Article Critique Instructions (60 points possible)
Ryan J. Winter
Florida International University
ARTICLE CRITIQUE INSTRUCTIONS 2
Purpose of The Article Critique Paper
1). Psychological Purpose
This paper serves several purposes, the first of which is helping you gain insight into
research papers in psychology. As this may be your first time reading and writing papers
in psychology, one goal of Paper I is to give you insight into what goes into such papers.
This article critique paper will help you learn about the various sections of an empirical
research report by reading at least one peer-reviewed articles (articles that have a Title
Page, Abstract*, Literature Review, Methods Section, Results Section, and References
Page—I have already selected some articles for you to critique, so make sure you only
critique one in the folder provided on Canvas) This paper will also give you some
insights into how the results sections are written in APA formatted research articles. Pay
close attention to those sections, as throughout this course you’ll be writing up some
results of your own!
In this relatively short paper, you will read one of five articles posted on Canvas and
summarize what the authors did and what they found. The first part of the paper should
focus on summarizing the design the authors used for their project. That is, you will
identify the independent and dependent variables, talk about how the authors carried out
their study, and then summarize the results (you don’t need to fully understand the
statistics in the results, but try to get a sense of what the authors did in their analyses). In
the second part of the paper, you will critique the article for its methodological strengths
and weaknesses. Finally, in part three, you will provide your references for the Article
Critique Paper in APA format.
2). APA Formatting Purpose
The second purpose of the Article Critique paper is to teach you proper American
Psychological Association (APA) formatting. In the instructions below, I tell you how to
format your paper using APA style. There are a lot of very specific requirements in APA
papers, so pay attention to the instructions below as well as the APA style powerpoint on
Canvas. We are using the 7th edition of the APA style manual.
3). Writing Purpose
Finally, this paper is intended to help you grow as a writer. Few psychology classes give
you the chance to write papers and receive feedback on your work. This class will! We
will give you feedback on this paper in terms of content, spelling, and grammar.
ARTICLE CRITIQUE INSTRUCTIONS 3
Article Critique Paper (60 points possible)
Each student is required to write an article critique paper based on one of the research articles
present on Canvas only those articles listed on Canvas can be critiqued – if you critique a
different article, it will not be graded). If you are unclear about any of this information, please
What is an article critique paper?
An article critique is a written communication that conveys your understanding of a research
article and how it relates to the conceptual issues of interest to this course.
This article critique paper will include 5 things:
1. Title page: 1 page- 4 points
Use APA style to present the appropriate information:
o A Running head must be included and formatted APA style
The running head is a short title of your creation (no more than 50
characters) that is in ALL CAPS. This running head is left-justified
(flush left on the page). Look at the first page of these instructions,
and you will see how to set up your running head.
There must be a page number on the title page that is right
justified. It is in the header on the title page and all subsequent
o Your paper title appears on the title page. This is usually 12 words or less,
and the first letter of each word is capitalized. It should be descriiptive of
the paper (For this paper, you should use the title of the article you are
critiquing. The paper title can be the same title as in the Running head or it
can differ – your choice). The title should be bolded.
o Your name will appear on the title page, include 2 double spaced lines
between the title and your name (see the title page here). Your name and
institutional affiliation (the name of your university) should not be bold.
o Your institution will appear on the title page as well
o For all papers, make sure to double-space EVERYTHING and use Times
New Roman font. This includes everything from the title page through the
o This is standard APA format. ALL of your future papers will include a
similar title page
2. Summary of the Article: 1 ½ page minimum, 3 pages maximum – 14 points
An article critique should briefly summarize, in your own words, the article research question
and how it was addressed in the article. Below are some things to include in your summary.
The summary itself will include the following:
1. Type of study (Was it experimental or correlational? How do you know?)
2. Variables (What were the independent and dependent variables? How did
they manipulate the IV? How did they operationally define the DV? Be
specific with these. Define the terms independent and dependent variable
and make sure to identify how they are operationally defined in the article)
ARTICLE CRITIQUE INSTRUCTIONS 4
3. Method (What did the participants do in the study? How was it set up?
Was there a random sample of participants? Was there random assignment
to groups?). How was data collected (online, in person, in a laboratory?).
4. Summary of findings (What were their findings?)
3. Critique of the study: 1 ½ pages minimum – 3 pages maximum – 16 points
This portion of the article critique assignment focuses on your own thoughts about the
content of the article (i.e. your own ideas in your own words). For this section, please
use the word “Critique” below the last sentence in your summary, and have the word
“Critique” flush left.
This section is a bit harder, but there are a number of ways to demonstrate critical
thinking in your writing. Address at least four of the following elements. You can
address more than four, but four is the minimum.
1). In your opinion, are there any confounding variables in the study (these could
be extraneous variables or nuisance variables)? If so, explain what the confound is
and specifically how it is impacting the results of the study. A sufficient
explanation of this will include at least one paragraph of writing.
