College of Science and Health > Academics > Psychology > Research > Alternative Paper Option

Alternative Paper Option

​​​Alternative Credit for PSY 105/106 Research Participation Requirement
If you are enrolled in PSY 105 or PSY 106 and do not wish to participate in research to fulfill the Intro Psych Research Participation Requirement, or if you are unable to participate in enough experiments, you will have the option of writing short summary papers instead. Each paper is worth one credit hour. You may do any combination of experiments and papers to complete your requirements.  Papers are accepted by email only (no hard copies) - see below.

To write a summary paper, you will need to find an appropriate empirical scientific journal article. You can find psychology journals in the periodical section of the DePaul library. You can also retrieve many journal articles from the library's website. While some scientific articles can be found through a standard search engine (Google, Bing, etc.), it is recommended that you use the DePaul Library search tool. On the library web site you can go to "databases" and select  APA PsycArticles. Select "Empirical Study" under Methodology and hit Search. (You can narrow it down more by entering a keyword before hitting Search, and by limiting the publication year and limiting to Scholarly Journals.)  The Psychology entry under "Research Guides" on the library website is also very helpful:

Journal Article Requirements
  • The article must be from a scientific journal, such as the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General or Psychological Science (just to mention two - there are many others). It can not be from a newspaper or magazine, such as Psychology Today or Time or the APA Monitor.  The two journals Psychological Reports and Perceptual and Motor Skills are also not acceptable sources, although empirical research reports from most other journals are fine.  If you have any question about whether a source is a scientific journal, email the Coordinator and verify that your source is acceptable before you write the paper, especially if the journal is not from one of the following sources.  Here are some good places to find reputable journals:
  • The article must be research in or related to psychology. In other words, it must report the results of an empirical study or studies. It must have data.  If it does not have a Method section and a Results section, it is probably not acceptable.  
  • The article must be from a current journal issue. This means that the publication date must be from the current calendar year. If, for example, today's date is Jan. 30, 2024, you must use an article published in 2024.  ARTICLES NOT FR​​OM THE CURRENT CALENDAR YEAR WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED, even for winter quarter.
Paper Requirements
Please keep in mind that you will not receive credit for a paper that does not meet the requirements outlined below. To help you a checklist and an example paper are provided below as a guide.
  • Deadline: Please turn your papers in to the Psychology Experiment System Coordinators electronically by emailing them to Be sure to include the phrase, "Alternative Paper Option" in the subject line. You must turn in all papers by the last scheduled class meeting (before Final Exam week), or by the date stated in the syllabus for your class, if the instructor has set an earlier deadline.
  • Rejected papers:  If you submit a paper that does not follow the guidelines you will not receive credit.  In general you will not be able to revise and resubmit rejected papers.  Papers submitted less than a week before the deadline are unlikely to be evaluated in time for you to submit a replacement paper if they are rejected.
  • Citations: All papers must include APA-style citations and a DOI or URL linking to the article. If you are unsure of what this entails, there are numerous resources available online and within the Psychology department to assist you.  An easy way to get the formatting right for the list of sources in your References section is to look the article up in Google Scholar (, click the quotation mark, and copy the APA formatted entry.
  • No plagiarism, including recycling of papers, cutting and pasting of text, or verbatim use of phrases from the article. The optional papers are a class assignment, subject to the same rules of academic integrity as any other course work. Plagiarism, turning in the same paper twice or for two different classes, or other violations of academic integrity will be reported to your instructor and the university.
  • No direct quotations of more than three words. Everything must be put into your own words.
  • Paper Content – see the checklist/template below for details.  

Paper Content Checklist/Template
You may cut and paste this template to format your papers.  Please use the headings as listed in this template:
  • TITLE PAGE (1 Page)
Intro Psych Alternate Research Credit Paper

Insert Name Here
List your name as it appears on the course roster.

Insert Student ID Here
Seven Digit DePaul Student ID No.

Insert Name of Instructor Here
If you have more than one course, only list the name of the instructor for the course listed below.

Insert Course and Section Number 
This is the course for which the credit will be assigned. If you are in more than one course then only list the course for which credit is to be assigned.

Insert Reference Information for The Article Here 
Last name of Author, Initials. (Date of Publication). Title of Article.  Title of Journal , Volume, Page Numbers.  DOI (or URL if no DOI is available.  The DOI or URL must be a valid link to the article).  
  • SUMMARY AND COMMENT (1-2 Pages; 12-point font; double-spaced; 1-inch margins)
Purpose of Study 
What were the authors studying and why? What did they expect to find (i.e., what were the hypotheses?)?

Review the basic methods. How did they measure what they were studying? What type of population (abused kids, adults with a disease, college students, rats, etc.) were they studying?

Results & Discussion
What did the researcher(s) find? Did the results support or fail to support the authors' hypotheses? What is the meaning of the results?

What are your personal thoughts about this study? Does the study relate to your personal life, anything that you have learned in your studies or anything that you have read in the media? Is there anything missing? What questions does this study raise in your mind? If you have other reflections, feel free to incl​​ude those, as well.