Transcript - Social Psychology Lab - April 23 2018

Video Link: To be added



Begin Transcript




>>  MEGHAN TESTERMAN:   Welcome to today's Social Psychology lab. My name is Meghan Testerman,  I am the Psychology and Counseling Librarian at Walden. I am joined today by Sarah Prince. Sarah, would you like to say hi?


>> SARAH PRINCE:  Hello, I am Sarah Prince, manager Writing Across the Curriculum at Walden Library.


>> MEGHAN TESTERMAN:  Before we get started, just a few housekeeping things. We do have captioning for today's presentation. You will find the captioning link in the chatbox. Click on that link and it will open up another browser that has the captioning as we proceed. If you watching this is a recording, we also have transcripts available of our recordings at the Writing Center. If you need transcripts for any of our recordings please just send us an email and we will get that to you right away.


A couple other things, handouts, there is a copy of today's slide presentation available in the handouts section of the GoToWebinar user interface. You can just download it. We are going to be recording today's session. Tomorrow, you should all receive an email with a link to the recording so you can watch the second if you need to.


Let's dig into our content for tonight. What Sarah and I are going to try to do for you all tonight's walk you step-by-step through this assignment for your term paper for social psychology.


Just as a quick recap for we are looking at for this assignment, you are being asked to select and describe a social problem in your field of interest.


You will then need to explain why you selected the social problem.


You are going to need to research at least five Journal articles related to the social problem.


Then you're going to need to look for two gaps in the literature that are related to your social problem that you could possibly use to explore further research.


Then you will need to justify how you would [indiscernible] these two.


Then you need, through a social psychology lens, develop a research question that a social psychologist may use to develop a research question.


I am going to start out by giving you a library presentation. I am going to talk about how to find that gap. I am going to show you how to find this five articles, how to find literature. I'm going to give you an example of a research question example. And then, I am going to go over to the library databases and I'm going to give you a really practical demonstration of how to take a topic and narrow it down to find a gap.


Then I will hand it over to Sarah  who is going to be talking from the Writing Center perspective and she is going to help you define and identify scholarly writing. Identify scholarly writing foundations such as paraphrasing, analysis and synthesis. That she is also going to talk about how to correctly format APA references and citations.


I have created for you how to find a gap in five easy steps. I am going to hopefully walk you through this process and give you some examples. The first thing we need to do for this assignment is we need to identify a social problem that is significant to the field.


Let's say I might be interested in bullying. That is where we are going to start. Bullying is a really, really broad topic. If we were to go into the databases and just type in bullying we would probably get tens of thousands of results. That is really far from a gap. How do we start narrowing that down to get to the end for the literature is?


Step two, we are going to start using exploratory research to examine the current research in the field. At this point, there will be lots and lots of research. Students tend to kind of panic  at this point. That is not necessary, you are exactly where you need to be.


Number 3, will start to narrow down your area of interest by using narrower terms and defining concepts.


For example if we take our bullying example here we could start to narrow down the population a little bit. Now we are looking at bullying in all contexts. Maybe we could narrow it down by just looking at bullying and adolescents.


Four, now we can start to look at what the literature covers and more importantly, what it doesn't. Here we are starting to get up against the edge of the current research and we're looking for opportunities to kind of take it further.


Let's say, for example, our bullying and adolescents example, we could add to that bystander effect and see what literature is out there about that and see if we can find some good leads for further research.


Five, this is the point where we start to look for opportunities to build on existing research. For example, we might want to look at populations that have been under researched. Variables that haven't been explored or, we could even really type in, into the database, further research into a search field. What that will do is it will pull up any research articles on your topic that have suggestions for further research. That's a really great way to point yourself towards a gap.


For example here, we might find once we get in here that bullying, adolescents and bystander effect and student-teacher relationships is a gap. There's a lot of information on bullying and adolescents and maybe some information on bullying and adolescents and bystander effect, but there is very little research on all of that plus student-teacher relationships. That is how we can start to narrow down our area of interest and identify the gap.


I am going to break this down for you just so you can see the levels of research we are accessing. We type in bullying, we will see tens of thousands of articles. Bullying and adolescents we might get a couple thousand results. If we type in bullying and adolescents and bystander effect we should get about 100 articles. Here is where things start getting interesting. If we type in bullying and adolescents and bystander effect and student-teacher relationships that should be around 10 articles.


Also this literature, the question should be, where are you going to find those five articles? At what level are you going to find all those to include in your paper? We want to get right at that level that is really close to our gap but it is going to be one level up.  That is going to be the bedrock of research in the literature that we are going to pull those five articles from. These are going to be the articles that are going to provide the best argument for saying that this topic is significant to the field but also being able to demonstrate that there is a lack of research on your particular gap that you have identified.


