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Peer-Reviewed Versus Popular Media

Popular media may have very different audiences, goals, and conclusions as compared to peer-reviewed sources on the same topic. Becoming a scholar-practitioner requires honing your critical thinking skills so that you are able to evaluate information and recognize the differences between popular media and scholarly, peer-reviewed research articles. This assignment provides you the opportunity to test your skills in using the library to find appropriate sources and in using Turnitin to check your work for academic integrity.

Tips for Students:

Be sure to reference both the news article and the research article. Do your best to follow APA style. However, what is most important at this stage is that you make sure that your reader can find both of these articles. Remember to paraphrase rather than copy from the articles. Use your own words to describe the information provided in these articles, and do your best to use a scholarly tone. You will find out how well you paraphrased after you submit your paper for grading through Turnitin.

Note: This assignment will be graded using this rubric: Document:Module 3 Assignment 3 Rubric (Word document)

To Prepare: For this assignment, find a popular media news article that is reporting on a research study that relates to health. Then, locate a full text research article (not just the abstract) that is published in a peer-reviewed journal and that is on a similar topic as the news article. If you can find the exact study that the news is reporting on, that is ideal, but if not, just look for a similar type of study. Look for recent news and studies, not more than six months old. You will find many news items that are not reporting on an actual research study. A tip is to look for news that contains phrases such as “scientists found . . .,” “research reports . . .,” and “study finds . . .”

Review the Academic Integrity tutorial in the Learning Resources before you begin, and apply those principles to what you write. Remember to paraphrase rather than copy from the articles. Use your own words to describe the information in the articles, and do your best to use a scholarly tone. You will find out how well you did on paraphrasing after you submit your paper to the Turnitin Assignment link for grading.

To Complete: Write a 2- to 3-page paper and do the following:

  1. A concise summary of the information provided in the news article and the intended audience. Aim for one or two paragraphs. Be sure to cite the news source.
  2. Write concise summary of the original research articleand the intended audience, no more than one page. Include the following in this summary:
    • A description of the research question or purpose of the study
    • A description of the population that was studied (study participants)
    • A brief description of the study procedures—how did they do this study?
    • A concise description of the major findings reported in the “Results” section of the article
    • An explanation of the public health significance/implications of the findings
  3. Write a concise (approximately one-page) summary of your interpretation of the differences between popular media and scholarly, peer-reviewed research articles. Be sure to include whether the research study was the same one discussed in the news article or just on a similar topic. What was similar and what was different between the news and original research articles? Did the news article cite the original source? How might this impact the quality of the material? Who is the intended audience (reader) for the news source vs. the research article? What was the takeaway message from the news article vs. the peer-reviewed article?
  4. Include your reference list and do your best to follow APA format. Cite the sources within your text where you refer to them, and then include the full references at the end of the paper in alphabetical order.

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