Assignment: understanding psychological science
Assignment: understanding psychological science
a. To appreciate why critical thinking is crucial to understanding psychological science,
1. Watch Crash Course’s (2014) YouTube, “Psychological Research.” Because the narrator of the video speaks quite rapidly, you might need to watch the video at least twice (or use the speed-controller on YouTube).
2. Read Halonen’s (1996) article, “On Critical Thinking [in Psychology].” In this assignment, we will be working on what Halonen refers to as “Methodological” critical thinking skills.
3. Read the first page of Dewey’s (2007) chapter, “Critical Thinking [in Psychology].”
4. Read Stafford’s (2014) article, “What It Means To Be Critical [about Psychological Research],” which is more about how to be critical of psychological science than why it’s important to be critical, but Stafford’s article will prepare you for the rest of this assignment.
b. To continue developing your skill for writing five-paragraph essays, write a five- paragraph essay of 400 to 500 words arguing either in favor of or against the statement, “Critical thinking is crucial to understanding psychological science.”
1. You may write either a Reasons/Arguments essay OR an Examples essay.
2. For either type essay: ▪ Remember to begin by jotting down somewhere your three
Reasons/Arguments or your three Examples. ▪ Next, you should write your three Reasons/Arguments paragraphs
or your three Examples paragraphs. ▪ Then, you should write your Thesis Statement ▪ Next, write your Introduction Paragraph, including a hook. ▪ The last step is to write your Conclusion Paragraph, in which you
restate your Thesis Statement and end with something witty or profound
3. Remember that each of your three Reasons/Arguments Paragraphs or each of your three Examples Paragraphs needs to have
▪ a Topic Sentence;
Part 1: Why critical thinking is crucial to psych science
▪ three or so Supporting Sentences; and ▪ a Conclusion Sentence.
c. Save your essay as PDF and name the file YourLastname_CriticalThinkingEssay.pdf.
d. Go to Written Assignment #8, Part 1: Critical Thinking Essay and attach your essay, saved as a PDF. Remember to “Attach” your essay’s PDF (don’t embed your file or use the “File” tool; instead, use the “Attach” tool).
a. To learn the critical questions that should be asked about psychological science (or any type of science) reported in the news:
1. Read about the first (“Sensationalized Headlines”), second (“Misinterpreted Results”), third (“Conflicts of Interest), and twelfth (“Non- Peer Reviewed Material”) indicator of bad science in Compound Interest’s (2015) infographic “A Rough Guide to Spotting Bad Science.”
2. To see examples of the first (“Sensationalized Headlines”) and twelfth (“Non-Peer Reviewed Material”) indicators of bad science, watch Above the Noise’s (2017) YouTube, “Top 4 Tips To Spot Bad Science Reporting.”
3. Read Ossola’s (2017) article, “Can You Tell If a Health Story Is Total BS?” Ossola’s indicators of “Check the Label” and “Control the Spin” are like Compound Interest’s “Sensationalized Headlines” indicator; however, Ossola presents a novel indicator “Beware the Animal Study.”
4. To see examples of these indicators of bad science, watch Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’s (2016) YouTube, “Scientific Studies.” Warning: John Oliver is a late-night comedian/TV host. Therefore, this video contains adult content, adult language, and extreme irreverence toward a wide swath of people. The video presents numerous examples of bad science indicators; however, if you’d prefer not to watch the video, then please don’t.
b. From the Internet, find three news reports, each of which reports a different study that is characterized by at least one of these indicators of bad science:
1. “Sensationalized Headlines” 2. “Misinterpreted Results” 3. “Non-Peer Reviewed Material” 4. “Beware the Animal Study” 5. “Conflicts of Interest”
c. Be sure to find three different news reports, each of which reports a different study, rather than three news reports all of which report the same study.
Part 2: Learn the critical questions to be asked in psych science
d. Go to the discussion board forum Written Assignment #8, Part 2: bad science journalism and make a new thread of at least 200 words. In your post:
1. Describe each of the three news reports, preferably each in its own paragraph.
2. Identify which indicator of bad science characterizes each news report. 3. Provide for each news report either its URL (using the technique you
learned from the Course How To) or, if a video, its YouTube or Vimeo link.
a. This assignment will focus on the fourth indicator of bad science in Compound Interest’s (2015) infographic, which is confusing “Correlation with Causation.”
1. Watch TEDxDelft’s (2012) YouTube, “The Danger of Mixing Up Causality and Correlation.”
2. Watch PsychU’s (2015) YouTube, “Correlation vs. Causation – PSY 101.”
3. Because PsychU momentarily confuses the term “hypothesis” with the term “theory,” watch PBS’s (2015) YouTube “Fact vs. Theory vs. Hypothesis vs. Law … Explained!“
4. Make sure you know the meanings of, and differences among, the four terms: Fact, Theory, Hypothesis, and Law. Not only will you will need to know these terms and their differences throughout the rest of this course, but everyone should know these terms and their differences.
b. Back to understanding the problem of confusing “Correlation with Causation”:
1. Watch AsapScience’s (2017) YouTube, “This ≠ That.” 2. Watch Khan Academy’s (2011) YouTube, “Correlation and Causality.”