Investigate a Current Topic in Aging

Term Project – HDFS 312

Investigate a Current Topic in Aging

Background and Purpose: As a culmination of your learning in this course, you will develop a comprehensive research-informed project on a topic of your choice. This assignment provides you the opportunity to gather and synthesize information from multiple sources, and to showcase your ability to engage in critical thinking. This assignment will challenge you to hone the necessary skills for producing an organized, professionally-written paper or poster that follows APA style and formatting.

Format: In your exploration of the topic you chose, you will gather information from multiple sources –  information that helps you to further understand the topic, its effects on adults, and how adults address or manage it. You will synthesize the information you gather into a format of your choosing:

Option 2: Poster

Design a professionally written and creatively-displayed Powerpoint (.PPT) poster

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. A great starting point is to use the article you selected for the Article Presentation project.  Because you already will have great familiarity with this topic, it makes sense to expand your literature search from here to gather other empirical sources on the topic.

Or, if you would like to use a different topic, you can consider a topic we learned about in class or discussed in your text book, something you have always wondered about, or something you have heard in the news recently. It’s great to be creative, but do make sure that you’ll be able to find information from all of the 4 sources on your selected topic.

Four Required Sources:

  1. Four factual statements from the textbook.  At least four factual citations from the Bjorklund textbook must be included in your project (i.e., you should have at least four different statements of information from the textbook that are included in your project and cited).  NO direct quotations from the textbook permitted.  Paraphrase and cite each statement of content. 
  • Three recent scholarly journal articles.  These must be from scholarly, peer-reviewed journal articles or handbook chapters (NOT textbooks, books, magazines, newspapers, or articles found on the internet). The research must be recent (e.g., published in the past 10 years). The goal with these sources is to provide more information about the topic than was found in the textbook.  Find these articles on the PsycINFO library database.  Please see the search tips in Canvas to find great articles!  As you integrate each scholarly source into your project, describe the information from that source and cite it in APA style (include an in-text citation as well as a reference list at the bottom of the poster/paper). Again, no direct quotations from journal articles are permitted (instead, paraphrase and cite).
  • Two to three interviews with adults for whom this topic is relevant.  You may use pseudonyms for these people, but do describe who they are (e.g., age, gender, where they live, career, marital status, etc.) and how you know them (“the person is a friend/family member/professional contact of the writer”).  Develop your own interview questions that will garner you information relevant to the topic.  Your goal is to describe the person’s experience with the topic, how it has affected (and/or may affect) his/her life, feelings and attitudes about it, and any suggestions for how it could be handled better or suggestions for resources they would like to see offered to adults to help with the topic/issue.  As opposed to presenting the entire interview in its own section, shorter quotes or snippets from the interviews should be incorporated with the other sources.  You may include direct quotations or you may paraphrase. Either way, be sure to cite interviews properly using APA rules for personal communication (hint: This will appear in the text, but not on the references list!).
  • Two internet or popular media sources. These sources may include a relevant web site, an article in a newspaper or magazine, information posted on a human services agency site, a comic strip, a picture, a quote, a poem, a celebrity profile, an advertisement, etc – feel free to be creative!  If you use some sort of graphic or image, note that you may add it to your paper but to count as an internet or media source, it also must be explained as part of the content. Explain how it is meaningful to your topic, as opposed to simply being an image used as a creative element of the project.  Be sure to cite the sources properly, following APA guidelines for citing a website. Again, no direct quotations from websites are permitted (instead, paraphrase and cite).

Synthesis and Organization:

The ultimate goal is to craft a synthesized, well-organized paper or posterincluding headings, topic sentences, and paragraphs. After reading your project, an adult interested in your topic should have an in-depth understanding about the issue and its associated complexities and nuances. Build a story or narrative with these multiple sources that makes sense. For example, it may make sense to add interview content to immediately following relevant content from one of the scholarly sources. Be sure your project includes information from every required source, and that it is clear (by in-text citations) which information comes from which source. 

Tip: you want to figure out how best to integrate sources together into a well-organized project, as opposed to have “here is the interview section,” “here is the textbook content section,” etc.

Academic Integrity:

This project is expected to reflect your own original work and your own writing. You may not self-plagiarize (that is, you may not submit a paper or portions of a paper you have written for another course or purpose). You must appropriately credit others for any ideas, research findings, or other information that you incorporate into your project. An anti-plagiarism software will be used to scan all assignments. Any plagiarized work without citations will result in a failed grade on the assignment. When in doubt, cite the source.

Requirements for Option #2: Poster

Note that your project design will determine how best to lay these elements out in a visually-appealing way that logically walks the reader/listener through the story about your topic.

  1. Title and your name: The title should be descriptive of the project’s content or a catchy title that captures the essence of your project.  Your title and name should be prominently displayed at the start of your poster.
  2. Introduction/Overview:  Your poster should open by drawing the reader/viewer in with creativity while prepping him/her for the rest of the project.  In other words, catch attention and briefly set up what the project is about. Make a case for why this topic is important! 
  3. Body Paragraphs/Sections: This is where all of your content goes from your multiple sources. Be thoughtful about what to name subsections and how to best organize the information you have gathered. 
  4. Conclusion: Close your poster by leaving a lasting impression while succinctly summarizing the information presented before it. In other words, bring the story to an end by very briefly wrapping up the main point.  Keep in mind that a quote or anecdote may be useful as a way to help conclude your project in an interesting and thought-provoking way.
  5. Writing Style:  Your writing style should be academic in tone, and as concise as possible.
    1. Use sentence/paragraph format, not bullet points.
    1. Avoid 1st person (I, we, my, our) and 2nd person (you, your) point of view.
    1. Posters are graded for proper writing mechanics, grammar, and spelling. See writing tips posted in Canvas to make sure you are aware of what is expected.
    1. The poster should be written in your own words! Direct quotations from the text book, research articles, and websites are not permitted. This means paraphrasing and giving proper credit to the source. (Note: you may use short quotes from interviews.)
  6. References and APA Style: Your poster needs to follow APA 7th ed. style format for citing sources.  Use in-text citations throughout the text, and include an APA-formatted references list at the end.  The references list can be added somewhere at the bottom of your poster and in smaller type than the content, or on a second slide/page (BUT this should be only thing on the second page). Please use your APA manual and the posted APA requirements to guide you.
  7. Creativity: Your project should be creative and visually appealing.  Use background, colors, font, images, graphics, and layout to make the project engaging and interesting.  The creative elements should enhance the project, be relevant to the topic, and catch one’s attention as opposed to being distracting, confusing, or overwhelming.

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