This assignment is designed to get you critically thinking and writing about how psychological issues are presented in the popular media. Magazine, newspaper, radio and tv accounts of psychological phenomena often are presented more to attract an audience than to provide fully accurate information. To complete this assignment, you will need to select five recent (within the past six months) media items. These can be magazine articles, newspaper articles, advertisements, commercials, radio broadcasts, or television news stories. For audio or visual items describe the item as closely as possible (e.g., by transcribing the script of a radio ad) or include a link to the item. For each item, include a brief essay–one to two pages, double-spaced typing–on the connections between the media item and material from the course text or class. It’s essential to focus on the connections between the media item and psychological theories or research evidence. In addition, for each one of the items you are expected to find a relevant article from a psychology journal identified in the UMUC library databases (e.g., PsychInfo) and include information from the article in your brief essay. This assignment is worth 100 points toward your final grade.
Additional Criteria for Grading Your Assignment
- Accuracy. Are your facts or ideas correct?
- Clarity. Are your answers clear and easy to follow? It helps to read your answer aloud to yourself. Using this method, you can catch incomplete sentences or lapses in your thought.
- Depth. Are the issues and implications thought out and explored?
- Originality. Are your own views present and well-articulated? Use your own words. Do not copy material directly from your text or other sources. If you want to use the author’s exact words, put them in quotation marks and cite the page number from your text or other source material. But don’t forget to express your own opinion or interpretation.
- Supporting Evidence. Support your ideas with empirical evidence. This is a crucial part of any well-written research essay. You may support your answer with statistical information, case studies, or research you encounter from the text, readings, or other references. You may also use your personal experience as supporting evidence when appropriate.
- References. Did you use appropriate references to support the main points of your paper? You may look in the textbook and find references listed in the bibliography that might support your writing. Be sure you have these references—the complete articles—on hand if you use them. Make sure your references relate to the point you are making, or support your inferences.
- Form, composition, spelling, etc. Try to make your paper neat and error free. It helps to run your spell checker before submitting your work, or have a colleague or friend read over your paper.
- APA Style. We will follow the formatting rules of the American Psychological Association. The UMUC Guide to Writing and Research will provide you with some basic APA guidelines, and you can access this information by visiting UMUC’s library web page.