Position on Drugs

Drug Use and Abuse – Paper Assignment

Submitted on Blackboard by the beginning of classMonday 4/25

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Your assignment is to:


  1. Choose a specific topic area related to one of the drugs discussed this semester (e.g., amphetamines) that relates to our course material as a general topic area. Your goal is to research information on this topic and provide new information about it that has not been discussed in class.


  1. Find at least two research articles on yourtopic choice (your textbook does not count):
  • These should be scholarly sources (journal articles – preferably psychology journals) that describe research,not news articles or websites.
  • Both articles should be recent (2012-2022) articles on your topic and address a specific topic area not discussed in detail in your book.


  1. In your paper, discuss the relevance of this new information in terms of how it informs our understanding of the drug area you’ve chosen to cover.


  • Consider the following questionsto get you get started:
  • Do the two articles discuss the topic in the same way or do they provide different information?
  • Do they find similar results?
  • How do they change our understanding of the topic?
  • What information do they provide that is most relevant to our understanding of the topic?


For example, if you chose the topic of legalizing marijuana across the entire United States you could choose an article that talks about negative outcomes (e.g., increased hospitalizations) with current laws as well as positive outcomes (e.g., reduction in crime, new uses etc.). Your goal is to capture the reader’s imagination by providing them with new, relevant and interesting information.


Why do we use peer reviewed resources? Again, it goes back to the idea that one of the ways we learn is by exploring the scientific evidence for an idea rather than just relying on our personal experience. The paper should help you organize your thinking about the material covered in the course and provide you with practice for communicating it effectively to others.


As you evaluate the articles remember to consider these important variables:What type of study is it? Are there potential limitations to the study?You should comment on the results (validity) of the study itself (this does not mean whether or not you liked it, but rather that it was conducted in a scientifically sound manner).


Your paper should be 5 pages long of text+title page+references, double-spaced, with no more than 12 point font and one-inch margins.Be sure to avoid plagiarizing by paraphrasing information from the article – put it into your own words and citing your sources in the text using APA style.  You should also include an APA-style reference page and title page. If you need help with APA style, there is a copy of the APA manual in the library as well as online resources posted on Blackboard


PsycInfo(a library database of psychological journal articles) is the best place to search for relevant articles.  If you don’t know how to use it, talk to me, a classmate, or a librarian. Let me know if you have questions.


Use the following guidelines to prepare your paper:


  • Style and Assignment Length
    • Your paper should be 5-6 pages in length (text – this does not include the cover page or references).
    • Use APA format. For a short paper this generally means having a correct cover page, 1-inch margins all the way around, 12 point Times Roman Font, and correct use of citation and reference.
  • Development
    • Organize and Outline your viewpoint on the issue you’ve chosen to discuss.
      • A general statement of your position.
      • Present a thoughtful argument of the issues involved with sufficient research to support your position (not just an opinion based on how you feel– an opinion is an unsupported personal position – your argument should be supported by facts).
      • Restate your position in your conclusion based on the discussion you have provided.
    • Writing Tips
      • Keep your voice active and write in a professional style
      • Use citation and references to support your position
      • Stay focused on your topic throughout the paper
      • Revise, spell-check and proof read! Papers with spelling and grammar errors are less effective and will fail to earn maximum points.


Grading Criteria – 50 total points

Appropriate Peer Reviewed Resources          0   1   2  3  4   5

Page Length                                                    0   1   2  3  4   5

APA style                                                       0   1   2  3  4   5

  1. Citations
  2. Double spaced
  3. 1 in margins all around

Spelling and Grammar                                   0   1   2  3  4   5

Writing Quality                                              0   1   2  3  4   5



Topic Choice                                      0   1   2  3  4   5

Description of topic                           0   1   2  3  4   5

Relevance of articles to topic            0   1   2  3  4   5

Conclusions                                        0   1   2  3  4   5

Overall Quality of the paper              0   1   2  3  4   5




Total Points                                                    50



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