Once we went through this process, we could start to create a research question. In this case, our research question might be something like how do student-teacher relationships influence the bystander effect in instances of peer victimization or bullying? Here is our gap and that may be something we could take research further.


Let's switch over to the library and I am going to show you how to do this. Here we are in the library. The first place that I want to show you is the psychology research home. On the library homepage, if you go to select a subject, you will see from the drop-down menu Psychology. When you get to this page, you are on kind of the one-stop shopping psychology resources page. This is everything that the library has related to your field, all on this one page. So it would be a really great idea to bookmark it. In fact I am going to copy the link and put it in the chat box for you so that you can have it.


But we have here, we have psychology databases, we have journals, we have our protests and measures databases. We have some fantastic databases that are of just videos if you want to see, for example, psychology experiments live. You can go check out those. We have some books including the DSM V. This is where DSM V lives. Below those we also have some research. Those are resources and we also have all research help on everything from basics, which are a lot of what we will talk about today. Then if you need help finding a test or finding a theory, we have some pretty in-depth guides down here. But for today and for this particular assignment but we are going to use to start our search, to kick our search off, is this search box on the psychology search homepage.


We are going to use this because this particular search box on the psychology research homepage has been set up to search all of our databases and journals that have anything to do with psychology. So you can think of this as a shortcut to searching just what is going to be relevant to your field.


No, it doesn't search everything in the library, but it will get you some really relevant results for psychology topics.


So let's try our example. Let's try the bullying example and click the search box.


So here we are in a very broad search on bullying. As expected, it did bring up tens of thousands of articles.


The first thing we want to do before we start building this search out a little bit is make sure we refine our results that are over here in the left-hand column.


For this assignment, I am going to encourage you to keep that fulltext limiter checked. Because you are doing this for a class assignment and because all of the literature that you access you're going to need to be able to read and have immediate access to the full text so that you can include it in your paper. So let's keep that fulltext box checked.


Then I want you to also check the peer-reviewed scholarly journals box. Your assignment did not specifically mention that you need, that these five articles need to come from peer-reviewed journals. But I would highly, highly recommend that you do, it's just a good practice to be in to use that really good resource, which is a peer-reviewed, scholarly article to talk about any kind of academic subject and any kind of academic writing.


Let's make sure we have those two boxes checked, fulltext and peer-reviewed. If we want, we could even bring this publication date up a little bit so we're not getting articles from the 1880s.


Now that we have done that, we have 35,000 results. Still way, way too big to start looking for a gap.


Let's start to flesh this search out a little bit more.


I chose the word bullying because that was kind of what came to mind. But another word for bullying is perfect I. A way that I could include that term into this search to wrap those two up together would be to just type in OR bullying OR peer victimization.


So now what that is going to do is it is going to tell the database, please bring back articles that talk about bullying or peer victimization.


So we are at 35,000. Let's see what this does to our research results. Okay, now we have 39,000. That is to be expected because they OR limiter is an expander. What it does is it will bring back more results. But you might really need to see those articles that are talking about peer victimization. Even though you have more articles at this point you are still well within the realm of your topic.


Now we have almost 40,000 results. We are going to start figuring out how to narrow that down. Let's start by narrowing down our population.


So, adolescents and let's see what that does to our search.


I think I... Here we go. I don't know why that word looks so funny to me all the sudden ... now we have narrowed it down to 13,000. That is getting better. We are starting to figure out how to work with this topic and it down.


So what were our other ideas for narrowing this down a little bit.


Let's try to add in a specific aspect of this phenomenon. Let's type in "bystander effect." Earlier when I was looking this up on my own, you know what I did, as I actually started with bullying and adolescents and I just scrolled to the articles until I found an article that mentioned bystander effect and I thought that was really interesting. I would be curious to see how this all played out together. That was how I chose this as my keyword is that I really did just scrolled through here and look for ideas. That is something you can do, as well.


Now let's look at our search only add and bystander effect. Now we have 73 that is about what we thought we would have at this point, we thought we would have about 100 articles.


Again, what I did at this point was I scrolled through here and I saw some subject headings for things like teacher-student interaction and I thought that would be interesting, let's see what that looks like. So I typed in student-teacher relationship and clicked Search.


Now I have two. So this is clearly where the edge the current research is. And this is also clearly an opportunity for further research, which is a gap.


So we can have a look at the two articles that come back up. This one is in Sweden. This one is talking about, this topic through a lens of self-determination theory. You might want to try a different approach.


But you could use this to kind of justify that bullying or peer victimization is a topic that is significant to the field because we saw so much research on that topic of just bullying and adolescents that that is going to give us justification that the topic is significant to the field. And then you're going to demonstrate that there is a gap and there is this one aspect of this phenomena that hasn't been explored and that is, how does student-teacher relationships affect bullying among adolescents in the bystander effect.


