Psychology is a “writing-in-the-major” undergraduate program (WIMP). Every psychology course requires that students write; however, the type of writing varies by instructor and course content. By completing the psychology major, students fulfill the “writing emphasis” component of the UWL general education requirements. Strong communication skills including writing and oral presentation represent key hallmarks of a liberally educated person and comprise one of the American Psychological Associations' goals for the undergraduate major.
UWL psychology instructors will indicate the extent to which your papers must conform to APA style (6th Ed.). Some courses, notably 331 and 451, require a research paper submitted following proscribed APA research paper elements (as if you were going to submit the paper for publications). Many courses will have papers that will require APA referencing style. Some instructors may require APA referencing and a few selected other stylistic elements. Some papers will not require any APA style elements. However, if you have any questions about style elements, it is safest to assume APA 6th edition style and consult with your instructor.
UWL's Psychology Department provides feedback to students regarding communication on several key elements:
group projects are required, faculty may also provide feedback on the extent to
which the project reflected equity and cohesion among group members.
Additional guidance on each of these elements is provided in the two primary documents below:
Purposes of Formal Writing Assignments
Types of Formal Writing Assignments
We do not have a preconceived, one-size-fits-all definition of "writing competence." Rather, individual faculty define competence as it applies to their disciplines and to their undergraduate students. To facilitate this analysis, we distinguish among three broad categories of formal writing:
From the Center for Advancing Teaching and Learning (CATL)
The term "writing-to-learn" refers to writing activities intended primarily to facilitate or develop students' understanding and thinking. Writing-to-learn activities are a necessary complement to formal writing in that a major cause of poor formal writing is poor understanding of the subject matter. In terms of a student's intellectual development, writing-to-learn may be even more important than formal writing since writing-to-learn serves as a vehicle through which students build their understanding of subject matter. During the writing-to-learn process, the main focus is on making sense of the material and not on communicating it in a specific format to an audience.
Purposes of Writing-to-Learn Assignments
Examples of Writing-to-Learn Assignments