- September 10, 2020
Lab Report Marking Guide PSYC10004 (Mind, Brain & Behaviour 2) 1 Background Public stigma about mental illness manifests in terms of stereotyped beliefs and attitudes, prejudicial emotions, and importantly, discriminatory behaviours such as social distancing (see lecture 2). Public stigma has significant negative consequences for people living with mental health issues. For example, this type of stigma is known to be a barrier to help-seeking for mental health problems. As discussed in Dr Groot’s stigma lecture, public stigma is thought to be the driver behind all other types of stigma. It is therefore important to understand what is effective in reducing public stigma about mental illness, and this is what your MBB2 assignment is about. Numerous strategies have been proposed to decrease stigma about mental illness, including but not limited to psychoeducation and contact interventions. Psychoeducation refers to education about mental health and illness. It is theorised that psychoeducation can decrease stigma by correcting harmful and misled beliefs about mental illness through the provision of valid information. Contact interventions involve having contact with someone living with mental health issues either face-to-face, online, or by watching a presentation. The theorised mechanism of change here is that the positive experience of interacting with someone with lived experience of mental illness again dispels myth and misled beliefs. Dr Groot’s Clinical Psychology section of the MBB2 curriculum contains a considerable amount of educational content about the experience of mental illness. Over the first three weeks of semester, you will learn about general conceptualisations of mental health and illness, approaches to classification and diagnosis, criteria for a range of disorders, and treatment. In this respect, the Clinical Psychology section of the subject can be thought of as a psychoeducational intervention. The MBB2 Clinical Psychology section will also, for the first time, contain a dedicated component that focusses on contact with people living with mental health issues. In partnership with SANE Australia and The Dax Centre, Dr Groot will present the ‘Hearing Voices’ program in order to value the voice of lived experience in the curriculum. As part of the Hearing Voices program, you will get to: 1) experience The Dax Centre online to learn about mental health issues through art produced by people with lived experience; 2) hear from SANE Australia Peer Ambassadors about their lived experience of mental health issues and recovery via a suite of recently recorded videos; 3) engage with Dr Groot and a SANE Australia Peer Ambassador via a live-stream Q&A session, where you will be able to ask questions about their experience. With the inclusion of the Hearing Voices program, the Clinical Psychology section of MBB2 can also be considered to embody a contact intervention. Altogether, the MBB2 Clinical Psychology module can be therefore be thought of as a hybrid psychoeducational and contact-based program that may reduce mental illness stigma. The aim of your assignment tasks is to write a lab report that investigates the effectiveness of the MBB2 clinical psychology program in reducing public mental illness stigma. This effectively means that the aim of your lab report is to address the research question “Is the MBB2 clinical psychology program effective in reducing public stigma about mental illness?”. This assignment is worth 40% of the total mark for PSYC10004 (Mind, Brain & Behaviour 2). Due 21 September 2020 at 8:00 am. Lab Report Marking Guide PSYC10004 (Mind, Brain & Behaviour 2) 2 Starting Reading The core starting readings for this assignment are: 1. Kosyluk, K. A., Al-Khouja, M., Bink, A., Buchholz, B., Ellefson, S., Fokuo, K., … & Powell, K. (2016). Challenging the stigma of mental illness among college students. Journal of Adolescent Health, 59(3), 325-331. Note: This reading provides a description of a similar study conducted previously. You will note many similarities between this project and our own. This reading is provided in Perusall. 2. Chapter 24 “Strategies to Reduce Mental Illness Stigma” (Nicolas Rüsch and Ziyan Xu) of the book “The Stigma of Mental Illness – End of The Story?”. This book is available to borrow online through the library. The complete reference is: Gaebel, W., Rössler, W., & Sartorius, N. (2016). The Stigma of Mental Illness — End of The Story? Springer. Note: Chapter 24 provides a good overview of what works to reduce stigma about mental health issues. You should pay particular attention to the sections on educational and contact-based interventions for mental illness stigma. 3. Link, B. G., Cullen, F. T., Frank, J., & Wozniak, J. F. (1987). The social rejection of former mental patients: Understanding why labels matter. American Journal of Sociology, 92(6), 1461- 1500. Note: This reading describes the first use of the Social Distance Scale, which is the measure of mental illness stigma that we are using this semester. You do not need to get too involved with this very long reading. All you need to take from it is what the measure is that we have adapted for our experiment this semester (see Appendix A in the reading), and what it is measuring. As a reminder, I asked you to complete the Social Distance Scale at the start of semester and will ask you to complete it again at the end of my clinical psychology lecture series. In your assignment, we will compare the class’ average scores on the Social Distance Scale at these two times and evaluate if there is a meaningful difference. If there is such a difference in scores on the scale at these two times, with the second average being lower than the first, then we would have evidence that the clinical psychology course is an effective intervention for mental illness stigma. If there is no such pattern of findings, then we would not have evidence to make such a conclusion. Notes on writing a lab report We will give you plenty of