This week, you will analyze an empirical article, practicing the skills you will need to evaluate research. This assignment was adapted from materials developed at the Center for Teaching and Learning at UIS.
For this assignment, your will write an essay analyzing an empirical study. Be sure to provide the APA citation and a link to the article in the reference list within your document. As you complete your essay, reflect on what issues are important to the field vs. the general public, and how you and other health psychologists can communicate research clearly.
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To choose a study, use the Library’s Find a Resource tool to search for Health Psychology, a peer-reviewed journal published by Division 38 of the American Psychological Association. Browse the current and previous issues (if available, look for a list of their most highly cited, most-read, or most recent publications). Select any one empirical study that investigates nutrition, the brain, and behavior or mental health. Once you have chosen a study, use Google Scholar or another Library database like Web of Knowledge to determine the study’s “cited by” count. For further guidance see the Library’s Google Scholar Cited By quick tutorial video. Or refer to the Library’s Citing Articles help guide. This number can be one indication of a study’s influence in the larger academic community. Your own analysis of the article is another.
Your assignment should include the following review of the study in about one page:>
State the problem or the topic discussed in the article
Summarize the authors’ purpose, hypothesis, methods, and major conclusions
Next, analyze the study, thinking about your responses to the following questions as a guide:
Is the title of the article appropriate? Is it clear? Suggest an alternative title.
Does the literature review justify the study? (Hint: to answer this, examine whether the information covered in the literature review directly maps on to the study being reported. The literature review should summarize all relevant scientific knowledge on the topic. Then, it should clearly outline something that we still do not know, and state how the study tries to address this gap. Consider whether there are irrelevant references, or whether some aspect of the study is not foreshadowed in the literature review).
Do the authors seem to misrepresent or misinterpret others’ work? (Scan their sources to see if what the authors report aligns).
Does the hypothesis or research question seem sensible? Do you believe that the study is important, based on the case the authors presented in the literature review? Is the purpose or hypothesis clear?
Are the methods/protocol described clearly enough that you think you could replicate them (if you had the right laboratory, equipment or other resources)?
Are the methods used reasonable ways to answer the research question(s)? No study is perfect, so describe one other way the authors might have tested their hypothesis or investigated their research question. Be creative!
Does the analysis/discussion section over- or under-emphasize any aspect of the results?
Do you trust the analysis and discussion? Why or why not? Point to specific evidence in the article that helps build your trust in the results (or not).
Is any of the content duplicated? (For example, tables and figures should be summarized/interpreted in the text, not just repeated. Similarly, the discussion should connect the findings to the larger literature, not just re-state the results).
Is the discussion section relevant to the topic? Do the authors make conclusions that are supported by their findings, or do they overreach? >
What are the major implications of this study for consumers and researchers?
What are the major limitations of this study? How could they be addressed?
Across the article, are any statements or claims vague or ambiguous? How could they be clarified?
Length: 7-10 pages
References: You should cite your specific study, and all others that you use in your analysis.
Your completed assignment should demonstrate thoughtful consideration of the ideas and concepts presented in the course and provide new thoughts and insights relating directly to this topic. Your response should reflect scholarly writing and current APA standards. Be sure to adhere to University’s Academic Integrity Policy.