7 ), 770 – 780 W r i t i n g

7 ), 770 – 780 W r i t i n g

The assignment

One of the main objectives of this course is to learn how to be a wise consumer of psychological research. This research critique will give you practice reading and communicating clearly and effectively about psychological research.

For this assignment, please choose one of the sets of articles listed below. Each set consists of two items: (a) an original peer-reviewed journal article, and (b) a media report covering the research. All materials for this assignment are posted on Canvas.

Carefully read both the original peer-reviewed journal article and the media report in your set. Then write a paper with the following two sections. Please use headings to separate the two sections. Double-space your document and use a 12-point font (Times New Roman or similar).

1. Summary of the peer-reviewed article (150-250 words). Briefly summarize the key aspects of the journal article. Your summary should include answers to the following questions: What were the main variables? What was the key finding or findings? What theory do the findings support or refute?

2. Critique of the media coverage (300-400 words). Analyze and critique the journalist’s coverage of the research, using what you learned from reading the original journal article. In this section, make two significant points, dedicating separate paragraphs to each one. (Each significant point should be a different argument, critique, etc. about a different question or issue.) You may choose from the following questions to guide your critique:

  • What did the journalist get right?
  • What did the journalist get wrong, and why?
  • What might the journalist have said differently?
  • If the journalist made any causal claims, were they accurate? (Apply the 3 causal criteria).
  • Did the journalist focus on the same key finding as the scientists did?
  • Did the journalist accurately describe the procedures of the study? Did the journalist leave details out?

Grading expectations

Summary (40%): Accurate, concise, non-plagiarized summary of the key points of the original empirical article. Includes the main variables, the key findings, and the theory the findings support. Writing is clear. Writing reflects your own understanding; direct quotes from the research article are avoided.

Critique (60%): A thoughtful analysis and critique, containing two significant points, of how well the journalist covered the research. Clear writing and critical thinking.

A reminder that this must be original work

The paper you turn in must be your own work that you have written yourself for this assignment. You may not:

  • Copy words from another student or any other source, unless it is marked as a quotation and attributed to the source
  • Copy something and then alter the words to make it a little different
  • Paraphrase without attribution
  • Turn in work that somebody else wrote

All of the things listed above are plagiarism, which is a serious violation of academic standards and can result in you failing the course. Don’t do it! Please see the syllabus for more information. If you are not sure what is allowed, please ask!

All papers will be checked by VeriCite, which is software that can automatically detect plagiarism.

Article sets (choose one set)

Note: In case the direct links do not work for you, I have also posted PDFs of everything to Canvas. The “click here for a pdf” link below each item will take you to the Canvas-hosted file.

Set 1: Happiness and memory decline

Peer-reviewed journal article

Hittner, E. F., Stephens, J. E., Turiano, N. A., Gerstorf, D., Lachman, M. E., & Haase, C. M. (2020). Positive Affect Is Associated With Less Memory Decline: Evidence From a 9-Year Longitudinal Study. Psychological Science, 31(11), 1386–1395. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797620953883 (Links to an external site.)

(click here for a pdf)

Media report

Upbeat Outlook Could Shield Your Brain (Links to an external site.), US News and World Report

(click here for a pdf)

Set 2: Delay of gratification and reputation management

Peer-reviewed journal article

Ma, F., Zeng, D., Xu, F., Compton, B. J., & Heyman, G. D. (2020). Delay of Gratification as Reputation Management. Psychological Science, 31(9), 1174–1182. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797620939940 (Links to an external site.)

(click here for a pdf)

Media report

Children who pass ‘the marshmallow test’ are not just after a treat, but also a boost in reputation among authority figures, study reveals (Links to an external site.), Daily Mail

(click here for a pdf)

Set 3: Fighting misinformation with accuracy nudges

Peer-reviewed journal article

Pennycook, G., McPhetres, J., Zhang, Y., Lu, J. G., & Rand, D. G. (2020). Fighting COVID-19 Misinformation on Social Media: Experimental Evidence for a Scalable Accuracy-Nudge Intervention. Psychological Science, 31(7), 770–780. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797620939054 (Links to an external site.)

(click here for a pdf)

Media report:

Research Shows How To Spot Fake News About Coronavirus (Links to an external site.), Forbes

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