You can always kind of play with these and come up with different search terms to get out what you are looking for. So much of searching in the database really is kind of just playing with terms to see what kind of results you get and just doing trial and error.


So feel free to play with these are just experiment a little bit. If student-teacher relationship wasn't working very well, maybe you could try teacher-student interaction. Or maybe you could look at parenting or something else that is related to that topic.


I hope I have given you a bit of a roadmap for how to start with your topic, narrow it down, look at the edges of that research. Find that. And that level that we were talking about that you would pull your literature from is this one, the one that is just above that. And you have a good 73. If you don't find five articles out of this 73, take one more word off and then pull it from here. Keep mining down until you hit that gap.


I am going to hand the presentation over to Sarah. Sarah, if you've got your PowerPoint ready?


>> SARAH PRINCE:  I do. Can you guys see my screen?


>> MEGHAN TESTERMAN:  Yes, I can see.


>> SARAH PRINCE:  Let me just put this in presentation mode.


So just as Meghan was talking about research and how this is important for this assignment, the other piece of this is really scholarly writing and making sure that you have incorporated not only tone and objectivity right also that you synthesized these five articles to determine the gap and rationale for your problem.


I know everyone's favorite topic is to discuss APA citations and references, because those are an important part of all academic papers you submit here at Walden.


What I really want to focus on -- and Meghan covered this at the beginning -- is to address those foundations of scholarly writing. These include paraphrasing, analysis and synthesis. We call those in the Writing Center the building blocks of scholarly writing. And also to adjust APA references and citations especially with journal articles since you will be using some of those in your term paper.


So what is scholarly writing? Students come to me all the time and say I am just not a good academic writer, I don't feel like I can convey myself or convey meaning the way I read in the Journal articles I am looking at. I feel like I am not as scholarly or as formal.


I always told us students that first, not everything you read, not everything that is published is quality scholarly writing. And second, scholarly writing, just like riding a bike or long division really takes a lot of practice. But once you have mastered it, it really becomes pretty simple to do.


There are four key components to scholarly writing. The first is your purpose. You really are talking to other scholars. In creative writing your readers are more general. But you are talking to scholars or practitioners in your field in scholarly writing. You also generally have an argument. This is not an argument based on your personal opinion. It is not even an argument based on your experience alone. It is not an argument based on assumptions. These academic arguments should always be based on credible, outside evidence.


Meghan referenced in her presentation the importance of peer-reviewed journals. When we say credible, outside evidence, we generally mean peer-reviewed or government publications because they have been peer-reviewed or there has been some review process.


In addition, tone and word choice is important. We say you should be formal, clear and direct. However, that doesn't mean you need a lot of what I call those three dollar words, those long, nice sounding words that make you feel you know, "I have used a three syllable word four times in this sentence. I feel this is pretty solid academic." But the truth is a lot of times those words don't capture your meaning as clearly and as directly. It can create vague, abstract terminology that doesn't convey what you are trying to convey.


I know we have all been in the situations where we are trying to read journal articles or book chapters for an assignment and it's really hard to follow what the author is saying because it is so dense and so packed with jargon and terminology we don't quite follow. Generally we think of that as not great scholarly writing, that writing that makes us want to go clean toilets or do laundry, just do anything, right, so we don't have to keep reading the article. You don't want your writing to be like that. You want to be formal, clear and direct.


That does mean you will have fairly clear sentence structure most of the time. What I tell students is yes, you have complex ideas, but the mark of a good writer is to take those complex ideas and write them in sentences that are easy to understand and accessible to readers.


We talked a little bit about objectivity. You want to make sure your argument is evidence-based, that you are using credible evidence to support your argument. You can argue just about anything as long as you have credible, outside evidence to support those claims you are making.


You also want to be sure to avoid generalizations. This is things like, "Most writers agree that APA is the best method," or even things like, "Recently, the CDC found ..." words like "most" and "recently" are helpful in conversation, but they are not too specific. My definition of "most writers" might be different than your definition of most writers, just like my definition of "recently" might be different than your definition of recently. So thinking about language and making it as specific as possible is really important in academic writing and it certainly makes you argument and your writing as a whole stronger.


Finally, APA. I know a lot of students feel that APA has been created to exist as a thorn in their side and give them headaches and make them graduate with less hair then they came into the University with. But the truth is, APA is really useful, it creates a common language for all of us at Walden and all of us in the social science field. We cite sources, we have the same style and formatting. What that allows readers to do is focus on your content instead of focusing on the credibility of your sources. If you have the citations that are appropriate, if you have the references that are there, I can trust that this is a quality and well researched piece of research.


Before we go on, I want to do a quick knowledge check. You are welcome to submit answers the questions box or just think on your own about these pieces of writing. But these are two examples of good writing but they just happen to not be scholarly writing.


