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PSYC: Psychology: PSYC 103 Introduction to Psychology - Donahue

This guide is intended to help students with research assignments about psychology.

Students in Professor Karin Donahue's PSYC 103 classes can use this page for help with locating your media article and other sources for your media report assignment.

Media Report Assignment

Paper:  To engage your critical thinking skills, read and evaluate a media story about a topic in psychology.  The story can be drawn from the newspaper, a magazine, a website, etc. This assignment will enhance your awareness of how psychological issues are portrayed to the public and will challenge you to become a more thoughtful, informed consumer about these topics.

(1) - Identify a recent media report (article) focusing on psychology (e.g., posttraumatic stress disorder in veterans, suicide, prescription of antidepressant drugs for children, mindfulness, etc.)  

  • Summarize this report, in one or two paragraphs, in your paper. 

(2) - Research the topic further, using at least 3 sources/references.

  • Describe your research and what you learned from these sources in 3 pages. 

‚Äč(3) - Connect your media report and additional research. 

  • Critically evaluate points raised in the media report article in 2 pages. Describe the strengths and weaknesses of the report. Given what you learned in your research, did the report represent the psychological issue accurately? How could the report more accurately represent the issues? What recommendations can you make to improve the accuracy and more complete representation of the issues? 

Basic requirements:
Total length of the paper – 5 pages
 (8 pages for WI sections). Double spaced, one-inch margins. Attach a copy of the media report article to your paper.

STEP 1 - Identify and Find Your Media Report

You can use any mainstream, recognizable news source or news website for your media report.

Here are some suggestions for places to look for your article:

Psychology Today

Scientific American

Science Daily

APA Psychology Newswire

Google News

If you get stuck, you could also try these places:


Discover New Scientist The Atlantic


Popular Science The Scientist The Washington Post

U.S. News & World Report

Psych Central News

Science News The New York Times



Health USA Today

Search Tips

Adding the words study, research, or findings to your search may help.

Some websites may let you browse or directly search their "psychology," "science," or "health" sections. They might also tag or label their articles with these topics.

Use any search or sorting filters (type, articles, date) to help navigate the results.

If you are blocked by a pay-wall or subscriber log in pop-up, try reading the article in an incognito or private browsing window.

Printing Tips

In your Print Preview, if your media/news article doesn't look like it will print cleanly (odd formatting, many advertisements, extra space or pages), try using: PrintFriendly PDF. It lets you delete any website "extras" on the page that are not part of the article itself. 

Choose Your Media Report

Avoid anything labeled with the words advice, opinion, letter, or editorial

The media/news article:

  • briefly introduces the research
  • presents only the most important highlights of the research
  • is meant to be read by a general public audience
  • was not written by the researchers who conducted the study
  • is not the original scholarly research article 

Example of Media/News Article

Citing Your Media Report

Your media report will come from a website, which means you will have to manually create the APA citation for that source. Here are two examples that you can follow when citing an article from a website in APA style (6th edition).

Don't forget to cite your other sources as well. See the Citing Sources tab on this guide for more information.

STEP 2 - Research the Topic Futher by Finding Other References / Sources

You can use any credible book, reference book, newspaper, magazine, trade/professional, scholarly/peer-reviewed articles, or websites for your 3 additional sources. 

To locate psychology books or reference books, you can use our NCC Library Catalog. Search using your topic keywords. The Find Books tab on this guide might help you find books as well. 

Our general reference databases (Credo Reference, Gale Virtual Reference Library) may be good places to start looking for your other sources. The library also has psychology focused databases (Oxford Handbooks Online, PsycARTICLES, ProQuest Central) that include news, magazine, trade/professional, and scholarly/peer-reviewed articles from psychology publications and experts. You can access individual databases through the library's Databases A to Z or Databases by Category lists. 

You can also use the EBSCO Discovery Service tool on the library's home page. It tries to search the catalog and all the library's individual databases at one time. If your media report article mentions a specific study that was done, you could use EBSCO Discovery to try to find the original peer-reviewed research article authored by those who conducted the study.

The Articles in Library Databases tab on this guide might help with your searches for articles.

Search Tips

  • Search using your topic keywords. Try to be precise.
  • Do two searches in one by using and and or in between your keywords.
  • Search for phrases or multiple word ideas by putting them in quotation marks. 
  • Select Full-Text if it is an option. 
  • Filter results by peer-reviewed (or scholarly), source type, or date.

If you decide to use websites, remember that they must be credible. Information from government and regulatory agencies (.gov), professional associations or organizations (.org), and research or educational institutions (.edu) tend to be the best for academic research. Google's Advanced Search will help you search just these website types.

If you haven't used them as the source of your media report article, you could use online articles from Psychology Today, Scientific American, or Science Daily as one of your additional sources as well. 

See the Websites tab of this guide for more suggestions. 

What is a Scholarly Article / Scholarly Journal?

Scholarly/peer-reviewed articles are generally preferred for academic research and considered the most credible of any source you might use.

Although it is important to be able to recognize them and find them when searching, they may be too detailed or technical for your topic and this assignment. It is ok if you decide to use other credible sources instead.

Search EBSCO Discovery Service

Not Sure What Topic to Focus On?

If you're stuck trying to find a topic, try:

  • Browsing the books in the library's reference, stacks, and circulating collections. Our psychology-related reference books are highlighted on the Find Books tab of this guide.