Assessment Task 2 Guide
This assessment must be completed and submitted as a word document.
Assessment 2 Research Analysis
- The aim of this task is to complete an Empirical Research Activity (ERA) written report, according to the conventions of psychological report writing, which are outlined in this guide.
- The task will be completed in directed study time and at home.
- The sections in boxes are your guidelines for what information goes in each section of the report. Use them to help you write the open sections. A report is written using headings and sub-headings described in this document and creates the correct psychology research report structure.
Research Focus: Investigating the impact of social distancing on international students’ health and coping during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Background Context, Aim and Survey Completion
Stress refers to the body’s response to threatening or challenging events and is characterised by prolonged levels of physiological arousal, such as an elevation in blood pressure, or breathing rate. Stress can have positive effects as well as negative. Stress may motivate us into action and can enhance our performance in certain tasks.
When a stressor is seen as negative it can have harmful effects on our health. Stressors are circumstances that are perceived as threatening to one’s wellbeing, such as an impending examination, relationship problem, or change in working hours.
While stress does not necessarily cause illness, a strong positive relationship has been established between being stressed and having an increased likelihood of developing a psychosomatic illness. This may be due to the suppression of the activity of the immune system which occurs during periods of prolonged stress. Therefore, stress may increase a person’s chances of contracting an illness such as heart disease. As stress inhibits the activity of the immune system, harmful bacteria are not identified and so are not eliminated from the body at a fast-enough pace. This results in the activities of lymphocytes (which discover and destroy harmful cells) and phagocytes (which ingest and eliminate these cells) being suppressed.
Psychosomatic illnesses are medical problems which may stem from a combination of physiological and psychological factors, such as emotional distress. Some examples are backache, constipation, skin rash, diarrhoea, fatigue, stomach pain, high blood pressure, indigestion, insomnia, migraines, muscle soreness, neck aches, and pre – menstrual tension.
Hans Selye was one of the first psychologists to recognise the strong relationship between stress and disease. His General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS), which includes an alarm reaction stage (which includes shock and counter shock to the stressor), a stage of resistance, and a stage of exhaustion, illustrates this association. During the stage of resistance, when the body adjusts to stress and the normal level of coping rises, ability to withstand infection is lowered over time, and the first signs of psychosomatic disorders begin to appear. During the exhaustion stage, bodily resources are depleted, and resistance drops dramatically below normal levels. Unless stress management is sought, psychosomatic illness could occur and, in extreme cases complete collapse may eventuate.
Coping mechanisms have been suggested by stress counsellors as a means of managing stress. These include exercise, mindfulness and healthy eating
The aim of this research survey is to investigate the impact of social distancing on the health and coping of international students during the COVID-19 pandemic.
You will have been asked to participate in the survey as a participant through your home group or psychology class.
NOTE: This information above is NOT a source to be cited in your ERA. Refer to the provided references.
|Purpose of an ERA report A report is aimed at giving specific and accurate information to the reader about a research study which the writer has carried out. It should be written in a clear and concise form to acquaint the reader with the aim, procedures and findings of the investigation. Style Attention should be given to the style of writing. Whereby ERA’s must be written in third person and past tense. This means no personal pronouns such as “I” or “we”. Instead of “We found that…” you should write, “It was found that…”. This means you describe what DID happen, not what will happen in the research. Instead of “The aim of this research is to…” you should write, “The aim of this research was to…”. Format Times New Roman, size 12.Double SpacedUse relevant sub-headings and paragraphs.Correct in-text citations and references used (see the references section for more information). Sections Title page *Abstract *Introduction *MethodResultsDiscussionReferences *Appendices * Those sections marked with * always start the top of a new page. The other sections begin with a heading below the previous section. The abstract and introduction DO NOT require headings. The abstract simply begins underneath the title and the introduction starts at the very top of the next page.|
|RESEARCH EXPECTATIONS (Background Literature Review) As part of this assessment, you will be assessed on your ability to analyse and understand academic articles and research. You will be provided with two resources that you must refer to in the introduction and discussion sections of your ERA report as a minimum (The relevant referencing citation details have been provided at the end of page 6-7 of this guide). You are required to discuss the ideas, findings and supported theory present in the readings and other past research throughout the introduction and discussion sections of the report. One reading has already been given to you and can be found on Canvas or in your class notes.|
|How do I write an ERA Report? A report is aimed at giving specific and accurate information to the reader about an experiment which the writer has carried out. It should be written in a clear and concise form to acquaint the reader with the aim, procedures and findings of the investigation. Title Page A title page is required with a suitable title that reflects the nature of the research. Summarise the main idea of the study in no more than 10‐12 words. Do not use abbreviations in the title. Titles often take the form of the research variables that are being investigated or research question. The title page is on a separate page, including your name, student number, course code and word count. Abstract – Aim for 200 words. A summary of the research aim, method, main results and conclusions. i.e. what was done, how, why and what the results showed. Its main function is to provide an overview for the reader, informing them of what to expect throughout the report. NOTE: It is the first section of the report, but is always written last as it is a summary on the report.|
