9 Moderation

9.1 Guidelines for Short Moderation Papers

For the Moderation Board (during the second semester of the sophomore year), the student prepares two short papers (Academic Past and Future) that describe their academic past experiences and future plans, and a longer paper that summarizes and analyzes an empirical article.

The short papers (about two or three pages each) are required for moderation College-wide. More information can be found on the registrar’s website.

The following are meant to be guidelines only, not a rigid format. You should think of them as areas you should address. The format of the papers is up to you.

9.1.1 Academic Past

This paper should be an overview of your college education to date. It should include:

  • a discussion of your coursework to date, including how your interest in psychology has evolved, particular courses taken, and so forth. Also, a discussion of academic experiences outside of psychology would be welcome
  • a critical evaluation of your strengths and weaknesses as a student
  • a discussion of how your objectives have evolved since coming to college
  • any other issues which are relevant to an understanding of your academic work

9.1.2 Academic Future

This paper should be a discussion of your plans for Upper College work and post-college. We understand that the first and especially second of these may not be completely formed. In any case, the paper should include:

  • anticipated areas of study within psychology and outside of the field
  • your ideas about work after college, including plans for graduate or professional school, career plans, summers, intersessions, and so forth
  • an indication of what you might like to study for your Senior Project

Please bear in mind that Moderation is a concentrated advising experience. We want, therefore, to learn as much as we can about you as student from your short papers.

9.2 Moderation Days

The Moderation days provide you with an opportunity to demonstrate your ability to evaluate an empirical research report in Psychology. Your goal is to write two papers over the course of a five-day period, together totaling approximately 10 pages, that summarize and analytically evaluate the article you have been assigned:

  1. The first paper will be a concise and informative summary of the rationale, hypotheses, methods, and conclusions of the article; this first paper may not exceed three pages. Your summary must be in your own words and should include enough detail that someone who has not read your article will be able to accurately understand the content.

  2. The second paper will focus on analysis of your assigned article. Your analysis of the article should provide constructive, analytic content regarding the data, methods, and conclusions of the re-searchers. This should make up a substantial portion of your paper. It need not be “critical” in the sense of being negative, but you should state whether, for example, the design of an experiment adequately tests the researchers’ hypotheses (i.e., How does the experimental design, the stimulus set, or the task that the participants performed permit an adequate test of the hypothesis?). Your evaluation might also address the relationship between the actual experimental results and the implications of the results as described by the researchers. You may thoughtfully and creatively link the content of the article to other coursework, both inside and outside psychology, if relevant. Lastly, you may comment on future research or propose questions that may be addressed in subsequent studies. This second paper may not exceed seven pages.

A faculty member will be available in their office and/or via email at times throughout the day to provide guidance. There are limits to the amount of help we can provide. For example, we will not explain statistical methods in detail, but we will direct you to resources so that you will be able to comment on the experimental results in a manner that reflects your level of understanding. You may not consult any individuals about your assigned article or your written response with the exception of faculty members in Psychology.

Students will upload their final papers for electronic submission at the end of the day.

Note: Students must have completed at least one semester at Bard before sitting for moderation (i.e., transfer students may not moderate in their first semester at the Annandale campus).

Students should bring copies of their short and long moderation papers, the source article assigned to them on Moderation Saturday, and a new short document that addresses the following questions:

  • What are 2–3 things that you think you did well in your Moderation Saturday papers, especially in your analysis of the article?
  • What are 2–3 things you could have improved in your summary and analysis Moderation Saturday papers?