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
education requirements. I
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.
UW-L's Psychology Department provides feedback to students regarding communication on several key elements:
|I. Ideas||II. Organization||III. Conventions (Mechanics)|
a. Content accurate and relevant
b. Use of sources/evidence
b. Flow/Sequencing/logic building
c. Format - audience appropriate
a. APA (as required)
a. Eye contact
b. Verbal skills
c. Visuals Aids
Additional guidance on each of these elements is provided in the three primary documents below:
UW-L 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.
- UW-L Psychology - APA Style Guide (Fall 2013 version forthcoming)
- APA style elements check sheet - the most common APA style elements required by UW-L psychology instructors
- APA research paper - 6th edition style - annotated example from OWL-PURDUE (best free online source for APA style guidance)
Academic writing reflects papers wherein students demonstrate their knowledge about a specific subject. Instructors provide prompts for students to describe, explain, discuss, analyze, evaluate (and so forth) and the results are papers written for instructors as the sole audience for the work. Many types of reports and papers fall into this category: essay exams, short answers on exams, research projects, book reports, papers that analyze or critique a specific topic, issue or problem, etc.
Scholarly writing includes all the types of writing a working scholar might do. The purpose of such writing is to communicate about the ideas, theories, inquiry methods, and research findings of the discipline in the style of the discipline. Types of scholarly writing include journal articles, grant proposals, laboratory reports, field study reports, critical reviews, and scholarly essays.
Professional workplace writing includes the writing in which a working professional might engage. Some examples of workplace writing include program proposals, business letters, interoffice memos, reports to co-workers, feasibility studies, program assessments and evaluations, and many different types of writing for lay audiences, such as brochures, pamphlets, guides, instruction sheets, etc.
Writing-To-Learn. The term "writing-to-learn" refers to informal writing activities intended primarily to facilitate or develop students' understanding and thinking. They can be graded or ungraded – very short or longer. In addition, they are fundamental to helping students write/think in ways that contribute to good formal writing. If, for instance, an instructor has you write your responses to a video, it is giving you a chance to think about the video and process its information in a way that is meaningful to you.