PSY 700 Sleep Deprivation Essay

In this module’s Understanding Research Paper Assignment, you will read and evaluate a research article in your area of research interest. Using Jordan and Zanna’s (1999) recommendations, you will critically evaluate the article and offer your thoughts on it. As you complete this active evaluation of the research article, do you find yourself struggling with anything? Do you have any questions about the process?

Please report briefly on your experience and post any questions or struggles you have as you read through and critically evaluate your article. Also, please report on the recommendation given by Jordan & Zanna (1999) that you find the most helpful as you evaluate your article.

Understanding Research Paper
Understanding Research Paper
Research articles provide empirical evidence that strengthens our understanding of
the various concepts, theories, and phenomena in psychology. While most of the studies that
generate the findings that were reported by these articles follow standard procedures, it is
vital to ensure that their evidence is credible and relevant to our study’s purposes. Also, the
practical implications of the evidence from these studies justify the need to determine the
validity and reliability of the information from them. In this regard, an article that is titled,
“Exploring the relationship between frequency of Instagram use, exposure to idealized
images, and psychological wellbeing in women” by Sherlock and Wagstaff (2018) is selected
for this critique assignment. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to evaluate the core
sections of a selected article and determine how researchers’ approaches to investigating the
phenomena and generating their findings enhance our understanding of the topic, especially
the relationships between the key concepts.
Purpose of the Study
Sherlock et al. (2018) stated that the purpose of their study is the determination of the
potential impacts of Instagram on the mental health outcomes of users, including the
development of depressive symptoms, different forms of anxiety, including general and
physical appearance-related ones, and self-esteem. Also, research aimed at using their study to
assess the mediators of the relationship between excessive Instagram use and the
psychological well-being of users by testing the influence of social comparison on these
parameters that other researchers identified. Similarly, the need to understand the specific
aspects of Instagram usage that have considerable effects on the mental health outcomes of
people such as exposure to certain images on physical appearance and body structures is part
of the goals of this study. In essence, the researchers aimed to use the level of exposure to
certain images and posts on Instagram to determine its effects on psychological well-being
and outcomes of people within the context of social comparison.
Evaluation of Study Method
The study was divided into part 1 which used a correlational study approach and part
2, which was based on the experimental research methods due to the use of intervention and
control groups. According to Sherlock et al. (2018), the study used 129 female participants who
are aged 18 to 35 years old from a large cohort of active Instagram users from an
undergraduate psychology program, other university students, and online volunteers. In this
regard, a two-part online survey questionnaire that consist of questions from standardized
assessment tools for the variables was used for data collection during the first part, while
participants in the four randomized groups were exposed to 10 beauty images before
completing the second part of the questionnaire. However, the evaluation of the method
showed that while the study design for the first part was appropriate due to its use of different
standardized scales and replication of the method from a previous study on a similar topic
and variables, the presence of confounding variables in the second could affect the study
outcomes (Jordan & Zanna, 1999). Specifically, the beautiful images might not trigger anxiety
or depressive symptoms in the participants since they might not representative of their
beautiful ideas and tool for social comparison. Also, the inclusion or exclusion criteria did not
recognize existing depressive symptoms and anxiety disorders as part of the variables that
contribute to psychological well-being and outcomes. Hence, the critical analysis of the study
design highlighted limitations that could impact the study outcomes.
Brief Description of the Results
Meanwhile, the authors obtained mixed results that affirmed and disproved their
hypotheses. The findings from the first part of the study showed that Instagram usage
contributes to the development of depressive symptoms, trait and physical anxieties, body
image disturbance, and social comparison orientation, but not self-esteem issues” (Sherlock et
al., 2018, p.13). Similarly, the authors found that the number of Instagram followers, age, and
account following are variables with positive correlations with these psychological outcomes
and negative links with self-esteem. Also, social comparison is a major mediator of the
“relationship between trait anxiety and body image disturbance and time spent on Instagram”
and a partial mediator of the role of average “time spent on Instagram on the development of
depressive symptoms, self-esteem, and physical appearance anxiety” (Sherlock et al., 2018,
p.13). In contrast, the findings from the second part of the study disproved the hypothesis that
exposure to idealized beauty images has negative effects on the psychological well-being of
users, including self-esteem and appearance anxiety.
Evaluation of Result Discussions
Furthermore, the critical analysis of the author’s discussion of the result showed that it
was an accurate representation of the findings and provided adequate justifications for the
factors that contributed to them. First, Sherlock et al. (2018) comparison of their results with
findings from other relevant previous studies on the topic is evidence of the effective method
for explaining the processes and factors that contribute to the result. For example, the
researchers stated that their identification of social comparison as a significant mediator of
the association between Instagram use and depression supported previous research findings
on the subject (Jordan et al. 1999). Second, the article’s discussion section answered questions
that are related to the hypothesis and represented our desire to gain a better understanding of
the effects of social media use on the psychological well-being of users. Third, Sherlock et al.
(2018) explanation of the implications of their findings are also useful for drawing the right
conclusions from their study and identifying the various ways to use their result to inform
future studies or apply them in psychology practice. Although some of the outcomes of the
study were different from the researchers’ expectations, Sherlock et al. (2018) illustrated how
their study limitations might have contributed to them and their usefulness to future studies.
Therefore, the information in the discussion section is adequate for understanding its
purpose, validity of the hypotheses, and implications for current and future psychology
practice and research.
In summary, the selected article contributed to our understanding on the effects of
social networking sites on the psychological outcomes of users by focusing on a social media
platform that received limited interests from researchers until this study. Also, the
combination of correlational design and experimental study approach demonsrated the
authors’ commitment to closing the gap in the literature and enhancing our knowledge of the
various psychological effects of social media platforms on young adults. Although the study
had limitations that might have contributed to some of the study findings, the researchers
explored other measures from previous studies that illustrated the relationship between
different aspects of Instagram usage and the mental health outcomes of users. Therefore, this
research article contains information from a well-organized study that relied on the use of the
right procedures and methods to generate the findings, describe their implicaitons for current
and future psychology practice, and recommendations on areas to gain further insights into
the concepts and conditions that are related to those discussed in its relevant sections.
Jordan, C. H., & Zanna, M. P. (1999). How to read a journal article in social psychology. In
Social Neuroscience (pp. 271-279). Psychology Press.
Sherlock, M., & Wagstaff, D. L. (2019). Exploring the relationship between frequency of
Instagram use, exposure to idealized images, and psychological well-being in women.
Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 8(4), 482–490.

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