Unit 06

Unit 6:
How to Synthesize Psychological Science
Unit 6: Assignment #1 (due before 11:59 pm Central on FRI JUL 8):

  1. To learn why it’s important to synthesize psychological science and to learn how to synthesize psychological science, watch Professor Gernsbacher’s lecture video, “How to Synthesize Psychological Science.” (A transcript of this video is available here.) Make sure you learn (from the lecture video):
    1. the difference between synthesizing psychological science and Mad Libbing it;
    2. why it’s preferred to place citations at the end of a sentence (in parentheses, which is why these citations are called in-text parenthetical citations);
    3. why you should almost always write about behavior and phenomena, not researchers and their studies; and
    4. how to synthesize conflicting results (e.g., using “However, …”)
    5. To secure your understanding of synthesizing research, read and make sure you understand this Synthesizing Research Cheat-Sheet.
  2. To practice synthesizing psychological science:
    1. First, read the abstract of Palmer and Schloss’s (2010) article, “An Ecological Valence Theory of Human Color Preference.” Identify and write down in your own words, using only ONE synthesized sentence, the article’s major finding.
    2. Second, read the abstract of Schloss and Palmer’s (2014) article, “The Politics of Color: Preferences for Republican Red versus Democratic Blue.” Identify and write down in your own words, using only ONE synthesized sentence, the article’s major finding.
    3. Third, read the abstract of Schloss and Palmer’s (2011) article, “Effects of University Affiliation and ‘School Spirit’ on Color Preferences: Berkeley Versus Stanford.” Identify and write down in your own words, using only ONE synthesized sentence, the article’s major finding.
    4. Fourth, download and save on your laptop or tablet this fillable PDF by following these steps (even if you think you know how to fill in a fillable PDF):
      • Make sure you are downloading AND saving the unfilled PDF onto your own laptop or tablet rather than simply downloading (or merely opening) it in a browser.
      • Rename the unfilled PDF to be YourLastName_PSY-225_Gernsbacher_Synthesize_Fillable.pdf. In other words, add your last name to the beginning of the filename.
        • If you have only downloaded the unfilled PDF in a browser, you won’t be able to rename the file.
        • Therefore, this step is a good check to make sure that you have downloaded the unfilled PDF on your own device, rather than still being in a browser.
      • On your laptop or tablet, open a PDF writer, such as Preview, Adobe Reader, or the like.
        • Be sure to open your PDF writer app BEFORE you open the unfilled PDF from your computer.
      • From within your PDF writer app, open the unfilled PDF, which you have already saved onto your laptop or tablet and re-named.
      • Use your PDF writer app to fill in the PDF.
    5. Fifth, on the first page of the fillable PDF, fill in the blank spaces with
      • a first Supporting Sentence that is based on the synthesized sentence you created in Step b1. above;
      • a second Supporting Sentence that is based on the synthesized sentence you created in Step b2. above;
      • a third Supporting Sentence that is based on the synthesized sentence you created in Step b3. above; and
      • a Conclusion Sentence.
      • For this assignment, you do not need to use any citations. We will get to citations later in this Unit.
  3. To get more practice synthesizing psychological science:
    1. First, read the abstract of Plester, Wood, and Joshi’s (2009) article, “Exploring the Relationship Between Children’s Knowledge of Text Message Abbreviations and School Literacy Outcomes.”
      • Identify and write down in your own words, using only ONE synthesized sentence, this article’s major finding.
    2. Second, read the abstract of Plester’s (2008) article, “Txt Msg N School Literacy: Does Texting and Knowledge of Text Abbreviations Adversely Affect Children’s Literacy Attainment?
      • Identify and write down in your own words, using only ONE synthesized sentence, this article’s major finding.
    3. Third, read the abstract of Kemp’s (2010) article, “Texting Versus Txtng: Reading and Writing Text Messages, and Links with Other Linguistic Skills.”
      • Identify and write down in your own words, using only ONE synthesized sentence, this article’s major finding.
    4. Fourth, on the second page of the PDF, fill in the blank spaces with
      • a first Supporting Sentence, which is based on the synthesized sentence you created in Step c1. above;
      • a second Supporting Sentence, which is based on the synthesized sentence you created in Step c2. above;
      • a third Supporting Sentence, which is based on the synthesized sentence you created in Step c3. above; and
      • a Conclusion Sentence, which you will need to write.
      • Again, you don’t need to use any citations; we’ll get to citations later.
  4. To get even more practice synthesizing psychological science:
    1. First, read the abstract of Blom et al.’s (2010) article, “Effectiveness of an Internet Intervention for Family Caregivers of People with Dementia: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial.” Identify and write down in your own words, using only ONE synthesized sentence, the article’s major finding.
    2. Second, read the abstract of Bonnert et al.’s (2017) article, “Internet-Delivered Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Adolescents with Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Identify and write down in your own words, using only ONE synthesized sentence, the article’s major finding.
    3. Third, read the abstract of Kaldo et al.’s (2015) article, “Guided Internet Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia Compared to a Control Treatment – A Randomized Trial.” Identify and write down in your own words, using only ONE synthesized sentence, the article’s major finding.
    4. Fourth, read the abstract of Kypri et al.’s (date) article, “Web-Based Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention for University Students: A Randomized Trial.” Identify and write down in your own words, using only ONE synthesized sentence, the article’s major finding.
    5. Fifth, on the third page of the fillable PDF, fill in the blank spaces with
      • a first Supporting Sentence that is based on the synthesized sentence you created in Step d1. above;
      • a second Supporting Sentence that is based on the synthesized sentence you created in Step d2. above;
      • a third Supporting Sentence that is based on the synthesized sentence you created in Step d3. above;
      • a fourth Supporting (though potentially conflicting) Sentence that is based on the synthesized sentence you created in Step d4. above; and
      • a Conclusion Sentence.
      • Again, no citations are needed for this assignment.
    6. Save your now-completely-filled-in PDF.
  5. Go to Unit 6: Assignment #1 and attach your filled-in PDF.
    1. The Unit 6: Assignment #1 link is an Assignment link, rather than a Discussion Board link, so it will look a bit different than you’re used to.
    2. Click “Choose File” to attach/upload your filled-in PDF
    3. Immediately after submitting your PDF, check to make sure that your filled-in PDF is really filled-in (and isn’t empty).

