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PSYC 106 – INTRODUCTION TO PSYCHOLOGY II

TERM ASSIGNMENT OVERVIEW

As Christians (or, whichever worldview you hold to) and as psychologists, it is crucial that we are able to critically evaluate psychological research. The main purpose of this assignment is to provide you with an opportunity to utilize your skills in research design and analysis as well as to practice your interpretation and critical analysis skills. You will also begin to utilize formatting guidelines specific to an academic discipline. In this case, you will use those provided by the American Psychological Association (APA).

STEP 1: CHOOSING AN ARTICLE

You can choose from any of the following topics: language development; social roles and obedience; ADHD & Autism; emotional intelligence; or cognitive behavioral therapy. You should familiarize yourself with the topic by browsing through the textbook and lecture notes.

You should then search for a journal article of interest to you that falls within this topic. You should identify this article as being either a true experiment or a non-experiment. Using PSYCInfo via the TWU library website (www.twu.ca/library). Choose articles that you find interesting and are able to understand. Some articles can be jargon-filled and complicated, so it is in your best interest to choose one that you will be able to read and write about.

STEP 2: SUMMARIZING YOUR ARTICLE

After reading the article, you should begin to summarize the main points. Just as you would describe the study if you were having a casual conversation with someone, you should summarize the study so that it is brief and easy to understand. You should summarize the article in your own words. Copying sections from the article is considered to be plagiarism. A description of each section of an article is provided below:

Introduction

In their introduction, the author(s) will describe previous research. In your summary indicate the main findings of that previous research. Additionally, in the introduction the author(s) will describe the purpose of the study they conducted and how it relates to the previous research. In your summary you should identify the question that the author(s) were trying to answer and the hypotheses they were evaluating.

Method

The author(s) will describe the methods they used in their study. In your summary you should provide a description of the methods used in the study and identify the study as using either an experimental or a non-experimental design.

If you have chosen an experimental study identify the independent and dependent variables and provide the operational definitions of these variables. Briefly describe the experimental method used.

If you have chosen a non-experimental study, identify the variables being measured and how they are operationally defined. Briefly describe the method used to study the relationship between the variables.

Results

Summarize the major findings that the article author(s) report in the results section.

Discussion

In the article’s Discussion section the author(s) will tell you the implications of what they found in their study. Your summary should include a brief overview of the implications of the study.

STEP 3: CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF YOUR ARTICLE

Reflect on your study with particular emphasis on whether or not it fits with your ideas, thoughts, and perceptions of psychology from a Christian perspective. You should also suggest an idea for future research that would either better examine the issue, or would further the investigation of the issue, with particular emphasis on Christian values and principles. This section will be graded heavily for creativity and insight.

STEP 4: WRITE YOUR PAPER

Your paper should be 3 pages in length (excess length will not be read/graded), written by you and you alone, and should include both your summary and your critical analysis. Your paper should include the APA-formatted in-text citation of your article. You will also be required to include an APA-formatted title page, APA-formatted reference page, and a copy of the article.

Your paper should identify your study as being either a true experiment or a non-experiment. Use headings for each section as follows:

Summary of Article (approximately 1.5-2 pages)

Introduction

Methods

Results

Discussion

Reflection and Critical Analysis (1-1.5 pages)

STEP 5: SUBMISSION OF YOUR ASSIGNMENT

You will submit the articles properly annotated (labels and highlighting or underlining) to indicate the evidence supporting your judgment that the article is reporting a true experiment (or non-experimental) design assessing the same general research hypothesis. Your careful and concise annotation will guide the reader to the evidence in support of your claim that you have selected an appropriate article – highlighting or underlining excessive material demonstrates poor understanding of the content.

Assignment Grading

The assignment will be graded based on the appropriateness of the article selected (empirical, true experimental and non-experimental designs, similarity of research hypotheses and goals), the quality of your annotation of the article (accurate, concise, complete), the quality of your critical analysis and reflection, and the conformity of your title and reference pages to APA standards. See following page for the Grading Guide used.

Psychology 106 – Term Assignment

Name:____________________________________________

APA Format (3) (_____/3)

Title page/Running head/Layout

Headings, In-text citation, spacing, etc.

Pagination/Reference Page

Summary of Article (7)

Introduction:

Clear, concise description of rationale for study Identification of study hypothesis, research question, or goal (_____/7)

Methods:

Clear, concise description of the participants, study design, and procedure

Identification of main variables (IV and DV for experiment)

Results:

Clear, concise description of main study results

Discussion:

Clear, concise summary of results with implications

for the study hypothesis and the general problem or behavior under investigation

Annotation of Article (3) (_____/3)

Abstract / Introduction Annotation (identify hypothesis and/or research question) Method Annotation (identify IV/DV, procedure)

Clear, accurate labels

Results / Discussion Annotation

Critical Analysis (7) (_____/7)

Penalties : _________________________________________ (-______)

(Late, incorrect dates, name, other, etc.)

Total (20 Points) = _______

Some Definitions

Empirical: based on the collection of original observations (data) to answer theoretically derived questions in a systematic way – part of the scientific approach to knowing.

True experiment: an empirical design with three key characteristics: control, randomization, and manipulation. In the simplest designs, a researcher manipulates one variable (the independent variable – IV) to see the measured effect on a second variable (the dependent variable – DV), under conditions where one level of the IV can be experienced by one group and another level of the IV can be experienced by a second equivalent group (due to randomization), while holding all other influences on the groups constant (control). More complex designs, like repeated-measures designs, will have one group that experiences both (several) levels of the IV and the effect on the DV will be measured both (several) times. Other complex designs might have multiple IVs and DVs.

Non-experimental designs: by definition, any empirical design that is not a true experiment – this includes all descriptive, correlational, and quasi-experimental designs. They will not have true manipulations and/or true randomization.

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