HANDOUT 4.1


1. Read an article from a journal--not from a magazine, such as Psychology Today. The article should report original research and should contain an abstract, method section, results section, and reference section.

2. Summarize this article (while avoiding jargon--even if it's in the title) so that a sixth-grader could understand:

a. Why they did the study;

b. What they did (What happened to the subjects who participated in the study);

c. What they found

d. What they concluded

Hint: Start by telling the reader what the hypothesis was. If the hypothesis is drawn from a theory, explain why the hypothesis follows from theory and how the theory would pass the test and how it could fail the test. Next, explain how variables are being operationalized and why these particular operationalizations are being used (used in previous studies, sensitive, nonreactive, etc.). Then, talk, in concrete terms, about what was done, what was found, and what it means.

3. After having summarized the article (translated it from "journalese" into English), critique the study's internal, external, and construct validity.

a. Internal Validity:

1. Was it an experiment? If so, the internal validity is virtually guaranteed. How can you determine whether it's an experiment? If it is an experiment, tell me what the independent variable was and what the dependent variable was.

2. If it was a correlational study, what nontreatment factors could account for the results?

b. Construct Validity:

1. Do you think the measures the researchers used were good ones? Why or why not?

2. Do you think their treatment did what they thought it did? Why or why not?

3. Did the researchers take any precautions to eliminate experimenter effects?

4. Do you think demand characteristics were a problem with this study? Why or why not?

c. External Validity:

How confident are you that the results would hold:

1. Over time?

2. With other subjects?

3. In a different setting?

d. Do you think that conducting the study was ethical? Why or why not?

4. Conclusions:

a. Why did they do the study?

b. What did they find?

c. What did they conclude?

d. What was good about the study?

e. If you were to redo their study, what 1 or 2 changes would you make? Why?


Handout 4.2
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