Critically Analyzing Mainstream Media
Instructions: 1) Select a recent story in the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox News, CNN, or other “mainstream” news/media outlet that focuses on social work-related research (U.S. News has many articles that would meet criteria). Some well-known websites like Psychology Today may also be used. 2) Read the media article. 3) Using the LSU Library Databases or google scholar, find the primary source (the original research paper, the scholarly article) on which the media article is based. If you cannot find the original scholarly article on which the media article is reporting, then you need to choose a different media article. 4) Read the article, and then answer the 6 questions in blue ink and submit to the assignment box in a .docx format. You may use the template attached below, or you can copy/paste the answers onto another document. For your assignment, be sure to respond to each of these 6 questions to compare the media and research/scholarly article: 1) Cite both the media article and the primary source (scholarly article), using APA style. 2) What was the major claim of the media/news article? (1-3 sentences) 3) Was this news article based on a study found in the peer-reviewed literature? Do not guess; research the journal or source and reference what you found. (1-2 sentences) 4) Write a summary of the scholarly/research (not the media) article that includes (no more than a few paragraphs/1 page; bullet points/numbered responses are fine rather than a formal narrative style); include all of this information below, at a minimum: · A brief summary of the problem area and the research question(s) · The type of design used (e.g., correlational, experimental, secondary data analysis, etc.) · Whether this was a novel study, replication, or meta-analysis · The independent and dependent variables, along with any mediating or moderating variables if applicable · A summary of the study’s sample (size of sample, characteristics, etc.) and how it was chosen (e.g., snowballing, randomly selected, stratified, etc.) · A summary of the study’s findings · An explanation of how the study design impacts what the researchers can claim about their findings (e.g., have they shown causation or just a relationship, etc.) · An explanation of how the sample characteristics and the way in which it was chosen influence the generalizability of the findings (e.g., to whom else might these findings apply/not apply?) · What were the limitations of the study? Include the author(s)’ and others that you may have considered 5) Given all the information you summarized above, reflect on how accurately the news article represented the original research study (1-3 paragraphs). Here are a few examples of what you can include in this reflection: If the study was not peer-reviewed, how does the media article convey that? Do they seem to understand the findings? Misrepresent them? Do they assert that the independent variable caused the change in the dependent variable when the study was only correlational? Did they assert that there is “proof,” when this is an initial study that requires replication? Did they summarize all the studies on this topic, or did they just highlight one of them? If so, why do you think they did that? Did they generalize the findings to all people when the study’s sample limited generalizability? Did they fully and completely caution the reader about the limitations of the study? 6) Provide your final assessment of this media article: did it fairly represent the scientific research? ***DO NOT PLAGARIZE*** ***FOLLOW ALL DIRECTIONS*** ***Be very descriiptive and detailed in your response***

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