Psychology 101: Informal Learning and Technology

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Purposes & Expectations:
Writing the final papers


Purpose:
To learn what is involved in and how to make and to communicate a research question in developmental psychology about the learning of ethnically diverse children in an informal setting based on computer technology and telecommunication (see the five core questions) through integration of the data base of field notes (both yours and your fellow students'), assigned readings, and your personal (and other class members') experience.

You should also learn to imagine possibly interested audiences for your learning. Who might want to know what you are coming to know? How might the answers to these questions shape your two final papers?

Our expectations:
In your final papers, we expect you to:

  1. state research questions and their importance for the field of developmental psychology, local communities, and a broader society,
  2. state who might be interested in your papers;
  3. describe your method (i.e., number of involved children, period of observation, chosen method of observation [e.g., did you focus on several children and observe them over several weeks or did you focus on different children each time?], number of field notes [e.g., were they only your notes or did you include someone else's notes?], and way of analysis [did you count something in the notes?])
  4. bring supporting evidence from field notes and literature,
  5. build argumentation,
  6. consider alternatives,
  7. state your findings, and
  8. make conclusion comments about implications of your findings.

Your 150-word abstracts should include: the purpose of the paper and its importance (1-2 sentences), your method (1 sentence), findings (1-2 sentences), implications (1 sentence), and addressed audience (i.e., who might be interested in reading the paper) (1 sentence). Of course, the numbers of sentences are suggested and may vary.

Please, keep in mind that your final papers are not confidential and should be addressed to the general public. You must take responsibility for protecting privacy of the involved children, Barrios Unidos staff, and your fellow students whom you discuss in the paper. Protecting privacy and the well-being of the community you studied (and its individual members) must be your highest priority as a researcher. We suggest to use four privacy protection rules:

  1. Try not to use people's real names as much as possible (use pseudonyms);
  2. If you have to use people's names or people's direct quotes (usage of direct quote is very illustrative), show the participants of your research how you used their names and quotes in your text (do not forget to provide the context of the usage) and ask the people for permission to use their names and quotes. You must either go along with their suggestions to change the text, or modify the text to cover the people's identity, or drop the controversial fragment out of the paper;
  3. Even if you do not use people's names or direct quotes but they may recognize themselves in your paper (and others may recognize them), try to describe the participants in a way that they would agree with your descriptions and interpretations. The rule of thumb is that your descriptions and interpretations of events and people's behavior should be respectful toward the people you studied;
  4. If you have doubts or somebody raises doubts about the accuracy of your description and/or interpretation of the depicted events (there is nothing wrong if this happens because clarification of the occurred events is a part of any research), it is essential to consult with the participants and ask them for the feedback.

You are encouraged to read each other's papers and to provide feedback and comments for one another. This process is extremely valuable for your own learning and is a wonderful way to be helpful and participate in others' learning. We request that you include acknowledgments for those who read and commented on your paper as well as for the participants in your research.

You should provide references to field notes, Web discussions, and literature (assigned or additional) in the text of the papers and a reference list at the end of the paper (the reference list is counted in the length of the papers :-). The reference format can vary and should include:

  • author(s),
  • date (or year) of the publication,
  • underlined title of the publication (Subject or Keywords for the messages and field notes),
  • page number(s) (for a direct quote, if possible),
  • place of publishing (for field notes and messages from the class Web write, "UCSC")
  • publisher (or for field notes and messages write "The class Web discussion at http://www.ematusov.com/psych101, Psych.101: Informal Learning & Technology, Fall 1996").
  • It is also appropriate to refer to personal communication or class presentation. In these cases make reference only in the body of your text and do not put in the reference list. The format should include author(s), approximate date of exposure, and type of exposure (e.g., personal communication, class presentation).

    In your first paper, you should use at least one additional chapter, article, or book reference that is not included in the assigned reading and at least two other WWW sites (see How to find a topic of your interest on Internet). For additional WWW site references, use the format described above.

    Expectation

    Rationale

    Source for help

    1. If you have problems with keeping up with the schedule of development of the final papers, you should contact your TA as soon as possible. The final papers are the culmination of the class activities -- you should learn how to prioritize working on them. Your TA
    2. If you feel that, although you keep up with the schedule, you are overwhelmed with the final papers, please, contact your TA and/or the Instructor. It is important to find a zone of comfort in learning. This may require you to adjust the way you organize your activities, to make special arrangements, and/or to adjust the course assignments. Your TA, Instructor

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    For comments and questions contact the Instructor Eugene Matusov.
    ©1996. Last changed: December 21, 1996