You are to locate one source of pop psychology and one source of empirical research and compare and contrast the merit of the information in each as follows:

Begin by searching in the appropriate place for 2 sources that are fittingly related to each other on any topic in Psychology.  Empirical research can only be found in professional journals.  The easiest way to find a professional journal article is by accessing through the portal then locating the online Library.  Pop psychology sources are newspapers, news magazines, tabloids, and other self-help articles found either online or on store shelves.  Examples include articles by Dr. Phil, Dear Abby, Dr. Laura, etc.  Articles in Psychology Today and are pop psychology and, although they may report on or refer to empirical research, they are not professional journal articles. 

To prepare your essay, you should think critically about the merit of the information in each article by asking the following questions about each:  a.) What is the main issue, problem, or intention of the article?  b.) In what way(s) does the article investigate various points of view and assumptions?  c.) What evidence is provided to support the issue?  d.) In what way(s) does the article discuss consequences and implications of the reasoning provided?  e.) In what way(s) does the information provided help you make an informed decision about the purpose?

Now, focus on the answers to the above questions and compare and contrast the 2 sets of information.

Determine what your thesis is and state it clearly and concisely. It should briefly introduce your topic but more importantly should indicate that your purpose is to compare and contrast the merit of the pop psychology article with the merit of the empirical article. This will be the first sentence of your essay.

In the body of your essay, you may do a whole-to-whole comparison of the 2 sets of information or you may do a (less common) point-to-point comparison.  For a whole-to-whole comparison, address the information about one of the articles by discussing its merit using the critical thinking concepts above, then, do the same for the second article.  For point-by-point, you should address the first important point about one article then that same point about the other, discuss a second point about one then the other, and so on. You will want to be very thorough in the body as this is a very large percentage of your grade on the essay.    

Your conclusion should summarize how the merit of the pop psychology article compares and contrasts with the merit of the empirical article, thus reaffirming your thesis without restating it.  This is where you conclude with inferences, clearly address implications or consequences of accepting the given information, and culminate any assertions.

Additional tips:

Be certain to carefully review the information for specific directions and refer to the Grading Rubric for information on how your writing assignment will be graded.  You are to write 500 words / 2 pages.  A 50 word leeway will be accepted; otherwise points may be deducted.  Use basic APA style guidelines such as 1” margins, 12 point Times New Roman font, double-spaced, and when citing your sources and listing your References. 



Not Attempted

7 points


10.5 points


11.5 points


13.5 points


15 points


0-7 points

It is unclear what the 2 sources are for this assignment.

7.5-10.5 points

10.5-11.5 points

Sources do not include an empirical research article or the 2 articles are not related in a suitable manner. .

12-13.5 points

13.5-15 points

Sources include one empirical research article and one pop psychology article that are fittingly related to each other for basic comparison.

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