Unit 6: Assignment #2 (due before 11:59 pm Central on FRI JUL 8):

  1. To continue practicing synthesizing psychological science:
    1. First, return to the 9 articles you found in Unit 5: Assignment #1 and saved as PDFs in Unit 5: Assignment #3.
    2. Second, for the three articles you previously read thoroughly (by applying your chosen scientific-article-reading strategy) for Unit 5: Assignment #4, identify and write down, in one synthesized sentence in your own words, each article’s major finding.
      • Remember to synthesize each finding, rather than Mad Lib it.
      • If you’re still not clear on the difference between synthesizing findings rather than Mad Libbing them, review the lecture video, “How to Synthesize Psychological Science” and review the Synthesizing Research Cheat-Sheet.
      • Remember the goal is to write about behavior and phenomena, not researchers and their studies.
      • Again, no citations are needed for these sentences (we’ll focus on citations in the next assignment).
    3. Third, read thoroughly the remaining six of your 9 articles (by applying your chosen scientific-article-reading strategy).
      • Then, identify and write down in your own words, in one synthesized sentence, the major finding of each of these six articles.
      • Remember the goal is to write about behavior and phenomena, not researchers and their studies.
      • Again, don’t worry about citations for these sentences.
  2. Go to the Unit 6: Assignment #2 Discussion Board and create a new post in which you list all 9 sentences you’ve written synthesizing the major finding of each of your 9 articles.

