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PSYC 415: Developmental Research Methods

Research Guide for PSYC 415

Reading and Analyzing Scholarly Journal Articles

Reading scholarly, peer-reviewed journal articles is a skill that you develop. Journal articles (particularly research articles) are organized in a way that facilitates a more selective reading process, i.e. skimming and/or reading sections in a different order. 

There is no single way to correctly read a journal article. Ask your professors - they'll each have their own way of breaking down and reading articles, both within and outside of their field. Below are resources and guidelines to help you:

When you're reading your sources:

  1. Critically evaluate the theoretical positions being advanced
  2. Critically evaluate the adequacy of the methods and data to address the position being advanced
  3. Examine what has previously been found in studies about your topic
  4. Examine how your topic fits into this literature and how it helps answer your research questions

When you're critiquing journal articles, look for key information like:

  1. What are the main hypotheses?
  2. Why is this research important?
  3. What are the theoretical perspectives of the authors?
  4. What is the sample size?
  5. Were the research measures and procedures appropriate for studying the stated hypothesis?
  6. What were the key research findings?
  7. Are the authors' conclusions supported by the data? Why or why not?
  8. Did the authors show any bias?
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