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For this project, you will read, describe and evaluate an article relating individual differences in life circumstance to feelings of well-being. Does money make you happy?
The objective is to sharpen your skills in evaluating research. Please read both studies, but just evaluate the first of the two studies that
they describe for this report.
Please note that this article is from 1978. In the time between then and current times, ethical guidelines,
research rigor, and APA style have evolved.
Review the report here.
Brickman, P., Coates, D., & Janoff-Bulman, R. (1978). Lottery winners and accident
victims: Is happiness relative? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 36(8),
Note that you must provide a brief explanation or rationale when answering each question. Please number
your answers so that they correspond to the questions. You must address all parts of every question.
Where possible, cite the scientific article using APA format, both with an in-text APA-style citation and
in an APA-style reference list at the end of your document.
Read over your work carefully. Read each sentence out loud. Would it be understandable to someone else
in the class? If not, change it so that it does make sense. Check for grammar and spelling, as well as
organization and neatness.
Each question has a grading key. Generally speaking the points are allocated as follows:
0 points: Entirely incorrect.
Half credit: Minimally correct response. Some necessary information is provided, but
incorrect information or insufficient information indicates that the student has a poor
understanding of the material in question.
Full credit: Complete and accurate answer. Answer indicates little or no confusion or
misunderstanding of the material in question.
Writing Assignment Questions
1. Based on the content of the article, what type of claim is the researcher trying to make (frequency,
association, or causal)? Explain your answer. What did they write that makes you think so? (8 points)
2. Was the research method correlational or experimental? Explain your choice. (8 points)
3. What hypothesis or hypotheses did the study attempt to test? Hint: only consider the variables life
circumstance and happiness. (8 points)
4. What was/were the primary conceptual independent variable(s) of the study? How was/were the
primary IV(s) operationalized? (8 points: 4 points for concept, 4 points for operationalization)
5. What was/were the primary conceptual dependent variable(s)? How was/were the DV(s)
operationalized? (8 points: 4 points for concept, 4 points for operationalization)
6. Describe the participants. If available, provide the total number of participants, their sex, age, ethnicity,
and other defining features. How were they recruited? How many were in each group in the end? Hint:
This information can be found in the methods section. (8 points)
7. What did the participants in the study do? For example, did they fill out a survey, receive an
intervention, perform a task, or something else? Did all of the participants do the same thing or did they
do different things? Hint: This information can often be found in the procedure section. Try to be as
specific as possible. (8 points)
8. Describe the main results; i.e., those bearing on the hypotheses tested. Was the main hypothesis
supported or not? What did the author(s) conclude? Hint: Re-write the hypothesis being tested and
summarize the findings. (8 points)
9. Was reliability mentioned in the research (e.g., test-retest, interrater, or internal)? What data were
provided for the tests or measures used in the research (if no data were provided, please explain what
would be appropriate)? (8 points)
10. Considering the operational definitions of the variables (IVs as well as DV) and the various ways to
assess construct validity (Hint: Ch. 5 & 6), do you think the research variables have strong or weak
construct validity? Explain your answers. (8 points)
11. Identify threats to internal validity. Do you think the research has strong or weak external validity?
Explain your answer. (6 points)
12. Does the study establish covariance between life events and happiness? If so, explain why you reach
that conclusion. If not, why not? (4 points)
13. Does the study establish temporal precedence of the cause before the effect? If so, explain why you
reach that conclusion. If not, why not? (4 points)
14. Does the study have a third-variable problem? If so, explain why you think so and provide one
possible third-variable. If not, why not? (8 points)
15. Do the conclusions by the author(s) match the research method? Why or why not (we are asking for
reasons related to the materials covered in the course rather than your personal opinion)? (8 points)
16. Considering your answers to the above questions, discuss two things that you would change to
improve this research, or include in future research. How would your proposal resolve these issues? (8
17. Using your ability to search for information, what evidence (empirical) supports the claims made in
the assigned research article (e.g., What have other authors found that would support or refute the main
claim by the authors?)? Find three relevant sources. All three must be peer-reviewed empirical research
articles. Summarize the salient points from each, whether they would support the claim made in the
assigned research article, and explain how credible they are and why (based on credibility as explained by
the textbook). You should be able to accomplish this in two paragraphs (one for summaries and one for
credibility). Include in-text citations and a reference list at the end of your paper (APA format). FOR
THIS ASSIGNMENT, YOU MUST USE ONLY PEER- REVIEWED EMPIRICAL RESEARCH
ARTICLES. (12 pts – 4 pts for each source)
18. APA style correctly used for citations in text and in the reference section. (10)
19. Grammar and punctuation are used correctly. (5)
20. Writing is clear – positions are clearly stated and supported with data or logi