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Annotated Bibliography on Psychology: Durkheim and Anomie

For this assignment, you will write an annotated bibliography using a minimum of three different sources from the KU Library. To help you get started, you can use the different studies that you shared with the class on the Discussion Board and in seminar this week. It is recommended that all of these articles be related to the topic that you will be doing your research proposal on: the articles annotated here can be those used as part of the background material in the research proposal. Be sure to choose actual scientific studies (not a meta-analysis or a literature review on a topic) that provide for a different perspective on your topic.

An annotated bibliography for research includes a listing of citations for each different source of information with each citation followed by a brief description of the study and a critical analysis of the research report. The purpose of an annotated bibliography is to help the researcher make sense of the many conflicting and sometimes contradictory results. Most researchers group the different studies together by topic or themes in order to see if a particular pattern emerges. Hopefully, you will begin to see this in your bibliography.

Upon completion, an annotated bibliography helps the researcher gain an understanding of the entire body of research on a particular subject (i.e., not just one study). In other words, putting together an annotated bibliography helps the researcher to get a broader sense of the results of many different studies on the same subject. In addition, an idea of how the different studies connect to one another and the important themes that are related to a topic often emerge in this process. This is an important first step to take when attempting to develop quality research questions and hypotheses.

Assignment Directions

Select a minimum of three and no more than five different research reports on a relevant topic of interest in the field of psychology. Do your best to include a few different types of sources in your bibliography (e.g., peer reviewed journal, newspaper, book, etc.). In addition, make sure that your sources are current (within the last five years).
At the beginning of the Assignment, please include a statement (one or two sentences) indicating what topic or concept connects the articles summarized.
Start off with the full text citation for each study in boldface. Be sure to list your different sources in alphabetical order.
Immediately after each full text citation, summarize the following details from the cited source:
A full citation of your source, formatted per APA style guidelines
A brief description of the research questions and hypotheses
The method and any criticisms
The results
The conclusions and any concerns that you may have
A critical analysis of the quality and credibility of the study and author(s)
How this study connects to or contrasts with other studies on this subject
An explanation of how this study will shed new light on your topic
Make sure to provide enough details for the reader to get a clear sense of the study. Ideally you will have two "paragraphs:" the first covering the first four bullet points above, the second covering the remaining three.
After the three to five articles have been listed and annotated, end the Assignment with a couple of paragraphs describing how the process of putting together an annotated bibliography helps researchers to develop quality research questions and hypotheses.

Solution Preview

Annotated Bibliography on Psychology:
Durkheim and Anomie

Bjarnason, Thoroddur and Robert Merton (2009) Anomie among European Adolescents: Conceptual and Empirical Clarification of a Multilevel Sociological Concept. Sociological Forum, 24(1), 135-161

The research question here concerns the relation of anomie to both destructive behaviors as well as overall psychological well being. Anomie is a state of mind where the person sees social life as decaying, incoherent and wrong. It is also a state of affairs where the moral and social anchors of a society have been violently pulled up. Durkheim's well known theory states simply that the less cohesion is felt on the inside, the less likely rational behavior will result. Social norms, as they decay, will lead to both internal confusion for citizens and the perception of chaos in social relations.

The hypothesis argues that Durkheim should be interpreted as having both social and individual-level effects that may be very different from each other. The key ingredient in significance here is whether or not the youngster sees the moral constraint as his own, or as a foreign imposition. This is about perceptions: whether or not European youth see their societies as cohesive and rational, as well as their own inner sense of what makes a society coherent and rational. For anomie to be useful, they argue, both sides of the equation must be in good working order: inner belief or external perception generally do not work on their own. They do, however, seem to have their own spheres of influence.

Dealing with youth in western Europe, the authors here take various components of anomie and match these, statistically speaking, with behaviors like truancy, drug use, self-esteem issues and smoking. Their source is the EU's own Eurostat, 2007. They divide the concept of anomie into two reasonable parts: the exterior and the constraint. The former is the view that society is cohesive, rational, more or less just, and predictable. The latter is the internal adherence to social views, making them their own. These two components of anomie lead to different results, however, when tested empirically.

When young people truly see their societies as coherent and just, it has a positive affect on their self-esteem and overall mental stability. It has the opposite effect when it is merely seen as an external imposition rather than a conscious form of adoption. Strong perception (not necessarily agreement) of social rules are correlated with fewer instances of damaging behavior. This is even the case when controlling for social class, parental upbringing and previous bouts of depression. However, it should be noted that this only works in tandem with concepts of constraint. Hence, the positive impact on behavior must be based on a) the perception of strong and coherent rules, and b) the agreement with them. By itself, external rules have no clear effect on behavior.

The conclusion is that the perception of social rules as external do not affect behavior. It does affect general well being, however. On the other hand, constraint has no affect on overall well being, but does have a positive effect on behavior: drug use, etc., falls to the extent the youngster accepts prevailing moral norms as correct.

This paper shows Durkheim correct. A sense of predictability and general justice have everything to do with overall well being, ...

Solution Summary

The annotated bibliography on psychology for Durkheim and Anomie is examined.