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Four Questions to Answer in Study Analysis

Question 1: What is the theory being tested?

Here are the four questions to be answered for each of the articles

1. What is the theory being tested (the “idea” being tested) in this study?

To answer this question, you will read the article’s Introduction. It will tell you about the idea the authors chose to examine in their study. What aspect of human behaviour are they testing? Discuss this idea in your own words. You might want to make use of your textbook (but you don’t necessarily need to, as all the information you require will be found in the article itself). You can match up the ideas presented in the article with material from the text; looking for similar concepts. Nonetheless, the information that you will need to answer this question will come from the article itself (and make sure that you are putting these ideas into your own words). Finally, if you are unclear about the meaning of “theory”, the textbook defines this concept and gives examples.

2. What hypothesis (or hypotheses) are the authors testing in this study?

To answer this question, you are going to report the article’s hypothesis (or hypotheses, if there is more than one hypothesis). Because hypotheses are fairly direct statements, this particular answer might bring you close to quoting the article (but I still want you to put everything into your own words). In addition, you should explain what this hypothesis means. A hypothesis is a pretty direct statement/claim, so explain this statement in plain language (as if you were explaining it to someone who doesn’t understand psychology). If you are unclear about the meaning of “hypothesis”, the textbook defines this concept and gives examples.

3. How are they proposing to test these hypotheses?

To answer this question, you are going to tell me a bit about “what the authors did” in their study. They have proposed a hypothesis, and then they designed a study to test that hypothesis. You must tell me “how” they tested that hypothesis (i.e., they brought participants into a lab and had them fill out questionnaires, or they had participants walk across a very high rope bridge and then measured how their fear arousal influenced their attraction to a confederate, etc.). There will be specific statistical tests mentioned in the article that we haven’t discussed in our class – do not bother trying to describe these tests – instead your focus here should be on what the researchers did in this study: what are they getting their participants to do, what variables did they measure or manipulate, and how did they measure/manipulate those variables?

4. What were the findings and the meaning of this study?

What are the results of this study? Were the hypotheses supported? If so, how? If not, what did the authors find? What do these findings mean? To answer these questions, you do not need to get into specific numbers; I want you to present the results “in general.” Tip: In many articles, the authors will summarize their results at the beginning of the “discussion” section (after the results section). Often, this summary is easier to understand than the results section. In your answer to this question, you should specifically discuss which hypotheses were supported or not. You should also discuss the meaning of these results/findings.

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