Psychology Compare and Contrast Critique
You are to locate one source of pop psychology and one source of empirical research and compare and contrast the merit of the information in each as explained below.
1. Begin by searching in the appropriate place for 2 sources that are fittingly related to each other on any topic in Psychology. Empirical research can only be found in professional journals. Pop psychology sources are newspapers, news magazines, tabloids, and other self-help articles found either online or on store shelves that offer advice. Examples include articles by Dr. Phil, Dear Abby, Dr. Laura, Tony Robbins, etc. Articles in Psychology Today are pop psychology and, although they may report on or refer to empirical research, they are not professional journal articles.
2. To prepare your essay, you should think critically about the merit of the information in each article by asking the following questions about each:
– Purpose: What is the purpose of this article?
– Question: What point is the author trying to make? What am I being asked to believe?
– Information: What is the source of that information?
– Assumptions: What is questionable about that information?
– Points of View: What alternative ways are there to explain what the author is saying?
– Implications: What are the consequences if I accept this position? What if I do not accept it?
3. Now, focus on the answers to the above questions and compare and contrast the 2 sets of information. It may be helpful to make a Venn diagram by writing the similarities in the part of the intersecting circles and the differences in the parts that do not intersect with each other.
4. Determine what your thesis is and state it clearly and concisely. It should briefly introduce your topic but more importantly should indicate how the merit of the pop psychology article compares and contrasts with the merit of the empirical article. This will be the first sentence of your essay.
5. In the body of your essay, you may do a whole-to-whole comparison of the 2 sets of information or you may do a (less common) point-to-point comparison. For a whole-to-whole comparison, address the information about one of the articles by discussing its merit using the critical thinking concepts above, then, do the same for the second article. For point-by-point, you should address the first important point about one article then that same point about the other, discuss a second point about one then the other, and so on.
6. Your conclusion should summarize how the merit of the pop psychology article compares and contrasts with the merit of the empirical article, thus reaffirming your thesis without restating it. This is where you conclude with inferences, clearly address implications or consequences of accepting the given information, and culminate any assertions.