1. On your own, find an empirical study related to the study you are designing, and submit a 2-page critique of it. This assignment is first and foremost to help you be an analytical consumer of scientific studies. It will also help you in writing your literature review (Introduction) for your APA-style paper. Your critique should focus solely on the content of the study, including the design, sample characteristics, analyses and interpretation of findings. Your critique MUST NOT focus on the writing style of the authors. What were the authors testing? Was the study design they chose the best method of testing their hypothesis? Was their sample the best sample to test their hypothesis? What analyses did they perform? What analyses should they have performed to get the best results? How did they interpret their results? In what other ways can the results be interpreted? Were there conclusions drawn from the study that were too far-reaching, misleading, or simply inaccurate?
Your final submission is due on September 20th at midnight on Canvas, and will include the study that you are critiquing, and your 2-page critique of it. This assignment is done independently and is worth 20 points.
2. In your groups, locate a popular media claim and evaluate its validity. This assignment is to help you be a critical consumer of information and advertisements bombarding you every day in the real world. You may find many examples of psychological claims on TV, in magazines, advertisements, and newspapers. For e.g., “Improve your memory by playing this popular game designed by cognitive neuroscientists.” Copy or print a picture of the claim, and write a 2-page analysis of whether it is an accurate depiction of something true in psychology, or misleading to the public.
In order to write up your analysis, you will need to go back to the original source quoted by the article or ad. If the source is mentioned, retrieve the original source, and use it to write up your analysis. You must include in it your final submission to receive maximum points. Is the article/ad accurately portraying what the study actually found to be true, or is it misrepresenting the findings of the study? Does the article/ad make a recommendation based on the study that was not given by the authors of the study? For e.g., if a study finds that children who take piano lessons do better in school, does the article recommend: “So sign your kids up for piano lessons now!” Why is this misleading to the public, and why is it an inaccurate representation of the study’s finding? Hint: correlation does not equal causation! Was the study done on a particular population that is not generalizable to all of the United States? Etc. Be sure to evaluate all aspects of the article/ad against the original empirical study.
If the article/ad does not mention an original study, then you will need to go to the Psychological literature and do a literature search to see if the claim is warranted. For e.g., if you read some potty training advice in a parenting magazine, go to PsycInfo and try to find studies that support or do not support the claim of the article/ad. You must locate at least one HIGH QUALITY empirical study (that is, peer reviewed and published in a respectable research journal) in order to make your analysis of the claim. In this case, focus on how closely the actual scientific findings match the recommendations of the article/ad.
Your final submission is due on November 1st at Midnight on Canvas, and will include 3 parts: a copy of the magazine/newspaper article/ad, the scientific study that you found in support of/in contrast to the claim, and your 2-page analysis, done in Microsoft Word. This assignment is done IN YOUR LAB GROUPS and is worth 20 points.