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PSY 223: Developmental Psychology

Assignment Overview

Instructions for Researching and Writing the Capstone Papers

Each Capstone Paper Assignment is outlined in the assigned module. You are to answer the questions listed on the assignment in the module. The textbook lists different questions, but you are only to answer the questions assigned in the module. The questions should not be included as part of your paper – only your answers to the questions. No abstract is needed, but make sure you do have an introduction (1 paragraph) and a conclusion (1 paragraph). Your headings should be as follows: Introduction, Discussion Questions, Theoretical Perspectives Question, and Conclusion.

Answering each Capstone Assignment question is a two-fold process. First, answer the question with your own ideas, supported by the case information. This requires more than “reading” the case. This requires you to “dissect” the case and pull out the important information that supports your answers. Second, support these ideas you based on the case with professional research. For example, a question may ask, “based on the research, describe four factors that you believe have contributed to Jaime’s academic, behavioral, and social successes – in other words, to his resiliency.” This answer consists of two important items. Based on the case, what are your ideas on the reasons why Jaime was able to be successful, despite his circumstances (in other words, what can you pull from the case that supports your beliefs?). And second, what does the professional research say about Jaime’s situation and resiliency? What does the research say regarding success in this kind of environment? Both of these aspects should be integrated in to your answer. Please cite the case by author and page number and reference any professional research used in the text of the paper, as well as on a works cited page in APA format.

Credibility of Sources – Generally, websites are not credible (for example, Wikipedia,, webmd, etc.). Credible sources are published books and peer-reviewed journal articles. If you have questions, ask the instructor or the class librarian. Please note you are required to use at least 5 professional research sources for each Capstone Assignment. You may use our course textbook as one of your 5 sources.

Research is tough. There is no short-cut to finding and choosing the best sources to support your answers. Also, dissecting the case to pull out the important information to support your answers is also tough work – reading and dissecting are two different activities. My suggestions, take notes, dig deep and write in drafts. Do the work (the real work, the researching and dissecting and then writing the paper is the easy part)!

Professional Research Articles

A scholarly, or professional journal, article is written for other experts in the field. Specific vocabulary is used in these articles that is understandable to the other professionals, but might not be readily understandable to the general public. These articles serve many different functions. Your Capstone Paper instructions state that you should support your ideas with professional research.

When searching for professional research articles, you are looking for studies that professionals have conducted and are communicating the methods, results etc. to other peers in their field.

Recommended Databases

Linked below are a few recommended databases that fit into the scope of the class where you should find professional research articles. Sometimes it helps to add "research" or "study" along with your topic keywords in the search box in order to narrow down the results to a research article.

APA Citation Style Information

  • Follow this link for up to date APA Citation Style information.
  • The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) is also a great resource for formatting your paper and references page, and determining how to cite many different types of sources.

General Services

Library Tutorials

Here you will find self-paced video and print tutorials on how to find and use the resources available to you through the Gateway Library, as well as how to perform all the proper steps in the research process.

Citation and Style Guides

Here you will find information on how to properly utilize the two citation styles used within Gateway classes, as well as example papers and other related resources.

Contact us!

Go to the link above to find our contact information, a direct link to chat with us during business hours, and several other ways to submit questions. Don't be shy! As as student, asking questions is your job!

***Adapted from Ashford University***

State your topic

Your topic is the essential idea of your paper. It is usually a few words or a phrase that summarizes the subject of your paper. For your thesis statement, try to make your topic as specific as possible.

State your main idea about this topic

What are you trying to state or prove about your topic? What are you trying to persuade the reader to believe? When stating your opinion, be sure to:

  • express one major ideal
  • name the topic and assert something specific about it
  • take a stance on an issue that you can support with facts and reasons.
  • state your position on or opinion about the issue.

Give a reason that supports your main idea

Write your reason as a clear statement. Be sure that you can support this reason with logical facts and evidence.

Give another reason that supports your main idea

Write your reason as a clear statement. Be sure that you can support this reason with logical facts and evidence.

Give one more reason that supports your main idea

Tell us one reason that supports your opinion. Write your reason as a clear statement. Be sure that you can support this reason with logical facts and evidence.

Include an opposing viewpoint to your main idea, if applicable

A good thesis statement acknowledges that there is always another side to the argument. So, include an opposing viewpoint (a counterargument) to your opinion. Basically, write down what a person who disagrees with your position might say about your topic.


Click the button to generate your thesis statement!



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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library
San José State University