Scientific research methods in psychology literature

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Scientific research methods in psychology literature essay assignment

Complete a worksheet that distills critical information in a scholarly article and compares it to information in a popular press article.

This assessment is designed to help you describe scientific research methods as presented in scholarly psychological literature. It will also help you learn to differentiate between scholarly and non-scholarly sources.

By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies and assessment criteria:

· Competency 2: Describe scientific research methods presented in scholarly psychology literature.

· Describe the hypothesis and purpose of a research study from a scholarly research article.

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· Describe the study design (including observations, programs, population, etcetera) used in a scholarly research article.

· Describe the participants from a scholarly research article.

· Describe the measures used in a scholarly research article.

· Competency 3: Apply research findings from scholarly literature to current issues in the field of psychology.

· Summarize psychology research findings.

· Competency 5: Communicate in a manner that is scholarly, professional, and consistent with expectations for professionals in the field of psychology.

· Summarize the main points from a popular press article.

· Write coherently to support a central idea with correct grammar, usage, and mechanics, as expected of a psychology professional.

· Use current APA format and style.


Psychology is often viewed as a career in which the professionals become therapists in order to treat mental health issues. In fact, psychology is a broad and diverse science that offers a wide variety of career options and opportunities. Because psychology is considered a science, learners must understand the concept of systematic behavioral observation and the scientific process.

The goals of psychology are to describe, understand, predict, and change or control behavior. Part of psychology is helping people, families, groups, and social situations make changes for the better. If you think about it, control is essential to functioning in a social and cultural world. Imagine cities with no traffic signals or children being permitted to wander aimlessly around streets. This would be a chaotic and scary world. Thus, we want to be able to manage human behavior in ways that are productive and helpful without being exploitive or damaging.

Because human behavior is so remarkable, psychologists also get to choose to study from a wide variety of specialties. For example, psychologists can specialize in childhood or adult development; learning; biopsychology; clinical, organizational, or health psychology; or many other areas. You name it, psychologists study it. This is both the joy and challenge of our field.

The scientific method consists of six steps:

· Observing, which we do all the time.

· Defining a problem that we perceive from our observations.

· Proposing a hypothesis or an educated guess about why the problem exists.

· Gathering evidence to test our hypotheses.

· Developing or evaluating theories about behavior based on the research results.

· Publishing the results of our research.

Questions to consider:

As you prepare to complete this assessment, you may want to think about other related issues to deepen your understanding or broaden your viewpoint. You are encouraged to consider the questions below and discuss them with a fellow learner, a work associate, an interested friend, or a member of your professional community. Note that these questions are for your own development and exploration and do not need to be completed or submitted as part of your assessment.

· What was the hypothesis in the research article?

· How credible was the popular press article?

· How do the scholarly article and the popular press article relate to the thesis?

Assessment Instructions:


Critical evaluation of a source requires locating the thesis statement. Note: You may wish to review the Anatomy of a Scholarly Article Campus page, linked in the Resources, which demonstrates where to locate the critical information in a scholarly article. The thesis statement will be the sentence or two that describes what your paper or presentation intends to prove. This differs from a hypothesis, which is used in experiments. For example:

· Thesis example: Heads-up displays should not be used in cars because they distract drivers from the road. Note: The thesis tells a reader what a paper or article will be about. It lets the reader know right away what the conclusion will be.

· Hypothesis example: We predict heads-up displays in cars will distract drivers from the road and cause more accidents. Note: The hypothesis provides a prediction (what will happen in the future) that can be tested in an experiment.

In our daily lives, we often conduct little experiments to detect cause-and-effect connections. If you are interested in gardening, for example, you might try adding plant food to one bed of flowers but not another, and then ask the question, “Does the use of plant food (the independent variable) affect the size of the flowers (the dependent variable)?” Your hypothesis might be: flowers that receive plant food will have larger and more blooms than flowers not receiving plant food. By comparing unfed plants (the control group) to those receiving plant food (the experimental group), you could then find out whether the plant food is worth using. To understand your results, you would also need to consider possible extraneous variables, such as differences in how much light both groups of flowers were exposed to, and how much water each group of flowers received.


The Source Analysis Worksheet is provided in Resources for this assessment to help you successfully complete your work, based on the following scenario.


Suppose you work for a nonprofit agency, providing services and support for people with intellectual disabilities. While fundraising, your supervisor ran into a number of false beliefs about the brain and psychology. She wants you to do some research into the common neuromyths—common misconceptions about brain functions, particularly associated with learning and education—and has asked you to report on one research article and one credible popular press article on neuromyths. She has asked you to evaluate the sources and information from the two articles, based on the following thesis:

· Even professionals believe in neuromyths that harm the services they offer.

In order to accurately report your evaluation of the sources, your supervisor has asked you to complete a Source Analysis Worksheet. In Section 1 of the form, you will record information on the scholarly article. In Section 2 of the form, you will record information based on the non-scholarly article.


1. Select two articles based on the given thesis to analyze for this assessment. Consider using two articles from the Resources, or select other current scholarly and popular press articles based on the thesis.

1. Complete the Source Analysis Worksheet.

5. Follow the prompts and instructions on the worksheet.

5. The scholarly article should appear in the first section and the popular press article should be addressed in the second section.

5. Provide the full reference for each article in the proper box. Use proper citations throughout.

5. Identify how each article can be used in relation to the given thesis. This should be a well-developed paragraph with proper citations for each article.

Additional Requirements

. Written communication: Written communication should be free of errors that detract from the overall message. Original work and critical thinking are required in your assessment and scholarly writing.

6. Your quotations should include quotation marks and citations.

6. Your paraphrases should include citations.

. APA formatting: References and citations should be formatted according to current APA style and formatting.

. Font and font size: Times New Roman, 12-point.

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