We just learned about the four sort of tenets of good scholarly writing, why is this first example not a great example of scholarly writing? I will read it out loud.


"Most members of college boards believe that higher education costs too much, but a majority also say their own institutions prices aren't the problem, according to a survey on higher education governance released on Thursday by the Association of governing boards of universities and colleges."


So, anyone want to take a stab in the questions box indicating why they think this is not a fantastic example of scholarly writing?


It looks like nobody wants to take a stab at it.


Oh good! One person said, "no reference." That is absolutely correct. For instance, this is highlighting the Association of governing boards of universities and colleges. That is true, but we need a reference supporting what year that is located in.


It looks like they might be using footnotes here. You see that teeny tiny blue 1, but APA doesn't support the use of footnotes so it is not in APA style.


It's too vague, someone says. Yes, we have those generalizations like "most members of college boards," it would be nice if they were more specific. Then we have notions of higher education costs too much, but we don't have specifics about cost, so a range of costs might be helpful and provide more clarity.


In addition we have contractions. So you will see "aren't the problem." For APA guidelines, you want to avoid contractions in your writing. Luckily there's always an easy way to fix contractions which is just to write out both words.


Here is another example. "Colleges' decision to jump on the Coursera bandwagon is aided and eased by knowing that academic heavyweights like Harvard, Stanford and Massachusetts Institute of Technology are already on board. As one college President described it to the New York Times, 'You're known by your partners, and this is the College of Cardinals.'"


Does anyone want to take a stab at why this may not be a good example of scholarly writing?


Good, there is no clarity in terms of who is making this claim. So again, there is no citation here.


Yes, someone hit on non-academic terminology. That is really important. You will see in here we have the Coursera bandwagon and then later the author, the writer refers to "academic heavyweights." You want to be careful in writing to avoid metaphors like this. We are not literally talking about a heavyweight and we are not literally talking about a bandwagon. So we have metaphors here. The problem with metaphors is people understand metaphors differently, they might not understand them at all. In order to be as clear, concise and direct as possible as writers we really want to avoid the use of metaphors.


We also have a direct quotation here and we do not have an author, page number or year of publication, so that is missing. And you will notice that the New York Times is cited. Granted, the New York Times is a fantastic publication, but it is not necessarily a peer-reviewed publication.


So these are all important issues to highlight. This is not to say that again, both of these examples aren't great writing. The truth is that they are. They have been published in a newsmagazine and a weekly newspaper. So they are published writing. But they are not academic writing. Understanding genre is really important in making sure that your, again, your phrasing is clear, concise and direct is key.


It's also important to acknowledge that scholarly writing is an iterative process. It's not a one-shot deal. You're not going to sit down…you might, but you're not going to produce the best writing, if you decide to sit down on Sunday right at 12 PM or maybe even later, maybe Sunday at 7 PM and say all right, I need to get through this prewriting, drafting, revising and reflection process so I can submit this final term paper by 11:59 PM tonight.


I know no one in this room would ever do that but occasionally, we all have busy lives, we have responsibilities outside of Walden. Sometimes it happens we are working at the last minute. But the problem of writing as a one-shot deal is you really have to build in time to revise and reflect and you cannot do that all in one sitting.


Students tell me frequently, I just don't have time. I don't have the time to go through all these steps on different days. But the truth is it doesn't actually take more time, it just requires you to space out your time. I always suggest students break up the writing process into manageable chunks.


For instance one-shot might be to do research and pull two articles. The next day, you might pull two more articles or the next day you might read these two articles and take notes, etc. You have just sort of outlines this for yourself anyway that makes sense.


Then when you draft you can kind of step away from your draft and then go back to your draft leader. And that really helps in terms of giving you some perspective, in terms of seeing ideas you have missed. I know we have all had occasions when we write something, we think is great or at least decent and become back and read our writing the next day and think, "What was I talking about? This makes no sense." That's not unique to you. This happens to everybody, because no one writes a perfect draft the first time around.


This ability and attempt to pre-write, whether that is brainstorming ideas, creating an outline, putting a thesis statement. And also building in the time for drafting, knowing your first draft should never be your last draft. Revising and proofreading, looking at everything from organization and structure to looking at sentence structure -- are my commas placed where they should be? Are my citations where they should be? Do I have references that match those citations?


That also reflected, knowing that you might get to the drafting process and realizing you have to go back to the prewriting process. Or you make it to the revising process and realize I have solid points on A, B, and C. but really need to further develop point D -- which might mean you really have to go back to the literature to invest in further.


It's an iterative process and the process that takes time across multiple days. So I always encourage students to break up the writing process into manageable chunks. Don't sit down at 7 AM on Sunday and say I have until 11:59 to finish this. This will not help you submit your best work.


