The fifth article can come from anywhere.

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Objective: This paper is intended to focus your attention on and give you practice evaluating health information. Sarafino doesn’t cover how to be a critical consumer of health information as thoroughly as I would like. I believe that is one of the most valuable things to be learned in this class. You will need to find examples of both good and bad information on your topic, so choosing a topic that has some kind of controversy related to it is necessary. I do not want papers that simply inform about a topic; nor do I want papers that attempt to persuade. The focus is on demonstrating that you know how to distinguish between credible and un-credible information. Please do not turn in a paper that just informs about a topic. The point here is to evaluate information and information sources.
Length: The paper should be as long as it takes to fulfill these guidelines. I think that is 3 to 4 pages long single spaced; however, I won’t be counting pages. I will be looking at how well you demonstrate your ability to be a critical consumer of health information.
Process: Here is a suggested process for choosing a topic, researching, and writing your paper.
First choose a health issue of interest to you. You have much leeway in the topic you choose. It should be specific enough that you can draw some conclusions about it, and general enough that you can find information on the topic. Issues which have generated some controversy work well for this assignment; however, any health-related topic works as long as you can find both credible and not-so-credible information on it. Issues that have been researched scientifically but also treated pseudo-scientifically by persons who stand to gain from publishing unsupported claims are ideal for this paper.
Find and study five pieces of published information about your topic that include some reference to or description of research. These articles must contain enough detail that you can describe what is good or bad about the research on which they are based.
Please include a mixture of journal articles and mass media information with a mixture of good and bad information on the issue.
Please include at least two journal articles and at least two articles from mass media sources, i.e., newspapers and magazines. Even publications such as the National Enquirer or advertisements from drug companies may be used for your mass media articles. The fifth article can come from anywhere.
Briefly describe the issue you have chosen. Even though the emphasis is on evaluating information, you will need to give enough detail about your topic that the reader will know what the issue is and why you find it interesting.
Critique the information. Describe and analyze the research on which each article is based. Refer back to Sarafino Chapter 1, Pages 25-31 (or other sources from other classes that you have taken that have a research component). Be sure to address:
dsSKind of research: correlational, experimental, quasi-experimental, retrospective, prospective, cross sectional, longitudinal
Did the research have control or comparison groups? Did the researchers use double-blind procedures, placebo, etc.?
Discuss other issues that might influence the credibility of the report. Who funded research on the issue? How credible is the information source (the publisher) and why? Who stands to gain if you act on the information in the article and what will they gain?
Synthesize the information in your five articles.
Describe your understanding or opinion of the health issue you have researched after reading and analyzing the five articles.
Discuss the importance of the information in terms of how a person’s life might be affected if he/she does or does not act on the information.
Cite outside sources within the text of your paper and include a reference list at the end of your paper. Use APA style for in-text citations and the reference list. For APA style instructions go to Examples for constructing your reference list are abobciut halfway down the page.

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