APA Writing Assignment Project

APA Writing Assignment Project

APA Writing Assignment Project

for psychology class. the assignment will be a minimum of six pages in APA format.

Page 1 – Cover page

Page 2 – abstract  (150-250 word summary of YOUR paper)


Pages 3-5.. contains – Introduction (150-200 words), Review (500-word minimum), Critique (500-word minimum)

Last page – References

abstract section in this paper will be a summary of what YOU write in the remainder of the paper. It is NOT a summary of the article or the overall subject. It helps the reader know what you have written in YOUR paper.

There are four important aspects to this assignment.

  • Clarity, Accuracy, APA Requirements and Reference.
  • Cite the research/author (in-text citations) correctly and record the reference in accordance with APA formatting style.
  • Write the Introduction section which is a summary of the article and include a problem statement.
  • Correctly format the overall paper according to the APA 6th edition standards.

Please review the rubric before beginning the assignment.

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    Early Mortality: Review of the Charleston Heart Study

    A Critiqué Submitted by

    [Your Name]

    El Centro College

    Psychology 23xx, Section 5xxxx, Fall 2013





    This essay provides a review of forty years of follow-up data from the Charleston Heart Study (CHS) in their article Divorce and Death: Forty Years of the Charleston Heart Study. This includes a longitudinal CHS, which included data collected from more than 1300 adults from 1960 to 2000, Sbarra and Nietert explored the relationship between social connectedness and health using the CHS data and attempted to provide insight into the long term health consequences of becoming separated or divorced (2009). Being separated or divorced during the follow-up window appeared to be one of the strongest predictors of early mortality. In addition to the review of the actual study, a critique is included that provides a critical analysis of the quality of the researchers’ study and article as published in the Psychological Science journal. The critique addresses such items as ethics, usefulness, sample size and diversification as well as a plethora of other interesting items useful to provide collegiate feedback of the work by Sbarra and Nietert.

    Early Mortality: Review of the Charleston Heart Study


    The researchers posed that recent research in social epidemiology has spurred advances into the association between interpersonal relationships and health (Sbarra & Nietert, 2009) but there were limits to the overall findings. It is suggested that relationship can play a vital role in an individual’s lifespan development. Sbarra and Nietert share this sentiment. More specifically, that social integration (i.e. a close relationship in which one feels close to others and that the relationship is reciprocally dependable) is positively correlated with mortality; however, a life deficient in social integration may be a strong predictor of early mortality (Sbarra & Nietert, 2009). The researchers carefully reviewed the data from the CHS to help explain the mechanism linking social connectedness and health.

    The authors were interested in providing new insights into the long-term health consequences of divorce or separation. Many previous studies on the link between divorce and health have failed to present marital status as a dynamic variable. However, the researchers took into account both the length of time the participants were divorced and eventual remarriage rates which appears to have significantly improved their ability to make the link.


    In order to present marital status as dynamically as possible, the researchers classified participants in the study in three ways. First, marital status (married, separated-divorced, widowed, or never married) at the first assessment was examined as a predictor of long-term mortality (Sbarra & Nietert, 2009). Second, the researchers calculated the hazard ratio (HR) of early death for adults who were separated or divorced at each assessment relative to all other participants who contributed at least one marital-status entry (Sbarra & Nietert, 2009). Finally, to determine if the effect of remaining separated or divorced differed from the effect of having ever experienced a separation or divorce, the researchers reclassified the sample to calculate the HR of adults who simply experienced a marital separation or divorce at some point during the CHS follow-up period relative to all other participants (Sbarra & Nietert, 2009).

    The researchers used data collected in the Charleston Heart Study to address the possible link between marital status and health. The CHS was a community-based cohort study designed to assess the normal course of health and aging for adults over age 35 residing in Charleston County, South Carolina and while the study began in 1960, marital-status data were collected during several follow-up phases: 1962–1964, 1974–1975, 1984–1985, 1987–1989, and 1990–1991 (Sbarra & Nietert, 2009). Mortality data were updated throughout the study, with the final revision spanning the entire 41-year period.

