PSYC 367 - Psychological Perspectives on Human Sexuality

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Popular Press Assignment
 Your professor will provide a selection of popular press articles that report a published empirical article on some aspect of sexuality. You will read the target popular press article and the target empirical article. In your paper, you will compare how the claims are presented in the empirical article compared to the presentation in the popular press article, and evaluate the validity of the sexual claim(s) made in the popular press article (and the empirical article if you wish) using additional empirical research.  You are expected to use a minimum of 6-8 empirical sources for your paper (including the article cited in the popular press article), but you can use more.  Ideally, you will evaluate the evidence for and against the claim(s) and come to some conclusion about the validity of the claim(s) and how they were presented in the popular press article.

Popular press articles

Popular press articles are written for a general (aka "popular") audience, as contrasted with academic articles, which are written for a specialized audience of academics. For more information on popular press sources, please view the characteristics of magazines found in our What is a scholarly (or peer-reviewed) journal? guide.

Empirical research sources

There are several ways to find empirical research about your topic. (To review the criteria of a scholarly article, please see our guide, What is a scholarly (or peer-reviewed) journal?)

In some cases, a particular news article refers to a specific original study. In these cases, usually, the information about the study mentioned in a newspaper or magazine article or television show is pretty limited. You might only know the name of the author and the journal title, rather than the full citation. Nevertheless, you might still have enough information to track that original study down. In these cases, you can try the following approaches:

  • Check the general SFU Library Search -- put in the information you do have. You may need to try different combinations of keywords.
  • Google can be useful for finding the full information about an article. For search hints, see How to Use Google Search More Effectively (Short version: use quotation marks to search a phrase! e.g. "how good are fish oils")
  • Google Scholar -- access Google via the Library's website to ensure you see the "Where can I get this?" links that will take you to full-text SFU offers
  • If a newspaper article mentions a study from Statistics Canada, chances are that it was mentioned in The Daily, Statistics Canada's news release site -- check Daily issues near the date of the article or television show

To find original empirical research on your topic in general without a specific study in mind, an excellent approach is to search the subject-specific databases:

Useful resources, and where to get more help

A Dictionary of Psychology [online or print]
For definitions of psychological terms

The Thesaurus section of PsycINFO (at top of the main search page) is also a useful source of definitions of psychological terms

A Dictionary of Statistics [online or print]
For definitions of statistical terms

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