Unit 6: Assignment #3 (due before 11:59 pm Central on SAT JUL 9):

  1. Now, let’s focus on citations.
    1. You previously learned (in Unit 5: Assignment #4) how to generate APA-style citations for a reference list.
    2. In this assignment, you’ll learn how to create APA-style citations for what’s known as in-text citations.
    3. By in-text citation, we mean a citation that is within the body of a scholarly article or term paper, rather than a citation that appears in the reference list at the end of the scholarly article or term paper.
    4. As you learned in Unit 6: Assignment #1, in-text citations should primarily appear at the end of a sentence.
    5. An in-text citation (at the end of a sentence) documents the source of the claim you are making in that sentence; an in-text citation (at the end of a sentence) also points your readers to where they can go if they want to learn more details about the claim you are making in that sentence.
    6. In-text citations (at the ends of sentences) enable us to synthesize research by writing our sentences about behavior and phenomena, not about researchers and their studies
      • In-text citations (at the ends of sentences) tell your readers who the researchers are and what year their studies were published.
      • That’s why we don’t need to state the researchers’ names (or other details about their study) in our synthesized sentences. We have our in-text citations (at the ends of sentences) to provide that information!
    7. You can create in-text citations by using a citation generator, such as Citation Machine™ and Cite Fast.
    8. However, even if you’re using a citation generator, you should refer to the College of St. Scholastica Library’s (2020) handout “Basic In-Text Citation Style Format” to ensure that your citation generator is following all the rules.
  2. To practice writing in-text citations, choose three of the 9 sentences you wrote for Unit 6: Assignment #2.
    1. Choose one of your previously written 9 sentences that is synthesized from an article that has only one author.
      • Re-write that sentence to add the in-text citation at the end of the sentence in parentheses by following the model on the College of St. Scholastica Library’s handout for ONE AUTHOR and PARENTHETICAL CITATION EXAMPLE.
      • NOTE: When we place an in-text parenthetical citation at the end of a sentence, which is the preferred format for synthesizing research, the sentence-final period comes after the close parenthesis of the in-text parenthetical citation, for example: People prefer colors that are associated with things they like, such as blue skies, but not things they do not like, such as brown garbage (Palmer & Schloss, 2010).
      • If none of your articles has only one author, write in your Discussion Board post: “None of my nine articles has only one author.”
    2. Choose another one of your previously written 9 sentences that is synthesized from an article that has two authors.
      • Re-write that sentence to add the in-text citation at the end of the sentence in parentheses by following the model on the College of St. Scholastica Library’s handout for TWO AUTHORS and PARENTHETICAL CITATION EXAMPLE.
      • REMEMBER: When we place an in-text parenthetical citation at the end of a sentence, which is the preferred format for synthesizing research, the sentence-final period comes after the close parenthesis of the in-text parenthetical citation.
      • If none of your articles has two authors, write in your Discussion Board post: “None of my nine articles has only two authors.”
    3. Choose another one of your previously written 9 sentences that is synthesized from an article that has three or more authors.
      • Re-write that sentence to add the in-text citation at the end of the sentence in parentheses by following the model on the College of St. Scholastica Library’s handout for THREE OR MORE AUTHORS and PARENTHETICAL CITATION EXAMPLE.
      • REMEMBER: When we place an in-text parenthetical citation at the end of a sentence, which is the preferred format for synthesizing research, the sentence-final period comes after the close parenthesis of the in-text parenthetical citation.
      • If none of your articles has three or more authors, write in your Discussion Board post: “None of my nine articles has three or more authors.”
  3. For the remaining six of your 9 sentences, place the in-text citation at the end of the sentence in parentheses.
    1. If the article has only one author, follow the model on the College of St. Scholastica Library’s handout for ONE AUTHOR and PARENTHETICAL CITATION EXAMPLE
    2. If the article has two authors, follow the model on the College of St. Scholastica Library’s handout for TWO AUTHORS and PARENTHETICAL CITATION EXAMPLE.
    3. If the article has three or more authors, follow the model on the College of St. Scholastica Library’s handout for THREE OR MORE AUTHORS and PARENTHETICAL CITATION EXAMPLE.
  4. Go to the Unit 6: Assignment #3 Discussion Board and make a new post in which you list your 9 sentences with your in-text parenthetical citations at the ends of the sentences.

