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JOURNAL ARTICLE SUMMARY ASSIGNMENT INSTRUCTIONS
For each Journal Article Summary, you will choose an article to review and use the Journal
Article Summary Template to complete the assignment. The article you select must be a peer-
reviewed journal article in the field of cognitive psychology. The article must also be a primary
source, meaning that the authors are discussing their own research, not others’ research (e.g.
review articles). Do not use an article that conducted a meta-analysis. It is ideal to select an
article that you will be using in your paper; however, this is not a requirement. If you use an
article that does not meet these criteria, you will not receive credit for this assignment. See the
example below for detailed explanation of the required material for each question. Submit the
completed form and a PDF of the article being reviewed. All material must be in current APA
1. APA reference of article being reviewed
Write the reference for the article as if it were in the reference section of your paper.
2. What is the research problem that is being investigated? What is the purpose of the
research being conducted?
Provide the “why” behind the paper. Why have they conducted this experiment? For
example: “These experiments were designed to explore the role of second order
conditioning in anxiety disorders.”
3. What is the research question?
The research question is more specific. What is the specific question or questions the
article will answer as a result of the study or experiment? For example: “Are adolescents
more sensitive to the memory imparting effects of alcohol?”
4. What are 2 or more theories that are discussed in the Introduction? How are they used to
motivate (or set up) the research question? Do the authors agree or disagree with these
Simply restate the theories discussed in the introduction in your own words. State how
these theories are driving the research questions. If the authors’ hypothesis is correct,
will it support the theory or be inconsistent with the theory? You should have good idea
of where the authors stand based on the evidence presented and the arguments they are
5. How is the research question operationalized? First, identify the abstract constructs being
studied. Next identify the concrete way these are being observed or measured. This
should include your IV and DV.
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A construct is an abstract explanatory variable that this not directly observable (e.g.
memory). The concrete way the construct is measured will point you to the dependent
variable (DV). For example, if the paper is concerned with memory, the DV may be the
number of items recalled. The independent variable (IV) could be the amount of sleep
each participant was allowed the night before the test. Remember that we cannot directly
measure many of the constructs that are studied in psychology, so it is important that we
identify how they are being operationalize in each research study.
6. What is the research design (i.e. between or within subjects, what type of statistical tests
were used, what were the levels of each variable)?
This information will be in the methods section of your paper. Be sure to provide enough
detail to describe how the study was designed.
7. Describe the results (but not their broader implications). Were the results significant?
Which ones? Do these support or not support the hypothesis?
Describe the result in your own words. For example: Group X were able to recall
significantly more words than Group Y. This finding supports the hypothesis that
manipulation Y would reduce recall.
8. What limitations are mentioned? Why are these limitations theoretically interesting?
Limitations can be found in the discussion section of the paper. If a limitation is that they
didn’t have X control group, then explain in your own words why that is important. Does
it change the interpretation of the findings?
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