Sensory Quality Paper

I am having difficulty with the starting this paper as well as what format to use when writing the paper. I know what not to do, but am having a hard time wrapping my head around just what the correct way is to write this paper. I do not want you to write the paper for me; just some feedback on how to get it started and how to do the research information contained in the paper.


What we are going for here is for the learner to use himself as a “test subject” for analyzing knowledge-acquisition of the “non-cerebral” sort — a sensory experience. Yes, literally, a sensory experience — which, as noted below, can be structured (visiting a museum) or unstructured (taking a walk). For example, a year or so ago I attended a concert which featured the last movement of Beethoven’s 9th. I have to say, it was one of the most moving musical performances I’ve ever heard and seen. I tried to think of it in terms of the Week 5 assignment, knowing that that was looming, and wondered, “How would I use this experience if I had to write this paper?” I noted both “cerebral” and/or “explicit” knowledge gained from the event (the conductor presents didactic information prior to each section, including highlighting specific passages) and what felt like automatic sensory responses of being moved by the music. I would focus in on both aspects.

To continue with the music-related example, if on a “musical” event, in addition to describing and analyzing your own reactions, you would want to bring in research related to this in connection with, say, how people react to music, and to music “venues” (i.e. does the audience reaction also play a part?) If going to an art exhibit, you would want to look into research on reactions to “visuals.” Because of this hope that you will be able to approach analyzing sensory reactions in as “clinical” a way as possible, this assignment harbors some admittedly contradictory components. It may be “lots of fun” (if you select an event or activity you enjoy) and “not fun” (the analysis part). Remember, in all cases, that the focus should be on your reactions, and on analysis of reactions — not on the event itself. So, for example, if you choose to visit the Smithsonian Musuem’s Air and Space Museum, the focus should be not on describing the museum and its collection, nor the history of aviation and space flight, but on your own “processing” of this experience (although brief descriptions are okay if needed to communicate your activity to the audience).

Also, please note: a RECOLLECTED experience will not suffice. Please do this “real time” — experience something and be cognizant of it while doing it. Again, it can be something unstructured (as simple as cooking a meal, or walking the dog) so no need to squeeze in a ballet between now and Sunday.

Here are some ways people have misinterpreted this assignment in the past which have NOT earned good scores:

1. Describing an event they experienced in the past, i.e. going from memory only
2. The majority of the paper consisting of describing the event (i.e. if attending a ballet, describing that ballet)
3. Describing only what others are doing and seem to be experiencing (say, watching runners run, then writing about running but not experiencing running oneself)


1. I hope that helps clarify the assignment in case anyone was uncertain about the intention of the assignment.

2. Personal Exploration of Knowledge – Submit an analysis that outlines your perspective on knowledge as acquired through exposure to stimuli outside of formal (work or educational) arenas. Analyze a sensory experience obtained from an organized activity (e.g. a visit to a museum, attendance at a play or concert, or participation in a sport) or an unstructured activity (e.g. the reading of a literary work or partaking in a nature activity). The analysis should be supported with references to course readings and other pertinent research sources. The paper should include a bibliography of sources and should be written and formatted in appropriate APA style. [bibliography here = REFERENCE LIST]

NOTE: Please review referencing requirements described above [i.e. above in the Syllabus] under “A Special Note on Referencing and Plagiarism”, and take them literally.

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