    The CHS began with an initial sample of 2181 adults, 1195 women and 986 men, 61% were of Caucasian decent, while the remainder of the sample was of African American decent (Sbarra & Nietert, 2009). At the onset of the study, the average age of the participants were 48 years 9 months. The fact that the average age of the participants was not exceptionally young, combined with the extended length of the study, provided an opportunity for the researchers to capture data to the end of life for the majority of the participants (Sbarra & Nietert, 2009).

    In the CHS, information on marital status was collected by self-report, and participants were classified as married, widowed, separated, divorced, or never married at each assessment. In the researchers’ analysis, the separated and divorced categories were merged to create a single category defined by the experience of marital separation (Sbarra & Nietert, 2009). At the 1962–1964 assessment, the first-time marital status data was captured, 81.2% of the sample was married, 10% was widowed, 5.5% was separated or divorced, and 3.3% had never been married (Sbarra & Nietert, 2009). APA Writing Assignment Project

    In-person medical interviews at the beginning of the CHS provided a large amount of medical data, such as blood pressure, smoking status, and body mass index, that helped the researchers predict mortality. To predict mortality over the 41-year study period, the researchers used Cox proportional hazards models, a regression approach commonly referred to as survival analysis. The researchers were able to create predictors for each variable to isolate the effect of the variable of interest – time spent divorced or separated on age of death.

    Of the 1,376 adults in the restricted sample assessed at baseline, 74% had died by 2000, with the remaining 26% excluded from the research (Sbarra & Nietert, 2009). The researchers found that separated and divorced participants had a 55% greater likelihood of death in the follow-up period than participants from the other three categories of relationship status (Sbarra & Nietert, 2009).

    The analysis of the CHS data by the researchers suggests that longevity of life is positively correlated to healthy and cherished relationships and that living a large portion of life as a separated or divorced adult may add considerable risk for all-cause of mortality (as cited in Sbarra & Nietert). It may be further suggested that the process of a marital break may not present the highest mortality risk; rather it is more likely the time spent without a significant other that is the most crucial factor. The results do not lend to reasons of cause but suggest results of significant correlation. This agrees with Sbarra and Nietert, who also suggest that additional research is necessary to fully understand the mechanisms behind the elevated risk of early mortality associated with time spent as a separated or divorced individual (2009).


    The Charleston Heart Study, on which the article is based, appeared to be conducted in an ethical and scientific manner. In addition, the researchers appeared to be interested in conducting a study that included a diverse sample. After the initial 1960 phase of the study, 102 Black men of high socioeconomic status were added to increase the diversity component, which could be considered “forward-thinking” for 1962-era America. The fact that this was a longitudinal study (i.e. conducted over a span of 41 years) proved to be beneficial. Since the original study was conducted with cardiovascular health in mind, the fact that the authors had the insight of gathering other useful data for later use, is truly impressive.

    Still, there are some shortcomings with the data, as Sbarra and Nietert admit (2009). The incident of divorce was less customary at the onset of the CHS, though it would become significantly more common as the study progressed. Consequently, this presents one of the limits of a cohort study (i.e. how the customs of a single generation can affect the results of a study unlike another generation). The number of participants that remained separated or divorced throughout the follow-up period was relatively small, limiting the ability of the sample to be generalized across the entire population. It may have also been more efficacious to delineate between those who were separated and those who were divorced in the original study. Separating this group into two variables may have expanded the results and provided more insight. APA Writing Assignment Project

    Despite these limits, the work of the authors has provided contemporary researchers with a good start in understanding the link between marriage status and longevity of life. A more modern approach to this type of study, with more nuanced relationship status categories and more frequent follow-up occasions, might benefit the subject matter. A new study, with a more contemporary cohort sample and the opportunity to collect data specifically useful to psychological research, may proffer more insight for the avid researcher. Additional follow up studies may also include individuals from select cultures or ethnicities as well as individuals from a variety of socioeconomic statuses.


