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Product code: Research-QA51

Writing Assignment

The aim of this writing assignment is to get you thinking about how to apply the lectures, required readings, and materials presented or heard in a discussion session, to a thematic understanding of the course.  The assignment consists of three parts, which together would total about 4-5 pages of mostly single-spaced text, in an outline format.

Part 1

Choose three (3) of the following themes.  For each one theme (which you can number as 1A, 1B, 1C), outline the episodes and sources (perhaps 3-5 of them) from the course that you would use in discussing that theme.  Since you are recapitulating relevant aspects of  these episodes and sources only with respect to the theme you are discussing, you should select from these episodes and sources the parts that bear upon that theme.  For example, if you were writing on the theme of skill in executing experiments, you might summarize the aspects of Eccles’s work that were based upon his decades of recording from the spinal cord, etc.

At the end of your outline of such evidence, in a sentence or two state two generalizations that you feel that you could support on the basis of the material that you have gathered together in relation to that theme.  You do not need to expand on these two generalizations, but they need to be stated in argument form, not in topic form.

The three thematic outlines must contain, in toto, references to materials that occur in Weeks 1-9.  That is to say, when I get through reading the submitted assignment, I ought to be able to find items somewhere in this Part 1 that come from each of the nine weeks of the course.  Be sure to use at least one, and preferably more, items of information that you have heard presented in one of the discussion sessions (this does not include your own presentation).  You are of course allowed to use your own presentation as well.

The themes are:

• How philosophical and/or methodological assumptions affect the conclusions that an investigator reaches about the brain and nervous system.

• How the biological materials chosen by the researcher affect the success of the investigation.

• How physical models shape notions of how nerves conduct.

• How the strategies that a researcher uses to detect events or processes within the nervous system that had previously remained undetected.

• How an investigator’s special training or talents affects the outcome of research.

• How concepts that are adduced at one point in research from indirect evidence become reified into discrete mechanisms at a later point in research.

• How an instrumental system used in investigating brain and nerve embodies both opportunities and limitations.

• How elimination of function in the nervous system (via ablation, disabling, etc) can lead to progress (of lack of it) in the neurosciences.

• How skill in execution of experiments (or lack thereof) can affect the results and concepts drawn from such experiments.

• How the principle of localization has been expressed in the understanding of the brain and nervous system at multiple points in neuroscience history.

• How microscopic technology and concepts have influenced the progress of the neurosciences.

• How the increasing power of analytic and synthetic techniques from chemistry have affected the progress of the neurosciences.

• How progress in basic neuroscience explains neurological disease in ways that had not been possible before.

• How investigations in basic neuroscience change the conceptions of “mental” disease.

• How the occurrence of pathology/disease in the nervous system can suggest new ways of thinking about basic processes.

• How treatment modes for brain-based disorders have changed in nature over the last three centuries from religious/spiritual, to social, to medical.

Part 2

Choose a required individual primary source item that you have read for the course.  Write an outline of about half a page or so that sets out the scientific framework, methods, results and implications of the article/reading.  Then outline how you would use material from this primary source to support some generalizations in two (2) of the themes that are given for Part 1.  (These need not necessarily be the themes that you wrote on for Part 1).

Part 3

Choose a required individual secondary source item that you have read for the course.  Write an outline of about half a page or so that sets out the scope and argument(s) of the article/reading.  Then outline how you would use material from this secondary source to support some generalizations in two (2) of the themes that are given for Part 1.  (These need not necessarily be the themes that you wrote on for Part 1).

Basis of Grading

The assignment counts for 10% of the overall course mark.  It will not be given a letter grade, but instead a corresponding number of points.  All students who complete the assignment in a satisfactory way start off with points equivalent to slightly above a B.   After that, students who show evidence of close and attentive reading, with good generalizations, will gain additional points. 



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Over the years, the study of Neuroscience has been highly progressive and innovative prospects of the same are opening doors to new services or areas. This study of Neuroscience is one of the most attractive studies as studying the mental signs and symptoms also helps to learn about the emotional sides and empathetic nature of people. Increased understanding of human brain has helped in the development of more advanced treatments for neurological diseases. Localization in the history of neuroscience is furthermore, responsible for signs and symptoms that are inherited by a patient, which has been discussed in this study with the help of theoretical underpinnings and related aspects.

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