STEP #1: Select
popular press/mainstream media source (i.e., newspaper or magazine article,
online article, TV program) that discusses recent research on a psychological topic. Read this article, noting the general conclusions/impressions the average reader would make about the research findings based on that article.
STEP #2: Next, locate the scientific source (i.e., peer-reviewed journal article) that originally published
the research findings discussed in the popular press article. Read the original source, paying particular attention to how it may differ from the first in terms of language, tone and/or content when discussing the research findings.
STEP #3: After noting the similarities and differences between the two sources, write a critical review
that compares/contrasts the coverage provided by each (see Criteria below).
Your write-up MUST include the following:
1) Date and Source of the Popular Press Newspaper/Program/Website Article (i.e., the name of the article, its author(s), and the publication in which it appeared; the URL for the website) that discusses the findings of a research study conducted on a given psychological topic.
2) Summary of the Popular Press Article. Provide a summary of the articles main points. This summary should include enough detail so that someone who has not read the article would still have a complete picture of what it had included. Be sure that your summary highlights the conclusions the average reader would be likely to draw about the research findings (and psychology in general) based on the coverage provided in the article.
(NOTE: It is advised that you complete these first two steps of the assignment before reading the original study (in the scientific source). That way, you are experiencing the popular press article on its own. This will help to make any differences between it and the original scientific study more salient to you.)
3) Date and Source of the Scientific Article (i.e., title of the article; its author(s); name of the journal) that originally published the study discussed in the popular press article.
4) Compare/Contrast to the Original Scientific Source. After summarizing the popular press article, read the original study published in the scientific/academic source. Compare and contrast how the same research findings are presented/discussed in the two sources (popular press vs academic/scientific). In doing so, please consider the following:
a) Do the two sources differ in terms of language and/or tone? Are strategies used by either to grab the readers attention? If so, how?
b) Does the popular press article get it right? That is to say, does the article accurately relay the methodology, findings, and/or conclusions of the original study? If not, what errors or oversimplifications are made?
c) Does the popular press article cite implications for the original research that go beyond what the original researchers have claimed? For example, does the popular press article suggest that the variables studied are causally related (i.e., one caused the other to happen) when the original research is merely a correlation between the two variables (and therefore cannot be used to make conclusions about causality between those variables)?
d) Would a reader who read only one of these articles be likely to draw different conclusions about the psychological topic being examined (and/or psychology in general) or would the conclusions be similar regardless of the source of the information (i.e. popular press versus academic)? If different, what would the differences be and what implications might that have?
e) What has this exercise taught you about the process by which research findings on psychological topics are communicated to the general public and how will it affect how you read articles (from various sources) in the future?
5) Complete Reference List. Provide a complete Reference list that includes each source cited in your
psychological application discussion (both popular and peer-reviewed). APA FORM
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