support as you commence on your lab report writing journey. Indeed, the first practical class will very much focus on exploring the lab report and getting started. There are also a suite of instructional modules on how to write a lab report that I have provided on Lab Report Marking Guide PSYC10004 (Mind, Brain & Behaviour 2) 3 Canvas. You might additionally like to start by reviewing the Kozyluk et al starting paper in Perusall. This paper shares many of the features of a lab report and you will see that I have made some basic commentary to draw your attention to certain aspects of the report, its structure and style. There is a very specific way to write a lab report. In many respects, this makes your task easier than it may be if you had to start from scratch with no framework. Lab reports have specific sections, each of which are dedicated to doing a certain thing. Learning to write in this formulaic way can be uncomfortable at first and particularly so if you have a creative writing background. The marking criteria provided below will be a useful guide, however, and you should refer to them to inform your approach. Let’s look at the basic format of a lab report… 1. Abstract. The abstract is a brief summary of the entire report. It provides a preview of the report and can encourage the reader to go on to read the entire report. There is no abstract required for your MBB2 lab report. I want you to leave this out. I mention this here just so that you know it is a thing that is sometimes required, but that I am not asking you to do it. So, nada, zilch, zero, absence of …no abstract, please. Include everything else below. 2. Introduction. This is where you will introduce your topic and establish its importance. You will provide a literature review that describes relevant previous work such as that of Kozyluk et al and others. In doing so, you will be building a case for the current study. At the end of the introduction , you will formally state your aim and hypothesis for the study. Note that for this assignment, you should state one hypothesis only. This hypothesis should be a prediction about what you think will happen to the MBB2 group’s stigma levels after the clinical course in comparison to the baseline measurement taken before the course. 3. Method. This is where you describe the demographic characteristics of the sample of participants who were involved in the study, and go on to describe the survey that was used and the procedure that was undertaken. You can also describe how analysis of the data was approached. 4. Results. In the results section, you will simply report the findings of the study. That’s it. No more. This can feel uncomfortable in that you are not providing interpretation at the point of reporting the results. Don’t worry though, you will have your opportunity to interpret the results in good time. 5. Discussion. Your discussion section should open by reorienting the reader to the aim of the study and providing an explicit statement of support (or not) for the hypothesis based on your findings. You would then move on to interpret the current findings in relation to the previous literature that you covered in the literature review section of your introduction. You could talk about whether or not your findings were in line with previous ones. If they are not in line, then you could try to account for why this may be. You could also relate your findings to any theory that you introduced in the introduction. You would go on to acknowledge limitations of your study in a measured way, and wind up by summarizing your study and providing logical suggestions for future directions in this avenue of research. Lab Report Marking Guide PSYC10004 (Mind, Brain & Behaviour 2) 4 6. References. You will need to provide a full reference list that acknowledge each cited paper in the lab report. Speaking of referencing and citation. Always make sure you are giving credit where it is due. See my video on this in the Assignment section of Canvas. L A B R E P O R T M A R K I N G G U I D E 5 Assessment Criteria A. Title Weight 5% A1. Title Content • Clearly and concisely outlines the main topic of the research, including the relationship between key variables. 5% B. Introduction Weight 25% B1. Opening • Opens by introducing the problem under investigation and outlining its importance. 5% B2. Literature Review (Relevance and Understanding) • Provides a succinct and focused review of literature relevant to the problem. • Summarises key background information accurately and in appropriate detail. 8% B3. Literature Review (Rationale) • Develops a cogent rationale by critically evaluating the literature and explaining how the current study builds on prior research. 7% B4. Aims and Hypotheses • Outlines the purpose and scope of the study and generates specific hypotheses for testing. 5% C. Method Weight 10% C1. Participants • Describes the participants involved in the research. In most cases, this includes: – number of participants in total and in relevant subgroups – descriptive statistics for years of age – gender composition of the sample – other major demographic characteristics as warranted by the study – eligibility and exclusion criteria 2% C2. Materials and Measures • Describes all outcome measures, and the materials used to derive them, with sufficient detail to facilitate reproducibility. 4% C3. Procedure and Design • Describes the procedures that were carried out in the study, including a detailed outline of how participants were allocated to groups or conditions and the specific steps involved in collecting and analysing data. 4% D. Results Weight 20% D1. Statistical Information • Presents all relevant statistical information accurately and completely. 5% D2. Presentation • Describes the results of each analysis appropriately and presents statistical and mathematical information in correct APA Style format. 