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Focus Discipline Research Assignments

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Linguistics   Psychology  Diet and Nutrition    Environmental Science   Computer Science    

Business   Sociology   Physical Anthropology   Biology


List of Assignments for Focus Disciplines Chosen for Study in Spring, 2002


Linguistics

Students who have chosen to study linguistics as a focus discipline should use print and/or electronic resources to find information on the following topics:

1. Psycholinguistics
2. Sociolinguistics
3. Bilingualism

You should write three papers in which you describe and discuss each of these areas separately as follows:

In your first paper, discuss the subdiscipline, psycholinguistics. What is psycholinguistics? How are psychology and language related? In what way(s) is our use of language influenced by our individual needs?

In your second paper, discuss the subdiscipline, sociolinguistics. What is sociolinguistics? How is our use of language influenced by the other people around us? How do we change or adapt our language to the situation we are in? Is changing our language use easy or difficult?

In your third paper, discuss bilingualism. What does it mean to be truly bilingual? How is bilingualism affected by age? How are psycholinguistics and sociolinguistics related to bilingualism, that is what are the psychological and sociological factors that influence our ability to learn and use two or more languages?

In a final research project, bring together all of the information you have gathered to discuss "the interdisciplinary nature of linguistics," describing the role of disciplines like psychology and sociology in linguistics. Be sure to include a bibliography in which you cite each of the sources you have used to prepare your research project.


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Psychology

Students who have chosen to study psychology as a focus discipline should use print and/or electronic resources to find information on the following topics:

1. The Effects of Mood on Memory
2. Amnesia
3. Alzheimer's Disease

You should write 3 papers in which you discuss each of these topics separately as follows:

In your first paper, describe the recent research that has demonstrated strong connections between mood/emotion and memory. Find information on how our emotions affect our ability to remember. Discuss this relationship in your paper.

In your second paper, describe the phenomenon of amnesia, loss of memory that can result from physical trauma or psychological distress. Discuss what happens when we suffer loss of memory due to physical and/or emotional disorders? What are the causes and effects of and the treatments for amnesia?

In your third paper, describe the serious memory disorder known as Alzheimer's disease, which causes severe memory loss resulting from degeneration in the cells of the brain. Discuss the causes and effects of and the treatments for Alzheimer's.

In a final research project, bring together all of the information you have gathered to discuss the psychological and physiological aspects and factors involved in human memory. Be sure to include a bibliography in which you cite each of the sources your have used to prepare your research project.

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Diet and Nutrition

Students who have chosen to study Diet and Nutrition as a focus discipline should use print and/or electronic resources to find information on the following topics:

1. Anorexia
2. Bulimia
3. Eating Disorders in Men vs. Women

You should write three papers in which you describe and discuss each of these areas separately as follows:

In your first paper, describe the eating disorder known as anorexia nervosa. What are the causes of anorexia? How are psychological concepts such as self-image and self-perception related to anorexia? What social factors are involved in the development of anorexia? At what age does anorexia typically develop?

In your second paper, describe the eating disorder known as bulimia. What are the causes of bulimia? How are psychological concepts such as self-image and self-perception related to bulimia? What social factors are involved in the development of bulimia? At what age does bulimia typically develop? In what way(s) are anorexia and bulimia similar? In what way(s) are they different?

In your third paper, research the relationship between gender and eating disorders. Are men and women equally at risk for developing eating disorders? Are the psychological, sociological, and age factors involved in eating disorders similar or different for men and women? Compare/contrast the cause and effects of eating disorders in men versus women.

In a final research project, bring together all of the information you have gathered to discuss the psychological, sociological, and gender-based factors involved in the development of eating disorders. How does our society contribute to the development of eating disorders? How can we help prevent eating disorders? Be sure to include a bibliography in which you cite each of the sources you have used to prepare your research project.

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Environmental Science

Students who have chosen to study environmental science as a focus discipline should use print and/or electronic resources to find information on the following topics:

1. Recent changes in global climate
2. Recent changes in geographical patterns due to climate
3. The effects of a weather phenomenon known as El Nino

You should write three papers in which you describe and discuss each of these areas separately as follows:

In your first paper, describe recent changes in global climate. Have the predictions of scientists been correct? Has there been a gradual increase in global temperature over the past several years? Has there been an increase in storms and in unstable weather patterns?

In your second paper, describe recent changes in geographical patterns as a result of the changing global climate. Find information on beach and land erosion resulting from severe storms. How have storms, floods, and other natural disasters reshaped the coastlines and the appearance of the earth?

In your third paper, describe the weather phenomenon known as El Nino. What environmental changes result from this weather system? How often does El Nino occur? What causes El Nino? What are the effects of El Nino on global climate?

In a final research project, bring together all of the information you have gathered to discuss the effects of a changing climate on areas such as business and/or politics. Focus on one of these areas in your project, answering the following questions: What are the specific effects of climate changes on ? How serious are these effects? What can be done to deal with problems caused by climate in ? What predictions have been made for the future in in light of a continually changing climate? Be sure to include a bibliography in which you cite each of the sources you have used to prepare your research project.