    Sbarra, D. A. & Nietert, P. J. (2009). Divorce and death: Forty years of the Charleston heart study. Psychological Science20(1), pp. 107-113.

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    Full Title in Upper and Lower Case Letters

    A Critiqué Submitted by:

    Name of Student

    El Centro College

    Psychology 2301, Section 51005, Spring 2012





    The abstract is a summary of YOUR paper. In essence, the abstract section for this paper will include a summary of both the Review and Critique sections of YOUR paper. It is similar to reading the back cover of a book to get a snapshot of what the book is about. Read the author’s abstract as an example of how an abstract is written but DO NOT copy their abstract. If you write something in your abstract or any other portion of your paper that is taken from someone else (including the author of the article you are critiquing), you must cite them in or at the end of that sentence and later (on the References page) provide a full “address” of where the source can be found. Please be aware, for your purposes in this class, plagiarism will earn you an automatic zero (Ø) on the assignment. APA Writing Assignment Project

    The abstract is generally written last or after you have completed the assignment, as it is a summary of what you have written. For the Abstract, you will be required to write 150-250 words. This is the only page that is NOT first-line indented and is should be flush with the left margin of your page (i.e. left justified).

    Note: When you submit your paper for grading, it will be automatically sent to SafeAssign which analyses your paper for similarities found in other papers that have been submitted, research articles and websites. It is highly functional and will most often catch plagiarism, so please do not plagiarize. Also, it is advisable for you to use this template as much of the formatting has already been done.


    Full Title in Upper and Lower Case Letters


    Beginning on page three, you will write the headings Introduction, Review, and Critique and you will begin using indentions for each paragraph. In APA writing, there are specific ways to write headings depending on how many levels are used. This is the one time you ARE allowed to use font effects (i.e., bolds or italics).

    The Introduction is ONE paragraph of 150-250 words that will first provide a PROBLEM STATEMENT in a single sentence and then summarizes the article you chose from the list. As soon as you state something that was taken from the article, you must IMMEDIATELY cite your source(s) within the text or at the end of that sentence (whether quoting or paraphrasing). Here are a couple examples of how to use “in text citations:”

    · Smith suggests that the average dog lives eight years (2011).

    · It is believed that the average dog lives eight years (Smith, 2011). The author’s name was not listed in the sentence and needs to be added to the end.

    · “After careful review of over 10,000 records, it was determined that the average dog’s lifespan covers eight years” (Smith, 2011, p154). Quotes should include quotation marks and the citation identifies the specific page(s) on which the quote was found.

    In any case, the period for the sentence is after the citation.

    … lives eight years (2011). Not …lives eight years. (2011)

    If it is found that you have plagiarized without having given due credit, you will receive a zero (Ø) on the assignment, and this activity may be reported to the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences division. Plagiarism is a serious issue and will NOT be tolerated.


    When you write content on the next heading, do not add extra lines before the next heading. Notice there is not an additional line between the last sentence of the Introduction section and the beginning of the Review section of this template.

    After you have read the material for your assignment and thought about it, give an overview of its contents. This differs from the Introduction section in that it is more comprehensive and consequently a page or more in length and that it must identify assumptions made by the researcher of the article. APA Writing Assignment Project

    Briefly explain WHAT types of research or experiments were conducted, WHO were these conducted on, WHERE were they conducted, WHEN were they conducted, and HOW were they conducted. For example, you might list the organization by name (Western University) or location (“an inner city high school in Chicago, Illinois”). Include ages and gender of the subjects, and whether or not parental consent was required in order to assess this sample.

    Include details of how much research was investigated and the conclusions of the research.

    Do NOT use I, my, he, she, them, we, us, or other pronouns. In fact, the assignment should be written completely in the third person which helps remove subjective opinion (i.e., your personal thoughts or opinions) and favors an OBJECTIVE approach (spoken from the perspective of an uninvolved observer) by such statements as, “The researchers determined that a multiple regression analysis of the data was sufficient to assess the validity of the research methodology.” Third person makes the writer a reporter of the facts. Personal opinions are simply not relevant or appropriate for this paper.

