Journal Article Review Assignments
Specific Instructions for Both Journal Article Review Assignments
Purpose of Assignment
Summarizing research articles will help you to develop your critical thinking skills and your ability to express yourself in the written form. Here are some practical hints on how to summarize a research article.
A research article has the following major sections: Abstract, Introduction, Method, Results, Discussion, References, Tables and Figures.
An article summary highlights the information in the Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion; it is not a copy of everything that is in the article. Before you can write a summary, you need to understand the article. This will require several readings of the article.
The article you select for review must be:
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
Read these application chapters of the text. Within each chapter you will find a summary of how social psychology has been applied to the area (environment, health, law). Find an area of interest to you and then look for a journal article that is related to it (using the library database or Google Scholar).
Each JAR must be on a different application area. (e.g., JAR #1 might be on Social Psychology and the Environment and JAR #2 might be on Social Psychology and the Law). The exact focus of the research article you review is up to you.
The assignments must:
Preparing to Write the Journal Article Summary
Allow enough time. Plan to spend at least one half of the time you devote to this assignment to reading and understanding the article. Before you can write about research, you have to understand it and this may require several careful readings.
Scan the article first. You will get bogged down in detail if you try to read a new article from start to finish. Initially you should briefly look at each section to identify:
Underline key sentences or write the key point (hypothesis, design, etc.) of each paragraph on a summary sheet.
Read for depth. After you have highlighted the question, hypothesis, findings, and interpretations, go back to the article to read about each area in more detail. You will have to read the article several times before you can talk about it in your own words.
Plagiarism and taking notes. Plagiarism is presenting someone else’s work as your own. Most plagiarism is unintentional, from faulty note-taking and poor understanding of what is being reported. To avoid plagiarism:
Writing the Article Summary
The purpose of an article summary is give the reader a brief, structured overview of the study that was done. To write a good summary, you must know (a) what is important to say and (b) how to condense important information. The better you understand a subject, the easier it is to write both knowledgeably and briefly about it.
Getting started. Put down your pen and read all your notes to get an overview. Eliminate irrelevant notes. Drop anything that does not connect with something else in your notes (the earliest-taken notes are the most likely ones to be dropped).
Write a first draft. Use the same order as the article itself used. See the template information below. The number of suggested sentences to use is guide, but it gives you an idea of how much detail is needed to summarize each section of the article.
Edit for completeness and accuracy. Add information for completeness where necessary. More commonly, if you understand the article, you will need to cut redundant or less important information. Stay focused on the research question; get rid of generalities.
Edit for style. Write as though you are explaining something to ‘an intelligent, interested, naive, and slightly lazy listener’ (e.g., yourself, your classmates, your parents); that is, expect your reader to be interested, but don’t make them have to struggle to understand you.
The following rubric will be used to assess your assignment.
|Overview of Purpose
|Topic and research question/purpose is clearly presented; not too much or too little detail
|Topic, research question/purpose stated but not as clear as could be; and/or slightly too much or too little detail
|Topic, research question/purpose not well stated (some aspects may be missing); and too much or too little detail
|Ineffective/weak or missing topic, research question/purpose
|Overview of Method (e.g., type of study, IV/DV identified/ defined, sample and procedures briefly described)
|All elements included, well stated, and accurate, using correct terminology; not too much or too little detail
|Most elements sufficiently stated but at least one area missing or inadequate or incorrect or inappropriate use of terminology.
|More than one area missing or inadequate.
|Several elements missing, inaccurate, incomplete, unclear or misuse of terminology.
|Overview of Results and discussion
|Results, implications, applicationsand ideas for future research clearly stated and summarized in own words; all information included; not too much or too little detail.
|Results, implications, applicationsand ideas for future research sufficiently stated but not as clear as could be; or one area missing or inadequate or inclusion of results not related to hypothesis/es.
|Results, implications, applicationsand ideas for future research clearly unclear or incomplete or inaccurate in two-three ways.
|Several aspects unclear, incomplete, inappropriate or missing.
|Meets criteria for design type, topic relevance, primary research, publication dates and from specified journal.
|Meets criteria in all but one way (design type, primary research, publication dates, from specified journal, topic relevance).
|Fails to meet criteria in 2-3 areas (design type, primary research, publication dates, from specified journal, topic relevance).
|Fails to meet criteria in more than 3 areas (design type, primary research, publication dates, from specified journal, topic relevance).
|The paper is in APA style, including:
title page and reference page; page headers, numbering; in-text citations; use of numbers in text; paraphrasing used instead of quotes; use of scientific tone
|1-2 different errors in APA formatting OR failure to use scientific tone, OR some use of quotes
|2-3 different errors in APA formatting; minor errors in use of scientific tone; slight overuse of quotations
|Numerous APA formatting errors and a few writing style errors; over use of quotations rather than paraphrasing
|No grammatical errors such as incomplete or run-on sentences; appropriate word choice and no awkward phrasing; minimal minor grammatical errors (incorrect punctuation, noun-verb disagreement); no spelling errors
|A few errors are present but they do not affect the readability of the paper.
|Several errors exist, making the paper difficult to follow in at least one area.
|Errors exist to the point that the paper is difficult to read and understand, in several areas.