10% L A B R E P O R T M A R K I N G G U I D E 6 • Presents results in an organised manner, following the structure set by the study’s design and the order of the aims and hypotheses. • Avoids making interpretive comments that are better suited for the Discussion (e.g., interpreting what the result means for the hypotheses stated in the Introduction). D3. Tables and Figures • Presents at least one table or figure which is referred to and described appropriately in text. • Tables/figures conform to the requirements of APA Style. • Each table/figure serves a purpose and does not merely duplicate information contained in the text or in another table or figure. 5% E. Discussion Weight 22% E1. Hypotheses • Opens with a clear statement summarising the aims and hypotheses and indicating whether the hypotheses were supported or not. 5% E2. Interpretation • Considers how the study’s findings are similar to or different from relevant prior work. • Considers what the results mean for the problem under investigation, particularly with regard to the specific issues raised in the Introduction. • Reflects on how the study advances scholarship in the field without overstating the importance of the study and its findings. 10% E3. Future Directions • Suggests future directions informed by problems that remain unresolved, new questions that have arisen as a consequence of the study’s findings, or limitations in the design of the study that may need to be addressed in future work. 5% E4. Conclusions • Concludes by briefly returning to a discussion of why the problem is important and how the findings relate to the overarching issues motivating the research. 2% F. Writing/Presentation Weight 18% F1. Written Expression • Demonstrates clarity and conciseness in written expression. • Demonstrates continuity and flow within and across all sections of the report. • Exhibits a professional tone suitable for academic writing. • Word choice is appropriate and sentences are well-constructed, with no errors in spelling, grammar, or usage. • Contains an appropriate amount of original material. 8% F2. Report Formatting • Adheres to APA Style formatting requirements (e.g., with regard to page numbers, capitalisation, punctuation, headings, line spacing, paragraph alignment, and indentation). 5% F3. Referencing • Works are cited appropriately in-text and in the reference list, following the requirements of APA Style. 5% L A B R E P O R T M A R K I N G G U I D E 7 Assessment and Feedback Your work will be evaluated according to the assessment criteria, with the table below used as a guide for marking. Your tutor will also provide feedback on your report, with the aim of offering practical guidance that you can use to enhance your lab report writing in the future. Grade Range Example Descriptor H1 80–100 Excellent performance; shows a high to very high level of proficiency. H2A 75–79 Very good performance; shows a high level of proficiency. H2B 70–74 Good performance; shows a sound level of proficiency. H3 65–69 Competent performance; shows a fair level of proficiency. P 50–64 Satisfactory performance; shows an acceptable or adequate level of proficiency. N 0–49 Unsatisfactory performance; shows an inadequate level of proficiency. Understanding the Criteria Title and Abstract The title of the report should be focused and succinct; include only essential terms and avoid using abbreviations and phrases that serve little to no purpose (e.g., “a study of”). Introduction Opening The opening should give the reader an understanding of the broader context for the research topic, setting the stage for the more detailed review that follows. It should attempt to engage the reader and capture their interest by outlining the importance of the topic. In terms of length, the opening is usually only one paragraph. As with other parts of the report, conciseness is a virtue; it is better to have a short opening that quickly captures the reader’s interest than a long, elaborate opening that fails to do so. Literature Review There are two aspects to the literature review that draw the attention of assessors. The first (B2) focuses on whether you have selected relevant literature for your review, whether that literature is discussed in appropriate detail, and whether you understand the key ideas under consideration. The second aspect is the rationale (B3), which is central to the purpose of the Introduction. Your task is not merely to describe what has come before, but to evaluate it and to build an argument for your study. Assessors will have this question in mind when reading through your Introduction: Is it clear why further research is warranted and why the current investigation will be valuable in advancing our understanding of the problem? Building a compelling rationale can be tricky and there is no single recipe for how to do it; it depends on the study and on the problem that study seeks to address. One very common approach is to identify gaps in our knowledge or barriers faced in previous research, and then to argue that the current investigation will address these. Importantly, the rationale should guide the reader toward the specific aims and hypotheses of your study. Thus, to develop a cogent rationale you’ll need to think carefully about what the study is trying to accomplish and how it fits with prior research as you work through your literature review. Aims and Hypotheses The Introduction ends with a statement of the study’s aims and hypotheses. These should follow logically from the rationale, meaning that by the end of the Introduction, it should be clear to the reader how your aims and hypotheses were derived. Your hypotheses must also be specific and testable, meaning that you need to articulate clear expectations for the results of the study. Method The method section should provide sufficient information about how the study was conducted to inform a replication. The Method comprises the following sections. L A B R E P O R T M A R K I N G G U I D E 8 Participants This section describes the sample of people who participated in the study. This should include the details of the total number of