Final Paper Assignment



For your final paper, your task is to outline a plan to convince your fellow Cornell students of a moral position—an effort at moral persuasion. Specifically, you must:
1) Pick a moral belief to target. Because this is a hypothetical task, it can be anything that you think would be interesting to write about (e.g., convincing people that the death penalty or abortion is right/wrong, that insects have moral rights, that it is wrong to wear long-sleeve shirts on Wednesdays, that everyone should donate part of their income to feed the poor, etc.). 
2) Outline 3 strategies for moral persuasion. The majority of the paper will be spent on outlining the steps you would take to successfully persuade your fellow students. Using what you’ve learned about in class and what you’ve researched on your own on the topic, you will need to list 3 strategies that you would implement in order to morally persuade others. You can be creative in the strategies you propose, but make sure that they are informed and can be defended by an appeal to the empirical work on moral psychology. Again, since this is a hypothetical task, you can list strategies that might be difficult or costly to implement, as long as they are not entirely unrealistic (e.g., proposing an expensive ad campaign would be fine, but proposing mandatory one-on-one hypnosis sessions for every student at Cornell would not). 

4-5 double-spaced pages (at normal 12 pt. font and 1-inch margins puts that at around 1,000-1,200 words)

The final paper is due by Monday May 18 at 5:00 pm (you can turn it in earlier!). This is a hard deadline, and we will deduct 5% for every hour it is late. Click here to submit the final paper. 

1) You must cite at least 3 three of the articles that were assigned reading in the course. Describe the studies reported or the arguments made, and how they support your selection of strategies. 

2) You must reference at least 1 peer-reviewed, empirical journal article (i.e., that reports novel findings) that was NOT assigned in the course, and that would support your response. The best place to look for a peer reviewed article is on the Cornell library website--specifically in the PsychInfo database (which is the primary database for psychological research). Google scholar ( is also a great resource. Feel free to make use of the library system—there are employees on staff who are experts on this sort of thing, and who are there to help you! You may also meet with me or the TAs during office hours (or make a separate appointment) if you’d like to discuss the content of your paper beforehand. 

APA style: 
The paper must be written in APA style. The only exception is that you are NOT required to write an abstract. But the rest is important--title page, headers, in-text citations, reference page, etc. You can find many online guides for formatting a paper in APA Style--one of the best can be found here:  Please look over this carefully before you email us with specific questions about APA Style. Chances are the answer is either
on the website above, or otherwise easily google-able. (Ensuring that your paper is in APA Style is low hanging fruit! It's the easiest way to get points, and the easiest way we have of docking points when wrong. This is not just because we like being sticklers, but because I consider it a fundamental goal that students in my upper-level psych course leave with knowledge of how to write an APA style paper.)

Good luck!