Affect vs effect

  1. Provide a summary of the article. Be sure to include:
    • brief overview of the background information (introduction/lit review)
    • The variables and relationships between them being examined
    • The characteristics of the participants
    • The method and measures used to collect data (does not apply to meta-analyses)
    • The results (it’s ok if you don’t fully understand what’s going on, just tell me in general what they found; no need to use statistics)
    • The implications of the study (why is it important, how is it useful, etc.)
  2. Write down your thoughts and reactions to the article.
    • How interesting was the topic?
    • How well did the authors explain what they did and what they found?
    • Were there any weaknesses in the article?
    • How can you personally use the information in the article?

Each section (the summary and reactions) should be about a page or two; your paper should be around 2-4 pages overall (I don’t care if it’s more or fewer pages so long as you adequately cover everything).  Provide enough detail in the summary that tells me you understood the article, but not so much that you’re going over every little thing.  In your reactions, provide responses that tell me you thought critically about the article and its message.

The assigned articles are more related to the “O” side of I-O psychology.  The “I” side is comprised of the topics we cover in class; in fact, “industrial psychology” and “personnel psychology” mean basically the same thing.  Hopefully in taking INP 4203 you’re getting a good idea of what goes on in the I side.  The O side looks less at individual differences and more at how organizations influence the people working in them.

I’m very interested in the “I” side but generally less interested in the “O” side of the field.  However, many of my colleagues are more interested in the “O” than “I” side, and I can recognize that there is a lot of useful information in the “O” side.  As such, I’m using the extra credit assignment to give you (those who do it) some exposure to the “O” side, which some of you may find more interesting or relevant.

Additional instructions:

Your paper should be in APA format to the best of your ability.  I won’t really be grading it based on correct formatting, but you should get used to this kind of formal writing format.  If you’re unsure about any sort of formatting thing, you can either Google it or go to the Purdue online writing lab (; chances are your Google search will end up there anyway.  Here are some major things to look out for:

  • Your writing should NOT sound the way you talk normally. We use all kinds of sentence fragments, run-ons, and other grammar mistakes in our everyday speech.
  • Don’t use contractions (don’t, won’t, would’ve, etc.)
  • If you don’t know the differences in spellings between homophones (e.g., “to,” “two,” and “too”), now is the time in your life to figure those things out and stop looking uneducated in your writing! Really…people are judging you!  Some other common ones:
    • Than vs then
    • Affect vs effect
    • They’re their there
    • It’s vs its
  • Don’t start a bunch of sentences in a row with the same word, or if possible, even the same letter. Variety is the spice of life, you know!
  • If you don’t know how to spell a word and Word (the Microsoft program) can’t figure out your attempt to spell it, either look up the correct spelling or don’t use it.
  • On that note, Word is your friend when writing papers. It’s pretty good about telling you when you’re butchering spelling or grammar.  Depending on how you’ve set it up, it may offer several other tips to improve your writing (for example, mine highlights contractions and tells me not to use them).  Keep in mind that it’s not foolproof though!
  • A thesaurus, on the other hand, is usually NOT your friend. Unless you’re trying to think of a specific word that you know fits better, stick with common words.
  • Keep things simple: never use five words when one will do. Just say “because” rather than “due to the fact that”; there are no page requirements here (and I usually ignore any requirements given to me anyway) so there’s no need for that kind of fluff.

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