Anatomy of an Article

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					Anatomy of an Article

     P152 Week 4
       Three types of articles
• Reports of empirical studies

• Literature reviews/meta-analyses
  – Statistical reviewing procedure that uses data
    from many similar studies to summarize and
    quantify research findings about individual

• Theoretical articles
        Evaluating an Article
• How well do the study’s authors achieve
  their goal?

• Important because we rely on previous
  articles in preparing our own experiments
        Evaluating an Article
• Must ask questions relating to:
  – Purpose
  – State hypotheses
  – Design
  – Measurement strategy
  – Statistical analysis
  – Conclusions
      Evaluating an Article
Helgeson, V. S. (1994). Long-distance
 romantic relationships: Sex differences in
 adjustment and breakup. Personality and
 Social Psychology Bulletin, 20, 254-265.
   Informal Discovery: Page 1
• Title: identifies main focus of study
  – Fun/playful? Or Formal/technical?
  – Does it pique our curiosity?
• Journal: where article is published
  – Mission which may influence how research is
  – Sponsored by psychological association?
  – Peer-reviewed journal?
   Informal Discovery: Page 1
• Author: who wrote the article
  – University, agency or business affiliation
• Author’s notes
  – Funding
  – Acknowledging other contributors
  – Correspondence address
  – Results presented elsewhere
          Group Questions:
         Informal Discovery
• What do you think of the title?

• Is there anything special about the

• What do you know about the authors?
• Give overview of all main points of article
  – Study purpose
  – General research strategy
  – Findings
  – Conclusions
• Helpful in a literature search; a good
  abstract should give enough information to
  help us decide whether we want to read
  the article or not.
    Group Question: Abstract
• From the abstract – what are the
  – Purpose
  – Research strategy/design
  – Findings
  – Conclusions
 Of the study??
  Introduction: What and Why
• Overview of problem addressed
  – Clearly Stated!
• Rationale for study developed
  – Review of relevant theoretical and empirical
• Ends with a summary of research
      Group Questions: Intro
         What and Why
• What is the general purpose of the study?

• What problem is being studied?
 Introduction: Literature Review
• Build argument for why study is necessary
  – Origins of research question

  – Do cites provide good support for study?

  – Will this make a contribution to the field?
   Group Questions: Introduction
           Lit Review
• Review the background literature and
  – What kind of articles are described?

  – Can you tell from the literature why the
    authors are doing the study?

  – Is the study important?
     Introduction: Hypotheses
• Some studies test hypotheses

• Some studies do not have hypotheses
  – Explicit research question/goal
  – Researchers did not know what to expect

• Presented at the end of the intro

• Accompanied by a rationale
 Group Questions: Introduction
• State the research question/hypothesis

• Does the research question/hypothesis
  follow logically from the literature review?

• Is there a clear rationale for the
• How the study was conducted
  – Major detail (replication by another)

• Sample studied
  – How recruited
  – Appropriate for answering question
    Group Questions: Method
• Evaluate the sample:

  – Who was studied?

  – How were they recruited?
• How study was implemented

• Mention of conditions
  – Symbolic
  – Non-symbolic

• General research strategy

• Controls to eliminate threat to validity
      Group Questions: Method
• Were the procedures used appropriate?

• Would you have used this methodology?
  If not, what would you have done?

• Was there a control group within this
 Procedures: Operational Defs
• Evaluate how the dependent variable is

• Find out how the independent variable is
    Group Questions: Method
• What was the dependent variable and how
  was it operationally defined?

• What was the independent variable and
  how was it operationally defined?
• Describe statistical analysis
  – Evaluate – correct?

• Present tables and figures
  – Evaluate – correct?

• Findings clearly presented?
    Group Questions: Results
• What were the overall findings?

• Were the study finding clearly presented?

• Can the results be used to answer the
  research question?
• Discussion of whether hypothesis was
  supported by the data

• Point out limitations of study

• Place study in the “larger body of
  knowledge” – theoretically speaking
   Group Questions: Discussion
• What do the study findings mean for theory?

• How do the study findings build upon previous

• Are there any limitations addressed by the authors?
  Any limitations you might see?

• Does this article lead to new research questions?
  How could these be answered?
• General implications
• Benefits to society
• Use of results outside psychology

• As a reviewer – you must pull together
  your review of specific components into an
  overall evaluation.
  Group Questions: Discussion
• What is your overall evaluation of this
• Would you recommend this article to
  someone interested in gender differences
  regarding romantic relationships?
• List of all publications cited in article
  – What articles are cited? Are these articles of
    a high quality?
  – Are the majority of citations of the author’s
    own work?
• APA style OR style specific journal

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