Article reading


Hunt, R. R., Smith, R. E., & Dunlap, K. R. (2011). How does distinctive processing reduce false recall? Journal of Memory and Language, 65, 378-389.


(APA format is very specific. I recommend picking up an APA manual 7th edition. They’re pretty cheap and an amazing resource. Otherwise, you can find APA format info by googling “Owl Purdue APA format.”)


NOTE: Different types of sources require different methods of citation. So, the citation format for a journal article will differ from that of a book chapter or an internet source.


Research Question

What is the underlying question the researchers were aiming to answer?



Does masturbation frequency change as a function of age?


Is there a meaningful relationship between sexual preferences and religious background?


What is the prevalence of HIV in a given population?


Do oysters act as an aphrodisiac?


Importance (why would other researchers be interested in this study?)

What can be gained from the information provided in this study? How might this inform future research?


Hypotheses are specific predictions about the general research question. For example, if the research question is, “Does masturbation frequency change as a function of age,” then a hypothesis might be, “As age increases, masturbation frequency decreases.”

Design & Variables

Design: Descriptive, correlational, meta-analytic, or experimental?



Independent variable(s): This is “manipulated” variable. Only experimental designs involve independent variables. If the research question is, “Do oysters act as an aphrodisiac?” then the independent variable would be the administration of oysters. For example, you might have one group of participants who consume a half-dozen of oysters, another group who consumes a dozen oysters, and a third group who consumes no oysters (i.e., a control group).



Dependent variable(s): This is the “variable of interest.” In other words, this is the thing that the researchers are trying to acquire information about. While only experimental designs include independent variables, all research designs will include at least one (and sometimes many more) dependent variable. In the above example, the researchers are wanting to know if the consumption of oysters increases sexual desire. In order to determine this, they might measure self-reported sexual desire levels and/or physiological signs of sexual desire, like blood flow, perspiration, and pupillary dilation. Sexual desire would be the dependent variable, and these things would be used to measure it.


Number of participants (n = ____)

This is just the number of individuals who acted as participants in the study.

Materials & Measures

In psychology, we often have to use indirect measures to acquire information about a dependent variable. In the above example involving oysters and sexual desire, the way one might go about measuring sexual desire could include self-reports, questionnaires, tools that measure blood flow, eye trackers that measure pupil dilation, etc. Any materials that were used to gather data should be listed/briefly described here.


NOTE: Type of materials used will often differ depending on the research design. For example, descriptive research often employs behavioral observations, questionnaires, and/or surveys.


Brief Description of Procedure

Here, you should provide a brief chronological account of what participants actually did in the study.



Participants completed informed consents and were randomly assigned to one of three conditions. Measures of sexual desire were gathered prior to oyster exposure in order to get baseline measures for each participant. Depending on condition, participants then consumed either a half-dozen oysters, a dozen oysters, or zero oysters. Next, participants again completed the sexual desire measures so that any change in desire due to oyster consumption could be inferred.


NOTE: Procedures can differ greatly depending on the research design. For example, a meta-analytic design would involve analyzing several experimental studies on a particular subject and then summarizing the collective results.



What did the researchers find? Was there a significant correlation or experimental effect? If the design was descriptive, what kind of frequency data did they find?

Limitations (Is there anything about this research that might affect the generalizability of the results?)

There are always limitations to every research design. More specifically, there are some limitations that will apply to all studies employing a given design (e.g., all descriptive research), and there will be limitations that apply to a particular study. For example, descriptive and correlational research can be said to have low internal validity because it is difficult (or impossible) to control for extraneous variables. Experimental designs, on the other hand, can be said to have lower external validity because it often involves a great degree of variable control. Another common limitation is sample size. Results from a small sample may be less generalizable than those from a larger sample. If the researchers utilized a sample of convenience (i.e., one that was convenient but might not be representative of the entire population of interest), this this could also be considered a limitation.


NOTE: I want you to come up with something to put here. This might take some critical thought!

How does this inform your group project?

Why is this study relevant to your own project topic?