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Academic Paper

  • Each student will select a topic relating to substance use disorders and write a six-page academic paper (literature review).
  • Sources must be from peer-reviewed research (journal articles). A minimum of 4 journal articles written within the last 6 years are required. Information and articles taken from internet websites (“web sources”) and books, including the course textbook will not be accepted. However, published journal articles retrieved off the web are accepted (these are journal articles that happen to be electronically available, generally through online professional databases).
  • The paper must be written using American Psychological Association (APA) format

Learning Objectives:

Locate and use research sources.

Develop critical thinking skills and support points with evidence.

Synthesize information.

Compose a well-organized, clear, concise, research paper to expand your knowledge about a particular area of substance use disorders/treatment

Practice following a scholarly research format to document in-text sources and a reference page.

Instructions for topic selection:

1. Identify a substance use disorder research idea that interests you. Areas might include one of the following:

Adolescence Treatment

Adolescent Prevention

Addiction Medication

Group Therapy

Family Treatment

AA and Self-Help Groups

Societal Costs

Ethical and Legal Issues



Relapse Prevention


Evidence-Based Treatment & Modalities


Gender-Specific Treatment

This is not an exhaustive list of topics, and you are encouraged to brainstorm your own potential topic.

2. Next, narrow your idea/area to a specific aspect of the topic and create a topic statement.

Examples of topic statements:

  • Area – Veterans

Topic statement – The relationship of PTSD and opioid substance use disorders in Veterans

  • Area – Adolescents

Topic Statement – The use of family-based interventions (or family based treatment) for adolescent substance use disorders

3. Submit your topic statement for approval to your course instructor by the date listed on the course schedule.

Instructions for writing your paper:

The paper should include

  1. A biopsychosocial description of the problem or population including recent research findings.
  2. A discussion of the social impact of the problem or population (why is this an important problem or why is this population important?)
  3. A review of research methods and key conclusions.
  4. The paper is an academic literature review paper and thus should not include personal opinions.

Writing Requirements:

Format: APA

Length: 6 pages (4 pages plus cover and bibliography/citations)

Possible points: 50

Criteria for evaluation of papers will be based on the provided rubric. The paper will be scored on the following 6 areas. Please refer to the Academic Paper Rubric document for detailed information:

  1. Cover Page
  2. Introduction
  3. Body
  4. Conclusion
  5. Bibliography
  6. Mechanics


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