Analysis of Empirical Article

Length: 2-3 pages, single spaced

The ability to read, understand, and critique the primary literature is an essential skill to have. In psychology, the primary literature consists mostly of empirical journal articles – articles that report the results of qualitative or quantitative empirical research. Generally, if it has a method and results section, it is reporting the results of one or more research studies and is, therefore, an empirical article. For this assignment, you will choose an article and critique it. I have 5 articles that relate to the topics discussed in this course that you may choose from. With this assignment, you should closely read the article so that you can understand the methods, results, and conclusions, as well as form your own assessment about the research and interpretation of the findings.

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Part I: Citation

At the top of your paper, give the complete, APA-format citation for the article you have chosen. (10 points)


Kanner, L. (1943). Autistic disturbances of affective contact. Nervous Child, 2, 217-250.

This provides a free tutorial on basic APA style.

See the example references in the green boxes.

Part II: Summary

Please summarize the article using the following format. Include one paragraph (or set of bullet points, if you prefer) for each of the following:

1) Research Hypothesis/hypotheses. What is the research question (or questions) being

asked and/or what hypotheses are being tested? Some authors are very explicit about this, actually listing hypotheses; others are less so. But all articles should make some statement of the questions the authors set out to investigate. (10 points)

2) Research design/methods. Provide a summary of the most important details of the research design. Include some description of participants (how many and who they are), method (e.g., experimental, survey, longitudinal, randomized controlled trial, etc.), technique, and procedure. What did they do in this study? (10 points)

3) Variables. List the most important independent (or predictor) and dependent (or

outcome) variables and how they were measured. (e.g., DV: depression, measured with the Beck Depression Inventory). The independent variable is the one that the researcher has control over and is manipulation. When there are groups of subjects it is often the group (i.e. ASD or TD). The dependent variable is what you are measuring (i.e. brain activation). (10 points)

4) Results. Briefly describe the most important results. Be accurate, but as succinct as possible. Remember, this should be a summary of their findings. (10 points)

5) Interpretation of tables. If there are any tables in the article, summarize the information that is being conveyed. Be complete. If there are sections of the table that you don’t understand, summarize what you do understand and indicate the parts that were confusing (e.g., “I didn’t know what the heterogeneity column referred to”). If there is more than one table, choose only one to summarize. (5 points)

6) Interpretation of figures. If there are any figures in the article, summarize the

information that is being conveyed. Be complete. If there is more than one figure, just choose one to summarize. (5 points)

7) Conclusions. Briefly summarize the author’s major conclusion(s). Were the hypotheses supported or not? What is the significance of the findings, according to the authors? (10 points)

Part III: Critique

This is where you interpret what you have summarized. Include at least one paragraph for each of the following two sections.

1) Provide your assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the research design and data analysis. You may consider any of the following, or any other factors that you think are important: choice of participants (e.g., how many, demographic characteristics), recruitment strategies, operationalization of variables, type of study (e.g., experimental, longitudinal), techniques used, instructions, procedures, personnel involved in the data collection (e.g., interviewers, confederates), variables that were not considered or controlled (confounds), statistical procedures used. Sometimes authors will provide weaknesses or limitations of their study. It is permissible to incorporate some or all of these assessments into your own paper, but please use your own words to describe the fundamental point(s) and you also need to add at least some of your own thoughts on weaknesses of the study. Don’t just take the authors at their word — do your own thinking. (15 points)

2) Provide your assessment of the validity of the conclusions reported. Are the main statements made by the authors in the discussion section actually supported by their data/results? Are there other conclusions or interpretations that the authors have either not thought of or have chosen not to report? Do you agree with the significance of the findings that they have reported? Include information about the future directions – where should this line of research go next (e.g. larger study with more subjects, different populations, etc.). This is sometimes included, but again please use your own words and try to think of additional follow-up studies. (15 points)

this is the article I have chosen. Please use this.

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