psychology check point 2 (2)
This assignment will be easing you into reading scholarly research by focusing on the abstract–the summary paragraph that any longer empirical article will have at the start. The steps for this assignment are as follows:
Have an empirical article. If you’re not sure whether your article is empirical or not, you can run it by me, but also remember the quick checks: does the abstract have the words “this study” in it? Are there sections for “Methods” and “Results” in the main text? Have they gathered observations from some source?
Identify the purpose of each sentence in the abstract. Here’s an article that provides a little more detail about how you can break down an abstract, but you can just focus on the four main sections. Read through the abstract and try to categorize each sentence based on whether it falls into:
Introduction (or background)
Discussion (or conclusion)
Identify and list any unknown vocabulary in the abstract and title. Hopefully your abstract doesn’t overload on jargon, but there’s going to be at least a few words, phrases, or concepts that you’re not familiar with, or maybe that you don’t understand in this context. Maybe you understand each individual word in a phrase, but do you understand how they’re used together?
Look up and define your vocab. Write down the definitions that you found for your vocab. If there are multiple definitions, which one makes sense in this context? Some concepts might be specific to psychology, in which case you may want to consult the APA Dictionary of Psychology, Oxford Reference (both available through the library’s website), or see if there’s a definition provided in the main text of the article.
Come up with 3 questions about the study. The abstract is a summary, and so there are going to be some critical details that are missing. Some of these details can be critical in terms of figuring out how strong the evidence is. Your questions should help you in filling in some of these details that are left out in the abstract. For this purpose:
Two of your questions should focus on the methods. For example: How did the researchers measure or manipulate specific variables? What were their operational definitions of different concepts? Where did they obtain their sample?
One of your questions should focus on the results. How did a particular result in the study turn out? (Remember, the overall results should already be described in the abstract, so try to think of what else was measured.)
Find answers to your questions. You don’t have to read the article cover-to-cover; you should now be familiar enough with the abstract and how it’s laid out to jump to the section that will have the answer to any particular question. I don’t expect you to fully understand all of the article. There will be a lot of knowledge that the authors are expecting you to bring to the article, but that you just don’t have at this point. Focus on getting the main ideas clear, and filling out what important details you can.
Turn this all in with the first page. By first page, I mean the first page of the article itself, not the database entry that you get after you’ve searched for an article. If you downloaded a PDF, this may actually be the second page. The first page should have the title, authors’ names, abstract, and at least a few lines of the introduction. (And if you’re emailing, just email the entire article–don’t worry about trying to separate out the first page.)
I will upload topics with my professors comments. Please choose one to write this paper.