In this assignment specifically I want to talk about your thesis development. Every paper you turn in Walden will have a thesis statement and honestly every assignment you turn in Walden should have a thesis statement. Even those small discussion posts, you want to have a small thesis statement. All that is is a brief articulation of your paper's central argument and purpose. This means, you are telling your readers, "In this paper I will address X. In this discussion post I will address Y." It is generally more eloquent than that. We don't say "in this paper" always, it is not saying you can't, but there are other ways to say it. What it is is like you shaking reader's hand and promising you are going to talk about X or XYZ in that paper.


The thesis is the most important sentence or set of sentences in your entire draft. Your thesis should always be concise, arguable and specific. Instead of taking something like "mobile phone use is being talked about in classrooms today," you know, that is not something that anyone could argue against. It's not super specific. What classrooms? What is "today?" And it is not concise. There is no way in a five to seven page paper even I could talk about mobile phone use in our classrooms.


So how can we narrow that? How can we make it more specific? Megh showed you ways you do your research and make it more specific.


Think about your thesis as replicating that same process of making or specific. You want to be as specific as possible in terms of telling your reader what your draft is going to be about.


And when you write your thesis, you have to think about scope. I have five to seven pages to convey my social problem, the rationale behind that social problem and the research behind the question I have developed that can help address the problem. Your thesis might include some of those elements.


For this paper in particular, your thesis statement is probably going to be one, two or three sentences. If we are looking at Megh's example about bullying, I might have a general sentence that starts off my introduction about adolescence and bullying. With each sentence after that I am going to get more narrow, narrower and narrower where I talk about adolescents and bullying and teacher-student relationships.


Then, I might talk about how the research demonstrates it is a social problem. Then finally I am going to talk specifically about where I am intervening, which is, I am dealing with adolescents, the bystander effect, teacher-student relationships and bullying.


Again, kind of thinking of your introduction as a funnel, your thesis statement should be the smallest end of the funnel. It should be the narrow, most specific explanation of what your paper is going to be about.


After you have drafted a thesis, which I suggest you do before writing your paper, as part of an outline process, you are going to need to be able to paraphrase evidence, because you're going to have to demonstrate a rationale for your problem by pulling from the literature, so what has been done, what is yet to be done. Incorporating analysis and building synthesis.


So a paraphrase is just an articulation of a specific passage or idea in your own words and sentence structure. We are going to talk a little bit about effective paraphrasing.


Analysis is you explanation, interpretation, connections between or clarification of evidence.


If a paraphrase is a reflection of the evidence, the analysis is you tell your readers, "So what?" You are giving your readers a take away, why the important piece of evidence is important within the context of your paper. So if your social problem is about bullying and the bystander effect, you were telling your readers why this particular piece of evidence is important in terms of how it's related to the problem of bullying.


Synthesis then, finally, it is your own words and unique organization to create a new narrative, conclusion or interpretation based on an analysis of multiple paraphrased details.


Synthesis is the hardest to get your head around but we are going to try to build up to that in coming slides.


A lot of students get really nervous about paraphrasing. I always ask students when I go to residencies or give webinars, how many of you look at the original passage when you are trying to paraphrase? And students always raised their hands.


The problem is, when you look at an original passage we are trying to paraphrase, it's just human nature to feel there is no better way to say it. It is so succinct, it is so perfect, I can't figure out any way to change it.


So students do what we call password paraphrasing. They plug in synonyms, fit it in, switch out a few words here and there, [indiscernible], and call it a paraphrase.


The problem with that is it is ineffective paraphrasing and can lead you down the road of unintentional plagiarism. That is not what we want.


The truth is if we all witness the same crime in this room and the police asked us all to write a narrative, would anyone's narrative be the same? No, we would all be describing the same event, but our narratives are always different because we have all come to the table and witnessed the event with our own set of eyes that have experience behind them, baggage that we are bringing to the table.


That is what we are kind of looking for we say putting things in our own words. You have a unique way of speaking and writing that is what we are looking for with your scholarly voice.


The first thing you want to do is read the and original passage to understand. The way I suggest you touch this knowledge is hide the passage, cover it over after you think you understand it. Imagine a colleague walks into the room and asks you what you have just read. If you're able to simplify what you just read and speak it to your colleague, chances are you understood it. If you're not able to, you need to go back to step one because you need to be able to read it to understand.


Going back to scholarly writing, sometimes being wordy, being full of jargon, this is not going to come to us, this understanding is not always going to come to us on first reading. Sometimes we have to read it multiple times, sometimes we have to look up words or terms it'll understand. That is to be expected especially if you're looking at a topic you have not explored before. Know that some of that is part of the process it really is expected to be able to paraphrase.


If you're able to understand and speak it to this imaginary colleague, you want to write it, then, in your own words, still with the original [indiscernible]. If you have a version you're happy with, compare it with the original.


