Psychology in the News

Psyc 100 D. Lim
Psyc 100: Written Assignment
Psychology in the News

Throughout this course, we will cover a number of varied topics in the field of psychology. These topics are applicable to day-to-day life and are often of general interest. Psychology topics and research are sometimes reported in popular media (such as blogs, newspapers, and magazines), but how well does popular media report such research? In this paper, you will write an essay that critically examines a popular news report and compares it with a peer-reviewed psychology article of the same topic.

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This written assignment is designed to allow you to:
1) Explore new topics in psychology
2) Build your research skills by finding, reading and describing academic research
3) Enhance your critical thinking skills by comparing two different types of media (a news report and an academic article on the same topic)
4) Practice your written communication skills, including APA formatting Process:

1) Find a popular news article* that:
a. Discusses a psychology topic that is relevant to Psychology 
b. Was published in the last 10 years
c. Describes the psychology topic in enough detail that you can draw conclusions about the topic

2) Find a primary research article** on the same topic that has been published within the last 10 years (e.g., between 2010-2020).

3) Write an essay (between 500-800 words) that:
a. Describes the psychology topic
b. Summarizes the contents of both articles
c. Compares and contrasts the two articles in terms of content, style, and purpose
d. Critically examines whether the news article accurately described the topic
e. Includes in-text citations and an APA formatted reference list
*A popular news article is typically written by a journalist who is not an expert in the field, but may have interviewed an expert. These articles do not go through peer review, and can be published very quickly. These articles are typically written with a lay audience in mind (technical jargon is avoided so that anyone reading the article may understand).
Example: “Smells ring bells: How smell triggers memories and emotions”
A popular psychology article published on the Psychology Today website. In this article, several different studies are described that link specific smells to specific memories.
**A primary research article is an academic article that is written by an expert in the field. These articles are written with other experts in mind (so they use technical jargon) and are published in scholarly journals. These articles are almost always subject to peer review before being published to ensure high quality (during peer review, other experts in the field will critically examine the article to determine whether the experimental design and conclusions are sound). “Primary research” means the authors have conducted new research and report results (in contrast, a review article will summarize many articles on a given topic an editorial article will offer an opinion on a topic, but will not report new results; etc.).

A primary research article usually has paper sections such as Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion.
Example – Scholarly article from a peer-reviewed journal: “The functional neuroanatomy of odor evoked autobiographical memories cued by odors and words” A peer-reviewed article from the journal Neuropsychologic. It includes a detailed methods section, which describes how the authors conducted the research, and a results section, which describes the new findings.
You may use any news engine to find a popular news article that discusses psychology topics.
Some suggestions include:
• American Psychological Association’s Psychology NewsWire –
• Psychology Today’s News feed – You should use PSYCinfo to find a primary research article. When searching:
• Enter keywords that are related to the topic from the news article (for example, if the news article discusses how smell triggers memories, appropriate keywords would be “Olfaction and memory”).
• You can use an advanced search to filter for publication dates between 2010-2020.
• Note: connect to Psycinfo through the SFU library to access full-text articles.
Formatting Checklist:
ü Title page in APA format
ü Main text is between 500-800 words (excluding title page and reference pages)
ü Double-spaced
ü 11 or 12-point font
ü In-text citations and reference page in APA format
ü Your essay
ü A digital copy of the news article
ü A digital copy of the primary research article
This essay is worth 14% of your final grade. You will be graded on the following: Completeness, accuracy, quality of articles, critical thinking, quality of writing, APA formatting, and professionalism (including proper formatting). For more information on Psychology in the News see this:

Psychology in the News

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