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Summary and Analysis of Popular Media

The Applied Personality Project requires you to critically analyze  personality information found in the popular media in relation to  empirical research, personality theory, and your own life. You will  demonstrate that you are an intelligent consumer of personality research  and can think critically about personality theory, assessment, and  research in relation to your daily life.

The Applied Personality Project consists of four components:

Component 1:  Summary and Analysis of Popular Media Article or Current Event

You will start by locating a popular media article, video or current  event that is relevant to personality psychology. Relevant topics may  include personality theory, assessment, use of assessment results,  personality disorders, or personality research. Your article or current  event must have been published (or occurred) within the last six months.  For this component of the assignment, you will use information found in  the popular media. This includes articles or events distributed via  social media, blogs, videos (e.g., Ted Talks), television shows,  newspaper reports, magazines, and similar sources.

For example, the LA Times published a report of identical triplets  separated at birth in a secret psychology study to understand the  relative influence of nature and nurture in personality development  (“The surreal, sad story behind the acclaimed new doc ‘Three Identical  Strangers’”; An article such as this would be appropriate for your target article/event.

Provide a two-page summary and analysis of the article/event that addresses the following questions:

  • What is the focus of the article/event?
  • Why is this article/event relevant now?
  • What is the relationship between this article/event and personality psychology?
  • What are the key conclusions, questions, or issues relevant to this article/event?
  • What questions remain unanswered in relationship to this article/event?

Your summary and analysis should be written as a coherent essay (do  not format as a list of answers to these questions). You may include  additional insights in your analysis, but you must address these key  issues. In addition, you must provide a hyperlink to the article/event  that you are focusing on; if the article/event is not online, you must  provide a complete citation so that the instructor can view your  article/event.

Component 2:  Research Article Application

The next step is to find an empirical, primary-source journal article  that is relevant to your article/event. Empirical, primary-source  articles are original reports of research published in scholarly  journals (such as the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology). You  will use the UMGC library database to find primary-source, empirical  research. To find a relevant article, you will use personality terms,  ideas or theories discussed in your article/event as key words in your  library database search. It is your responsibility to make sure that the  journal article you select is appropriate. If you are unsure about the  relevance of your article, contact your instructor for approval.   Articles must meet the following criteria:

  • Primary research – Articles should report the results of an  original research study (no meta-analyses, summaries, editorials or  theoretical articles).
  • Refereed – Articles must come from peer-reviewed journals found in the UMGC library.
  • Personality focus – Articles must be relevant to personality psychology.
  • Recent – Articles must have been published within the last 10 years.

For example, the following would be a relevant primary-source,  empirical journal article for investigating the influence of nature and  nurture on personality:

McCrae, R. R., Costa, P. T., Jr., Ostendorf, F., Angleitner, A.,  Hřebíčková, M., Avia, M. D., … Smith, P. B. (2000). Nature over nurture:  Temperament, personality, and life span development. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78(1), 173–186.

Write a three-page summary, analysis, and application of the journal article that addresses the following questions:

  • What is the purpose of this research?
  • How did the researchers investigate their research question?
  • Are the conclusions of the study appropriate? Has the author overemphasized or under-emphasized any findings?
  • What are the key strengths and weaknesses of this study?
  • How does this research add to our understanding of personality or personality theory?
  • How does this study inform your popular article/event?
  • Do the conclusions of this research align with the message of your article/event?

Your summary, analysis, and application should be written as a  coherent essay (do not format as a list of answers to these questions).  You may include additional insights in your analysis, but you must  address these key issues.

Component 3:  Connection to Personality Theory

The third step is to analyze your popular article/event in relation  to three different theories that we explored throughout the course. For  each theory, you will want to explore the relevance (or lack thereof)  for understanding your article/event.

Write a one- to two-page analysis for each of your three theories that includes the following information:

  • Brief overview of theory (up to two paragraphs with appropriate citations)
  • Discussion of how the theory either supports and explains your  article/event OR how the theory offers an alternate understanding of  your article/event
  • Analysis of the value of the theory for understanding personality in the context of your article/event

Component 4:  Personal Relevance

The last step is to reflect upon the popular article/event, research, and personality theory in relation to your own life.

Write a three-page reflection and analysis that addresses the following questions:

  • How is the material in this article/event relevant to your life?
  • What can you learn from the personality theories or research relevant to this article/event?
  • Does the article/event or research challenge any of your old opinions? Or does it challenge you to form any new opinions?
  • How can you apply what you have learned about personality research  or theory to better understand your life? What is the practical value to  understanding personality research or theory?
  • What concerns do you have about the article/event, personality research, or personality theory?

Your reflections should be written as a coherent essay (do not format  as a list of answers to these questions). You may include additional  insights in your reflection, but you must address these key issues.

Assignment Guidelines

Prepare your assignment according to the following guidelines:

  • Structure your assignment utilizing APA style; this includes title  page, headers, subheadings, in-text citations, reference page, and  general paper format (1-inch margins, double-spaced, 12-point font,  etc.). An abstract is not required.  (Excellent guidance on utilizing APA style can be found in our classroom’s Course Resources -> Writing Resources.)
  • Submit as a single document (do not submit each component of the paper separately) in either Microsoft Word, PDF, or RTF format.
  • Utilize the following subheadings to organize the body of your paper:
    • Summary and Analysis
    • Research Application
    • Personality Theory
      • Theory 1: (name the theory)
      • Theory 2: (name the theory)
      • Theory 3: (name the theory)
    • Personal Reflection
  • Include three to five references (one should be the research article utilized in your analysis).
  • Your final paper should be approximately 13 to 16 pages:
    • Title page (1 page)
    • Body of paper
      • Summary and Analysis (2 pages)
      • Research Application (3 pages)
      • Personality Theory
        • Theory 1 (1-2 pages)
        • Theory 2 (1-2 pages)
        • Theory 3 (1-2 pages)
      • Personal Reflection (3 pages)
    • Reference page (1 page)

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