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Mental Disorder Research Project

Mental Disorder Exploration Project

One in four Americans are affected by some form of Mental Disorder.  Most people don’t understand mental disorders and their seriousness.  To help improve our understanding of mental disorders, you are asked to either write a mini research paper, or do an exploration project.  You may choose a disorder from the list provided below or explore your own, but if you choose your own, you must be certain that it is a mental disorder.  Wikipedia also has a great list of mental disorders you can choose from.

Phobias                                                                      OCD                                    Cutting/burning

Panic Disorder                                                            PTSD                                  Schizoid PD*

Generalized Anxiety                                                   Bipolar                                 Paranoid PD*

Antisocial PD*                                                            Borderline PD*                     Narcissism PD*                                        

*PD stands for Personality Disorder


  • If you want to write a paper, you work alone.  Your paper must be one and a half to two pages typed in size 12 Times New Roman font.  You must have at least five different sources of information for your paper.  Your sources do not have to be specifically formatted.  You can copy and paste the web addresses onto the end of your paper.  You must include at least one visual aid.  Consider using a chart or graph.

    If you do a project, you can work with a partner.  You must have one visual aid.  It doesn’t need to be a poster board.  Think of charts or graphs that can be printed on a sheet of paper then colored.  You must have at least five different sources of information for your paper.  Your sources do not have to be specifically formatted.  You and your partner will present your findings out loud to the class.  Both of you must make equal contributions to the project. 

Some things to keep in mind regardless of whether you choose to write a paper or do a project.  You must have five sources cited.  Five different articles or websites may offer similar answers and evidence regarding the topic, or they may be different. The final paper/presentation will be more interesting if it explores different perspectives, so look for differing points of view and discuss both sides.  You must also have some kind of visual aid.  Clip Art is not an appropriate visual aid.

A few things that might be useful to get you started:

Select a Topic

  • Pick a topic of interest to you.
  • Decide what you know about this topic and what you do not know.
  • Determine if your topic belongs to any subcategory (A phobia is a type of Anxiety Disorder).
  • Determine if your topic is too narrow (no research) or too broad (too much research).
  • Think about the topic by exploring the questions below.
  • Try to come up with a new perspective on the topic.

Try to answer these questions

  • Who? [Who is most affected by the problem/issue?]
  • What? [What is the problem/issue?]
  • Where? [Where is the problem/issue occurring?]
  • When? [When is this problem/issue occurring?]
  • Why? [Why is this problem/issue happening?]
  • How? [How serious is this problem/issue?]

What is interesting about this disorder? Hook your audience with an interesting fact that might make them curious about this disorder.

Explain how the ideas/perspectives/treatments are different or the same.

What are some of the treatment methods?  (Psychotherapy, Medicines, etc.)



Research Paper/Project Rubric

The following rubric and point values will be used to evaluate your mini research paper or exploration presentation. Use this rubric to guide you through the drafting and editing process to ensure you are meeting all requirements for this assignment.






Information is very organized with well-constructed paragraphs and transitions for paper, or well organized and well-done presentation.

Information is organized, but paragraphs/presentation are/is not well constructed.


The information appears to be disorganized and lacks focus and cohesiveness.



No grammatical, spelling or punctuation errors in speech or on paper.

A few grammatical spelling or punctuation errors in speech or on paper.

Many grammatical, spelling, or punctuation errors in speech or on paper.


Paper/presentation has an interesting introduction and conclusion; student has made paper/presentation “their own.”

Paper/presentation is straightforward and informative, but lacks creativity and voice.

Paper/presentation is difficult to read/understand, has no personality or originality.  Shows lack of preparation.


(Quality of Information and Content)

Information clearly relates to the main topic. It includes several supporting details and/or examples.

Information clearly relates to the main topic. No (or too few) details and/or examples are given.

Information has little or nothing to do with the main topic.

Sources and Bibliography

All five sources are documented.

Some sources are documented, but not all.

Not enough sources, or not documented.

Visual Aid

Relevant charts or graphs, if anything is hand written it is neatly done.

Messy, hand drawn, had written visual aid.

Cheesy clip-art or no visual aid used.