PICO design

For the paper, the English Department requires a minimum of 10 sources; for your literature review, you need to have 8 peer-reviewed/scholarly/academic sources at a minimum.

You also may need some background sources. Sources for background MUST BE APPROVED BY ME if they are not from one of the following places: Gale Virtual Reference Library, Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Merck Manual (professional version preferred), DSM-V, or the Drug Handbook. Open web sources MUST BE APPROVED unless they are clearly from a database like the NCBI that many of you used on the Library Exercise.

Also, all of your sources must be from 2010 forward–anything older than that MUST BE APPROVED by me.

For this skill building exercise, you need to assemble a 30-item working reference list that meets these needs. The grade for this is very similar to the grading of the summary–you either have a reference list entry that is either correct or incorrect (you will be allowed ONE MINOR GLITCH). When correct, you are awarded a point. If incorrect, then you redo.

This assignment must include ALL SOURCES USED IN YOUR PAPER and is submitted for the first time on the same day your paper is due.

Work Sourced Page


Obesity vs school aged children


Prevalence of Childhood and Adult Obesity in US.


Daily intake of sugars


labels directed to children 71%


low income obesity (depression)




Marketing to children




Beverage tax

Rough Draft Submission Guidelines


The following are the criteria by which rough draft are evaluated:

  1. Papers that do not have a thesis, citation, or documentation will not be evaluated. These items are essential.  At times, when some citations and documentation are present but are not adequate, I may or may not give brief commentary.  PLEASE NOTE:  failure to adequately document the paper with citations and documentation can result in failure of the paper, therefore failure of the course.  First drafts that have insufficient or absent citations and bibliography may be returned without commentary (this is surely the case if there is no bib).


  1. Notes on citations and documentation in your paper must be treated globally–if there is one error, you must check all areas for this type of error. Notes on lack of the above items will be obvious.


  1. The analysis of the rough draft goes from the global to the local, with assessment of citation and documentation occurring at the same time as global assessment. A paper which is more thoroughly marked is generally in a better state of revision readiness; therefore, you should not equate many marks with a poor effort–generally the more time I spend, the better the effort is.


  1. Students should strive to meet the following MINIMUMS on the rough draft:
  • Length:  3000 word minimum
  • Sources:  10 source minimum—sources that stem from the same home page are considered the same source unless they are done by different authors!!
  • Completeness:  Drafts should be as full and complete as if you were to be graded, as much as possible.


  1. Partial rough drafts are accepted, but the accuracy of the citations and documentation in missing sections becomes the sole responsibility of the student. In other words, if there is unintentional plagiarism in a part of the draft that was missing from the first draft (even parts that you were asked to add), then the full grade penalty of such actions will be enforced, and you will be responsible for your own failure.  You may certainly consult with me on these matters during office hours or appointments, but the guarantees that I will note all occurrences of citation, documentation, and plagiarism (sometimes handled on a global basis) are void with partial drafts.


  1. Papers that do not meet the following format requirements may be rejected without commentary:
  • Use any Serif or Sans Serif 12-point font (except Courier), 1-inch margins, and double space the paper (except footnotes, which should be in 9-point Courier and single-spaced).  All pictures should follow the text, and the bibliography needs to end the paper.


  1. Students are responsible for the reading material assigned in class and will be held to it in the evaluation process.


Research Practices Criteria

1)  Variety of Sources

Given the research topic, has the student examined a sufficient variety of sources to show an adequate coverage of the topic?  Sources would include books, periodicals found using both on-line and print indices, the Internet, and other appropriate venues like AV materials and interviews.  Does the Reference List page reflect this?

      Note:  the initial clause above takes into account that more cutting-edge topics may have a limited resource base while more historically-based topics may have the opposite resource base (periodicals and the Internet vs. books).

2)  Variety of Skills

  1. a) Does the student show BOTH the skills of paraphrase/summary and quotation usage, including proper introduction and integration, within the paper? If appropriate to the topic, does the student show the skills of statistic and graphic usage within the paper?
  2. b) Does the student show proper balance of research material and thesis-supporting argument in the paper, including the careful and prudent usage of block quotations or longer summary passages?

3)  Bibliography-related problems

  1. a) Are there sufficient citations, either in the form of notes or parenthetical citations, within the paper such that every piece of outside information is adequately cited? This would include the use of “umbrella notes” as discussed in class.  Note:  One missing citation could result in paper failure; several certainly will.
  2. b) Is there a unique correspondence between the number of sources on the Reference List page and the number of individual sources (not citations) within the paper? Note: One missing entry in the bibliography could result in paper failure; two certainly will.
  3. c) Is the formatting of the citations and Reference List page relatively free from error, especially after corrections have been made by the instructor? Those with significant errors may receive grade deductions including failure.
  4. d) Is the information in the Reference List page and citations complete so that the next reader of the paper could easily get a hold of sources used? Significant omissions may result in grade deduction including failure.


Paper Format Criteria

1)     Thesis

  1. a) Does a thesis exist?
  2. b) Is the thesis too general, or does it cover the bounds of the paper well?
  3. c) Is there cited material in the thesis?  There should NOT be such material; shows a lack of originality of thesis and actually is the same as not having one.
  4. d) Is the thesis placed properly?
  5. e) Does the thesis contain exact language, stay away from general or danger words?

