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Creating Effective Research Assignments: Step 3: Design Learning Experiences and Instruction

Design Learning Experiences and Instruction

In our example, students need to be able to do more than locate and cite scholarly articles by using the peer-reviewed checkbox limit in a psychology database and format a citation. They need to find an empirical study, read it to identify specific content (question, methods, findings), and describe why empirical evidence is valuable to the discipline.


You are a school psychologist. Madison’s parents are concerned about their daughter’s shyness. They have an article that they found on the Web saying that Facebook is bad for children’s social development, especially if they are shy. But Madison is asking for a Facebook account because “everyone else has one.” They want your advice. What do you tell them?


1. Do some basic research on the Web to find examples of what Madison’s parents are reading about Facebook and children’s social development.  

2. Find at least one recent (within the last 3 years) empirical research study that will help you provide advice to Madison’s parents.

3. Write a 2-page paper that includes the following required elements:


a. A summary of a piece of anecdotal evidence about Facebook and children. What kind of evidence does the author use to support its claims?

b. A summary of the empirical study. What was the main research question or problem? What methods did the authors use? What were the major findings of the study?

c. A summary of your advice to Madison’s parents. What was the most compelling research-based finding that you used to help them make a decision about Facebook?

d. Complete, properly formatted (APA 6th style) in-text citations to the works you summarize and a list of works cited at the end of the paper.

e. Attach the first page of the empirical study that you use and describe your search process (database, search terms, and any limits used).


Bonus: Your librarian can help you design and deliver a library instruction session that walks students through the process of finding, reading, and assessing anecdotal and empirical evidence in psychology. Your librarian can also create online “point-of-need” tutorials on recommended resources, search strategies, and citing sources in APA format.