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PSYC 372: Animal Behavior

Research Guide for PSYC 372

Analyzing research articles

Use the research articles you select to build your own informed opinions and arguments.

When you're reading research articles for your assignments, look for key information like:

  • What is the main hypothesis? 
  • Why is this research important?
  • Did the researchers use appropriate measures and procedures?
  • What are the study's independent and dependent variables?
  • What were the key research findings?
  • Is the evidence falsifiable?
  • Does the evidence (data) support the authors' conclusions?
  • How do the arguments in this article affect what you think about your species or your hypothesis for its behavior?

Selecting sources: Are your sources CRAAP?

Are your sources appropriate for university-level research? Ask questions about your sources when you're deciding whether or not to use them for your research assignments:

Currency: The timeliness of the information 

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has it been updated?
  • Do you need the most current, up-to-date information on your topic?

RelevanceThe information meets your assignment needs 

  • Does the source meet your assignment requirements?
  • Does the information directly relate to your topic?
  • Does it help you answer questions?
  • Have you looked at other sources to find the best one?

Authority: The source of the information 

  • Who is the author or publisher?
  • Are they qualified to write about this area?
  • If it's a website, what does the URL say about the source, i.e. .com .edu .gov .org?

Accuracy: The reliability and correctness of the information 

  • Is the information supported by citations or other evidence?
  • Can you verify the information with another source?
  • Is the author or publisher biased or unbiased? 

Purpose: The reason the information exists

  • What is the purpose of the information? To inform, sell, persuade, or entertain?
  • Is the information given a fact or an opinion?
  • Is the author or publisher biased or unbiased?

What Are Peer-Reviewed Articles?

You are supposed to use peer-reviewed articles for your annotated bibliography and zoo observation. What are peer-reviewed articles? Watch this video to find out.

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