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Human Lifespan Development (Psych 141: Williams-Jackson) : The Assignment

for students navigating research assignments

The Assignment

Hello. My name is Stella Beratlis, and I am one of five MJC faculty librarians. Feel free to connect with us when you need help:

  • getting started with a research-based project
  • finding the appropriate type of sources for your projectf
  • finding the appropriate number of sources for your project
  • evaluating sources to ensure they are scholarly enough for your project
  • citing sources in the format required by your professor
  • overcoming any obstacles that may come up while researching
  • taking a final look at your project before turning it in. 

Getting an early start is crucial to your success, as is seeking assistance from MJC research librarians. You can seek individual assistance at the Research Help Desk, or you can make a group appointment with an MJC librarian. Research Help Desk and appointments are available on both East and West Campus. For all the contact options, go to Ask A Librarian

Your Assignment


Learning Outcome: Apply the developmental research and theory to real-life situations.

Presentation – The purpose of this assignment is to demonstrate the ability to read and interpret development research and present it to an audience in an effective and interactive manner. Select a topic relevant to human development that is of particular interest to you (e.g., childcare selection, play therapy, HIV and AIDS, premarital counseling, bereavement). Relate it to a real-life situation found in the news.  Prepare a 20-minute presentation to be made to the class, which includes time for questions/comments. The presentation should be creative, informative, and encourage class participation. The information provided must go beyond that which is presented in the textbook, and handouts or visual aids should be utilized. Students must cite at least 3 recent (2014 or later) references from empirical research (articles must be approved and copies of the research submitted). References from the Internet will not be accepted. 

Select one topic, choose 3 areas of the topic to focus, 3 articles peer-reviewed, scholarly articles (actual studies).  Each person in your group is responsible for their “own” area and their “own” article.

Submit a one-page proposal by______________________                                   

The proposal must include Group Topic:

  • Group Member #1 Area and Research Article APA Reference
  • Group Member #2 Area and Research Article APA Reference
  • Group Member #3 Area and Research Article APA Reference

APA Formatting and Citation

For Information on Citing Your Sources in APA, check our Ready, Set, Cite (APA) Research Guide

Need to understand how to set up an Analysis of a Research Article? Here's a suggested template using APA headings:


Title of Your Work: An Analysis of One Empirical Study

[Heading Level 1] Introduction

Student’s intro to the paper. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Article/Research Study Overview

[Heading Level 2] Background

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Hypothesis/Research Questions

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx



                [Heading level 3] Participants.  xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


                Materials. A generalized estimated xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx



xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Article Conclusion/Discussion

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


[Student’s] Conclusion

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx



What is Empirical Research?

What Exactly Is Empirical Research?

Empirical research is based on observed and measured phenomena and derives knowledge from actual experience rather than from theory or belief.

Key characteristics to look for:

  • Statement about the methodology being used
  • Research questions to be answered
  • Definition of the group or phenomena being studied
  • Process used to study this group or phenomena, including any controls or instruments such as tests or surveys
  • Question to ask while reading: Could I recreate this study and test these results?
  • The abstract of the article should provide a description of the methodology

Three Steps to a Successful Project

1. Begin your project by doing some background reading on topic. Preliminary reading helps you:

  • Achieve a basic understanding of your topic's significance, history, etc. 
  • Identify interesting specifics (important illustrations which you might be able to use for the real-life situation)
  • Acquire vital search terms you need in order to explore your topic more fully

2. Find sources on the topic--especially those items you identified in Step 1. 

  • Do a comprehensive search utilizing all the sources below; leave no stone unturned
  • Print/save/email the sources you find as you go to avoid backtracking
  • Read your sources several times, highlighting relevant information and making notes as you go.
  • If you find sources that will help others in your class; SHARE THEM! 
  • If you have trouble finding the appropriate type or number of sources: MEET WITH A RESEARCH LIBRARIAN

3. Write your outline and prepare your presentation

  • Make an appointment with Writing Center staff at least once. They will help you get started, proceed, and/or finish. This is a free service that you should always utilize to maximize your success. 
  • Utilize the MJC Library & Learning Center's FORMAT & CITE page to aid with APA. A research librarian can provide face-to-face assistance with formatting and citing as well. 
  • Identify the main points to share in your oral presentation. If needed, find engaging audio/video files and images that will help the class fully understand the significance of your subject.  

Where Do I Find Background Reading?

Where Do I Find Articles?

The MJC Library subscribes to many databases filled with authoritative articles, book chapters, research reports, statistics, and more from thousands of respected publications. You can search these article databases either by topic or for a specific article.


Check out our Articles & Databases research guide to search for articles and to learn how to use the databases. Using the Library's article databases ensures that you're using sources your instructors expect you to use, and you won't have to cull through millions of unrelated Web pages that will waste your time and energy. 

For psychology articles, please visit the following databases: 

Finding Images Online

Images, songs, videos, other non-textual works are covered under intellectual property laws, even if they don't have a copyright symbol. If you're looking to use an image, make sure you either use public-domain work (no permission or attribution required) or look for material which is licensed for use (try searching for images licensed through Creative Commons). 

However, for instructors and students, in general, images used in a classroom presentation, for a scholarly lecture, or in an unpublished assigned paper, fall under the concept of Fair Use or the TEACH ACT.  Fair use is an exception to the exclusive rights granted by copyright. For further information, consult Circular 21 of the United States Copyright Office. So you don't necessarily need to ask for permission. However, you still need to provide an attribution for the image; technically, a entry for the image should go into your References list as well. 

Keep in mind that if you want to present your image in a PowerPoint, it should be at least 72dpi, and about 1024x768 pixels. 

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service images image search. All federal materials are public domain.

Google Search (images). use limiter "site:gov" 

Creative Commons Images search 

Copyright-Friendly Portal

Smithsonian Institution Open Access For the first time in its 174-year history, the Smithsonian Institution has released 2.8 million high-resolution images from across its collections onto an open access online platform for patrons to peruse and download free of charge. Featuring data and material from all 19 Smithsonian museums, nine research centers, libraries, archives, and the National Zoo, the new digital depot encourages the public to not just view its contents, but use, reuse, and transform them into just about anything they choose.


Need Help?

Contact the Librarian

Stella Beratlis's picture
Stella Beratlis
A234 Yosemite Hall
L & LC, West Campus

As of March 18, 2020:
Due to Coronavirus emergency, research help is via Ask a Librarian.

On break from May 4 - July 7, 2020.
Website Skype Contact: beratliss

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