2). Is the sample used in the study an appropriate sample? Is the sample
representative of the population? Could the study be replicated if it were done
again? Why or why not?
3). Did they measure the dependent variable in a way that is valid? Be sure to
explain what validity is, and why you believe the dependent variable was or was
not measured in a way that was valid.
4). Did the study authors correctly interpret their findings, or are there any
alternative interpretations you can think of?
5). Did the authors of the study employ appropriate ethical safeguards?
6). Briefly describe a follow-up study you might design that builds on the findings
of the study you read how the research presented in the article relates to research,
articles or material covered in other sections of the course
7). Describe whether you feel the results presented in the article are weaker or
stronger than the authors claim (and why); or discuss alternative interpretations of
the results (i.e. something not mentioned by the authors) and/or what research
might provide a test between the proposed and alternate interpretations
8). Mention additional implications of the findings not mentioned in the article
(either theoretical or practical/applied)
9). Identify specific problems in the theory, discussion or empirical research
presented in the article and how these problems could be corrected. If the
problems you discuss are methodological in nature, then they must be issues that
are substantial enough to affect the interpretations of the findings or arguments
presented in the article. Furthermore, for methodological problems, you must
justify not only why something is problematic but also how it could be resolved
and why your proposed solution would be preferable.
10). Describe how/why the method used in the article is either better or worse for
addressing a particular issue than other methods
4. Brief summary of the article: One or Two paragraphs-6 points
Write the words “Brief Summary”, and then begin the brief summary below this
ARTICLE CRITIQUE INSTRUCTIONS 5
In ONE or TWO paragraphs maximum, summarize the article again, but this time I
want it to be very short. In other words, take all of the information that you talked
about in the summary portion of this assignment and write it again, but this time in
only a few sentences.
The reason for this section is that I want to make sure you can understand the whole
study but that you can also write about it in a shorter paragraph that still emphasizes
the main points of the article. Pretend that you are writing your own literature review
for a research study, and you need to get the gist of an article that you read that helps
support your own research across to your reader. Make sure to cite the original study
(the article you are critiquing).
5. References – 1 page-4 points
Provide the reference for this article in proper APA format (see the book Chapter 14
for appropriate referencing guidelines or the Chapter 14 powerpoint).
If you cited other sources during either your critique or summary, reference them as
well (though you do not need to cite other sources in this assignment – this is merely
optional IF you happen to bring in other sources). Formatting counts here, so make
sure to italicize where appropriate and watch which words you are capitalizing!
6. Grammar and Writing Quality-6 points
Few psychology courses are as writing intensive as Research Methods (especially
Research Methods Two next semester!). As such, I want to make sure that you
develop writing skills early. This is something that needs special attention, so make
sure to proofread your papers carefully.
Avoid run-on sentences, sentence fragments, spelling errors, and grammar errors.
Writing quality will become more important in future papers, but this is where you
should start to hone your writing skills.
We will give you feedback on your papers, but I recommend seeking some help from
the FIU writing center to make sure your paper is clear, precise, and covers all needed
material. I also recommend asking a few of your group members to read over your
paper and make suggestions. You can do the same for them!
If your paper lacks originality and contains too much overlap with the paper you
are summarizing (i.e. you do not paraphrase appropriately or cite your sources
properly), you will lose some or all of the points from writing quality, depending
on the extent of the overlap with the paper. For example, if sentences contain
only one or two words changed from a sentence in the original paper, you will
lose points from writing quality.
Please note that you do not need to refer to any other sources other than the article on which you
have chosen to write your paper. However, you are welcome to refer to additional sources if you
7. Self-Rating Rubric (10 points). On canvas, you will find a self-rating rubric. This rubric
contains a summary of all the points available to you in this paper. You must submit your
ratings for your own paper, using this rubric (essentially, you’ll grade your own paper before
you hand it in). You will upload your completed rubric to the “article critique rubric”
assignment on Canvas.
ARTICLE CRITIQUE INSTRUCTIONS 6
Please put effort into your ratings. Do not simply give yourself a 50/50. Really reflect on
the quality of your paper and whether you meet all the criteria listed.
1. If it is clear that you have not reflected sufficiently on your paper (e.g.,
you give a rating of 2/2 for something that is not included in your paper),
you will lose points.
This does not mean that you are guaranteed whatever grade you give to yourself. Instead,
this will help you to 1) make sure that you have included everything you need to include,
and 2) help you to reflect on your own writing.
In fact, we will use this very same rubric when we grade your paper, so you should know
exactly what to expect for your grade!
Other guidelines for the article critique papers
1). Pay attention to the page length requirements – 1 page for the title page, 1.5 pages to 3
pages for the summary, 1.5 pages to 3 pages for the critique, one or two paragraphs for
the brief summary, and 1 page for the references page. If you are under the minimum, we
will deduct points. If you go over the maximum, we are a little more flexible (you can go
over by half page or so), but we want you to try to keep it to the maximum page.
2). Page size is 8 1/2 X 11” with all 4 margins set one inch on all sides. You must use 12-
point Times New Roman font.
