Action Writing: Using Op-Eds to Advance Public Understanding of Psychological Science

This action teaching assignment flips traditional student-teacher roles by turning students into public educators and disseminators of psychological science. Specifically, students are asked to identify a psychology-related puzzle (e.g., Why are U.S. obesity rates increasing?), examine relevant research evidence, and write a science-based opinion piece, or "science op-ed," of 750 words or less. These essays are then submitted to publication outlets of the student's choice. Through this assignment, students strengthen their research and writing skills, learn how to apply scientific findings to issues of public interest, become empowered to enter into and transform public debate, and become psychology educators as well as consumers. In addition, the public benefits from exposure to scientific evidence on matters of law and public policy. In the words of one student who completed this assignment, "I now realize that my own opinions can influence important legislative decisions and public opinion."

Learn more ➞