Research Consumer Article Modification

PSY 201 – General Psychology

Research Consumer Paper

One of the main objectives of this course is to learn how to be a wise consumer of psychological research. This research consumer paper will put you in the consumer role and give you practice understanding and communicating clearly and effectively about psychological research. This paper will focus on intelligently critiquing media coverage of scientific research.

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For this paper assignment, you will be reading a set of two articles. The set consists of an original peer-reviewed journal article and a media report covering the research.

Gesturing and creativity

Peer-reviewed journal article: Kirk, E., & Lewis, C. (2017). Gesture facilitates children’s creative thinking. Psychological Science, 28(2), 225-232. Free pdf of journal article:

Media report:


Paper Specifics

Carefully read the original peer-reviewed journal article and evaluate the quality of the coverage in the media report. Your overall goal is to use your scientific thinking skills to answer this question: Is this journalist’s claim an accurate representation of the original article, or is it misleading to people?

Your paper should be approximately between 500 – 700 words long and include the following components, in this order. Please use headings to separate the different sections.

Summary of original peer-reviewed journal article

1. Briefly summarize the key aspects of the empirical journal article. What were the main

variables? What was the key finding or findings? What theory do the findings support?

Summary of media article covering the research

2. Briefly introduce and summarize the journalist’s story. Identify and classify any claims that the journalist makes in the headline or in the body of the article. For example, did the journalist make causal claims, correlational (association) claims or descriptive claims? Explain your reasoning.

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Critique of media article covering the research

3. In light of your understanding of the study as described in the peer-reviewed journal article, analyze and critique the journalist’s coverage of the research. In this section, try to make at least three significant points. Use the following questions as a guide:

• What did the journalist get right?

• What did the journalist get wrong, and why?

• What might the journalist have said differently?

• Were any causal claims made by the journalist accurate? (Apply the information on correlation vs. causation we learned in class).

• Did the journalist focus on the same key finding as the scientists did?

• Did the journalist accurately describe the procedures of the study? Did the journalist leave details out?

• Rephrase or rewrite parts of the journalist’s article to be more accurate, if appropriate (NO DIRECT QUOTES – We seldom if EVER use direct quotes in scientific/technical writing).

Your paper should be typed, double-spaced and submitted to Moodle by 11:55 p.m. on the date indicated in one of the acceptable formats (.pdf, .doc, docx, .rtf).

Grading Guideline

Grading Category Percent of Grade
Research Summary

Accurate, concise, non-plagiarized summary of the key points of the original empirical article. Includes the main variables, the key findings, and the theory the findings support.




Media Summary and Classification

Accurate, concise, non-plagiarized summary of the key points of the original empirical article. Includes the main variables, the key findings, and the theory the findings support.




Media Critique

A thoughtful analysis and critique, containing at least three significant points, of how well the journalist covered the research. Student also used excellent critical thinking in the analysis.




Grammar/Punctuation/Style and Clarity

Writing was clear, concise and organized, with very few grammar/punctuation/style errors. Direct quotes from research article are avoided.