Assignments - Psychology of Helping


Research/Analysis Paper

The purpose of this paper is for you to apply research on helping to a question that interests you. That question can take one of two forms:

Research Question

You can choose to integrate research discussed in class with new research you uncover to answer a research question. For example, you might want to know how empathy develops in children. Or, you might want to know what types of approaches or programs to increase helping towards particular groups or causes are most likely to be successful. Or, you might wonder if conscious or unconscious processes are more powerful in the promotion or inhibition of helping behavior. Or, you might ask why some people are more likely to help than others. In your paper, you would thoroughly explore the research on the question you choose to describe what the answer currently appears to be for that question. To complete a thorough review of research on your question, it is likely that you will need at least 15-20 references.

Analysis Question

Obviously, to answer a research question, there must be sufficient research conducted to point towards some converging evidence. However, there might not be enough research to address your question because it is too narrow or just not of sufficient interest to have been thoroughly investigated up to this point. In that case, your can approach your question by applying the research discussed in class and the readings to analyze some facet of helping behavior. For example, you might want to analyze why certain groups of people are less likely to receive help than others even though they are just as needy. Why do people empathize or not empathize with the mentally ill? Are there some mental illnesses that are more "sympathetic" than others, and, thus, more likely the recipients of help? In your paper, you would apply research from the course to thoroughly analyze how your question might be answered.

For either option, your paper should be approximately 8-15 typed, double-spaced pages. Explicitly identify in your paper whether you are completing the Research option or the Analysis option. Additionally, citing of sources in the paper should follow APA format including a list of cited works. Quoting should be extremely limited or, preferably, non-existent. The final paper is worth 100 points.

There are many possible questions. To make sure that you are on the right track with your question and paper you will need to have your question approved by me. I may require you to complete other steps of your paper by certain dates. Failing to do so will result in a loss of points on your paper grade.


Reflective Journals

You will be volunteering at an organization for approximately eight weeks. Those experiences should provide you with ample opportunities to find connections between course material and the work at your organization. To encourage that reflection I am asking you to submit at least two journal entries per week during weeks 3-9. The first entry of the week is due on tuesday at class time. The second weekly entry is due by Friday at noon of that week. Most entries should address course material we have recently discussed in class. However, that may not always be possible; you may instead connect your experiences to a concept from earlier in the term. All journal entries should be typed, double-spaced, and at least half a page in length. They can be submitted as hard copy in class or sent via email to me. A strong (worth 4 points) journal reflection is clearly expressed, directly connects course material to one or more specific experiences in your volunteering, and provides some substantial reflection upon that connection. A good (3) reflection strongly addresses two of the three criteria listed above, and only adequately addresses the third criterion. An adequate (2) reflection only adequately addresses two of the three criteria. A poor (0) reflection only adequately addresses one or none of the criteria. The journal is worth 60 points.

Volunteer Assignments


Possible Exam Questions

Midterm Exam Questions Final Version

Final Exam Questions Final Version


Reading Assignments

Assignment 1 -- due Thursday, March 31
Assignment 2 -- due
Thursday, April 7
Assignment 3 -- due Thursday, April 14
Assignment 4 -- due
Thursday, April 21
Assignment 5 -- due Tuesday, April 26
Assignment 6 -- due Tuesday, May 3
Assignment 7 -- due Thursday, May 5
Assignment 8 -- due
Thursday, May 12
Assignment 9 -- due Tuesday, May 24
Assignment 10 -- due Thursday, June 2