PSY 425: Guidelines for Personality Theory Paper
Overall Structure of the Paper (Total 150 pts): Your paper should be 7-10 pages of full text and adhere to
APA format (e.g., double-spaced; Times New Roman, 12-point font; 1-inch margins; in-text citation of the
textbook; references page). You do not need to include a title page and abstract; however, you should include a
reference page and cite your sources in the text of your paper. If you do include a title page and abstract, these
are not to be counted in the page number requirement. The primary source for this assignment is our class
textbook and class assignments (e.g., case studies). You also may use outside sources, just be sure that these
sources are cited appropriately in APA format.
Your paper must be submitted to Blackboard (in either word document or PDF format) – papers
submitted in any other format and/or sent via email will not be accepted. You will include introductory
paragraphs and supporting paragraphs. Please see the sections below for more details on what to include for
each section of your paper.
1) Introductory Paragraphs (10 points each; 30 points total): For the introductory/opening paragraphs, you
will address the following:
1.) Name and briefly describe the main points of your personality theory. That is, what are the main
philosophical assumptions of your theory?
***Overall, this section is meant to summarize the main points in regards to the questions below. So, hit
the highlights, and emphasize what is most important, to you, in understanding personality. (10 points)
2.) Name your theory and state a specific definition of “personality” in your theory. Tell me what you
will be calling your theory, and give an actual definition. It will be easy for me to know you are defining
it if you say, “My definition of personality is…” or something similar. This can consist of
anything that you have created, a mix of theories that we have read, or you can use an existing definition
from the text that fits best with your beliefs – just do not forget to indicate who originally said it. (10
3.) Finally, tell me how the main points of your views can be integrated and/or organized to fully
describe human personality. How do all of these bits and pieces fit together? How did you decide to use
what you did (i.e., which theorists/theories are you using as a theoretical foundation/guide)? Did you
combine some ideas? Did you leave others out? Why? (10 points)
2) Supporting Paragraphs (10 points; 120 total): For the supporting paragraphs, you should answer the 12
questions below. It might be helpful to organize these questions as separate paragraphs with headings for each
question. As you answer the questions below, keep in mind that you will do the following for each question:
1.) Give a developed opinion (i.e., what you think and how your theory addresses the questions). For
example, you will address why you personally prefer your theory (or aspect of this theory) and not
some other perspective. Your responses should include your own opinion AND your personal reasons
for having that opinion (5 of the 10 points each).
***To illustrate what I mean, you will not get points if you say that you like it because it seems like a
good theory with no explanation to follow. “Liking” something is not really an opinion; instead, tell me
how you feel or tell me what you really think about it: choose a side to stand for. Also, “it seems like a
good theory” is too general and not a reason to justify your stance; instead, discuss what about yourself,
your values and philosophical beliefs, or your life experiences, has led you to believe that this really is
the case for personality development.
2.) Provide factual support (i.e., taken from the descriptions in our textbook about theorists/theories
discussed this semester) for each question. Your responses should explain the facts behind your
opinion (5 of the 10 points each). To demonstrate these facts please choose to provide at least one of
• either a brief review of the theories of others and also of the relevant research findings from the
text that support your opinion.
• or a discussion of what is wrong and/or missing from the fact(s) in the text that led you to take the
alternative position that you did.
Questions to answer in supporting paragraphs (opinion AND factual support for each question needed):
• 1. What types of research methods are preferred by psychologists studying/testing your theory? Why?
• 2. In what way(s) does your theory address “traits” as units of personality? Why this method?
• 3. In what way(s) does your theory address the role of cognition in personality?
• 4. In what way(s) does your theory address the notion of the “unconscious”?
• 5. In what way(s) does your theory deal with motivational issues?
• 6. How does your theory examine behaviors/social learning?
• 7. Does your theory emphasize nature, nurture, or an interaction between them?
• 8. In what way(s) does your theory account for developmental issue?
• 9. In what ways(s) does your theory address aspects of the self?
• 10. In what way(s) does your theory address the concept of gender?
• 11. In what way(s) does your theory address personality disorders and adjustment?
• 12. Evaluate your theory of personality. That is, is your theory a GOOD theory? What are the strengths
and weakness of your theory?
As you write your paper, please use the guidelines above as well as the final paper rubric (found on
Blackboard). Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions.
***Note: An example paper can be found on Blackboard. The example paper is meant to help you get an idea
of the way you might structure your paper. Please do NOT copy any of the content; it is important, and I expect
that you come up with your own ideas for this paper; copying someone else’s paper (either the example posted
or another student’s paper/or internet resources) will not be tolerated and may result in an automatic zero for
this assignment. Also, please keep in mind that the example did not earn a perfect score, so there is room for
improvement for this example; however, the author of this paper did earn an “A” on the assignment.
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