Critical review of an online article (85 marks)
Use theoretical and empirical evidence to support your arguments in critically reviewing the following online article: Watching birds near your home is good for your mental health https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170225102113.htm
Relevant textbook chapters: Psychological Research and Psychological Disorders
In your review (critical analysis) you should address the following areas/questions:
a) Key assumption and claims: Identify the key assumption put forth by the article and state the claims that support or form the bases of this assumption.
b) Viability of the claims: What are the strengths and weaknesses of the claims?
c) Modifications: Are there any other explanations for the phenomenon?
Tips on how to approach this assignment
Important note: There is no need to access the original source(s) that the online article is reporting on. Your task is not to critique the original source itself. Instead, your task is to critique the way the online article reports the findings of the source(s) concerned and draws its conclusions.
Reminder: Read widely and use theoretical and empirical evidence to support your arguments. Remember to reference any sources you have cited in your review and apply the APA format.
a) Key assumption and claims: First of all, identify the key assumption made by the author of the online news article. Then list the claims presented by the author to support the key assumption. For example, consider an article that appears to assume that boys are smarter than girls (key assumption) based on research studies conducted in co-educational secondary schools in Singapore where boys were found to outperform girls in Maths (claims).
b) Viability of the claims: Critically think about the bases for the (key) assumption made. You can do this by identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the claims made by the author of the online news article. For example, the research study mentioned was conducted in co-educational secondary schools in Singapore. A strength could be that the data used is official and reliable. However, a weakness is that not all secondary schools in Singapore are co-educational so it may not be representative of all teenage boys and girls in Singapore.
c) Modifications: You may want to consider alternative explanations for the phenomenon but in order to do this, you need to read widely on the topic concerned so that sufficient knowledge is gained to present a meaningful discussion. For example, are there similar studies that were conducted in single-sex secondary schools in Singapore? Did girls from single-sex schools not perform as well in Maths as their male counterparts in single-sex schools? Consider also that not all girls in co-educational secondary schools come from co- educational primary schools. Could there be other theoretical or empirical explanations for the inferior performance of girls in Maths compared to their male counterparts in co- educational schools? You will also need to back up your argument with supporting theoretical or empirical evidence based on your readings. For example, Attribution Theory and the principles of Locus of Control may better explain the phenomenon described earlier where teenage boys outperform teenage girls in Maths in co-educational secondary schools in Singapore.
Reading and researching beyond the course material:
• You can start off searching the net using relevant key words – try Google Scholar. This may throw up related or relevant articles that may lead to reputable journals for further research.
• DO NOT cite material from Wikipedia – this is not a reliable source.
Recognising Psychology in everyday life – The objective of Psychology is to understand people and (hopefully) provide feasible recommendations for solutions that are in line with psychological principles.
The rows of self-help books in any bookshop will give you a hint of the popular uses of psychology. Popular media (e.g., novels and music) oftentimes carry psychological themes as well. For example, Hamlet’s love for his mother could be psycho-analysed using the Oedipus theory, while some songs suggest ways of dealing with stress, for instance, “don’t worry, be happy”. Policies made by the government could have psychological implications as well. For example, bilingual education may make it more difficult for clinicians to identify incidences of developmental dyslexia as a plausible competing explanation for language difficulties. In order to achieve the objective of Psychology, we have to be able to recognise the issues and debate at stake, to critically analyse the claims, and to challenge the views with viable alternatives.
In the present assignment, we would like you to demonstrate your skills in being able to identify and critique psychological issues. This review exercise has been designed to help you develop the following skills:
reading articles critically
appreciating how psychology and its relevance can take many different forms
engaging in everyday life using psychological theories
References (5 marks)
Apply the APA style of formatting references by presenting the full reference of the following as you would expect them to appear in the References section;
• the Science Daily online article
• all sources (books, journal articles…) cited in your critical review