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RSCH 4050

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After this session, the goal is for you to feel more comfortable:

  • Finding an empirical study on a psychology topic of your choice from a library database.
  • Breaking down the parts of that article to find the information you need to answer the questions on the assignment below.
Example Article & Research Components

Moving on up (to college): First-Generation college students' experiences with family achievement guilt.

Grit Under Duress: Stress, Strengths, and Academic Success Among Non-Citizen and Citizen Latina/o First-Generation College Students

Research article components to look for - labels can vary:

  • Abstract: A brief summary at the beginning, describing the larger work. May include the thesis or claim, background, and scope of the research. 

  • Literature review: A critical overview of previous research that is relevant to the topic, usually in the introduction or beginning of the article. (Hint: look for many in-text citations)

  • Methods/Methodology: Describes how the study/research was designed, includes the description of the participants of the study (who or what was studied), and how the data was collected

    • Hint: Type of research was used (look for observational, correlational, experimental, survey, quasi-experimental)

  • Results: Describes the data collected, who was included (who was left out)

  • Discussion: The discussion section is one of the final parts of a research article, in which an author describes, analyzes, and interprets their findings. They explain the significance of those results and tie everything back to the research question(s).

  • Conclusion: Usually the final section of the article, it explains the importance of the research and suggests future research on the topic.



RSCH 4050: Journal Article Review Instructions & Rubric 
Review Due: 2.19 

This is an individual assignment, so each student will choose an empirical research article relevant to some area of interest in the field of psychology.

In order to answer questions accurately, you must select an article that collects original data, not a theoretical article, opinion piece, or a review

  1. What was the purpose of the research that you are reviewing (what did the researcher hope to find out)? State the specific hypothesis tested or guiding question asked in the research. 

  2. What type of research was used (observational, correlational, experimental, survey, quasi-experimental, etc.)? If you’re not sure, describe the design in detail.  

  3. a. Describe the sample and sampling procedure used in the research.  b.Were the procedures adequate; explain why or why not (were there enough participants, were the participants selected in a satisfactory way)?  

  4. If the research was experimental or quasi-experimental, what was/were the independent variable/s, and how was it manipulated? If the research was correlational, what were the variables and what direction is the hypothesized relationship? If the research was some other kind of study, explain the variables that were being examined. 

  5. If the research was experimental or quasi-experimental, what was/were the dependent variable(s) and how were they measured? If it was correlational, what appeared to be the “outcome” variable the researchers were most interested in? 

  6. Summarize the findings of the research – don’t just quote/repeat. What did the researchers find out, and did their findings fit with their hypotheses or not? Be specific. 

  7. What conclusions and/or recommendations did the author(s) draw from the research? 

  8. a. Was the research design used adequate in answering the question under investigation, why or why not?  
    b. Discuss any uncontrolled extraneous variables (threats to validity) or other problems that you see with the research.

Grading Rubric for Journal Article Review 

Part I: 
___ (1 pts) Paper has title page and References page, in APA style 

Part II: 
___ (1 pts) Research questions/hypotheses are summarized in student’s own words, rather than simply repeating exactly what the article states. 
___ (1 pts) Study type is correctly identified, or reasons for possible type were clearly included. 

___ (1 pt) Sample was correctly identified  

___ (1 pt) IVs/DVs were correctly identified, or study variables were identified. 

___ (1 pts) Study findings are summarized in student’s own words, rather than simply quoting the article. 

___ (1 pts) Author conclusions/recommendations are summarized in student’s own words. 

___ (1 pts) Student gives a reasoned opinion as to why or why not the research design was adequate/useful. 

Part III: 
___ (1 pts) Copy of the article is attached/linked with the paper. 

___ (1 pts) Paper is proofread and edited to eliminate errors; paper contains fewer than five major grammatical or APA style errors. 


____Total Grade (out of 10) 

The JWU library has two style guides: 

APA Style Guide

However, if you need more in depth guidance on formatting go to the Purdue OWL

Need to talk to someone and seek guidance in real time?  

  • If you are a PVD campus student you can schedule an appointment with the writing coach through uSucceed. 

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Whether you're just getting started or need final editing advice, writing tutors are kind and trained to help you at any stage of the writing process. Visit the Academic Success Center website for more information.

Top Tips for Working with the Academic Success Center:

  1.    Book an appointment by phone: 401-598-1485  
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For 24/7 free online revision feedback, submit your paper to Smarthinking. Look for the link in jwuLink, under the Academics tab, under Academic Support Services.