Guidelines for the Group Essays

Grading scale: 1-10

Note: The essay that we judge to be the best in each set will be photocopied and distributed each week so that you will have models of essays to emulate. We will also note in your folders if your essay was one of the "top three" for the week.

Format & length: Essays must be typed, double-spaced, on a single page, and no more than 300 words MAX. In Word, you can use the word count feature (under Tools). In WordPerfect, go to File, Document, Properties to find the word count.

ID info: In the upper right-hand corner of each essay, put your group number, the date, which essay it is (A, B, etc.), and the word count.

Audience: Assume your audience (Arrow and the TAs) have read the books and articles, but have not memorized every sentence. So when you refer to a specific passage, you need to tell us what page it is on. You should not waste words telling us anything self-evident, however, such as: Guzzo and Dickson review a great number of studies.

Content: Be sure you answer all questions asked for the essay, as clearly and as concisely as you can. Every sentence in the essay should be devoted to answering the questions. Edit out "marking place" sentences such as: Arrow and McGrath present a number of propositions in their paper, all having to do with membership change. This is what I call a low-info content sentence. Start right in with your thesis sentence, for example:

The _____ group, because of the _______ and the way that _______ (Author, 1990, pp. ___, ___), provides a clear example of the social dilemma known as a "collective fence." The group might be able to get over this fence by adopting a group goal of _____ .

This is much better than long wandering introductions that use up precious words. Example of wasted words wandering toward the same thesis:

Researchers have identified a phenomenon known as the social dilemma. There are many kinds of social dilemmas. A few are blah blah blah. One of these, the collective fence, can be seen in many examples of actual groups. The ____ group, which is described at length in Chapter Z of Hackman (1990), written by Author X, provides a good example.

Style: Say what you have to say directly, in clear English, using as few extraneous words as possible. In short, follow the advice of Strunk & White (1918), and I quote directly from their elementary principles:

Use the active voice.

Put statements in positive form.

Omit needless words.

Avoid a succession of loose sentences.

Express co-ordinate ideas in similar form.

Keep related words together.

In summaries, keep to one tense.

Place the emphatic words of a sentence at the end.

Citation style: We need to know where to find the particular passages you refer to in your essay. Both sets of readings emphasize the importance of boundaries in establishing strong groups (Arrow & McGrath, 1993, p. 383; Guzzo & Dickson, 1990, p. 332). If your sentence includes Arrow and McGrath directly in the text, you can just give the page number in parentheses: Arrow and McGrath claim that boundaries are essential (p. 383). Note that & is used in parentheses, "and" is used in text.

If you cite a work that is ITSELF cited in one of your readings, give author & date, and indicate where you found this reference. Katz (1980) indicates that down the road, familiarity may be detrimental to the group's overall performance (Guzzo & Dickson, p. 318).

If you are citing two different chapters by the same author, use the chapter number to distinguish them. The corporate restructuring team had serious internal conflicts (Cohen, Ch2, p. 49), while the Hilltop management group directed their anger towards out-group members (Cohen, Ch3, p. 63).

When quoting directly, use quotation marks: Hackman claims that to perform well, a group must "employ task performance strategies that are appropriate to the work and to the setting in which it is being performed" (Intro, p. 9). Usually, paraphrasing is more efficient: Hackman stresses the importance of matching task strategies to the type of work and setting (Intro, p. 9). and is more effective in making your point. Paraphrase as much as possible rather than creating an essay that strings together a series direct quotations.

Grammar & spelling: No typos! Whoever types the essay up should use their spell-check feature, and all group members should proof the essay before it is turned in. Incorrect usage (their for there), for example is something the spell-checker won't notice.

Timing and number of copies: The essay will be drafted in class (on Mondays, except for the week with MLK holiday), then typed up by a group member, who should bring one or more copies to the next class (Wed) for the other group members to proofread and approve (or suggest improvements). Two copies of the final version are due by 4:00 Wed (Friday for the first essay, because of MLK holiday). Turn into the psychology main office (room 131) and tell them to put them in Arrow's mailbox. (Note: office is closed 12-1). If you turn in the final essay in CLASS, only one copy is needed (we will take care of making the other copies).

If you want to ensure against late essays, you might leave a "back-up" copy of the draft essay in your folder (mark it as such). If no later version appears by 4:00, then you will at least have your group essay turned in on time, even if all the planned corrections and improvements have not been made.