Health psychology research often draws a lot of attention from the Internet media. Every day someone is writing online about how to live a healthier life, because there is always an audience for these tips. In general, this interest can be great for health psychologists, since it gets publicity for our work. However, Internet “journalists” all too often stretch the conclusions of the studies, or even completely misrepresent the empirical work, when writing their posts.
For your project, you need to find an Internet article about a health psychology topic discussed in class, and write about one of the following in a 2-3 page paper:
1) Find an “inaccurate” Internet posting about health psychology research, critique the writer, and provide a better description of the original study. This process will require finding and returning to the original study (which is hopefully cited in the internet article), and evaluating whether the study was properly described. In addition, you should discuss how you would need to alter the original study to actually test the Internet writer’s claims. Note: you do not need to find an Internet posting that completely misses the mark when describing the empirical research. Instead, you can look for a posting that simply misinterprets or misrepresents some integral finding of the original study.
2) Find an Internet posting about health psychology research, and discuss why the findings described make sense to you based on your knowledge from class lectures and the textbook. A primary point here is to discuss how the study relates to or extends results discussed in lecture or in text. Next, you need to use your knowledge to describe how you would plan a study to take a “next step” in the line of work. You should be able to form a sound and empirically supported hypothesis, as well as describe why your study provides a significant addition to the previous work. For instance, it is not enough just to say that you want to test the findings using another sample; instead, you would have to explain your rationale for thinking that the effects may differ.
In both cases, make sure to include the online posting that you are discussing, as well as the original article if you can find it. If not possible, try to provide as much information about the original study (author names, etc.) as given in the online posting.
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