Assignment: Lifespan Development in the News
The purpose of this assignment is to find a news article reporting the results of a scientific study on human development, and to conduct a critical analysis of the research as reported in the news article.
Find a news article from the last 12 months that reports the results of a study related to lifespan development. This should not be a blog entry, but a published article from a news source such as Time Magazine, The New York Times, Newsweek, NPR, CNN, Fox News, etc. Two great places two start are the websites of the two for psychology in the United States.
American Psychological Association
Association for Psychological Science
HomepageRegister Now for for Psychological Science – APS
Both of these websites contain links to recent news articles. You might have to click around a little bit (i.e., explore the websites) before you find sections with these links.
Make sure that the study you find is “empirical” (the researchers collected data) and “developmental” in focus. For it to be developmental, it needs to look at age differences, either by comparing people of different ages (a cross-sectional study) or by tracking people across time as they age (a longitudinal study). It can also be a combination of the two, which is a cross-sequential study.
In your paper, you are going to present a critical analysis of the study as reported. “Critical analysis” is the process of breaking something down into parts.
Before you proceed with your analysis, watch my recorded lecture below on critical thinking.
What Is Critical Thinking? [8:53]
In a cohesive essay, respond to each of the following question sets:
What is the main research question addressed in the study? Define the concepts (i.e., any psychological or scientific terms) within the question. For example, if the study is about how social institutions can be structured to promote psychological well-being in late adulthood, the main concepts are “social institutions” and “psychological well-being.”
From what point of view are the researchers studying the issue? Who were the researchers? What are their affiliations (i.e., the universities where they work)? How are they “looking” at the issue they studied? Which theoretical perspectives are most relevant? For this last question, draw upon what you learned in the prerequisite introductory psychology course. Theoretical perspectives include the biological, psychoanalytic, cognitive, behavioral, sociocultural, and humanistic.
What information about the study is presented in the article? Who were the participants studied? What are the variables in the study? What type of method was used? Is it experimental or correlational? Is it longitudinal, cross-sectional, or cross-sequential? What were the specific findings?
What conclusions (i.e., inferences) are the researchers drawing? What is their answer to the research question? And what are the implications of this conclusion? The inference is the general answer to the question. Implications are what we should or could do about the issue, given the conclusion drawn. Why is this research important? Why should we care? What should we do about the issue to ? Use “should” or “could” language when identifying the implications.
What did you find most interesting about this research, and what will you most likely remember? What questions would you have for the researchers if you could have a conversation with them? What else would you like to know about the topic? Make sure to present some specific questions that relate to the issue.
Make sure to use the terms in a blue, bold font in the instructions above in your paper, and put them in a blue, bold font. In other words, explicitly identify the parts of the study (the “elements of thinking”) in your analysis.
Include statements like the following:
This study was on the question of. . . .
The main concepts are. . . .
The researchers addressed the issue from the point of view of. . . .
The the following information about the study.
Based upon the findings, the researchers are drawing the inference that. . . .
One implication that arises from this conclusion is that. . . .
Your paper should be about 2- to 3-pages in length, with 1-inch margins, 12-point font, and double spacing. Make sure to carefully proofread your paper, and run both a spell check and a grammar check. At the end of your paper, include the URL (web address) where you found the news article.
Assignment: Lifespan Development in the News