format (e.g., YouTube). Your paper cannot be accurately graded without reviewing the media that was used as the basis for your paper. Realistically, we also cannot subscribe to, or create, numerous accounts (even if they are free) when the class has 70 students in it. Please make sure that whatever you select is easily accessible for review and that it is free. My recommendation is YouTube because it is free and often contains either full episodes or snippets from shows and movies.
If your media is not available for review, your paper will not be evaluated and you will receive a grade of zero for the paper.
More details about:
-how to find an appropriate journal article
-how to read, understand, and use the journal article in your paper
-how to create an appropriate title page, references page, and appendix page
-how to structure your final paper
-how the paper will be graded, etc. will be coming your way shortly.
For now, I want you to start thinking about the project options, start paying attention to the things you are watching, reading, scrolling through, etc., and start searching for social psychology in your life. IT IS THERE. ALL THE TIME. EVERYWHERE. You just need to look.
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