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:

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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
Running head
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.).

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