The purpose of this assignment is for you to show your understanding of peer-reviewed empirical articles through:
1) reviewing original research;
2) evaluating claims, methods, and conclusions;
3) communicating your analysis in a way that translates scientific information into common terms for a general audience. In writing an article review, you gain skills in summarising key points and findings, interpreting results, evaluating the validity of the methods used and results reported, and communicating information to an audience in ways they understand.
Step 1: Read the tips from the UMGC library on “Finding Experimental (Empirical) Research Articles.” Pay special attention to the sections on “Scholarly Research Articles” the “Structure of An Experimental Article”
Step 2: Using the UMGC Library electronic databases, find an article published in the last seven (7) years in an academic, peer-reviewed journal related to the biological basis of psychology, sensation and perception, or memory and cognition (e.g., Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, & Economics; Behavioral Neuroscience).
The article should describe, specifically, an experiment or empirical study by the researchers. This means that the researchers conducted a study that contains easily identifiable independent and dependent variables. (Do not select meta-analyses, summaries, editorials, or theoretical articles.
It is your responsibility to make sure that the journal article you select is appropriate. If you are unsure about the relevance of your article, contact your instructor for approval.).
Step 3: Read the article starting with the Title and Abstract, which will give you a quick preview of the purpose and results of the article.
Step 4: Read the Introduction. Highlight the purpose of the article and the author’s hypothesis (e.g., what was studied, what did the author predicted, and why did they find the topic worthy of study). Pay attention to the context provided for the research (i.e., what research has been done previously in the field? what issue or problem is this study trying to address?).
Step 5: Read the Methods section. Note the description of the participants and any tests, surveys, questionnaires, apparatus, or other materials that were used.
Pay particular attention to the details involved in the experimental procedure. How were the variables manipulated or measured?
Recall that the Independent Variable (IV) is the variable that is manipulated by the research (i.e., whether the room is hot or cold (if that is the variable of interest) or whether participants are given a placebo, shown any type of media or other stimuli, given talk therapy, or instructed to take medication (if that is the variable of interest).
Remember that the Independent Variable is what was different about the experiences of the different groups. Recall also that the Dependent Variable (DV) is that variable that is measured, or, the outcome of the study.
Step 6: Read the Results. Try not to get intimidated by complex statistical analysis. Instead of focusing on the numbers, focus on the short descriptions that accompany the findings explaining what the researchers found (i.e., Did the researchers find evidence that supports their hypothesis?)
Step 7: Read the Discussion. Pay special attention here to what the authors say about the importance of their findings or the lack of findings. Think about other things you could do to look at this issue.
Step 8: Prepare a 1–2-page summary of the article in your own words. Be sure to address the following questions in your summary:
What is the purpose of the research? (Address specifics regarding the overall purpose of the research in question.)
What hypothesis is tested? (Provide a clear statement of the researchers’ prediction.)
How did the researchers investigate their research question? (Provide details regarding the study methodology.)
What are the pertinent results of the manipulation? (What were the findings and conclusions drawn?)
What is your personal opinion of the study conducted? Should it be repeated? What could be improved?
What is your overall impression of the work? What are the implications of the study?
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