Option 2: How many “adolescences” are there?
Using yourself as data, you are asked to analyze the ways in which your gender,
race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status (including class), and family factors have
influenced/are influencing your unique, particular encounter with any 2 of the following developmental tasks:


Now, here’s the complication: While you are the “data,” the subject of your
investigation, you are also the investigator: the social scientist analyzing the
effects of the above-mentioned demographic factors on the development of
one particular adolescent, and bringing to bear on this project all the
theoretical and research knowledge at his/her disposal. You will be expected,
therefore, to analyze your subject/yourself in the third person, in order to bring
as much objectivity as possible to the examination; to make ample use
of the theoretical and research material presented in the text and discussed in class; and, finally, to use a minimum of 3 research articles from reputable psychology journals to deepen your analysis of the 2 developmental tasks that most interest you. PLEASE NOTE: THIS DEFINITELY EXCLUDES WIKIPEDIA AS A SOURCE. Only scholarly journals such as Adolescence, Developmental Psychology, etc., will come under the heading of “reputable.”

This paper should be at least 5 pages in length, and your References page should conform to APA style.

The best way to approach this paper is to think of it as a case study. This means you should follow the same format as a general research paper. Start with an introduction, in which you present a theory and hypothesis. For example, imagine you are interested in how your neighborhood has affected your development of an identity and of your achievement motivation. Present a theory of why those variables are related, and how. This is the part of the paper in which you will have to rely heavily on previous research which describes the relationship between the variables. Conclude the introduction with a hypothesis (e.g. based on the evidence, I believe that a person who grew up in an urban area will achieve a stable sense of identity at a relatively younger age – this is just an example, do not use this). In the next section, you describe the outcome based on your own experiences (in the third person), and then follow up with some conclusions.

A rubric for the paper is presented on the following page:

Rubric for Autobiographical Essay

Student’s Name:​


Strongest: 5

Adequate: 3

Weakest: 1



* Paper is focused and doesn’t go off on tangents
* Makes a point

* Paper is mostly focused and does not go off on tangents
* Attempts to make a point

* Paper is not focused and goes off on tangents
* Point uncertain


Includes rich supporting details

Avoids redundancy

Addresses the best arguments of the opposition

Includes good quotes from packet texts and writer’s research

Some supporting details

Some repetition of story components

Addresses some of the best arguments of the opposition

Includes some good quotes from packet texts and writer’s research

Few or irrelevant supporting details


Addresses few or none of the best arguments of the opposition

Includes some quotes from packet texts and writer’s research


Article are appropriate for topic

One or two of articles don’t seem relevant to topic

Articles clearly not related to topic


Student effectively integrates findings across readings

Identifying and elaborating on key themes of interest

Student attempts to integrate across readings, but effort is deficient in coherence or effectiveness

No attempt at integration or ineffective integration


Follows through on thesis

The reader does not get confused

Mainly follows through on the thesis

The reader occasionally gets confused

Does not follow through on the thesis

The reader is generally confused


* Displays insight
* Demonstrates significant reflection & awareness
* Establishes significant connection to wider world

* Surface understanding
* Some reflection & awareness
* Some reference to wider world

* Minimal or no reflection or insight
* Limited connection wider world


* Character of writer is consistently conveyed
* Tone fits narrative
* Anticipates & answers readers’ questions
* Engages readers’ interest
* Active voice

* Character of writer varies
* Tone strays from narrative
* Leaves some unanswered questions
* Invites some interest
* Moderate use of the passive voice

* No character of writer
* Few connections between narrative and tone.
* Does not answer readers’ questions
* Invites little reader interest
* Overuse of the passive voice


* Precise terms
* Avoids clichés
* Varied words
* No verb tense or sentence agreement problems

* Some imprecision
* Some clichés
* Some repetition of words
* Some verb tense or sentence agreement problems

* Imprecise language
* Many clichés
* Much repetition of words
* Repetitive
* Many verb tense and sentence agreement problems


* 0-1 errors in grammar per page
* Varies sentence form

* 2 errors per page
* Repeats sentence form

* 3+ errors per page
* Boring sentence form


* 0-1 errors in spelling per page

* 2 errors per page

* 3+ errors per page


* Clean, clear
* Businesslike
* APA format

* Not APA format
* Readable

* Unattractive
* Unreadable

Use of support articles

* Includes at least 3 peer-reviewed journal articles

* Includes 2 peer-reviewed articles

* Includes 1 or less peer reviewed articles

Additional instruction

Outline for debate paper:
. Introduction to the debate: give a little background about the topic. Discuss the pros and cones very briefly. For example, if your debate topic is whether juveniles should be get life in jail, you can discuss what the issue is, and discuss both sides (briefly): 1. People who are pro argue that adolescents should get life jail argue that adolescents are just as mature as adults, and she be held culpable for their crimes. 2. People who are against life in jail for adolescents argue that adolescents are not mature enough to be held as responsible for their decisions to same degree as adults. Once you have set up both sides of the debate, state your thesis. For instance: Based on scientific evidence, I believe that adolescents should not get life in prison. There are biological, cognitive and social differences between adolescents and adults that suggest that adolescents should not be tried as adults. Please don’t copy me word for word. What I said in this introduction is NOT detailed enough!!!
. Argument 1: depending on your perspective. You can argue here that adolescents are not mature enough, or are mature enough, to receive life in prison because they are poor (or good) decision makers
. Argument 2: you can focus on brain differences (or lack thereof) between adolescents and adults
. Argument 3: you can focus on social differences (or lack thereof) between adolescents and adults
. Conclusions: summarize your arguments and state your conclusion.

Outline for autobiographical paper:
. Introduction: depending on what your topic is, set up your hypotheses very briefly. Since you need to focus on two aspects of adolescent development, you should have two hypotheses. Consider the following topic: you choose to focus on IDENTITY and ACHIEVEMENT. Your paper can focus on how parenting affects identity and achievement in adolescence. In the introduction (the first paragraph), in a couple of sentences summarizing how the type of parenting you received in childhood/adolescence (for example authoritative) is related to identity development and achievement. Then state your hypotheses: 1. Authoritative parenting will be related to a better identity status in adolescence (for instance identity achievement or moratorium), and 2. Authoritative parenting will be related to higher levels of academic achievement. Do not copy me word for word here. You may choose a different topic, you may focus on a different type of parenting. This is just an example, not a prototype.
. Describe the research on parenting and identity. Why is authoritative parenting related to a better identity status? Why ?
. Describe the research on parenting and academic achievement. Why is authoritative parenting related to higher levels of academic achievement? Why?
. Use yourself as evidence to support or refute your hypothesis. Really briefly describe how your experience fits in with the research and the hypotheses you came up with
. Conclusions: how does your own experience fit in with what the literature predicts. Discuss similarities/differences between you and the literature. You can use some of the articles you found to support your “findings” on yourself.

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