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PSYC 200 Life Span Psychology (Carrick): Assignment

Evaluating the Media Assignment

Evaluating the Media

50 points

Due May 31st at 12:15 pm


“Fake news” is a buzz word these days; but what does it really imply about the sources and information we fill our minds with? This assignment will help you evaluate news sources with a critical eye; and furthermore, inform you what is the criteria for a trustworthy source. We will accomplish 2 learning objectives from this paper:

  • Describe what kinds of additional information beyond personal experience are acceptable in developing behavioral, developmental explanations (ie. Popular press reports vs. scientific findings)
  • Identify and navigate psychology databases and other legitimate sources of developmental psychology information.



  1. Choose a research study (published in an academic journal) about adolescence or emerging adulthood that has also been covered in the news within the past 5 years. A list of research articles are listed at the end of this assignment for you to choose from or you may find your own study.


  1. Find 2 news articles reporting on your EXACT research study.


  1. Write 3-pages (double-spaced, 12-point font, 1-inch margins) paper critically comparing the research study with its coverage in the media.
    1. Summarize the research key findings IN YOUR OWN WORDS. A summary does not involve any quotations. I don’t know if you understand what you read if you use quotes. Read the introduction & discussion sections of the article to write this part. You do not need to read or understand the methods & results section. Don’t use statistics or p-values, just explain it in everyday language (but using correct grammar!!) Make sure to use APA format to CITE the research.
    2. Evaluate each news article compared to the original study. How did the journalists in the media report about the research study? Was their report consist with the research findings? Did they embellish details or make a relationship cause & effect when it was correlation? Give me explicit examples. You should have 2 paragraphs – 1 for each news article you found evaluating the original source.
    3. Compare & contrast the 2 news sources. What were the differences between each account of the research? Was one media source more accurate? Give me explicit examples.
    4. Connect the research to class concepts. Based on what you have learned about adolescence and/or emerging adulthood, can you explain the research findings? Be sure to incorporate developmental concepts you learned from class and the text. You MUST cite the textbook here.
    5. Reflect on what you learned. What did you learn about the difference between the original study and the each of the 2 media sources you evaluated? Your insights must be specific and include original thought.



You will be graded on the following criteria for 50 total points:

  1. APA in-text citations & reference page: 5 points
  2. 1 research study & 2 popular news articles reporting on the SAME research study: 5 points
  3. Summary in own words: 5 points
  4. Evaluate each media source: 10 points
  5. Compared the two news sources: 10 points
  6. Connected developmental concepts into the analysis: 5 points
  7. Reflect on learning:  10 points

Research Studies:


 Association of hormonal contraception with depression

Available on JAMA Psychiatry using Google Scholar


Drug Use:

National trends in hospitalizations for opioid poisonings among children and adolescents, 1997 to 2012

Available on JAMA Pediatrics using Google Scholar


Living Arrangements:

For first time in modern era, living with parents edges out other living arrangements for 18- to 34-year-olds

Available on Pew Research Center website using Google



Technology-based communication and the development of interpersonal competencies within adolescent romantic relationships: A preliminary investigation

Available in Journal on Research of Adolescence using Google Scholar


Sexual Behavior:

Sexual identity, sex of sexual contacts, and health related behaviors among students grades 9 – 12, 2015

Available at the Highline Library using One Search



Sleep and use of electronic devices in adolescence: results from a large population-based study

Available at the Highline Library using One Search


Social Media:

Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks

Available at the Highline Library using One Search



Possible mechanisms explaining the association between physical activity and mental health

Available on Google Scholar

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