3). As a general rule, ALL paragraphs and sentences are double spaced in APA papers. It
even includes the references, so make sure to double space EVERYTHING
4). When summarizing the article in your own words, you need not continually cite the
article throughout the rest of your critique. Nonetheless, you should follow proper
referencing procedures, which means that:
o If you are inserting a direct quote from any source, it must be enclosed in
quotations and followed by a parenthetical reference to the source. “Let’s say I am
directly quoting this current sentence and the next. I would then cite it with the
author name, date of publication, and the page number for the direct quote”
(Winter, 2013, p . 4).
1. Note: We will deduct points if you quote more than once per page, so keep
quotes to a minimum. Paraphrase instead, but make sure you still give the
original author credit for the material by citing him or using the author’s
name (“In this article, Smith noted that …” or “In this article, the authors
o If you choose to reference any source other than your chosen article, it must be
listed in a reference list.
5). Proofread everything you write. I actually recommend reading some sentences aloud
to see if they flow well, or getting family or friends to read your work. Writing quality
will become more important in future papers, so you should start working on that now!
You will get 10 points for filling out and submitting this along with your article critique
paper. The purpose of this is for you to reflect on the quality of your paper. This is due
when your article critique is due.
Place your rating for each category below, then add your ratings for each category at the
bottom where it says “total”. For example, if you believe that your descriiption of the kind
of study deserves 3 out of 4 points (because you know your explanation is not sufficient),
it should look like this: “your rating: 3” Please write your ratings in a different color font
so that they are easier to see.
Please put effort into your ratings. Do not simply give yourself a 50/50. Really reflect on
the quality of your paper and whether you meet all the criteria listed. If it is clear that you
have not reflected sufficiently on your paper (e.g., you give a rating of 2/2 for something
that is actually missing form your paper), you will lose points.
We will use this very same rubric when we grade your paper! This does not mean that
you are guaranteed to get the grade you give yourself, but it should help to minimize any
surprises when you get your grade.
Title page (4 points total)
Rating: Header Format
a) Is your Running head title in ALL CAPS? 1 point
b) Is everything in your paper in 12 point Times New Roman font?—1
c) Do you have a page number that is flush right (also in 12 point Times
New Roman font)? —-0.5 points
Title / Name / Institution
d) Do all title words with four letters or more start with a capital letter?-
— 0.5 points
e) Are your name and institution correct? Are your title, name, and
institution elements centered and in 12 point Times New Roman font?
See regulations for spacing and bolding of the title. —1 points
Total for Title Page (add up your ratings for a-e):
Summary of the Article (14 points total)
Rating: General Format and Header
f) Is your paper title present and identical to your title on the title page?
Summary of the Article (14 points total)
g) Does your summary have min 1 and half page and max 3 pages? —2
Summary of the Article
h) Does your summary note the type of design (experimental vs.
correlational)? —2 points
i) Does your summary note the independent variables? —2 points
j) Does your summary note dependent variables? —2 points
k) Does your summary describe the methods for the article, including
participants, measurement, methodology, and procedure? —3 points
l) Does your summary describe the findings? —2 points
Total for Summary (add up your ratings for f-l):
Rating: Critique of the Article (16 points total)
Does your critique identify at least four of the needed elements (see a
list on the assignment instructions, including confounding variables,
appropriate sample, valid/reliable dv, interpreting findings, ethics,
follow-up study, weak vs strong results, implications not mentioned in
the article, theory problems, why the methods used are better or worse
than alternatives —Each element is worth 4 points, and must include
sufficient detail and explanation.
Total for Critique (add up your ratings for each of the 4 critiques)
Rating: Brief Summary (6 points total)
m) Do you summarize the article in one to two paragraphs? —1 points
n) Does your brief summary highlight the main article points
(hypotheses, method, and subjects)? —3 points
o) Does your brief summary highlight the conclusions drawn by
authors? —2 points
Total for Brief Summary (add up your ratings for m-o):
In-text Citations and References Page (4 points total)
Rating: In-text Citation
p) Are in-text citations (including direct quotations) in APA format? —
q) Are your references in APA format? —2 points
Total for Brief Summary (add up your ratings for p & q):
Grammar and Writing Quality (6 points total)
Check your grammar and writing for the entire paper. Make sure to
proof read, and cite & paraphrase properly. Avoid personal pronouns
like “us”, “we”, “you”, and “I”. For a scientific paper like this, go with
more objective words like “people”, “participants”, “users”, or “viewers”
If your paper lacks originality and contains too much overlap with the
paper you are summarizing (i.e. you do not paraphrase appropriately or
cite your sources properly), you will lose some or all of the points from
writing quality, depending on the extent of the overlap with the paper.
For example, if sentences contain only one or two words changed from
a sentence in the original paper, you will lose points from writing
Your Rating for Writing Quality:
Your Total Grade: /50 points (add up all “total ratings” above from each of the 6
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