When you compare it with the original, look for borrowed phrasing. Sometimes phrasing is too specific to paraphrase successfully so you might need to provide quotation marks around that. If you have any borrowed phrasing you want to make sure that it is cited as a direct quotation. Then make sure you cite, please, please, please, don't wait to cite until after your paper is completed. It is hard to remember what is yours and what is an outside source if you do that. With your paraphrase, your citation is just going to be the author's last name and the year of publication.


Here is an example of effective paraphrasing.


This is from the American Heart Association website. "There are countless physical activities out there, but walking has the lowest dropout rate of them all. It's the simplest positive change you can make to effectively improve your heart health."


Here is one example of a paraphrase:  "Of all the ways to get physical exercise, walking is one that people continue long-term."


Let's say I am talking about particular effects of long-term exercise. This is what my paraphrase would  look like for that draft.


"People can easily improve their heart health by walking." This paraphrase might change the topic if my paper changes. Let's say in this other paper I am writing about heart health, specifically, you will see here that my paraphrase, I am not focused on the longevity of the exercise. This data is focused on how exercising can improve your health.


Finally, the last paraphrase:  "Although people can improve their physical fitness in many ways, one easy improvement that the American Heart Association reported people persist in the most is walking."


Again, this might be used in various kinds of exercises that can improve physical fitness.


You will see that each of these paraphrases accurately reflects the direct quotation above. But they shift based on what my overall topic is. I always say you should use paraphrases as opposed to direct quotations when possible because you see how you could take the evidence and mold it to fit within your particular topic or paper when you're putting it in your own words and you can't do that with a direct quotation. When you have a direct quotation, you kind of have to take it as it is.


Paraphrasing is useful because when you put in your own words you can also craft it to fit with the narrative or scope of your particular paper.


When you're doing this process of paraphrasing, you are going to do this for multiple sources. In this case you're going to do it for 5. You're going to repeat the process of paraphrasing for multiple processes and ideas. Then synthesis results from analyzing these paraphrases from multiple sources.


Let's look at two sources of two paraphrases I have pulled. Number 1, "Of all the ways you can get physical exercise, walking is one that people continue long-term." That is my first paraphrase. Second is, "However, in the small Wisconsin communities she surveyed, Prince found that community leaders usually recommend group physical activities that result in short-term weight loss."


So how do I put these two paraphrases together to create analysis and synthesis?


So, what I would do is make sure that you're answering the "so what?" Question. If I am putting A and B together, those are two paraphrases, I want to make sure that I answer why is this information important? What does it mean? Why should your readers care about this information and what does this information show or tell us?


Your "so what" is going to be important because you have got to rationalize or justify why your particular problem is a social problem and you also have to rationalize or justify that this is actually a gap in the literature and you have to do that twice. So this "so what" or this analysis that you going to be creating is going to lean heavily on that rationale for the problem as an actual social problem and the fact that this does exist as a gap in the current literature.


So if my thesis is "Walking a few times a week is a useful exercise for combating obesity and depression in small communities," a paragraph that uses the sample analysis would look as follows:  "Because physical exercise and social support are proven ways to reduce rates of depression and obesity, communities should implement programs that provide both."


And the next step are our two pieces of evidence. Of all the ways to get physical exercise, walking is one that people continue long-term. However, in the small Wisconsin communities she surveyed, Prince found that community leaders usually recommend group physical activities that result in short-term weight loss.


See here at the end you will see my analysis, this is how I am connecting the two pieces of the puzzle. "To ensure long-term weight loss and reduced rates of depression, future researchers should explore community sponsored group walking programs as a means of providing social encouragement and enduring commitment to exercise."


Again I am saying there has been research on X, there has been research on Y, future research should address example XY together. So that is my analysis. This analysis, what is answering that "so what" questions, function since as synthesis here's because I am combining multiple sources. You can have analysis of one source but if you have analysis of multiple sources you have created synthesis.


Again, synthesis is using your own words and unique organization to create a new narrative, conclusion or interpretation based on analysis of multiple paraphrased details.


So if you imagine that each one of those paraphrases is a discrete separate piece of information, each of those dots there on the screen is a discrete paraphrase that you've got, then you going to build your analysis, or interpretation and/or evaluation. So you're going to tell us why it's important. You are going to answer that "so what?" question for your readers and what you're ultimately going to get is a new idea, perspective or conclusion. And your conclusion for this assignment in particular is that X is an important research question for future researchers to address.


Again, step one is pulling this discrete paraphrases. Step two was analyzing those for your readers, thinking about the "so what?" which ultimately will lead us to step three which is a new idea, perspective or conclusion.


