The paper begins with the introduction, where you describe your topic and explain why it is important. The introduction should narrow down to the last sentence or two, where you identify the specific themes/issues you will focus on in your paper (similar to a thesis statement).
The body of your paper will be the most lengthy section, consisting of several paragraphs. Organize according to the themes/issues that emerged as you related psychological information to your pandemic observations. The body must emphasize INTEGRATION of psychological information and your observations, and must be presented in a clear and organized manner.
In the conclusion of your paper, summarize your main points briefly. Please take care to vary your wording; do not robotically repeat your thesis statement! Consider potential future directions for research related to the topic of focus. Finally, consider the implications of the topics described in your paper (i.e., why they are important, why they matter matters). Do not allow your paper to fizzle out in the conclusion with just a cursory summary of the paper’s contents!
You must use APA formatting for in-text citations and a references page. In other words, my main concern is that you cite sources appropriately, both within the paper and in your list of sources at the end. Do not worry about all of the other formatting details, such as footnotes, a running head, etc. One big mistake that I see some students make is that they simply insert URLs in-text or on their works cited/references page. This is a clear sign that the student did not even attempt to format sources correctly. This is an entirely preventable way of losing points!
You MUST be careful to cite the source of each scientific finding in your paper. You must also take care to put things in your own words (i.e., to paraphrase). Please limit the use of direct quotes (one or two, max); scientific writing does not typically include lots of direct quotes. Also, excessive use of quotes can convey to the reader that you may not fully understand the material enough to put it in your own words. The struggle to put things in your own words actually helps you better understand the content!
Use in-text citations to show the source of the information. If you are citing a few things from the same source, you do not need to repeat the citation again and again in the same paragraph if you have not yet cited a different source. If the Smith and Jones article is cited in a paragraph, and then you continue to report information from that same study, it is understood that you are still talking about Smith and Jones. Once you include information within that paragraph from a different source, cite it. Then, if you go back to Smith and Jones, you need to cite Smith and Jones again. Here’s a silly example, using APA format:
Smith and Jones (2015) found that pet hamsters, but not pet snakes, reduce stress in times of isolation. They found that it also depends on what you are doing with your pet. Talking to your pet seems to work best. Similar to their findings, I noticed that my stress was greatly reduced while chatting with my hamster, although I still felt quite stressed during talks with my snake. Perhaps it has to do with feeling the fuzzy fur of my hamster as I hold her in my hand or rub my cheek against hers. In fact, research on the soothing effects of snuggling with fleece blankets would back up this interpretation (Song & Chang, 2018). Stress is not the only outcome of importance, however; pet snakes may not reduce stress, but research shows that they are a valuable source of excitement and entertainment, especially when let out of their terrarium (Smith & Jones, 2015).