|Introduction – Aim for 400 words including statement of research aim and research question. An introduction gives background and context to the general problem you are tackling. Background Literature review: Describe and discuss previous research and/or psychological theory that has led you to conduct the survey, i.e. the context and background of the research topics of stress, health and coping.Aim: Explain the aim (purpose) of the investigation. Research Question: State your research question, written as a single sentence.|
|Method – Aim for 200 words. The Method section describes in detail how your study was conducted. It should contain enough detail for someone else to replicate (repeat exactly) the research. The Method section is divided into the following sub-headings: Participants (write as one paragraph)Begin the Method section with a description of the participants that took part in your study.How many participants were there in the sample? From which target population was the sample of participants drawn?What is the sample type?Include information on major demographic characteristics such as gender, age, nationality, education level, etc. Age GenderWhere students are studyingNationalityMaterials (can be presented as bullet points)Describe the survey used for the research and refer reader to a copy of it in your appendices.List all materials.Some materials used throughout our research:Survey designed using QualtricsPersonal devices (mobile or laptop)Qualtrics findings reportsProcedure (write in paragraphs)Describes the various steps involved in conducting the research including survey distribution.Describe Ethical considerations and how they were addressed.|
|Results – Aim for 200 words. This section presents a summary of the main findings: Firstly, as a visual representation (table, graph, chart, figures etc.) and Secondly as a description of the findings. You may use sub-headings to separate out the themes of the findings. In addition: You may use visual images including graphs and tables. You will be provided with a word document with numerous graphs illustrating the data from the survey results. You are expected to analyse these graphs and tables and write a summary of key findings / themes from this survey. You can choose which images to copy and paste into your results section.Make sure you include results relating to stress, health and coping of students. When writing about the results, you are to only report and describe what the data presents. DO NOT interpret the results – this is for the discussion section of a report.|
|Discussion – Aim for 500 words. In this section, the results and how they relate to the research question are discussed and explained. The general relevance of the results to the theory or other research (as mentioned in the introduction) should be discussed in detail. Compare your results to your research question. What do your results mean? Explain how your results relate to your research question and discuss what they mean for international students’ health and coping. Discuss how this experiment was different or similar to previous research? Relate your findings back to the previous theory and research from in the introduction, showing what your study has added to the broader body of knowledge in this topic area. Were there any limitations to your study (extraneous or confounding variables)? Identify limitations/problems with the study? What other factors (known as extraneous or confounding variables) might have affected the results of the experiment? Could the study be improved in any way? Can your results be generalised? What is your overall conclusion from your research findings? Discuss whether your results can be generalised to all people (real life applications). Also, from your discussion, what is the overall conclusion you would draw from this research? NOTE: The Discussion section, does NOT have sub-headings. This should be written in coherent paragraphs. The following questions are to be used as a guidance of how to address this section of the ERA.|
|Reference and Appendices In-text citations / academic integrity It is necessary to cite your sources each time you: Reproduce an author’s exact words (quote), that is, copy word for word directly from a text. A page number must be given.Use your own wording (summarise or paraphrase) to explain or discuss what someone has said. You are encouraged to provide page numbers. In this case you are to acknowledge the source, by stating acknowledging the author and date. Examples Clay (2003) argues that having a planned approach to writing essays can be of great benefit. OR Essay writing can be made much more manageable if a planned approach is taken (Clay, 2003). Sources that have 3+ authors should be cited by acknowledging the first author for the publication, followed by et al. date. Clay et al. (2003) argues that having a planned approach to writing essays can be of great benefit. OR Essay writing can be made much more manageable if a planned approach is taken (Clay et al. 2003). You are expected to use the APA referencing system according to Easy Cite. Every source you refer to must be referenced, including definitions. Additional Source: Stress Coping and Psychological Adaptation in the International Students (online article) You can access this article using the link in the citation below: Sapranaviciute, L, Perminas, A & Pauziene, N 2012, ‘Stress coping and psychological adaptation in the international students’, Open Medicine, Vol. 7, no. 5, pp. 335-343, <https://doi.org/10.2478/s11536-011-0161-7> Appendices At the end of the report include a copy of the survey and any other additional material that you need to refer to that would otherwise interfere with the flow of your report.|
Word Count Expectations:
- Word count 1500 words with 10% tolerance.
- Number of words for each section are given as a guide to help you build your report.
- Word count includes the main body of the text from Abstract to end of Conclusion in your report. Excluded from word count is your Title, Table of Contents, References and Appendices.
Please see separate document for Rubric on Canvas
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