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Literature Review Paper


The paper MUST be written in accordance with the stylistic conventions of the American Psychological Association. Please use the 6th edition of the APA Publication manual (2010) as a reference when writing your papers.


The goal of this paper writing exercise is for you to gain information about the application of learning psychology in “everyday life” or to situations/problems that may be of particular interest to you.


The structure of the paper may differ depending upon your topic, but should generally adhere to the following structure:

  • Present the topic or problem of interest.
  • Describe the different studies that you are including in the review. These may include different types of treatments for a particular problem.
  • Present a conclusion about what you have discovered. For example, what were the advantages or disadvantages about the different treatments? Was one treatment/approach superior to another?


You may select any type of behavior change that interests you. You MUST first discuss your topic with me. The literature that you will present MUST be:

  • Experimental papers
  • Involve a treatment based on learning principals
  • You must submit the papers with your final paper
  • You must clear your choices of literature with me.


Your description of each study must include:

  • A description of the independent and dependent variables
  • The experimental design
  • The results
  • The researchers’ conclusions.
  • In addition to describing the study, you must carefully analyze the study yourself. This means that you may not agree with some part of the study. Perhaps you do not agree with the author’s conclusion. Perhaps you do not think that experimental control was shown. This analysis would probably be best placed in the conclusion section of your paper


The idea is that just because a study is published, does not mean that it is beyond question. Remember way back in Psych 213W when you learned about the “different ways of knowing.” Believing what someone tells you because they are considered an authority is not science. Science is critical and requires scrutiny. Your task is to scrutinize the studies as well as report the authors view.





The conclusion part of the paper:

  • Summarize all the information that was presented in the paper. For example:  what are the advantages/disadvantages of some approaches? Was there one type of treatment that was far superior to the others? This is where the analysis of the studies you presented would be presented. For example, if you think the authors’conclusions were not in accordance with the results, or, if the variables studied were not well controlled in the research, then your conclusion about the effectiveness of that treatment would be influenced.


There are many different topics that you may choose. Below are some suggestions:

  • Weight loss
  • Increase exercise
  • Smoking
  • Sports performance
  • Animal training
  • Teaching skills to a particular population such as teaching language skills to children with autism
  • Animal training
  • Reducing problematic behavior in certain populations such as reducing noncontextual speech in persons with schizophrenia
  • Using behavioral skills training for business, or training personnel
  • Behavior management techniques in classrooms (for you future teachers)
  • Using learning principals to teach skills in school settings (e.g., math facts etc.)
  • Behavioral techniques in business settings (OBM)



You must use at least three references that are experimental papers in your review paper.






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