A New Study Shows What Many of Us Already Believe: Dogs Are Good For Kids
Directions: For this assignment, you must develop a thoughtful, thorough, and original paper to address the
following prompt. You must write your paper in essay form, and you must address every question listed
below. There are four steps in the paper, and you combine your answers from all four steps into one
cohesive essay. Make sure your responses are thorough and accurate.
The details: While there is no precise word limit, your paper must be at least 2-4 double-spaced pages,
using Times New Roman, 12-point font. Please see the rubric for more details. Remember that this a
formal writing assignment, and you will be graded on spelling and grammar along with content. You may
submit your final paper below. Refer to your course calendar for the paper due dates. Each paper is worth
40 points. Late assignments will be accepted up to five days late, for a 10% reduction in score per day late.
You are required to do your own work. All assignments will be automatically scanned for plagiarism, and all
cases with greater than a 40% match will be investigated.Screen Shot 2020-08-09 at 1.46.28 PM-1.png
Step One: For the first part of your essay, I want you to focus only on the headline above.
What are your first thoughts when you read the headline?
What do you expect to find when you read the article?
Identify whether the headline makes a causal or correlational (predictive) claim.
In a few sentences, explain why you think it is causal or correlational.
Step Two: Now I want you to read the actual news article associated with your chosen headline. Click here
to link to the article you chose. (Links to an external site.) Read the article carefully, and then come back to
continue your essay by answering the following questions:
What are your first impressions of the article you read?
According to the authors of the news report, what was the research study about? what did they conclude?
Based on the news report, what research design did the researchers use (experimental or observational)?
How do you know?
Who was in the sample (who were the participants)?
What materials were used to collect the data?
Does the research described in the news report adequately support the type of claim (correlational or
causal) made in the headline? Write a few sentences explaining why you think it does or does not support
the claim made in the headline.
*Note that you may not be able to answer all the questions above when you read the news report. If you
can’t, make sure you make a note of this in your essay. For example, maybe the news report doesn’t
mention who was in the sample. You will still want to say this in your essay, as this is still important to know.
Step Three: Now that you’ve read the news report, I want you read the original journal article that is
summarized in the news report you chose. Click here to download the original research article that
corresponds to your chosen news report.Preview the document It is important to note that though you
should be able to understand the majority of the article, please don’t worry if there are part of the article that
you do not completely understand. Do not become overwhelmed if you don’t understand everything at first.
Remember that this is an introduction to statistics class, so there is a lot of material that we will not cover
(not to mention that we are only half way through the semester, so there is still a lot you have to learn). It’s
important that you still read through the article and try to answer the questions below. This is an opportunity
for you practice reading journal articles, so do your best. If you would like a reference on how to read a
scientific journal article, you may click here. (Links to an external site.) I imagine each question will result in
1-2 sentences for your paragraph in the essay.
What was the purpose of the research study? For example, maybe the researchers were interested in
studying the relationship between drinking coffee and mood.
What were the variables that the authors chose to study? In the above example, the variables were
drinking coffee and mood.
How were the variables operationalized (measured)? Were they categorical or measurement
(quantitative)? In the above example, the authors measured “drinking coffee” by asking how many cups of
coffee the participants drank each day. This is a measurement variable. The authors measured “mood” by
having participants rate their mood on a scale of 1-5 at noon each day. This is a measurement variable.
Who was in the sample? What was the sample size?Was the study experimental or observational? How do you know? For example, the above study is
observational, because there was no randomization or manipulation of an independent variable. Instead,
participants responded to a questionnaire and reported both their coffee intake and their mood.
What were the results of the study? You only need to be very general here, but do make sure that you are
reporting what the authors actually found, not what the news report said. For example, in the coffee study,
researchers found that drinking coffee was positively correlated with mood.
What kind of claim do the researchers make? For example, in the above study, the researchers make a
predictive (correlational) claim, saying that drinking coffee is related to an improved mood. They cannot say
that drinking coffee causes a good mood.
Does the research described in the original journal article adequately support the type of claim made in the
headline of the news report from Part One?
Besides the headline, are there any inaccuracies in how the news report interpreted the original research
study or omissions of important information? Write a few sentences explaining any inaccuracies or
omissions. If you don’t think there were any inaccuracies or omissions, explain why you think the news
report was an accurate interpretation that provided all necessary information.
Step Four: For the last part of your essay, I want you to reflect upon the assignment as a whole.
Can you think of any alternative explanations for the results of the study? For example, maybe the
relationship between coffee and mood isn’t that coffee causes greater mood, but that greater mood causes
more coffee consumption. Alternatively, maybe a third variable explains the relationship. For example,
maybe sociability explains both coffee consumption and mood. Perhaps people who are more sociable
drink more cups of coffee because they are with their friends, and people who are more sociable are
happier. You are just thinking creatively and logically here–you do not have to be certain that your
alternative explanation is correct.
Did the authors of the news report exaggerate or change the finds of original research journal article in any
What has this process taught you about the way you interpret headlines that you see on the news, shared
on social media, and/or encountered in your day-to-day life?
If you could re-write your headline to more accurately reflect what the original research study actually
measured, what would you write?
Write a few sentences with your final thoughts and reflections about the assignment and the way in which
statistical research is discussed in the media.