Another way to think about synthesis is after you finish this draft you are going to have what we called global synthesis. Imagine that each of the five articles that you pull, you invite the authors of each of these five articles to your house for dinner. Now, you give the wine and food and you say hey, guys, let's talk about bullying or, let's talk about adolescent bullying in the context of student-teacher relationships and ... trying to remember that last ...


>> MEGHAN TESTERMAN:  Bystander effect!


>> SARAH PRINCE:  There you go, bystander effect. So you invite them over and you say, let's talk about it. What is going to happen if you bring all those experts in the field over to your house for a dinner party? It is not going to be the author A stand up, gives her spiel and sits down and author B stands up, gives her spiel and sits down and so on and so forth. Instead you might say of talk about adolescents, bullying, bystander effect and teacher-student in relation to classroom ties in dynamics. Author A may state the main culprit is teacher observation and when teachers don't pay attention, XYZ happens. Author B might stand up and say I absolutely disagree with you. I think teachers don't have anything to do with bullying interactions in the classroom. Peer to peer relationships are still strong for adolescents they don't really care what their teachers are doing. Author C might say I see that author A and author B has a point, I think we can build both of these ideas and come up with some middle ground here.


When you have this dinner party conversation, authors are going to agree, they are going to disagree. They might partially agree. Again, that assurgent when you are synthesizing these articles, synthesizing the ideas within these articles. You want to relate what these articles, the ideas within these articles. And you are going to organize with these ideas, thinking about what particular ideas, but all the sources or all of the articles. Who is talking about [indiscernible]. If they are all talking about it, it's probably important.


And also, not providing just a summary of the first article, a summary of the second article, summary of the third article. You never want to see that. That does not make for good synthesis. Said you want to organize my ideas, think about the ideas that are coming up and then in each paragraph relate those ideas between others. That is how we create synthesis.


Again, global level synthesis is not only created by successfully  connecting ideas and paragraphs and sections. You want to think about the paper as a whole. For example if I have a puzzle, all of those puzzle pieces don't mean anything on their own. It's only when I finish the puzzle, I put all the puzzle pieces together that I get a picture. The same is true for your narrative. You just cannot provide the disparate pieces of evidence and hope your readers are going to connect the dots on their own. They are not. Instead, you have to put those puzzle pieces together for your reader into what the pictures are. Explain what you are trying to convey. And that illustration really comes from you and how you construct the pieces.


When I say pieces I mean those individual pieces of evidence, your paraphrases. Then, your goal is create a cohesive narrative in your text. You can do those by throughout reasserting those main ideas, organizing the themes. You can use clear transition between paragraphing sections if you are uncomfortable with transitions or you tend to use the same transitions over and over, the Writing Center has a transitions page that details a whole host of transitions. And also if you like, you can also use clear and logical headings to steer your reader.


On the paragraph level, you can create synthesis by what we call MEAL plan paragraphs. Those are paragraphs that have a Main idea sentence to start with and just like a thesis statement as sort of the main idea for your entire paper, your topic sentence is the main idea for individual paragraphs. Again, your topic sentence is like you shaking hands with your readers and saying, in this paragraph I promise to talk about X.


Then what I called the meat of the paragraph, the middle parts, is your Evidence and Analysis. Your Evidence is those individual paraphrases and that Analysis and answers that "so what?" question.


For each paragraph you want to have a nice Lead out. That is just a wrap up sentence. It can lead your reader into the next line. More importantly it needs to tie a bow on the paragraph and let your readers know you were concluding that idea and moving forward to the next idea.


I just want to say really briefly that you don't want each of your paragraphs to be formatted as MEAL, MEAL. Because that is repetitive and can become distracting to readers. Instead you want to have [indiscernible] those M's, E's, A's out. And A-E out. The idea is your evidence and analysis are going to go in the middle, but this is the loose way your paragraphs are going to look, but it is important all these elements exist in all of your paragraphs.


Here is an example of a MEAL plan paragraph. You will see my main topical sentence is in red. "Because physical exercise and social support are proven ways to reduce rates of depression and obesity, communities should implement programs that provide both." Then you will see of all the ways to get physical exercise, etc., those are two pieces of paraphrased information. Then you will see, however, in my analysis at the bottom in purple because "however" also functions as analysis here. I am showing how these two pieces of evidence are related. That "however" is drawing a distinction or should be between [indiscernible] pieces of evidence.


Finally in this case my analysis and my lead out actually function in the same sentence. I am closing out the sentence and providing analysis in that same final sentence.


I know I just breezed through the foundations of scholarly writing. I just wanted to hit the high notes. If you have any questions you are welcome to email us at But I do want to spend a couple minutes now talking about APA formatting, particularly citations and references.


I have highlighted our webpages, modules and other resources about APA specifically. I am not going to go through these here now. But these are on the PowerPoint and they are active links if you download the PowerPoint's. Make sure to check those out.


