PSY20016 Social Psychology Assignment Research Report

Subject Code & Title :- PSY20016 Social Psychology
Assessment Type :- Assignment Report
Word limit :- 2700 (+/- 10%)
Weighting :- 40%
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PSY20016 Social Psychology Assignment Research Report

PSY20016 Social Psychology Assignment Research Report

Assignment overview :-
Climate change is the most critical environmental concern the world is currently facing. A challenging aspect of climate change is that solutions are difficult to implement due to obstacles from politicians and industry. Acting on climate change is important given the consequences of not doing so (e.g., Hamilton, 2010). While the level of public support for action related to climate change is increasing, the level of concern expressed by the public is arguably not commensurate with the scope and severity of the problem.

Previous research on attitudes toward climate change has focussed on factors like individual differences (e.g., Yu & Yu, 2017), political ideology (e.g., Whitmarsh, 2011) and perceived risks of climate change. An important factor which has received less attention is the role that the source of a message plays in influencing the public’s trust in the message and thus attitude change.

The perceived credibility and trust in the source of a persuasive message is argued to be important when it comes to attitude change Hovland & Weiss 1951 Pornpitakpan 2004 Tormala Briñol & Petty, 2006). Research has demonstrated that the public is more likely to change their attitude if they feel that the source is trustworthy and credible that is they have sufficient expertise in the topic). However, there has been little research focused on under standing why a source is trusted. This is despite the acknowledged importance of the role of trust in shaping the publics’ views on issues such as climate change.

This research report is designed to answer the question: Does perceived self-interest of a source (i.e., author influence the public’s trust in their argument? More specifically it will test the idea that when a climate change related message is presented by a source who is perceived to have a vested interest in the message the message will be trusted less than when climate change related message is being presented by a source who is not seen to have a vested interest in the message. In particular it will test the idea that the source’s perceived vested interest in the message will activate a heuristic. A lay theory of motivation is a heuristic that allows a person to make a quick judgement call about how much they trust a message based on their determination of the motives of the source (e.g., perceived self-interest).

The study will also focus on the role of epistemic style in predicting trust in the message.Epistemic style is an individual difference variable that captures a person’s characteristic way of processing information and making decisions. Within the Epistemic Preference Indicator (Elphin stone, Farrugia, Critchley & Eigenberger, 2014), thinking is differentiated into two epistemic styles – the intellective position, and the default position. The intellective positive (IP) describes a preference for complex and effortful thinking, whereas the default position (DP) describes the use of less effortful thinking styles. The current study will test whether epistemic preference (specifically high IP vs low IP) will moderate the impact of the source’s perceived self-interest on trust in the message. Specifically, it is argued that individuals high in IP are less likely to be influenced by source characteristics (i.e.,perceived self-interest of the source) and more influenced by the content of the message. On the other hand, it is expected that individuals low in IP will be less likely to focus on the content of the message and will be more swayed by the characteristics of the source.

PSY20016 Social Psychology Assignment Research Report

This assignment supports unit learning outcomes 2 and 5

Assignment details :-

The research report should be a maximum of 2700 words, with +/- 10% flexibility on the word count. This word limit does NOT include:
a.title page

It DOES include the Abstract. As an approximate guide, use the following:
3.Method and Results

(Note that this guide already includes some of your 10% buffer on the word count, so try to stick to this limit.)

Your assignment should be typed and double-spaced using a standard 12-point font. Use APA formatting throughout, including for tables and figures. You may place your tables and figures within the Results section (i.e. no need to use the manuscript submission convention of placing tables at the end of the article). Do not attach the materials questionnaire or printouts of your results to your research report. As your formatting guide refer to the APA Publication Manual.

PSY20016 Social Psychology Assignment Research Report

PSY20016 Social Psychology Assignment Research Report

It is recommended that you read all essential readings, and start to have a clear idea of what arguments you are going to make.

In your abstract you should cover:
i.the objective or aim(s) of the study
ii.the participants
iii.key aspects of the method such as what was measured and how
iv.what was found
v.what was concluded.