Unit 6: Assignment #4 (due before 11:59 pm Central on SAT JUL 9):

  1. Because we’re talking about citations, it’s a good time to talk about plagiarism.
    1. First, to refresh your memory about the more common versions of plagiarism, read the appendix from TurnitIn’s (no date) article “The Plagiarism Spectrum.”
    2. Second, to learn about more subtle forms of plagiarism, read Azman and Fox’s (2013) PowerPoint, “Understanding Plagiarism … With Some Help from Dr. Seuss.
      • If you’ve never read Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham, or if it’s been a long time since you read it (or had it read to you), you can watch this video prior to reading Azman and Fox’s (2013) PowerPoint.
    3. Third, to better understand what “common knowledge” is (and the situations in which common knowledge doesn’t need to be cited), read Bowdoin College’s (no date) article, “When to Cite.”
    4. Note that Bowdoin College’s article (no date) article, “When to Cite” tells us that not only “direct quotes,” but also “paraphrasing must be traced to its original source.”
      • Therefore, every sentence you write that does not contain solely your own words or solely your own ideas needs to have attribution (i.e., your readers need to be able to trace the source of any words or any ideas — even if you have summarized those words or ideas — if they are not your own words or ideas).
    5. Similarly, the College of St. Scholastica Library reminds us that “citations tell the reader where you got any and all information that did not come from inside your own head. This is more obvious when you are directly quoting from a source, but it is also needed when you have summarized … from a source.”
      • Therefore, every sentence you write that does not contain solely your own words or solely your own ideas needs to have attribution (i.e., your readers need to be able to identify the source of any words or any ideas that are not your own words or ideas).
  2. From one of your 9 articles, choose one verbatim (original, not synthesized) sentence from that article. We will call this one verbatim sentence your “core sentence.” Then, in this assignment, you’re going to make eight versions of that “core sentence.”
    1. For Sentence Version 1, modify your “core sentence” to illustrate the same point that Azman and Fox (2013) make with their Dr. Seuss sentence on their page 4.
    2. For Sentence Version 2, modify your “core sentence” to illustrate the same point that Azman and Fox (2013) make with their Dr. Seuss sentence on their page 5.
    3. For Sentence 3, modify your “core sentence” to illustrate the same point that Azman and Fox (2013) make with their Dr. Seuss sentence on their page 6.
    4. For Sentence 4, modify your “core sentence” to illustrate the same point that Azman and Fox (2013) make with their Dr. Seuss sentence on their page 7.
    5. For Sentence 5, modify your “core sentence” to illustrate the same point that Azman and Fox (2013) make with their Dr. Seuss sentence on their page 8.
    6. For Sentence 6, modify your “core sentence” to illustrate the same point that Azman and Fox (2013) make with their Dr. Seuss sentence on their page 9.
    7. For Sentence 7, modify your “core sentence” to illustrate the same point that Azman and Fox (2013) make with their Dr. Seuss sentence on their page 11.
    8. For Sentence 8, modify your “core sentence” to illustrate the same point that Azman and Fox (2013) make with their Dr. Seuss sentence on their page 12.
  3. Go to the Unit 6: Assignment #4 Discussion Board and do the following:
    1. First, write your verbatim “core sentence.” Because it is a verbatim sentence, be sure to place the entire sentence in quotation marks and be sure to include an in-text parenthetical citation at the end of the sentence with a page number to document the page where you found the quote, for example:
      • 1. “I do not like green eggs and ham” (Geisel, 1960, p. 12).
    2. Second, list the 8 versions of your “core sentence” that you created in this assignment. Underneath each of the 8 versions of your “core sentence” that you created in this assignment, state whether that version of your “core sentence” is plagiarized or not and why or why not, for example:
      • 2. Many people do not like green eggs and ham. This sentence is plagiarized because the words “do not like green eggs and ham” appeared in Dr. Seuss’s book, and I neither quoted those words (with quotation marks) nor cited Dr. Seuss’s book.
    3. Third, provide the full APA-style citation for the article from which you initially took your “core sentence” for example:
      • Geisel, T. S. (1960). Green eggs and ham. New York: Random House.
    4. Fourth, write two sentences on the same topic as the article (i.e., on the same topic as the article from which you got your “core sentence” and created your eight modified sentences for this assignment). But, for these two sentences, write each sentence in such a way that neither of the two sentences needs a citation because each sentence conveys only common knowledge.

