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PSY 230 Assignments Playbook

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Assignment: Article Summary & Review

  • For this assignment you will locate and read two (2) current , empirical, peer-reviewed research articles.
    • Current: for this assignment, current means published after 2005
    • Empirical: Empirical research is based on observed and measured phenomena and derives knowledge from actual experience rather than from theory or belief. Your article should be a study reported by the same scientists who conducted it.
    • Peer-reviewed: An article is peer-reviewed when it has gone through a quality evaluation process conducted by independent researchers in the same field as the article writer(s). How do I know if a journal is peer reviewed?
  • Both articles must be about the same topic but about different populations
    • Examples
      • Article 1: Disturbed sleep in teenagers | Article 2: Disturbed sleep in older adults
      • Article 1: Gender identity in African American male adolescents | Article 2: Gender identity in Latino female adolescents
      • Article 1: Word games to improve reading in children | Article 2: Word games to improve cognitive skills in older adults
  • You will then select the article that is most informative, of highest quality, and most meaningful.
  • You will summarize, critique, and apply the findings to your personal experiences.
  • You will receive complete assignment instructions from your instructor. Make sure you read them several times to familiarize yourself with what's expected of you.  If you have questions, contact your instructor. 

NOTE: You need to read the articles you choose. Don't just skim them, read them. Take notes. You can't summarize and critique (review) something if you don't know what it says.

How to Write the Summary Review

When writing a summary review, keep these points in mind:

  • This is NOT a research paper. You will be condensing the articles (summary), and reviewing them (assessment/evaluation of strengths, weaknesses, qualities, missing information, potential improvements, etc.).
  • Do not use parenthetical citations -- you will be reviewing one source at a time, so they would be redundant.
  • Avoid using direct quotes (exact quotes from the source, placed in quotation marks).  Write everything in your own words. 
  • Do not use "I," "you," or similar statements. This summary is not about you and you're not chatting with your readers; you're only summarizing other people's words.
    • Examples
      •  Instead of "I think the author's arguments are well written, but the evidence is poorly discussed, " write: "The author's  arguments are well written, but the evidence is poorly discussed."
      •  Instead of "As a parent, you may see some of these developmental issues in your children" write: "Parents may see some of these developmental issues in their children."
  • To ensure your readers understand that your essay is a summary of a specific article, be clear from the start.  Here's an example of one way you could start your essay:
    • The article "Second Language Acquisition in Older Adults," by Stephens, Carroll, and Walton (2019), describes some of the advantages and challenges of learning a second language at an older age.
  • As you continue writing your essay, refer to the source every so often by using signal phrases. For example:
    • The authors write that....
    •  Stephens et al. conducted surveys in ....
    •  The authors concluded that.....
  • Here is an example of a summary review. The author is reviewing a book about a historical event; read the summary (it's not long) to see how you should approach yours.

Finding Articles

  • After you you have chosen your topic, go to the EBSCO portal
  • On the Choose Databases page, click on Select All, then click Continue.
  • Type your topic in the first search box. Use a small number of nouns; for example: sleep patterns.  Do not use verbs, prepositions (after, between), articles (a,the), phrases, or vague terms (relationship, effect).
  • Type the word psychology in the second search box, and select SO Source from the drop down menu to the right of the search box. This setup will allow you to find information on your topic from journals that have the word "psychology" in the title. 
  • Click Search.

red green and yellow boxes outlining search terms 

  • You can ask EBSCO to limit your results to peer reviewed sources.  After you run your search, look on the left hand side of the screen and under "Limit To," check the "Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals" box.

screenshot of EBSCO limiters

  • Select an article that is listed as being full text. This means the entire article is available to you.  Should an article you wish to use not be available, you may request it using the Interlibrary Loan Request form.  This is a free service. 
  • Read the article several times before you begin summarizing it. 
  • To create the citation for your article, use the APA citation style playbook.  Note: you will not need parenthetical citations for this assignment because you are only working with one article, but you will need to use signal phrases every so often. 
  • Avoid quoting. For this assignment, paraphrasing is a better approach, because when you paraphrase, you demonstrate that you understand the material. 

How to recognize a study

Figuring out whether an article is a study is very easy:

  • If the article has a section titled Methods (sometimes the title is Methodology), then it is a study. 
  • If there is no section titled Methods (or Methodology), then it's not a study. 
  • When in doubt, ask your instructor or a librarian.

screenshot of methods section

Selected Journals

See the list below for some examples of developmental psychology journals you can access through the library. You can search each journal or you can run more comprehensive searches by using the EBSCO portal (for how to do this, see the section entitled "Finding Articles.").

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