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Select a topic related to the theories of learning. Once you read the literature on that topic you’ll want to develop a thesis statement—a single statement that makes an argument and summarizes your position. Write it as a proposition—that is, a statement from a specific perspective. Then provide support for this statement. It will be important to find support for this position by finding empirical evidence. This gives you an argument to support throughout the paper (cite evidence not just opinion). It will also give you a focus and direction within the literature.

This paper may include quotes and comments from a variety of authors, but bear in mind that this is rhetoric, rather than results from empirical research. Writing like this is common and many graduate students tend use the words of others as support, but as you move into the later stages of your graduate career it is helpful to find your own words rather than “parroting” the arguments and words of other authors.

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Begin your research by investigating empirical results. Use the library’s electronic journal database to find peer reviewed articles. Once you find one or two articles, read their references; that will lead you to earlier papers (often seminal works). It’s best to cite original sources rather than secondary sources (articles that talk about the original). 

Remember to read both the results and discussion sections of empirical papers, and summarize your findings in a synthetic paper that considers articles outside of your textbook. Limit your citations of the textbook.

The last thing to write is a 150-word (maximum) abstract. Place this at the beginning of your paper.

Plan to work on this paper over several weeks. Good scholars take their time and do a good job.

Use the following as criteria when writing your paper:

· About 3,000 words (not including the title page and references);

· Double-spaced, 12 pt. font;

· Include several APA style headings: introduction, subheadings, and conclusion;

· List your references and include 10 or more peer-reviewed articles or other quality sources;

· Limit quotes.

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