participants and a breakdown of major demographic characteristics such as gender identity and age. The source of the sample should be acknowledged. For example, if the sample participants were recruited from the first- year psychology program at the University of Melbourne, then you should say that. Materials and Measures This section describes the tools used to conduct the study being reported. For example, if you used a certain questionnaire, then you should name and describe that questionnaire. Procedure and Design. In terms of procedure, one would describe the steps taken by participants throughout the study. For example, if participants completed an online questionnaire, then you would say that here. In the design section, you would go on to describe the nature of the research design and of the analysis applied to the data. For example, if your study involved a repeated measures design, where participants completed a survey both before and after an intervention, and then these data on average were compared, you would say that here. Results In this section, you need to report the results of the analyses we performed, including all relevant statistical information. In practice, this means correctly reporting the appropriate descriptive and inferential statistics, either in text or in a suitable table or figure. When presenting this information, observe the conventions of APA Style with regard to rounding, leading zeros, spacing, the proper use of statistical symbols and abbreviations, and so on. Describe the results of each analysis clearly in prose, but avoid discussing whether the findings lend support to the hypotheses and other theoretical implications—such material is better placed in the Discussion. Think carefully about how best to organise the Results section. It is useful to closely follow the structure already laid out in earlier sections of the report. If you are required to include a table and/or a figure, ensure that it serves a purpose and does not merely duplicate information presented elsewhere. Ensure that all tables and figures are formatted correctly and refer to each table and figure in text by its designated number only (e.g., Table 1). Do not refer to tables and figures by their position relative to the text (e.g., “above” or “below”). Finally, present the table and/or figure after it has first been referred to in text. Discussion Hypotheses Begin the Discussion by reminding the reader of the study’s aims; then, summarise the hypotheses and state whether they were supported or not. Interpretation The next crucial step in the Discussion is to compare your findings to that of relevant prior work. Are your findings congruent with those reported previously? In what way do your findings differ and why? In this part of the report you must also consider what the results mean for the problem under investigation; that is, you need to discuss the implications of the findings as they relate to the key issues you identified in the Introduction. In that section, you would have articulated your empirical expectations (hypotheses) and clearly explained why they are justified. Those expectations were either supported or not supported by the results. Whatever the case may be, this has implications for how we think about the research topic, which need to be explored thoroughly in the Discussion. As you work through this part of the report, consider how the findings of the current investigation add to the literature and advance our understanding of the problem. Be careful not to overstate the significance of your scholarly contributions though—progress in science often proceeds in small steps and your study is likely only one such step. Future Directions Having interpreted the findings, you should then consider directions for future research on the topic. It is highly unlikely that that your study was executed perfectly and that there are no further questions to L A B R E P O R T M A R K I N G G U I D E 9 answer with regard to the problem. Thus, in suggesting future directions, you should think about limitations in your study’s design, issues that remain unresolved, and new questions that may have arisen from your findings. Importantly, each point needs to be argued for and justified; it is not sufficient to simply claim that a certain facet of the study is a limitation without explaining why it constitutes a limitation and, ideally, how future work may overcome it. The goal is not to discredit your work by trying to find as many flaws as possible, but to show that you have given consideration to how certain factors may limit the scope of your interpretation and to reflect on how future research may usefully build on your work. Conclusion In the final paragraph of the report you should conclude by briefly returning to a discussion of why the problem is important and how the findings relate to the overarching issues motivating the research. This part of the Discussion is similar to the opening paragraph of the Introduction: It should attempt to show the reader that the study’s findings shed light on a problem that is interesting and important. Writing and Presentation As indicated in the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences Student Manual, you are required to use APA Style in all work submitted for assessment. APA Style is described in detail in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, which provides extensive guidance on written expression, formatting, and referencing. You can find further information on the associated website (https://apastyle.apa.org/). Resources American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1037/0000165-000 Baldwin, S. A. (2018). Writing your psychology research paper. American Psychological Association. https://doi.org/10.1037/0000045-000 Beins, B. C., & Beins, A. M. (2012). Effective writing in psychology: Papers, posters, and presentations (2nd ed.). Wiley-Blackwell. Kail, R. V. (2019). Scientific writing for psychology: Lessons in clarity and style (2nd ed.). Sage.