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DePaul University Identity Transitions in Midlife Discussion

Human development and research focus

The paper is a literature review on a topic, chosen by the student, related to lifespan development. The goal of this paper is to encourage students to make connections between an area of the literature they are already interested in and a related area of the literature in human development. In this paper students should use development to more clearly explain a phenomenon they are already interested in. For example, someone who anticipates working with adolescents might write about identity development and peer pressure, or the relationship between timing of puberty and educational achievement. The aspects of development influencing the topic you are discussing must be clear. For example: In order to discuss divorce during midlife, a student would need to discuss the identity transitions in midlife as well as other social and emotional developmental factors typical of this age group that might influence someone’s experience of divorce.

Here are some theses for final papers that have been successful in the past:

  • The development of (insert a cognitive, social, emotional, personality development milestone) in (insert a particular context or population).
  • The effects of (insert psychological phenomenon of interest) on (insert a particular age group or developmental stage).
  • The influence of early (choose cognitive, social, emotional, or personality) development on later (insert a developmental outcome of interest).

A successful literature review for this course has the following attributes:

  • It is securely grounded in a developmental phenomenon, process, or question. The paper should be grounded in a developmental phenomenon (or phenomena) and explain your area of interest as an implication or an application of developmental theory or scholarship (5 points)
  • The paper contains a clear argument or perspective guides the paper. In other words, it is not simply a list of article summaries. Instead, it is a coherent articulation of the integration or research and theory across multiple sources where the voice of the author is present. (3 points)
  • All major claims made in the paper are supported by empirical research or theoretical citations. This research is cited properly (in APA style). (2 points)

Human development papers should be 2 1/2 to 3 pages long, double-spaced in Times 12 font (not including cover page, abstract, or references).

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