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Writing Assignment 2: Personal Applications Essay

This essay is meant to encourage you to think about the connection between the academic and experiential sides of life. Pick an incident, behavior, thought, or fantasy from your own life, or from someone you know, and examine it in context of theories and research we have been reviewing. Many possibilities exist — something personal that happened to you, some thoughts or feelings that you’d like to understand better, a friend whose experiences you’ve wondered about, something important or interesting that you’ve read about or observed, or perhaps a disagreement or other interpersonal problem that you’ve had or are currently having. The only rules are that the events, thoughts, or feelings must be real; that they must apply somehow to you; and that they must connect with the course content.

  In some cases, your experience will be similar to what the research or theories describe; in other cases, your experience may seem contradictory or may suggest further considerations that the researchers seem to have overlooked. Any of these would be fine; the key is to examine your experience from the perspective of research and theory. (For example, a starting point might be:  “Snyder, Tanke and Berscheid [1977] concluded that merely expecting someone to be attractive would create interactions in which people behave in a more friendly and outgoing manner, and indeed, I’ve often noticed that when I am in an optimistic mood, my dates tend to be more enjoyable …”.)  This means that I don’t want you to spend more than a few sentences discussing the research or theory; the bulk of the paper should focus on your understanding of the event.

  This essay should be 3 pages, double-spaced (Times New Roman font, 12 point). Describe the event, but use most of the paper to examine and discuss it in terms of theories and research discussed in class or in the readings. You do not need references or a bibliography, but be clear about which theory or studies you mean. You can do this by naming the theory, phenomenon, or study authors, as is commonly done in the textbook. Be sure that quotes from the Internet, books, etc., are properly noted (in quotation marks) and cited.

 
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