Research Paper on the Psychological Effects of Coronavirus
Overview: Students will select a psychological concept or topic related to the current pandemic/ coronavirus and write a at least a 7-page research paper- not including title and reference pages. Students will then locate and read: 1) an article from the popular press (newspaper or newsmagazine) that describes coronavirus and its relationships to a psychological concept covered in the course and 2) three peer-reviewed research studies related to that same psychological topic. Students will then explore how the results of the research studies relate to the coronavirus pandemic. This assignment will allow students to see how psychological research can be applied to current issues.
The psychological effects from being in quarantine.
o You can keep it broad or specify to a group of interest: kids, college students, families, grandparents, immigrants, students studying abroad, etc.
o The psychological effects of staying inside for long periods of time
o The psychological effects of social isolation
o The psychological effects of grandparents not having physical contact with grandkids
o Families who are separated because they cannot visit each other
PTSD from having Covid
The trauma from a family member or friend who has Covid
Survivor’s guilt that someone who gets better from Covid may have (i.e., if they lose someone to the illness/ or knows someone who is poorly impacted)
The psychological effects of decreased physical movement
Increased anxiety from the pandemic
Stress or stressors related to coronavirus
Coping skills for dealing with stress
*You are welcome to include more than one variable, such as depression and anxiety during the pandemic, or job loss and depression during the pandemic.
Students can research an overarching/ general topic or choose something very specific. Often times, writing the paper with a question in mind makes the research of and writing the paper much easier. For example, instead of a student saying, ‘I want to write my paper on coronavirus and social isolation’, and then wondering how to go about collecting the research and narrowing down the content, the student can write the paper to answer the question, “How does social isolation from the coronavirus pandemic psychologically impact people?” And that question would also make a great title for your paper.
Research Paper, Due Friday 11/13 by 8pm
Students will find one article from the popular press on the dovetail between the chosen psychological concept and the pandemic and at least three peer-reviewed research studies that support and inform the exploration of their paper topic. Students will use this research to summarize and explore their paper topic. Research studies can be identified by having a “methods” and “results” section and are typically found in peer-reviewed journals, and not in Psychology Today or other pop culture magazine.
Students will summarize the key features of this topic (e.g., major concepts, theories, applications) and identify/ describe the chosen articles, all of which have been recently published (2000 or later). Students are encouraged to use their textbook as a resource, but it does not count as one of the peer-reviewed research sources. If it supports the paper, students can also use more than the three research studies and more than one article from the popular press.
Paper Format and Headings:
Introduction: Summary and Description of the Topic (12 pts):
Students summarize and describe the topic selected, drawing from at least two of their resources- one of which must be the article from the popular press (newspaper or newsmagazine) and the other can be any of the research studies. Of course, also drawing from more than one research study or the textbook is very encouraged, but the minimum expectation is one article from the popular press and one research article.
This is essentially where students lay the foundation for their topic. Students will explain the topic as if speaking to a reader who knows nothing of the topic. Students do not describe an outline for the paper but focus on creating an overview/ introduction to the topic. This is essentially a mini lecture to a lay audience about the psychological construct. It might be clearer to work on this section after working on the main body of the paper. This section should be comprehensive and at least a few paragraphs.
Ultimately, you should be introducing and defining your psychological topic, but also consider introducing the pandemic, so that you are laying the foundation for that. For example, if your topic is depression and anxiety during the pandemic, I would suggest a paragraph defining and introducing depression, a paragraph defining and introducing anxiety and a paragraph defining and introducing the covid-19 pandemic. And of course, include anything else in the introduction that is relevant and supports this section.
Heading to use for this section: Introduction
Summary of Research Articles (33 points total):
Again, students will choose at least one article from the popular press (newspaper or newsmagazine) and at least three peer reviewed research studies. Students describe what each article/study they have selected is investigating (what is the research question and hypothesis), how the research was performed (survey, interviews, materials, number of participants, location, etc.) and describe the findings of the study. It is unlikely that students will be able to find exact studies on coronavirus and the chosen psychological concept; the article from the popular press should focus on the interaction between pandemic and the chosen psychological topic, while the research articles can focus on just the chosen psychological concept, assuming that at this time there are not published studies on the pandemic and the chosen research article (in the next section students will synthesize this research with the pandemic). Students only need to focus on findings that are relevant to the chosen issue. In other words, if the article is complex, students only need to focus on the components directly relevant to their paper topic and not extraneous content.
Students are welcome to use more than the required three articles, in fact, that is highly encouraged. At least three peer reviewed studies are required; after that, it is okay to use other sources (though in the name of science peer reviewed is preferred when possible). If you have other relevant sources such as journal articles, textbooks, other popular press articles, etc., these are welcomed. First describe your article from the popular press and three peer-reviewed studies and then add in additional resources, so I know for grading that the first three identified are your chosen peer-reviewed studies. You can use these additional resources in the next section as well.
Heading to use: Summary of Research Articles.
Synthesis of Current Research (28 points):
While section two summarized each article separately, students will now synthesize the content of the articles into a cohesive summary of the current research on the topic by describing how the results of the studies may relate to the coronavirus. This is the most important part, and perhaps the most challenging as it requires deep, original thought. Some research may even contradict each other. That is not only okay, but actually ideal to be able to present conflicting research on the same topic. Students may want to discuss how the topic that is being studied has evolved over time. This section is where you actually answer your research question (if you are using one). Please dovetail what you have gathered from the research articles on your chosen topic with what you have gathered on the pandemic (popular press article, etc.)
Some topics to consider:
• Do the research articles corroborate what is happening during this pandemic?
• What do the results of the studies say about how the coronavirus is currently being handled and should be handled in the future?
• How should people think, feel, or act to address this issue in the future?
• What other research does the student suggest is needed on this topic?
Heading to use: Synthesis of Current Research
Conclusion (5 pts)
Eloquently tie everything together and close the paper. This section should be thoughtful and comprehensive but can also be brief.
Writing Format (22 pts): This includes organization, clarity, spelling, grammar, and APA-style formatting, such as the title and reference pages. The paper should be free of typo and errors and follow all paper and APA-style guidelines.
TOTAL = 100 points
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