Evaluating Claims Assignment
ChAD 101 Research Methods
This assignment is designed for students to apply their knowledge of research methods to evaluate claims
regarding child and adolescent development found in a variety of sources. Students will also demonstrate their
understanding of course content by developing a proposal for an empirical study designed to add information to
the selected topic. This assignment serves as the Program Learning Objective 4 assessment for the department
[Differentiate between sources of information (research, professional, and popular) and evaluate the credibility
and validity of each type of information source].
Description of Assignment:
Students will take an in-depth look at a topical issue in child and adolescent development. In this assignment
students will find non-scholarly and scholarly sources that focus on a central issue of interest. Students must
include 3 non-scholarly sources of different types (e.g., newspaper, magazine, TV advertisement, Twitter feed,
blog, podcast, etc.) and 3 scholarly sources in their research of the topic. Students will evaluate each of the
sources, identify competing ideas, and based on the strength of the evidence of the sources, make conclusions
regarding the topic. Students will then propose a study that would help contribute knowledge to the topic or
resolve unanswered questions on the topic.
Keys to success
GO chat with John about your ideas and the paper
Create an outline to organize your thinking
Look at grading rubric
Use Writing Center at any stage of developing or writing your paper. Schedule time at
Steps to Completing the Assignment:
1. Identify a topical issue about child or adolescent development (e.g., should armed police officers be
stationed in schools? Is playing Fortnite and similar video games harmful to children? What is effective
ways to combat cyberbullying?). Perhaps select one of the issues in your Non-Scholarly Source
Evaluation assignments if you are interested in it, consider a topic you have heard about in your classes,
or search online to find other current issues. See the library’s “Start your research” guide at
https://library.sjsu.edu/start-your-research/start-your-research to help get started.
2. Conduct a search for non-scholarly sources (source comes from someone not affiliated with a
University or research institute). Find 4 sources related to that topic that come from different media
types (e.g., newspaper, magazine, blog, organization website, advertisement, TV, documentary, book,
personal interview, podcast, social media feed). You will be assessed on how well you pick sources that
demonstrate a connection to one another. Of those 4, you will use the 3 most relevant that you found
for your paper. Use the CRAAP test when searching for and selecting your sources
3. Search for scholarly sources that address the topic you have selected. Again it is best to find sources
that address the claims of the non-scholarly articles as closely as possible (Find 4 scholarly sources – in
your paper use the 3 most relevant). All of your sources must be empirical studies (meaning a study was
conducted). Use the CRAAP test when searching for and selecting your sources Still struggling to find
sources? Contact the ChAD librarian Dr. Mantra Roy (email@example.com) she is happy to help.
4. Submit the Topic Description Assignment (worth 10 points). This should include (1) a brief mention of
your general topic (e.g., Effects of Video Games) and why it is significant, (2) a specific thesis statement
you will support or a specific research question you will address (e.g., In what ways can educational
video games improve learning?), (3) An APA reference list of 8 sources you have found, and (4) A
substantive evaluation of one of your sources, like you did for the “Non-scholarly Source Evaluation” or
“Scholarly Article Evaluation” Assignments. You will get feedback after this is submitted.
5. Read through and evaluate your remaining sources. Take notes as you identify the claims (what they
say) and evidence (why reader should believe it) used in all of your sources. Claims are ideas put forth by
the author or organization. The claim of the sources will also be supported by evidence (i.e., ideas from
intuition, personal anecdotes, statements from authorities on the topic, evidence of tradition, logical
connections, and/or empirical observation).You should consider the strength of the evidence in
convincing the audience about the claim as well unanswered questions you have about the topic. You
will be providing a critical review of your sources, so it is important to review all your sources with an
evaluative frame of mind. You will have practiced this during the “In the News” and “Reading
Assignment” activities earlier in the semester.
6. Outline your paper. Look at your notes for all your sources and think about what themes there were
among them, (e.g., a few sources discuss Educational Video Games are not educational or fun, a couple
sources say kids learn from video games when played with others – one is about friends and the other is
about parents, and lastly a few sources get into virtual reality games providing experience based
learning). These themes will serve to be sections for the body of your paper and help you connect ideas
from each of your sources. It doesn’t matter if your sources agree, just be sure there is a logical way to
group them together. Remember a source can be used in more than one area in your paper, especially if
there are multiple claims that are made in it and it is meaningful to discuss both claims in your paper.
PART 1 Literature Review Paper Write-up (Worth 80 points about 7 pages long)
7. Paper write up – Your write up of this assignment should contain the following:
a. An introduction that presents the topic and main claim(s) you will be addressing in your paper.
The introduction should capture the reader's interest, present any controversies in the topic, a
thesis or question you will address in the paper, and an outline of the rest of the paper.
b. Body of your paper organized in themes/sections. Within these sections you should describe
the claims and evidence from your sources. Present information about positions your sources
take, how they support those positions. Follow the description with a critical evaluation of your
sources. Explain the strengths and weaknesses of the information provided by the source and
unanswered questions or how the source contributes to the topic and leads to the next
c. Comparison of sources. You should make comparison among sources and your evaluation of the
sources. How do the sources support one another, refute one another, and explanations for
which sources were more impactful and why.
d. Conclusion. You should make conclusive statements about the topic/issue you are addressing,
implications of the issue to parents, teachers, counselors, or others in interacting with children,
and issues or factors that are left unresolved or unaddressed.
PART 2 Research Study Design Proposal (worth 20 points – about 3 pages long)
8. In addition to the paper write-up, you will also design a proposal for a new empirical study. The purpose
of your proposed study should go to address unresolved or unaddressed factors that you identified in
the paper or to strengthen the evidence for a claim. The proposal should include the following:
a. Rationale – a description for the need of the study you are proposing. In a rationale you should
address what is known about the topic (from your sources) and what is unknown and necessary
to be studied. A good rationale will demonstrate why the study is important and necessary to
contribute new knowledge to the topic.
b. Design – a description and explanation for the design that you will use (Naturalistic observation,
systematic observation, content analysis, correlational design, experimental, quasiexperimental).
c. Participants – a description and explanation for the participants you would include, sampling
d. Variables/Measures – a description and explanation for how you will measure your variables,
including conceptual and operational definitions of all variables in your study. Issues of reliability
and construct validity should be addressed.
e. Procedures – very detailed description of how the study will be conducted. The procedures
should be detailed enough for someone else to follow and be able to conduct the study (like a
recipe). The more appropriate methodological ideas that you include from class the better your
f. Analysis – a description of what statistical analyses would be used to analyze your study.
Your proposal will be graded on the appropriateness of the design, detail, and inclusion of concepts from class.
You will not actually conduct the study, you are just planning a study.
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