Let's briefly talk about the sections of a reference entry. All of your APA reference entries are going to start with the author's last name. Now, that is true unless you have an organizational author like CDC and if that is the case you're going to put the  organization's name inside. So the Centers for Disease Control would sit in that spot. And you are going to have the publication date, generally that is just a year. You have the title of the source and the publication information. A bolded information publication information because this changes on the type of source you use.


You are going to be using Journal articles and those are electronic journal articles because you are retrieving those from the library databases. What is important is that Journal articles need to have retrieval information if you access them online. That retrieval information is not the database where you access that Journal article, because that is not where a journal article lives.


Instead you want to provide a DOI. DOI stands for Digital Object Identifier and it is basically like a Social Security number for all journal articles. Just like all US citizens have a Social Security number, all articles published, well, I should say most articles published, have a digital object identifier. Not all of them have a digital object identifier, but that is the gold standard. so you're looking for that digital object identifier first. If you cannot find it on the journal's homepage or within the database sometimes it is located there, you can always do a quick recheck for a DOI by going to\guestquery.


That is a really handy tool if you just want to double check there. If there is no DOI, let's say you checked crossref, you see there is no DOI, you want to go to the second option which is to search for the journal's homepage. You do not have to find the exact place where the journal article lives. You don't have to go that far. You just provide the journal's homepage.


For instance, I got a journal from National Teachers Association and their homepage is I am just going to write retrieved from I will have the [indiscernible] etc. But I do not need to find the particular Journal article on the homepage and provide that particular URL. I do not have to take that step.


Again, gold standard is find the DOI. If you can't find the DOI on the article's homepage or database you can go to\guestquery, do a quick search. If you do not find the DOI in that search you want to use retrieved from the journals homepage.


Once you have formatted your reference you are going to make sure that each of your citations is also formatted correctly. There's two types of citations you can use in your draft. Highly recommend that you vary between both.


The first kind of citation is what we call a narrative citation. That means that both, that the authors names are part of the narrative of the sentence. Meaning sentence without it wouldn't make sense without the authors names.


Here we have Oya & Kalema noted that quote. You will notice that the quotation directly follows the author's name but because it is a direct quotation the page in which we found the name is after the quotation itself.


Then we have what is called a parenthetical citation which is a fancy way of saying all the citation elements of within the parentheses of the citation.


So, "In Africa, massive online courses are currently popular." you will see Oya & Kalema are inside the parentheses after the quote. Both of these are exceptional but you want to make sure you have an [indiscernible].


I breezed through that. I would love to talk more. If you have questions you are welcome to send them to us at We also have a chat function, if we are online we love to talk with you about this particular assignment if you have writing questions.


With that, Megh, I realize I have left us woefully short on time to answer questions, but I am going to turn it back over to you.


>> MEGHAN TESTERMAN:  Thanks, I think you did a great job. There were no questions that came in to the questions box. I will give you guys another minute or two if you do have anything that you would like to ask us. If not, you should be seeing my screen now that I'm going to show you really quickly on the library homepage where to go to get more help if you do have a question or think of a question later.


The first place I want you to think about going to get help is the Quick Answers that we have. The way you get to Quick Answers is to click search everything on the library homepage and then type in a couple keywords related to your answer. For example if you want to check and see if what you found was indeed peer-reviewed you can do a search for it and then here are Quick Answers. These are really great, short, direct answers to your question that you can get right away. You don't have to wait for anybody. Most of the time you will be able to learn what you need to know just by looking at those. We have nice screen [indiscernible] sometimes will have a super short video down here to help you through that process.


If you are still stuck, if you have looked at Quick Answers and are still not sure, why don't you send us a note at Ask a Librarian? We have a couple different ways you can get in touch with us. You can use the email form that is right here. You can use chat, we do have chat hours available now. You can also call us and leave a voicemail and then we will get back to you through your Walden email. We really do try to get back to everybody within 24 business hours but honestly it is so much faster than that. Definitely have a look at that.


If you want to have a look at some of our recorded webinars they are under the Get Help button as well as library skill guides, tutorials. But here is our webinar archive. So if you found this session helpful then you might be the kind of learner who really does well with videos and talking with us through. We have a whole archive on general library skills. But we also have archived webinars that are specifically speaking to psychology research. You will find those here.


Again, I will go back to the library homepage and show you were all of this is.


So, quick answers, click search everything, type your keywords in here, Ask a Librarian is up in this corner and the webinar archive is under Get Help.


Let's see if there are any last minute questions? I don't see any. Thank you also much for joining us tonight. I hope that this has been helpful. I hope it is been really practical explanation of how to do this social psychology assignment. We both wish you good luck on your paper. Please reach out to us if you need any help and I wish you all a good night.



End Transcript


Created June 2018 by Walden University Library