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Computer Science

Students who have chosen to study computer science as a focus discipline should use print and/or electronic resources to find information on the following topics:

1. New technologies and their effects
2. Educational applications of new technology
3. Artificial intelligence research

You should write three papers in which you describe and discuss each of these three areas separately as follows:

In your first paper, describe 3 new technological developments of the past 10 years and discuss the impact of these 3 new technologies on our lives. How have these new technologies changed, for example, our personal lives, our professional lives, our social lives, our political lives.

In your second paper, describe how computer technology has changed education? How specifically are/can computers be used in the classroom? Find information on research projects on the "classrooms of tomorrow" and describe one of these projects in detail.

In your third paper, describe recent research and developments in the field of artificial intelligence. Can scientists build machines that match human intelligence? How does artificial intelligence research help us to better understand ourselves and our capabilities?

In a final research project, bring together all of the information you have gathered to discuss the importance of the computer in history. Do you agree with scientists who believe that the computer is the greatest invention in all of history? How have computers changed the way we live, work, do business, learn? Is each of these changes positive? What are the negative aspects of our technological society? Be sure to include a bibliography in which you cite each of the sources you have used to prepare your research project.

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Business

Students who have chosen to study business and marketing as a focus discipline should use print and/or electronic resources to find information on the following topics:

1. Psychological factors involved in advertising
2. Television infomercials
3. Internet commerce

You should write three papers in which you describe and discuss each of these areas separately as follows:

In your first paper, discuss the psychological factors involved in advertising. How do advertisers use the basic determinants of consumer behavior, needs, motives, perceptions, and attitudes (discussed in the first reading of this unit), in designing product advertisements? What types of ads are most likely to appeal to or change our needs, motives, perceptions, and attitudes?

In your second paper, discuss television infomercials. How and why are infomercials effective in inducing consumers to buy advertised products? How and why is product cost different on an infomercial versus in a retail store? What psychological and/or sociological needs do infomercials appeal to?

In your third paper, discuss the development of Internet commerce. How has the Internet changed the face of sales and marketing? What are the advantages/disadvantages of selling/buying products over the Internet?

In a final research project, bring together all of the information you have gathered to discuss how sales and marketing strategies have changed as a result of developing technology. Do a historical analysis of advertising, beginning with the pre-television days of the early to mid-1900's. What advertising strategies were used at that time? How effective were these strategies? Then analyze how television changed advertising? What were businesses able to do with television that they could not do before? What additional changes occurred in advertising with the development of computer technology? How has developing technology expanded the marketplace for both businesses and consumers? Be sure to include a bibliography in which you cite each of the sources you have used to prepare your research project.

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Sociology

Directions: You will research the agents of socialization describing the influences of family, school, peers, and the mass media.

In your first paper, you should compare and contrast the role of family and peer relationships in socialization. How do parents, siblings and grandparents influence how we view ourselves and how we relate to others? How do cultural beliefs impact the process of socialization? What influence do our peers have on the process of socialization?

In your second paper, you should describe the role of the mass media as an agent of socialization. How does the mass media influence developing self-concept? Is the influence of the mass media the same for teenagers and adults? If so, how is it similar? If not, how is it different?

In your third paper, you should consider this statement: Americans are socialized to believe that "you can never be too rich nor too thin." How is this belief supported by business through advertisements on TV, in magazines, and even on the Internet?

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Physical Anthropology

In your first paper, you should research the Scopes Monkey Trial that took place in the US in the early 1900's. What were the main issues in the trial? Who was the defendant? What was he accused of? What was the outcome of the trial? How did religious beliefs clash with scientific theory in the Scopes Monkey Trial?

In your second paper, you will research theories about the evolution of the human race. There are two primary theories about how the human race evolved. These theories are (1) The Mitochondrial DNA theory and (2) The Multiregional theory. Research and explain each of these theories. Which of the two theories do you believe is a more probable explanation of the evolution of the human race? Why?

In your third paper, you will research the Neandertals and explore their role in evolution. The Neandertals played a large role in the process of human evolution. They inhabited vast portions of the earth for many years and then suddenly seemed to vanish. There are several different theories about what happened to the Neandertals. Research and explain these theories. Which of them do you believe is the most probable? Why?

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Biology

In your first paper, you will research the discovery of DNA by Watson and Crick, which revolutionized the field of biology. Research Watson and Crick's work on DNA and explain how and why it was so influential.

In your second paper you will research the discovery of PCR, or the Polymerase Chain Reaction, which was revolutionary in the field of DNA and genetics. What exactly is PCR? Who discovered it? Why has the discovery of PCR been so evolutionary? What has PCR been used for?

In your third paper, you will research the Human Genome Project. In the past several years a large project known as the Human Genome Project has been undertaken to try to determine the molecular details of the complete set of human genes. If this project is successful, it may be able to provide scientists with information about our inherent similarities and differences, as well as with some clues that will help scientists discover cures for many dangerous diseases. Research the Human Genome Project. What is the current state of this research? How has it affected the field of biology?


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Loretta Kasper, Ph.D.
Professor of English
Kingsborough/CUNY
2001 Oriental Boulevard
Brooklyn, NY 11235

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This page was last updated on May 30, 2002