Unit 6: Assignment #5 (due before 11:59 pm Central on SUN JUL 10):

  1. Now it’s time to put together everything you’ve learned in this Unit and synthesize psychological science!
  2. Choose one of the psychological science topics on which you searched Google Scholar for scientific articles in Unit 5: Assignment #1.
    1. First, locate on your laptop or tablet the three PDFs of the three articles on this topic that you previously found via Google Scholar and that you previously downloaded and saved to your laptop or tablet.
    2. Second, refresh your memory of these three articles by looking over the notes you took on each of the three articles with your chosen scientific-article-reading strategy (in Unit 5: Assignment #4). You might need to skim-read the three articles again.
  3. For each of the three articles, you need ONE sentence that synthesizes each article’s major finding. You can re-use the synthesized sentences you wrote in Unit 6: Assignment #2. However, because you’re going to put these three sentences together into one paragraph, you might need to re-write or edit your previously synthesized sentences so that they fit together.
    • When writing (or re-writing) each of these three ‘synthetic’ sentences (one for each of the three articles), remember what you learned in the “How to Synthesize Psychological Science” lecture video.
      1. Remember to synthesize the finding and not Mad Lib it.
      2. Remember to write about behavior and phenomena, not researchers and their studies.
      3. Remember to place the article’s citation at the end of the sentence (in parentheses, which is known as an in-text parenthetical citation).
      4. If the main finding from one of the three articles conflicts with the main findings from the other two articles, remember how to synthesize conflicting results (e.g., using “However, …”).
      5. If you don’t remember how to do the above steps 1 through 4, go back and review the lecture video.
      6. After you’ve written your three ‘synthetic’ sentences, check them to make sure that they are synthesized not MadLibbed by checking them against the Synthesizing Research Cheat-Sheet.
  4. Now put these three sentences, each of which synthesizes an article’s major finding, into a well-constructed (Hamburger Recipe) paragraph.
    1. The three sentences you wrote in step c. will serve as your three Supporting Sentences for your paragraph.
    2. Arrange the three sentences in a logical order (e.g., from a general study/finding to a more specific study/finding OR from a more specific study/finding to a more general study/finding OR another order that makes the most sense to you).
    3. Write a topic sentence that presents the main point of your paragraph. For examples of good topic sentences, look back at the topic sentences in the fillable PDF that you filled in for Unit 6: Assignment #1.
    4. Write a conclusion sentence that holds your paragraph together.
  5. Repeat the above steps b. through d. for both of the other two psychological topics on which you searched Google Scholar for scholarly articles in Unit 5: Assignment #1. You should now have three well-constructed paragraphs, each of which synthesizes psychological science about a different topic.
  6. Go to the Unit 6: Assignment #5 Discussion Board and make a new post containing your three paragraphs. Remember if you copy/paste into the Discussion Board from Word, you’ll need to remove any extra lines (meaning more than one blank line) in between paragraphs.

