Research Paper on a Current Topic in Aging
Selecting a Topic: Students are encouraged to select a topic that is of great interest to them! Of course, your selected topic must have direct relevance to older adults (age 50+), and also have a body of empirical research.
Either way, you will want to select a topic that is not too broad and not too narrow (think Goldilocks!). Here are some examples:
Too broad: “Grandparenting”
Just right: “Becoming a Grandparent: Benefits and Challenges Related to Adult Development” OR “Challenges and Rewards Experienced by Grandparents Raising Grandchildren” OR “Strategies for Effective Long-Distance Grandparenting in the U.S.”
Requirements for Paper
APA-formatted Title Page and References Page
Introduction paragraph: Describe the broader topic area and state why this topic is important to adult development. Then, introduce your specific research topic and provide a brief preview of what you will address in the current paper (avoid using 1st person point of view. Instead, “This paper will explore…” (.5 – 1 page)
Use APA-style Level 1 and 2 headings and subheadings to logically organize your paper. Think of the specific aspects of the paper that best support the controlling idea (the research topic). [The body of the paper should provide supporting evidence to support the research and address the research topic, in a logical, fully developed, consistent manner. For each new topic that supports the overall research question, provide a topic sentence or two, always relating findings back to the controlling idea for the whole paper.]
Discuss and integrate recent (< 10-15 years) peer-reviewed publications on the selected topic. This requires an advanced skill of synthesizing the research information that you find. Rather than describe one paper in a paragraph, your paragraphs should be idea-oriented, citing multiple research papers as appropriate to back up your arguments. It is up to you, as the writer, to select appropriate paragraph topics and to organize them in a logical and thoughtful way.
Use proper APA style in-text citations (authors, year) to introduce a source. Do not write the journal or article name, author first names, or university affiliation in the text! Example: “In a study by Jones and Smith (2015), 200 older adult participants took part in an exercise program….”
Conclusion paragraph: Tie your findings together and relate back to the research topic. Provide your own suggestions for how to help improve the understanding of this topic or condition.
Writing style: Use an academic tone and avoid slang or conversational language. The paper should be understood by a broader audience than scholars in the HDFS field (e.g., clearly explain concepts and avoid jargon). Avoid bias. Older adults” is the generally accepted term; the words “elderly”, “seniors,” and “old people” should be avoided.
Strongly suggested reading: APA Manual, section 3 (pp. 61-84): Organization, Writing Style, Reducing Bias in Language, Grammar & Usage.
See posted APA slides and checklist in Canvas to know which requirements will be enforeced.
General Paper Guidelines
Length: 4-6 pages of written text (not including title page or references page)
12-point, Times New Roman font
1-inch margins (top, bottom, right, left)
Double-spaced (no extra spaces between paragraphs)
Include page numbers
APA-formatted title page
An abstract is encouraged, but is optional
Refer to the detailed guides and materials posted on CANVAS as well as the APA Manual (6th Ed.)
Organization: Introductory and concluding paragraphs, as well as headings and subheadings are required to properly organize a paper of this length.
References: You must cite at least 5 peer-reviewed journal articles and/or chapters from scholarly texts published within the last 10-15 years. In addition to the 5 peer-reviewed sources, you may also cite the text book or reputable websites (NIH, NIA, NIMH, CDC, etc.).