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PSY 230 Assignment Playbook

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Assignment: Article summary & review

  • For this assignment, you will review two articles retrieved  from professional psychology journals  (each article review will be completed at a different time of the semester). 
  • Each article must be a study.
  • The review must include a bibliographic reference to the article in APA format
  • Make sure you read your assignment instructions very carefully before submitting your paper for grading. 

Finding articles

  • Start by choosing a topic. An easy way to find a topic is to look at your textbook's table of contents.
  • When you have a 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 

  • 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. 
  • For a better quality assignment, 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 Maethodology), then it's not a study. 
  • When in doubt, ask your instructor or a librarian.

screenshot of methods section

Summarizing & reviewing

What is a summary?

A summary is a brief statement or account of the key ideas and points of a piece of writing.  The account must be paraphrased, that is, written in your own words, so you must be careful not to copy the wording of the original source.

A good summary will do the following:

  • Identify the author of the original source.
  • Synthesize the author's key ideas and points.
  • Present information in a neutral (unbiased) way.  

How do I summarize?

  • Read the original source and make sure you understand it
  • Write down the major points
  • Write a first draft of the summary using just the major points you wrote dow before
  • Make sure you're paraphrasing (using your own words).  
  • Your summary should be approximately 1/4 of the length of the original
  • Start your summary by identifying the type of work, title, author, and main point. Example: In the article "Multiple Intelligences," the author, Sarah Rowan,  discusses why being aware of multiple types of intelligence is important for teachers.
  • Periodically remind the reader that this is a summary by using signal phrases such as "the article claims," "the author describes," etc.

How do I add a review?

When you are asked to review a source, you will need to not only identify and summarize the main ideas in the source, but also evaluate them. You will need to make judgments about the information in the article. The elements of your review are usually spelled out in the assignment, so make sure you understand what is expected.

Need help?

  • For help finding articles, use the information in this playbook. If you ask the librarians for help finding articles, you will be directed to this playbook. 
  • For help with formatting citations, please use the library's APA citation style playbook. Please note the librarians cannot help you with citation generators, or with any citation guide other than the library's. 
  • For help with parenthetical citations, composition issues (such as spelling, grammar, flow, etc.), or anything except the References page,  please visit the Writing Center.
  • If you have questions, please contact the librarians at