Unit 6: Assignment #6 (due before 11:59 pm Central on SUN JUL 10):

  1. Plan to meet online with your Chat Group for a one-hour text-based Chat. Prior to your Chat Group meeting, all members of your Chat Group must do the following:
    1. Download and save as PDFs each of the ten articles that your Chat Group found using Google Scholar during your Unit 5: Assignment #6 Group Chat.
    2. Read each of these ten articles, applying your chosen scientific-article-reading strategy (that you learned in Unit 5: Assignment #4).
    3. Do not meet as a Chat Group until all members have completed 1. and 2. above.
    4. Also, do not begin any of the work assigned to be completed during your Group Chat (e.g., steps b. and c.) until your Chat Group begins the meeting.
  2. Begin your one-hour Chat, with members of the Chat Group taking turns presenting a summary of each of the ten articles.
  3. Then, as a group, write together two paragraphs. 
    1. The first paragraph will synthesize the first set of five articles that your Chat Group previously found together (and that all members of your Chat Group read in step a. above and presented in step b. above).
    2. The second paragraph your Chat Group writes together will synthesize the second set of five articles that your Chat Group previously found together (and that all members of your Chat Group read in step a. above and presented in step b. above).
    3. Both paragraphs need to have four supporting sentences, with one sentence synthesizing the main finding of four of the five articles on that topic.
      • Decide, as a group, which one article (of the five articles) not to include in your group-written paragraph.
      • Then, write the four supporting sentences together as a group.
    4. Both paragraphs need to have a topic sentence that presents the main point of the paragraph.
      • Decide, as a group, the best topic for each paragraph.
      • Then, write the topic sentence together as a group.
    5. Both paragraphs need to have a conclusion sentence that holds the paragraph together.
      • Decide, as a group, the best way to conclude each paragraph.
      • Then, write the conclusion sentence together as a group.
    6. Remember:
      • Synthesize the literature; don’t Mad Lib it.
      • Write about behavior and phenomena, not researchers and their studies.
      • Place the article’s citation at the end of the sentence (in an in-text parenthetical citation).
      • If the main finding from one of the three articles conflicts with the main findings from the other two articles, remember how to synthesize conflicting results (e.g., using “However, …).
    7. Below each paragraph, place the full APA-style citation of every article cited.
    8. Writing as a group is hard; sometimes it’s much harder than writing as an individual.
      • Everyone in the Chat Group should work hard to include all members of the Chat Group in the writing process.
      • Your effort to include everyone in the writing process should be reflected in your Chat Transcript.
      • Your effort to include everyone in the writing process will develop your teamwork skills (and interpersonal communication skills), which several of you chose as a course goal (back in Unit 1: Assignment #6).
  4. At the end of your one-hour Chat:
    1. Nominate one member of your Chat Group (who participated in the Chat) to make a post on the Unit 6: Assignment #6 Discussion Board that presents the two paragraphs you wrote as a group AND the APA-style full citations for each paragraph. This member should also briefly describe the process of writing these two paragraphs as a group.
    2. Nominate another member of your Chat Group (who participated in the Group Chat using the browser Chrome on their laptop, rather than on their mobile device) to save the Chat transcript, as described in the Course How To (under the topic, “How To Save and Attach a Chat Transcript), and attach the Chat transcript, in PDF, to a Unit 6: Assignment #6 Discussion Board post.
    3. Nominate another member of your Chat Group (who also participated in the Chat) to make another post on the Unit 6: Assignment #6 Discussion Board that states the name of your Chat Group, the names of the Chat Group members who participated in the Chat, the date of your Chat, and the start and stop time of your Chat.
    4. If only two persons participated in the Chat, then one of those two persons needs to do two of the above three tasks.
    5. Before ending the Group Chat, arrange the date and time for the Group Chat you will need to hold during the next Unit (Unit 7: Assignment #6).
  5. All members of the Chat Group must record a typical Unit entry in their own Course Journal for Unit 6.

Congratulations, you have finished Unit 6! Onward to Unit 7!