    Further, when writing about an experiment, you must also indicate what the hypothesis’ were (there is rarely only one hypothesis, so include them all), and what the researchers expected to find.

    State the findings (conclusions) and whether or not they were consistent with what the researchers had anticipated. “Negative results” are okay…we do not always find what we hope to, but we DO report everything. It is not necessary for you to give a synopsis of the statistical and data analysis methods used by the researchers.


    In this section you will write a page or more about the quality of the author’s article and the quality of their research (if they conducted research). Do not write a review of the subject itself. This is your opportunity to express your objective findings on the article. Think of it as if you were a food critic and evaluating a restaurant. You would not report to your readers that the food was “very hot” because that would be subjective. You would possibly say the plate was seasoned with, reporting a list of spices, and most likely more spicy than the average person would prefer. It may also be reported that one might expect runny nose, watery eyes and similar types of reactions that are common when eating “spicy foods.” This provides a more objective view of the spicy level of the food. APA Writing Assignment Project

    Again, the assignment requires writing in third person, NOT first person (i.e., I think they failed to comply with the Scientific Method, etc.) nor use phrases like “in MY opinion.” It would be better to say, the authors did not comply with the Scientific Method as they did not ….

    This is your rare opportunity to actually criticize (providing objective findings, positive and/or negative) what a researcher has done, so make the most of it. If you disagree with how the research was conducted, say so, but TELL WHY this is so, BASED ON THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD as discussed in lecture and your textbook. Such comments on your part show that you have applied critical thinking to your review of the article. Again, this is not a forum for your opinions or for feedback of the subject itself but for your collegiate critical thinking on the quality of their research and/or article. Then end your Critique section with a conclusion statement.

    Here are more items to consider for your Critique section.

    · Did the authors:

    · follow all appropriate scientific protocols such as:

    · identify the target population;

    · obtain a random sample or more specifically a representative sample;

    · provide clear definitions (operationalization) of their dependent and independent variables;

    · indicate their specific methodologies;

    · give adequate consideration to various aspects of their topic by having read the research of a number of researchers in this area. APA Writing Assignment Project

    · Did the findings leave the typical reader more or less interested in this topic?

    · Would it be helpful for the reader to see more articles in this area of research or meta-analysis …perhaps with additional questions (i.e., hypotheses) in the future?

    · Did the researchers violate the principles of scientific methodology (e.g., the Scientific Method) in some way?

    · Did the researchers obtain Informed Consent from all participants? Was parental consent (or that of a legal guardian) required if the subjects were minors?

    · Did the researcher miss something that was obvious?

    · Would adding additional groups of people to the sample alter the results?

    · Were the researcher’s findings significant, and if so, why?

    · Are there additional questions one might have after reading this article?

    · Should additional research (or follow up studies) be conducted– perhaps with additional questions or specific parameters or variables? If your article says the average dog can do three tricks, does that vary in other parts of the world or is there a significant difference in the abilities of different breeds of dogs to do tricks?

    · What are potential follow-up studies that could be conducted to expand knowledge in this area?

    Your responses to the questions and issues in this document will tell whether or not you have actually THOUGHT ABOUT the article at issue.


    1st Author’s Last Name, First Initial. Second Initial. & 2nd Author’s Last Name, First Initial. Second Initial (year published). Write the full title with this type of capitalization. Write the Full Journal Name in Italics in Regular Capitalization 12(1). pp. 120-151.


    Note: Use a hanging indention as seen above (i.e. do not indent the first line of the reference but indent each line after for that reference). For the names, do not change the order of the name but also do not list first names, only initials. For the year, do not add season or month. The 12 in italics is the volume number and the 1 in parenthesis is the edition/issue number which is not in italics. Lastly end with the page range of the article followed by a period. APA Writing Assignment Project



    Here is an example of an APA formatted article:

    Copeland, R. D. (2017). A comprehensive study of different dog breeds. Journal of Canine Friends, 34(2), pp. 123-145.

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