INSTRUCTIONS FOR SUMMARY OF JOURNAL ARTICLE
NOTICE: Journal article summaries must not be plagiarized. Plagiarism is a form of cheating. If a student is suspected of plagiarism, the RPP Coordinator will investigate the manner. If it is established that the student plagiarized, a penalty will be assessed according to University policy, and the Center for Students’ Rights and Responsibilities may be notified.
Materials: The student must select an article from a scholarly journal in psychology. Articles should meet the following criteria:
The articles should come from PRIMARY sources.
An acceptable article presents original research conducted by the author(s). The article should contain all the information necessary for a reader to replicate the research (e.g. how many participants were used, the materials or apparatus used, the statistical analysis) so that the study’s scientific merit can be judged by the reader.
Acceptable articles should NOT be a second printing of the research in a review article, a book, a text, or some other summary form (This would be termed a secondary source).
Students must NOT use information from popular press books or magazine (NO Psychology Today articles).
The articles must have been refereed.
This means that experts in the field reviewed the article and found it to be (MOSTLY) free of false or misleading information and found the authors to have used appropriate methodological and statistical techniques, and to have drawn reasonable conclusions from the data.
The journals listed subsequently as ACCEPTABLE are refereed. If a student is unsure whether a journal is refereed, the journal should have a section entitled “Instructions to Authors” or something similar that discusses the criteria for accepting articles. It should say that the articles are refereed or reviewed. Do not use articles for which the only criterion for publication is that the author pays the journal. The student should ask instructors if you are unsure of source acceptability.
The following journals are psychological journals published in the U.S., which cover many topics within the discipline. All of them ARE acceptable sources for papers:
American Journal of Psychology, Behavior Therapy, Child Development, Cognitive Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Educational Psychology, Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Journal of Animal Behavior, Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Journal of Counseling Psychology, Journal of Educational Psychology, Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, Journal of Experimental Psychology, Journal of Personality, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Learning and Memory/Learning, Memory, and Cognition, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Journal of Psychology, Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, Journal of Social Relationships, Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, Memory and Cognition, Perception and Psychophysics, Perceptual and Motor Skills, and Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Professional Psychology, Social Psychology Quarterly, Journal of Health Psychology.
Others may be acceptable. The student should obtain permission from the instructor or the RPP Coordinator for any journal not listed.
Writing the summary: All summaries must be typed written, be in prose (not outline form), and conform to proper grammar. Each summary should be 2-4 double-spaced pages. Use 12 point font and double spacing. The student must include a photocopy of the COMPLETE original journal article.
Each summary must include the following information:
On a cover page or in the upper right-hand corner of the first page include: Student’s name, student’s email address, student’s id number, the course for which the student will get credit including the course number and section number, the day/time for the course, and the course instructor’s name. This information is required in order to record credits.
Author(s), Date, Title of Article, Journal Name, Volume, Pages
Introduction: What basic question(s) were the researchers trying to answer? What was the general problem area? Why was the study being done, or why is the study important?
Describe the research participants.
What task did the participants perform, or what tests did they take, or what characteristic were observed or measured?
How were the data gathered? Naturalistic observation, participant observation, cross-sectional study, longitudinal study, survey, interview, archival, meta-analysis? (the student should include all that apply; and cite evidence to support the claim)
If it was an experimental or quasi-experimental design:
Were there different groups? If so, the student should describe what distinguishes them and how participants were assigned to groups.
How was the independent variable manipulated? How was the dependent variable measured?
If the article was a correlational or descriptive design:
What variables were measured and how were they measured?
Did one variable precede another in time?
What were the results of the study? (e.g. Did any groups differ, or were variables related?). Note: Students do NOT need to provide precise statistical data; it is more appropriate to give a summary.
Did the results support hypotheses (if any were given)?
How are the results important (e.g. Can they be applied to solve social or individual problems, do they change the way other studies are interpreted, do they support one theory over another, do they summarize a diverse body of literature?)
What were any problems with the study identified? In other words, what were the limitations of the study?
What were the author(s)’ suggestions for future research?