2)     Citations and Documentation

  1. a) Are there citations for every quotation, statistic, and paraphrase? 
  2. b) Are the citations done in correct APA form?
  3. c) Does every unique citation have a unique documented entry on the Reference List page?
  4. d) Are Reference List entries in correct format?

3)   Introduction

  1. a) Does the introduction properly set the appropriate tone and focus for the paper while not alienating the reader?

4)     Body & Evidence

  1. a) Are there topic sentences or sub-theses which apply the ideas of the thesis throughout the paper?
  2. b) Are these sentences original?
  3. c) Is evidence being used in its proper place, which is in support of your ideas?
  4. d) Is evidence being linked to the ideas properly, through both explanation and punctuation?
  5. e) Is proper transition occurring such that evidence is not being used as introductions of or conclusions to paragraphs?
  6. f) Are long quotes being used correctly when needed or relied upon too much?
  7. g) Is accurate transcription of evidence, including authors’ names and titles, occurring?

5)  Syntax & Logic

  1. a) Does the order of the paragraphs in the paper suggest that a plan is being followed?
  2. b) Does the order of sentences within a paragraph suggest that a plan for the paragraph is being followed?
  3. c) Does the order of words within a sentence suggest that a plan for the sentence is being followed?
  4. d) Are words which are used being chosen properly as to exactly convey the proper meaning?
  5. e) Are numerous homophone errors occurring, causing the reader confusion?
  6. f) Is proper tone being followed for the audience (college-educated people with interest in your subject)?

6)     Close

  1. a) Is the close appropriate to the function of the paper?
  2. b) Does the close not repeat too frequently those words and phrases found in the introduction while still conveying a sense of the thesis?
  3. c) Does the close not present new information, beyond those conclusions that might be logically drawn from the material within?

7)  Grammar and Spelling

Is the paper relatively free from grammar and spelling errors such that it reflects the skills learned throughout two college-level writing courses?  The presence of numerous errors–especially run-ons, fragments, and spelling errors–will result in grade deduction, including failure.



The purpose of our research assignment this term will be DIFFERENT than what you are used to.  In a science or social science context, a research paper can have several different purposes, and so we have to narrow our choice.  In this case, since we do not have time to actually perform an experiment to prove our PICO question, the research paper will be focused on setting up an experiment’s viability—your job in this paper is to prove that the PICO question that you are proposing has some viability. This may cause you to change the focus slightly as you will not be doing general research.


For the purposes of this assignment, we will be primarily focusing in depth on the sections of an APA manuscript INTRODUCTION, found on pages 27-28 of the APA Manual, and some reference to research design and results (page 36—bulleted questions).  What your focus will be is to convince a group of scholars to provide the necessary funding for you to perform the research that you want to do, no matter the focus of the research. You are proving that a problem exists or that a historical or humanities-based conundrum exists that merits monetary support.


LET ME MAKE THIS CLEAR HERE—NO FIRST PERSON, NO SECOND PERSON!!  Should be a third person paper (he, she, it, they, them).  Exception:  A little use of “we” or “I” is OK when discussing your specific project proposal.


For the first draft, we will be focusing on the body of the paper—I am less worried about those aspects of APA manuscript style such as the running head, cover page, and abstract.  We will add those to the final draft (and this format will be part of your grade).  Instead, you will be setting up your paper in the following sections:


  • Introduction—the introduction should open your paper with some statistics or anecdotes on the gravity of your topic, which might include a well-researched case study or examples from today as to why your dilemma is important. Then transition to the final question being your PICO question converted to a statement form.
  • Background—You are going to want to provide a paragraph or two (sometimes more) on the background of your TOPIC (not your PICO question—for example, I might talk about the Yellow Warbler in Oregon using appropriate professional background sources, or find appropriate definitions of psychopathy out of the DSM-V, or a definition of Diabetes Type II out of the MErch Manual Professional Version). Talk about what your reader needs to know about your topic.  For most topics, this might include statistics on how much of the population is effected by these in the US or world or some definable area (defining an area NARROWLY is a good idea).
  • Literature Review—sites with instructions have been provided. Minimum 8 scholarly sources, as noted previous, 10-12 optimal. What you need to do is “divide and classify” your research studies into small groups, no more than 3, no less than one, and organize around these classifications.  Use topic sentences and summary skills to guide your reader through these.
  • Analysis of problem—Subheadings using each PICO letter or each part of the experimental set-up (see assignment 3.1 related to psychology textbook—Here you present research that shows the viability of the question. Some sources will be used here and in the literature review.  Here also GVRL sources may be used, as in the background, and you might need to look at some discussions.
  • Statement of Hypotheses and Justification—Here you close the paper, discussing why your PICO question ought to be studies and perhaps including a proposed research design with discussion of hoped-for results.  DO NOT END THE PAPER WITH SUMMARY—end the paper with what you hope your outcome will be and how it will help the world, people or beings in it, or solve some sort of dilemma or present some new finding.


Please note that nowhere in this paper do you put any personal viewpoint, unresearched opinion, or emotional appeal (pathos).  The discussion in setting this up is wholly based on logos (logic) and ethos (ethical considerations).


All of this will fit into an essay that should be 3000-3500 words long.  Please note that the exit assignment in English 101 has a target of 1500-1800 words.  This target is twice as long—if you are short of the halfway point between these two targets (2400 words), then that will affect your grade, regardless of quality.  Papers that do not go beyond 2000 words will be failed.