What are good theory papers like?

Personality Theory Handout

Purpose of the assignment:

This assignment is to give students an opportunity to synthesize an understanding of personality theories by developing one of their own. You may choose a specific topic that your theory explains or you may develop your theory so that it provides you understanding of your past self, your current self, and helps you anticipate your future self.

What are good theory papers like? They have these characteristics

1. Are clear

2. Make few assumptions—of course, the assumptions must be identified

3. Describe relationship to other published, i.e., known, personality theorists

4. Generate testable hypotheses

5. Relate to existing scientific literature

Modified from

Tangen, K. (2010, July 11). Tangen’s Theory of Personality. Retrieved from https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=HT3JwEalSw0

Suggested Organization:

Part 1 Foundational theories and assumptions

You need an introductory paragraph that can introduce these items OR be a part of this section. You need sources to support which theories serve as a foundation for your theory.

Part 2 Description of the theory

Make sure you explain the actual theory. Here you can include what testable hypotheses the theory produces. You will also need literature to support the overall theory description.

Part 3 How does the theory explain a TOPIC or explain your past self, your current self, your future self

This section answers how useful your theory is in terms of its ability to explain. Of course, you will use sources to support yourself here. DON’T forget that your paper needs a conclusion!


Steps to completing the literature review project:

1. Look for some literature!!! On Wednesday, January 30th, be prepared to talk about two different research articles that you think may help you write your paper. Make sure you answer why these two will help you.

2. Define your paper, aka, what is your thesis, topic, and/or approach? For Friday, February 1st, come to class prepared to present your paper thesis. To complete this assignment, bring to class a word-processed single paragraph about your topic. Some things to address include: why is it of importance to you; what do you know about it already; and/or what questions regarding personality do you seek to answer. Keep in mind this could be a great draft of your introductory paragraph for your final paper.

3. What are the two different existing theories which inform your own theory? For Friday, February 15th, bring to class a word-processed single paragraph about two theories, minimum, that inform your theory. Be prepared to share these with classmates and ask/answer questions about how your theories will be incorporated into your paper.

4. Read, read, read, and take notes on a minimum of 10 scholarly journal sources (you may use other sources such as web pages, dictionaries, books, etc but none of these will count for the minimum noted). An APA correct reference list of at least 10 scholarly journal sources is due as upload to moodle by Friday, March 1st at 11:30 pm. Submission of a complete draft reference list may earn you up to a 5 point addition for your final paper grade.

5. On Monday, March 18th be prepared to address in class how your thesis may have changed and how your introduction and your conclusion paragraphs are going.

6. Summarize, evaluate, and write up your sources into a unified paper that is 15 pages, minimum, not counting the required title page and reference list. Submit a draft of your paper via moodle by Wednesday, March 27th at 11:30 pm. A complete draft by this time may earn you up to 10 points to be added to your final paper grade.

7. Correct your draft!!! Make sure your final paper has complete APA format specifics including:

a. Title page

b. Body with in-text citations that match reference list

c. Reference List

8. The final MS word format paper (minimum 15 pages not counting the title page and reference list) and PDF uploads of all cited scholarly articles are due by 11:30 pm on Friday April 26th, via moodle. Late submission penalty: if submitted within 24 hours after the deadline, 5 points. After 24 hours late, will result in a total of a 10-point deduction and NO late submissions allowed after 48 hours.


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