A useful format for the Introduction is to structure it in terms of the following (major) sections:

1.Describe the ‘real world’ problem – What is the applied or practical significance of the research? e.g., Why is research on trust important?
2.The scientific or theoretical problem: What has and has not been done in previous research on this topic? What are the limitations of past research in this area? What is the ‘gap’ in knowledge we are seeking to address in the current research? Key concepts(e.g., heuristics, self-interest bias, epistemic preference) should be clearly defined and explained.
3.State the aims/research questions and hypotheses of the study. The present study has two main aims:
I. to investigate whether perceived self-interest of the source impacts trust in the message, and whether this effect differs for individuals high in IP vs low in IP and
II. to investigate whether trust in the message is related to general concern about climate change, and whether this relationship different for individuals high in IP vs individuals low in IP.

PSY20016 Social Psychology Assignment Research Report

In this research report, you will be asking several research questions, outlined below. The first thing you will need to do is construct hypotheses that reflect these questions.

A.Research Question 1: Does perceived self-interest of a source affect trust in the message?
B.Research Question 2: Does the effect of vested interest on trust in the message depend on Epistemic preference?
C.Research Question 3: Does the relationship between perceptions of trust in the message and concern over climate change depend on Epistemic Preference?

Most of the intellectual energy that goes into this report should be directed towards the theoretical and empirical rationale provided for the hypotheses. Formulate hypotheses that reflect the study aims. Justify hypotheses by tying them to related research so they flow smoothly and directly from the literature.

Please note:- the references you have been given should be sufficient for your literature review. However, you can include extra references if you think you require them. Consider carefully how many extra references you need. A general guideline would be if you are stating really specific claims, one reference would be enough, especially if it is clearly stated that it is coming from one person or one group of people. If the statement is more general, then at least two references would be needed. A well-written, well-argued report with few extra references will achieve a higher grade than a poorly written report that includes many extra references. (Of course, a very well-written report with many extra references will also attract a high grade.)

PSY20016 Social Psychology Assignment Research Report

Method :-
Include subheadings as follows:

This section should describe the nature of the individuals who participated in the research.

This section should describe the 2 x 2 experimental design. The dependent variable should also be specified.

Materials :-
This section should describe the main concepts that were measured or manipulated, and the questions or scenarios used to do so. The description should include the construct that the scale/item is purported to measure, how it is scored, and what resulting scores mean. (For example, what does a high or low score mean?)

PSY20016 Social Psychology Assignment Research Report

Procedure :-
The Procedure should describe exactly what happened i.e., participants randomly assigned to conditions, how the study was administered etc.

This section should describe how the survey was administered, and should include a description of any instructions given, randomisation, and counterbalancing of conditions, etc.

Please note: the golden rule for the method section is so that the reader could easily go away and reproduce the study exactly. Make sure you provide sufficient description of the scales used, so that inclusion of the questionnaire would be superfluous.

PSY20016 Social Psychology Assignment Research Report

Do not attach a copy of the questionnaire to your report.

This report is not a test of your statistical knowledge, so you have been given data analysis guidelines to assist you. The statistics should be used as a tool to demonstrate whether or not the expected theoretical relationships are supported.

You will be expected to present the results in correctly formatted text, tables or figures, as appropriate.

The data file and data analysis guidelines are located in the supporting resources below.

Please note you will need to use SPSS for this assignment. Refer to Syllabus for more information.

PSY20016 Social Psychology Assignment Research Report

PSY20016 Social Psychology Assignment Research Report

Discussion :-
Discuss the findings in relation to the aims and hypotheses and literature cited in your Introduction, referring to previous literature (e.g. references cited in your Introduction),where appropriate. Were your hypotheses supported? If so, what evidence is there that the results are reflecting ‘true’ relationships versus methodological factors (e.g. the nature of the sample, the measures used)? If they were not supported, then you must discuss possible reasons for this.

Discuss implications and limitations of the study (these should be tied directly to the results), and provide suggestions for future research.

PSY20016 Social Psychology Assignment Research Report

Your final paragraph provide conclusions relating to the impact of perceived self-interest of the source on trust in the message and how epistemic preference impacts this.

Please note: 
Make sure your claims are backed up by the findings of this research or previous research.
Don’t just list possible methodological problems with the research. You need to directly tie them to the results. For example if the sample had any thing to do with the results then it needs to be directly explained how it may have resulted in the association or lack thereof between the variables. A good discussion will concentrate on only a few problems that could explain a range of findings and explain them fully rather than simply list a multitude of problems.

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