• In 3–4 pages, analyze an author’s position on a relevant topic in psychology by explaining the author’s position, the assumptions and arguments made by the author, and identifying the supporting evidence used by the author. Use valid professional and scholarly research in support of or in opposition to the author’s arguments.

Welcome to your second assessment! This isn’t so bad now, is it? Read each portion of the assessment carefully and see if the suggested resources can help you complete it. Remember that each assessment can be submitted up to three times.

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Note: The assessments in this course build upon each other, so you are strongly encouraged to complete them in sequence.

Professional psychologists need to be able to analyze the arguments and reasoning of authors about different issues in psychology. Writing effectively and professionally is an important skill that can help you in all aspects of your life.

By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies and assessment criteria:

  • Competency 1: Apply information literacy and library research skills to obtain scholarly information in the field of psychology.
    • Apply scholarly and professional research to support or refute arguments presented in professional writing.
  • Competency 2: Apply psychological principles to topics in psychology.
    • Explain the assumptions made in presenting an argument.
  • Competency 3: Analyze scholarly information and research findings through critical thinking to solve problems in the field of psychology.
    • Explain the main arguments presented in professional writing.
    • Identify the evidence used to support a position in an argument.
  • Competency 5: Communicate in a manner that is scholarly, professional, and consistent with expectations for professionals in the field of psychology.
    • Use APA format and style.
    • Write coherently to support a central idea with correct grammar, usage, and mechanics as expected of a psychology professional.

Competency Map

Check Your ProgressUse this online tool to track your performance and progress through your course.


Psychology is, simply, the scientific study of behavior and mental processes. Psychologists study mental processes and human behavior as they look for specific patterns that will help them understand and predict that behavior. Research in the field of psychology has helped us understand the ways in which individuals and groups behave.

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Psychologists study the causes of behavior from biological, physiological, and genetic perspectives while considering the emotional, social, cognitive, and developmental factors that may be involved as well. They want to understand how people grow and learn, how they relate to other people, how they see themselves and the world around them, and how that perception influences their behavior.

At the core of the psychologist’s research is the ability to think critically. Critical thinking is a skill that allows us to ask questions, raise arguments, gather and evaluate information, and develop well-reasoned conclusions and solutions. It helps us think with an open mind and understand the assumptions, implications, and consequences of other points of view in order to build a complete understanding of how others think and what those ideas mean in relationship to our own ideas and opinions.

As a psychology professional, no matter the area or specialization, strengthening your critical thinking skills can enhance your skills as a working professional in the field. For example, you may be called upon to evaluate best options for clients. In the field of clinical psychology, many treatments are available, and there are conflicting opinions about those treatments. You may need to evaluate the best type of treatment based on scholarly research for a particular individual with a particular presenting problem. As a professional consultant for a business, you may need to evaluate workplace environments to benefit employee well-being and productivity. Strong analytical skills help to evaluate credible information to come to viable solutions.

Questions to Consider

To deepen your understanding, you are encouraged to consider the questions below and discuss them with a fellow learner, a work associate, an interested friend, or a member of the business community.

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  • What role do environmental forces play in the development of autism spectrum disorders?
  • What role do genetics and heredity play in the development of autism spectrum disorders?


Example Assessment

APA Resources

Because this is a psychology course, you need to format this assessment according to APA guidelines. Additional resources about APA can be found in the Research Resources in the left navigation menu of your courseroom. Use the resources to guide your work as needed.

  • American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author. This resource is available from the bookstore.
  • APA Paper Template [DOCX].

Required Resources

The following resource is required to complete the assessment.

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Suggested Resources

The resources provided here are optional and support the assessment. They provide helpful information about the topics. You may use other resources of your choice to prepare for this assessment; however, you will need to ensure that they are appropriate, credible, and valid. The PSYC-FP3002 – Developing a Psychology Perspective Library Guide can help direct your research. The Supplemental Resources and Research Resources, both linked from the left navigation menu in your courseroom, provide additional resources to help support you.


The following resources provide examples of research on autism.

Argument Analysis Resources

The following resources provide tools to support your analysis of the required resource for this assessment.

Use of Supporting Evidence

  • Landrum, R. E., & Davis, S. F. (2014). The psychology major: Career options and strategies for success(5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson. This resource is available from the bookstore.
    • Chapter 9, “Sharpening Library and Research Skills,” pages 119–130.
      • This chapter contains research strategies and information about how to use specific psychology resources.

These resources provide guidance on best practices for using evidence while avoiding plagiarism. You are also strongly encouraged to explore the many writing resources available in the left navigation of your courseroom.

  • Assessment Instructions

Example Assessment

You may use the assessment example, linked in the Assessment Example section of the Resources, to give you an idea of what a Proficient or higher rating on the scoring guide would look like.


To prepare for this assessment, begin by reading “How to Help Eliminate the Hidden Enemy that Triggers Autism,” by Dr. J. Mercola. This article is located in the Required Resources section of this assessment. You may also wish to review the course reading, “Understanding Arguments,” located in the Suggested Resources section. As you read the article, consider these questions:

  • What are the main arguments used by the author?
  • What supporting evidence does he use?
  • What does the author assume to be true in order to put forth his arguments?
  • Do you agree or disagree with the author’s reasoning?
  • What evidence will you need to support your position?

Search the Capella University library databases, or professional psychology websites such as American Psychological Association or the National Institute of Mental Health, for articles that either support or derail Dr. Mercola’s arguments. Find at least two professional or scholarly articles written within the last five years that you can use as resources for this assessment. At least one of the articles you use must be a scholarly journal article.


Suppose you work in a youth center that helps children with developmental challenges. There has been an ongoing debate recently between staff members on how vaccines can affect children. The center’s Director has asked you and another staff member to write an article for the next monthly newsletter. You were both instructed to find an article on how vaccines can affect children to use as the foundation for your newsletter piece. You found the Mercola article and have decided to use it.

For this assessment, write a 3–4 page article in which you:

  • Introduce the Mercola article and explain why the author wrote it.
  • Explain the main arguments used by the author.
  • Identify the supporting evidence the author uses.
  • Explain the assumptions the author makes in order to uphold his arguments.
  • Explain whether you agree or disagree with the author.
  • Support your position with references to the resources you located.
    • Be sure you properly cite your resources in the body of the assessment and proved a complete reference on the reference page.
  • Provide a conclusion:
    • Restate the author’s arguments.
    • Restate your position.
    • Include any questions still unanswered by the research.

Because this is going to be published in a newsletter, format your assessment following APA guidelines. You may use the APA template provided in the Suggested Resources section.

Pay close attention to your spelling, punctuation, and grammar.

Additional Requirements

  • Include a title page and reference page.
  • Number of pages: 3–4, not including the title page and reference page.
  • At least two current scholarly or professional resources. Note: Wikipedia is not considered scholarly or professional.
  • APA format.
  • Times New Roman font, 12 pt.
  • Double-spaced.