research paper

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Format:
Length should be 5 to 7 pages (more is OK if you really get into the subject), with 1-inch margins, double spaced, in a 12-point, readable font such as Times New Roman, Calibri, or Arial.  Please use the APA format, with one amendment.  The amendment is in the in-text citations:  please add the page number of your reference, whether it’s a quotation or a paraphrase, e.g., (Burger, 2009, p. 7) instead of APA’s (Burger, 2009).  And don’t put an abstract at the beginning.  Those are only useful for long, published articles.
 
If you’re unfamiliar with APA format, you can simply Google it – there are lots of sources online – or better yet, drop by the Writing Center in W110, just down the hall from our classroom.  The Writing Center is a stupendous resource, full of experts who are eager to help with any aspect of writing a paper, not just format.  I’m amazed that students don’t make more use of it.  They won’t write a paper for you, of course, but they can help you get started, organize your ideas, deal with problems of clarity, grammar, punctuation, format, all the pitfalls of writing.  Every student I’ve had who really used the Writing Center did much better than they otherwise would have.  Papers that started out as Ds and Fs became Bs and As.  So work with them;  it’s worth the time and extra effort and really pays off.  And don’t hesitate to show them this note so they can see what you’re up against.
 
Content:
I’m interested in what you think about these two articles and about the Milgram experiments in general.  There are many possible ways you can approach it, many possible questions to address, and I don’t expect you to address them all.  It’s usually better to pursue two or three ideas in some depth than to try to cover every aspect of the question and end up doing a superficial job on everything.
 
Some suggestions:
 
Burger had to make some changes in Milgram’s experiment to get his review board’s permission to do it.  Are those changes so significant that he can’t really claim he has replicated Milgram?
 
Burger says his modified experiment gives the same results as Milgram’s, showing that the Californians of the mid-2000s were just as obedient as Milgram’s New Haveners of the early 1960s.  Does it?  How?
 
On pp. 3-4, Burger gives four reasons why “teachers” might go so far in shocking the “learner.”  Which of the four seems most convincing to you?  Least convincing?  Is this the way people’s psychologies really work?
 
Twenge thinks Burger is misreading his own results and that the later generation is less obedient.  Is she right?  Why or why not?
 
Burger’s participants were much more ethnically diverse than Milgram’s.  Does that make a difference?  If so, in what ways?
 
Is even Burger’s milder version of the obedience experiment so upsetting (to the participants and/or in its implications for us all) that it should not have been permitted?  On the other hand, could it show us such important insights about ourselves that even Milgram’s harsher version should be allowed?
 
Which author is more convincing, Burger or Twenge?  Does one have a stronger argument?  If so, what was it that convinced you in their argument?  Is it just that one writes more clearly than the other?
 
Or surprise me:  come up with new approaches, new questions.
 
Other / miscellaneous:
You can go beyond Burger and Twenge if you wish, either back to Milgram’s original study (there are two copies in the NCC Library) or to some of the other new stuff on the topic since then.  You don’t need to use anything but Burger and Twenge, but feel free to add to your list of references.
 
Take their word for the math.  If they say the “chi-squared shows that the relationship is significant” (that is, that it’s really there, that it’s not just by chance), then it is.
 
Try to use some of the concepts we’re talked about in class, and use them correctly, of course.
 
All the best,
 
Dr. Carter
 
 
 

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