General Psych RPU Requirement

B. Option 2:  Two summaries of two published research articles

Students who are unwilling or unable to participate as subjects in experiments (Method 1) may fulfill this requirement by submitting summaries of two published research articles.  The first summary must be submitted to your instructor by the 7th week of the semester.  (Consult your course syllabus or your instructor about the due date of the first paper). 

Students who miss that deadline must fulfill the requirement via Method 1.

The second summary is due on or before the 14th week of the semester.  (Again, consult your syllabus or your instructor about the due date of the second paper).

The papers must be written according to the following specifications:

They must be typewritten, double-spaced, and 2 pages in length.

Articles must be selected from psychological journals and must be relevant to topics covered in General Psychology such as child development, nervous system and behavior, learning, memory, psychopathology, etc. (NOTE: Psychology Today and other summaries that can be located on the Internet are not acceptable sources). Recommended psychology journals include those published by the two major organizations for professional psychologists: the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Association for Psychological Science (APS).

For articles outside of APA and APS publications, please clear your source with your instructor.

Paper Format

1.  Construct a face page that includes your name, RUID, course section, date and the words Article Summary.

2.  At the top of the next page type the source of the article.  Begin with author(s) name(s) followed by year, title of the article, journal name, volume and pages.  Here is an example of the expected format:

        Rich, C.L., Ricketts, J.E., Fowler, R.C., & Young, D. (1988).  Some
                differences between men and women who commit suicide.
                 American Journal of Psychiatry, 145, pp. 718-722.

3.  Structure your summary using the following headings:

A. Introduction.  State the topic of the investigation and the major question(s) being
addressed including primary hypotheses or predictions.

B. Method.  The method section should be subdivided as follows:

Participants.  Who or what served as subjects?  If human subjects were involved, provide the relevant information, e.g., 103 undergraduate students, 63 females and 40 males.

Instruments.  What materials were used?  Here you report the instruments or equipment used in the study (questionnaires, observations, tests, injections, mazes).

Procedures.  What did the researchers do?  What procedures did they follow?  For example, "Participants were asked to memorize a list of words under 3 different conditions" (describe the conditions) "and were then tested for their ability to recall the words."

C.  Results.  Briefly summarize the results.  In many instances, results are reported in the context of the statistical methods used in the investigation.  You are not expected to be able to understand this statistical information.  Instead, go for words and report the major findings

D.   Discussion and Evaluation.  Describe what you learned from the study.  Although a sophisticated methodological critique of the study is probably beyond your reach at this point in your education, feel free to comment on any flaws you find in the research, alternative perspectives not considered by the author(s), and other mattes that captured your attention.  In most instances, it will be sufficient to simply declare what you "brought away" with you as a result of studying the article.

Note that one of the primary challenges of this alternative to research participation is to condense a great deal of information into a small (2-page) package.  Clear, crisp, descriptive writing is essential.

E.  Attachment.  Attach a photocopy of the first page of the article you review at the end of your 2-page paper.