Psychology and the Mass Media
a research paper of approximately 2,500 to 3,500 words (10 to 15 typed, double-spaced pages). This assignment enables you to study a particular topic from the course in greater depth, or to explore a specific topic or medium that has not been covered in the course. For example, you may choose to focus on the portrayal of minority groups, sports, religion, soap operas, or music for teenagers. Alternatively, you may choose to focus on a topic already covered in this course but do so by providing the Canadian context through the use of current events or focusing on the most recent technologies. Note that your research paper must address the psychological aspects of the mass media as applied to the particular area you have chosen.
Discuss your choice of topic with your tutor before proceeding. Your tutor will help you refine your topic, recommend resources for your research, and provide assistance with any problems you may encounter in the various stages of your work. For example, you may need help in keeping focused on the main topic, organizing your theme, narrowing (or broadening) the scope of research, or selecting a thesis statement.
Please submit your completed paper directly to your tutor for grading and feedback using the Assignment Dropbox at this website.
Once you have identified your general area of interest, you might need to do further reading before deciding on the actual topic. As a general rule, survey texts such as Harris and Sanborn’s do not provide sufficient detail to be acceptable sources for a research paper. They do provide good starting places, however. You will need to locate and use 6 to 8 primary source materials and published, original studies for your research. If you cannot locate primary material, look for acceptable secondary sources books or review articles written by someone with appropriate academic credentialsthat criticize a piece of original research or compare several pieces of research on a single issue. Note that Wikipedia is generally not considered an acceptable, academic source of reference for this assignment.
Structure and Grading Criteria
A scholarly paper always comprises three major segments: introduction, body, and conclusion. Begin your writing by making an outline, which is basically a sketch of the parts of your paper. The outline should demonstrate that your arguments are logical and that they lead from the introductory section, which defines the issue, to your conclusion. A good outline also indicates any future research needs or practical applications that you have identified.
The abstract is a 100- to 150-word summary of your research paper. It should appear at the beginning of your paper. However, it is easier to write the abstract after you have finished writing the entire paper.
The introduction to your paper addresses the following questions in a scholarly manner:
What do you intend to do? What issue(s) will you discuss, and from what point of view? Be specific, mentioning not only the theme of your paper, but also any unique aspects of that theme that you plan to address.
Why is this research paper worth doing? What is the importance of this issue, and how does it fit into psychology and the mass media?
What approach will you take to addressing your topic? Here you will need to explain your strategy, which might be to examine a particular theory or body of research, to compare several theories, or to consider the relevance of a particular theory or body of research to everyday reality.
What will be the limitations of your research and your discussion? This statement should define what you will and will not cover. The length of your paper will most likely limit the extent of your work. Be sure to note any obvious relevant variables that you will have to omit.
The body of your paper is where you do what you have told the reader you were setting out to do in the introduction. Pay attention to the clarity of interpretation and the relevance of the theories, concepts, and research findings to psychology and the mass media. Any quoted material and any ideas attributable to someone else must be acknowledged in proper in-text citations, and listed in correct reference format at the end of the paper.
The conclusion reviews the relevance of the topic to psychology and the mass media. Your conclusion must summarize the argument you have developed, and should include suggestions for what should be done with your work or for further research that is needed.
Marking Matrix for Assignment B: Research Paper
Abstract Concise, accurate summary of all key points in research paper. 5 5
Wordy, accurate summary of almost all key points in research paper. 4
Concise, accurate summary of some key points in research paper. 3
Wordy, accurate summary of some key points in research paper. 2
Inaccurate summary of key points in research paper. 1
No summary. 0
Introduction Concise statement of the rationale, purpose, and structure. 9-10 10
A wordy statement of the rationale, purpose and structure. Includes information that is either unnecessary or would be better placed later in the paper. 7-8
An interesting but wordy rationale or background statement, perhaps more suited to a literary essay. Includes either the purpose or the structure. 5-6
An interesting but wordy rationale or background statement, perhaps more suited to a literary essay. Neither purpose nor structure is described. 3-4
Poorly written, with neither purpose nor structure described. 1-2
No introduction. 0
Body: Selected Literature Review Accurately summarizes and discusses the main findings of 7 or 8 or more primary research or review articles. 41-50 50
Accurately summarizes and discusses the main findings of 4 to 6 primary research or review articles. Other articles summarized may be primary or secondary sources. 31-40
Accurately summarizes and discusses the main findings of 1 to 3 primary research or review articles. Other articles summarized may be primary or secondary sources. 21-30
Accurately summarizes and discusses only secondary sources. 11-20
Incomplete, inaccurate summary of secondary sources. 1-10
No articles summarized. 0
Discussion and Conclusion Clear, logical integration of the findings from all 8 articles into a summary conclusion and/or recommendations. May include creative thought. 16-20 20
Clear, logical integration of the findings from most of the articles (6 minimum) into a summary conclusion and/or recommendations. 11-15
Unclear or illogical integration of the findings from most of the articles. 6-10
Unclear or illogical attempt to integrate a few of the findings from 5 or fewer articles. 1-5
No conclusion. 0
Style Consistent use of the currentAPA style in title page, body of the report, citations and reference list; the title page includes a title appropriate for an academic paper, student name and ID number, course identified, and instructor identified. 5 5
Consistent use of an out-of-dateAPA style in all 4 elements; title page includes appropriate title, student name and ID number, course identified, instructor identified. 4
Consistent use of APA style in 3 elements, or inconsistent use in 4 elements; title page may be incomplete. 3
Use of APA style in 2 elements; title page may be incomplete. 2
Use of some other style. 1
No citations or reference list, no title page. 0
Writing Skills Excellent organization, grammar, spelling, and punctuation. A well-organized report may use headings and/or clear, logical transitions to shift from one section to the next. 9-10 10
Generally well written (logical, clear) with a few minor errors in grammar, spelling, or punctuation. 7-8
Logical and clear, but with many errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation. 5-6
Some confusion or lack of clarity in organization and writing. 3-4
Generally confusing, illogical, and unclear. 1-2
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