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Exploring psychology perspectives on real world issues

Your signature assignment should consist of:
* An academic paper that is 3-5 pages (not including the cover page or references).
* A cover page and references page.
* APA format
 
The paper should have the following basic outline:
1. Introduction to the issue:
In this section of the paper, you will explain the issue and the current thinking on the key points of the issue. This section should contain reference citations as needed to authors whose theories or statements of the problem have informed your understanding.
This is your basic introduction to your topic and why it’s important.  You can often find good points or clues when searching for research on the topic.  When researchers do a study, they start by talking about the topic and why their research is important.  You could also point out what the general public thinks on this topic based on actual surveys that have been done by organizations.  You can often find these by searching in google or better yet, Google Scholar.  Review the resources I provided for you in Pages.
2. Current Trends in the Data / Literature Review and Visual Representation of Data:
In this section of the paper, you must gather a minimum of two current (no more than 10 years old) empirical studies that examine issue. Combine the data/findings from the two studies into one overview.  You will be expected to express the combined view in a chart or graph. Review the pages on researching and reviewing empirical articles/scholarly articles.  You may also find the following link helpful:  Psychology LibGuide on research.
For example, if your topic is COVID-19 Pandemic Effects on Mental Health, you would use Google Scholar or the library database and search for COVID-19 pandemic effects on mental health.  Look at the search results for a theme that interests you (effects on anxiety, depression, stress, etc.).  Read through the research/study to gather information.  If you want to use that study, look for another similar study.  Read through it to see if they had similar results or different results.  Think of how you can represent the research from BOTH studies in one graph.  This is the section that you summarize what research has found about your specific topic.  Briefly discuss the research and findings, create the graph or chart (NOT a table), and write a short summary explaining it.
3. Thinking Critically
In this section of the data, reexamine the problem/topic considering the information from the research articles.  How does it change or support current thinking on this topic?  Are there alternative explanations or alterations that would better fit the data?  
Based on your review of the research from #2, what does it say about your topic.  For example, for the COVID-19 topic, maybe your research revealed studies with findings that anxiety had increased due to social isolation and fear of illness.  Does this change or support current thinking on this topic?  Think critically about your topic and what the research says about it.
4. Social Responsibility
Discuss the cultural considerations and the importance of civic engagement related to the issue. This is a two parter:
* Compare and contrast your culture with another regarding this issue. You can explain your culture from a personal perspective, but you will need to research another culture of your choosing (or go with what is available).  After you compare and contrast the two cultures, describe what can be learned by examining diverse communities and cultures regarding this issue. 
Your ”culture” could be your age group or generation, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, or whatever group to which you belong.  I recommend that you think about your cultural group compared to what you find in the research.  If you found studies on Americans, and you are one, you can use that group.  Then you need to search for similar research with participants from other countries.  Do they have the same results?  This is where you’d compare and contrast the two in relation to the topic and research findings.
* Describe how we can make a positive difference in communities (regional, national, or global) to promote quality of life. You may use political or nonpolitical means.  Think big picture.  Based on what you have learned, how can we apply this to our communities, nation, or world, to make life better?
Based on everything you’ve learned in this process, how can the information be used to make a positive difference in communities across your region, nation, or globally?  Many research articles will have a section towards the end called “Implications”.  These sections often answer this question or can help you answer this question.
5. Conclusion – Write a conclusion to summarize your findings.
6. References Page
A complete listing of references cited within the paper must be included in APA format at the end of the paper.

Topic Chosen : Social Media and Identity Formation: Investigate the intersection of social media, identity development, and mental well-being among college students. Analyze how cultural differences shape online interactions and explore opportunities for civic engagement through digital activism.

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