There are many ways you can approach writing about addiction.  Here are general directions for the final paper and some suggestions.

This paper will not have a first draft.  It is a type of final exam in which you are entirely responsible for the contact, execution, and excellence of the paper and the writing.  I will look at brief ideas and will look at a paragraph or two of your paper, but that will be all my input on this paper.  You have gotten a lot of advice and responses from me already.  This paper is to see what you have learned.

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I.                                The paper should be about four-five pages, double-spaced.  This is a ballpark figure but papers that are two or even three pages probably won’t be done correctly.

II.                              This is not a comprehensive research paper as your legal paper was; it should, however, include at minimum two outside sources that are reputable.  It would be beneficial if these two sources contrasted with each other, so you can deal with various theories, treatments and studies of addiction.

III.                            You can use google, but again, use it wisely.  Check the source.  Does it come from a reputable medical school or research institution?  Do NOT use articles from pop magazines or “how to” manuals for people with addictions.  Use articles that have scientific value.  You may also find articles, again, in good newspapers and reputable magazines, like NYTimes, WP, etc.  Or, if you are really adventurous, you can consult journals that you can locate online on the Pace library site.

IV.                          Library Databases can be daunting, especially when dealing with medical topics.  You may find a lot of heavy scientific studies that are beyond the capabilities of most students [and teachers] to understand.  If you want to use databases, I’d consult Academic Search Premier, which is a general database, and see what you find.  You can type in subjects like – addiction and childhood, or addiction and childhood trauma and see what you come up with.  But again, you might find articles and information that are too technical to be very useful.

V.                            A better option, I think, is to go on google and be creative and smart about your search terms.  For example, if you type in the heading – University doing research on addiction – you may find some valuable information, or at least information that will lead you to other information.  If you type in – Medical school programs on addiction – you will find some information like US News and World Report about various medical schools and what they offer in terms of addiction.

VI.                          You can also look up – books on addiction or memoirs of addiction or good articles on addiction on google [or Amazon] and find some good information.  For example, on trying this option, I came across a research article that presented research on mice.  There were two types of mice involved.  One group was poorly nourished, and had come from less than nurturing environments.  The other was well-fed and well cared for.  They were put in the same cage and there were two kinds of water available to them.  One was regular water and the other had heroin in it.  They found that the well-fed, happy mice would not go to the heroin laced water, only the ones with problems of nutrition, behavior etc.  This is very interesting if you are looking at causes for addiction in humans.  This is just an example of the kinds of thing you can find.

VII.                        Again, this is not a big research paper demanding five or more sources.  Rather it is a way of seeing how well you write now; how free it is of small errors that should not be there if proofread carefully; how you grasp the subject and present it to the reader; how you put a paper together, how you think, organize and capture the reader’s interest in a subject that can be compelling.  But don’t think you have to have a lot of outside sources. Two or three are fine.

VIII.                      Below is a list of possible topics I’ve come up with.  Before you write the paper, please pick a topic, or if you have a topic of your own, please run it by me for approval.  Again, I will look at ideas and paragraphs but now whole papers.  Final papers are due on Friday, May 5, right after Study Days and right before finals.


1.            You can write on a certain form of addiction – hard drugs, alcohol, sex, internet, opioids, food, etc. If you choose this option, you should have at least two medical opinions and approaches.  It would be best if they were not alike in their findings and treatments.

2.           You can find another memoir of addiction and compare it to Note Found in a Bottle.  There are many good ones.  Use google or amazon to find one.  Of course, this would necessitate reading another book, or at least skimming through one.  Or You can read a novel [not a memoir, but fiction] on the subject and compare it to the memoir of Susan Cheever.

3.           You can write on the causes of addiction, including early environment, genetics, trauma, stress, etc.

4.           Addiction and childhood, or addiction and childhood trauma.

5.           Addiction and personality.  Are certain kinds of personalities more prone to develop problems of addiction.

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