According to the authors of the news report, what was the research study about?

Directions: The purpose of this assignment is to think critically about how statistical information and research is presented in the media and whether or not conclusions drawn from the results of the study are supported. For this assignment, you must develop a thoughtful, thorough, and original paper to address the following prompt. You must write your paper in essay form, and you must address every question listed below. There are four steps in the paper, and you combine your answers from all four steps into one cohesive essay. Make sure your responses are thorough and accurate.
The details: While there is no precise word limit, papers that earn full credit are generally between 750-1500 words, using Times New Roman, 12-point font. Please see the rubric for more details. Remember that this a formal writing assignment, and you will be graded on spelling and grammar along with content. You may submit your final paper below. Refer to your course calendar for the paper due dates. Each paper is worth 75 points. You are required to do your own work. All assignments will be automatically scanned for plagiarism, and all cases with greater than a 40% match will be investigated.
Step One: For the first part of your essay, I want you to focus only on the headline above. 1. What are your first thoughts when you read the headline? 2. What do you expect to find when you read the article? 3. Identify whether you think the headline makes a causal or correlational (predictive) claim. In other words, if you came across this headline outside of this class and “in the wild,” would you think that the headline is suggesting that one variable causes a change in the other variable? 4. In a few sentences, explain why you think it is causal or correlational. Step Two: Now I want you to read the actual news article associated with your chosen headline. Click here to link to the article you chose. Links to an external site. Read the article carefully, and then come back to continue your essay by answering the following questions: 1. What are your first impressions of the article you read? 2. According to the authors of the news report, what was the research study about? what did they conclude? 3. Based on the news report, what research design did the researchers use (experimental or observational)? How do you know? 4. Who was in the sample (who were the participants)?
5. What materials were used to collect the data? 6. Does the research described in the news report adequately support the type of claim (correlational or causal) made in the headline? Write a few sentences explaining why you think it does or does not support the claim made in the headline. For example, does the design of the study allow for a causal claim? 7. Are there any other details in the news report that you think are important to pay attention to when interpreting the headline and the results of the study? *Note that you may not be able to answer all the questions above when you read the news report. If you can’t, make sure you make a note of this in your essay. For example, maybe the news report doesn’t mention who was in the sample. You will still want to say this in your essay, as this is still important to know, and this can also influence the conclusions that you draw from the new report itself. Step Three: Now that you’ve read the news report, I want you read the original journal article that is summarized in the news report you chose. Click here to download the original research article that corresponds to your chosen news report. Download Click here to download the original research article that corresponds to your chosen news report. It is important to note that though you should be able to understand the majority of the article, please don’t worry if there are part of the article that you do not completely understand. Do not become overwhelmed if you don’t understand everything at first. Remember that this is an introduction to statistics class, so there is a lot of material that we will not cover (not to mention that we are only half way through the semester, so there is still a lot you have to learn). It’s important that you still read through the article and try to answer the questions below. This is an opportunity for you practice reading journal articles, so do your best. If you would like a reference on how to read a scientific journal article, you may click here. Links to an external site. I imagine each question will result in 1-2 sentences for your paragraph in the essay. 1. What was the purpose of the research study? For example, maybe the researchers were interested in studying the relationship between drinking coffee and mood. 2. What were the variables that the authors chose to study? In the above example, the variables were drinking coffee and mood. 3. How were the variables operationalized (measured)? Were they categorical or measurement (quantitative)? In the above example, the authors measured “drinking coffee” by asking how many cups of coffee the participants drank each day. This is a measurement variable. The authors measured “mood” by having participants rate their mood on a scale of 1-5 at noon each day. This is a measurement variable. 4. Who was in the sample? What was the sample size? 5. Was the study experimental or observational? How do you know? For example, the above study is observational, because there was no randomization or manipulation of an independent variable. Instead, participants responded to a questionnaire and reported both their coffee intake and their mood.
6. What were the results of the study? You only need to be very general here, but do make sure that you are reporting what the authors actually found, not what the news report said. For example, in the coffee study, researchers found that drinking coffee was positively correlated with mood. 7. What kind of claim do the researchers make? For example, in the above study, the researchers make a predictive (correlational) claim, saying that drinking coffee is related to an improved mood. They cannot say that drinking coffee causes a good mood. 8. Does the research described in the original journal article adequately support the type of claim made in the headline of the news report from Part One? How so? Write a few sentences explaining why or why not it supports the claim made. Consider not only the research design, but also the sample size, who was sampled, how the sample was selected, etc. Discuss anything that would be important to consider when drawing conclusions from this research article. 9. Besides the headline, are there any inaccuracies in how the news report interpreted the original research study or omissions of important information? Write a few sentences explaining any inaccuracies or omissions. If you don’t think there were any inaccuracies or omissions, explain why you think the news report was an accurate interpretation that provided all necessary information. Step Four: For the last part of your essay, I want you to reflect upon the assignment as a whole. 1. What is at least one alternative explanation for the results of this study? For example, maybe the relationship between coffee and mood isn’t that coffee causes greater mood, but that greater mood causes more coffee consumption. Alternatively, maybe a third variable explains the relationship. For example, maybe sociability explains both coffee consumption and mood. Perhaps people who are more sociable drink more cups of coffee because they are with their friends, and people who are more sociable are happier. You are just thinking creatively and logically here–you do not have to be certain that your alternative explanation is correct. 2. Was the research designed in a way that controlled for most confounding/lurking variables? If so, how? If not, what could have been done differently? 3. Did the authors of the news report exaggerate, change the findings of original research journal article in any way, or omit any relevant information? If so, what?
4. What has this process taught you about the way you interpret headlines that you see on the news, that are shared on social media, and/or that you encountered in your day-to-day life? Write 3-5 sentences addressing this question. 5. If you could re-write your headline to more accurately reflect what the original research study measured, what would you write? 6. Write a few sentences with your final thoughts and reflections about the assignment and the way in which statistical research is discussed in the media.

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