Critical Article Review Paper
Purpose: The purpose of this assignment is for you to show your understanding of peerreviewed empirical articles through 1) reviewing original research; 2) evaluating claims,
methods, and conclusions; and 3) communicating your analysis in a way that translates scientific
information into common terms for a general audience. In writing an article review, you gain
skills in summarizing key points and findings, interpreting results, evaluating the validity of the
methods used and results reported, and communicating information to an audience in ways they
Step 1: Read the tips from the library on “Finding Experimental (Empirical) Research Articles.”
Pay special attention to the sections on “Scholarly Research Articles” the “Structure of An
Step 2: Using electronic databases, find an article published in the last seven (7) years in a
psychology journal with a focus on Clinical Psychology (e.g., Journal of Clinical Psychology).
The article should describe an experimental manipulation by the researchers specifically. This
means that the researchers conducted a study that is an experiment with easily identifiable
independent and dependent variables. (Do not select meta-analyses, summaries, correlational
studies, editorials, or theoretical articles. It is your responsibility to make sure that the journal
article you select is appropriate. If you are unsure about the relevance of your article, contact
your instructor for approval.).
Step 3: Read the article starting with the Title and Abstract, which will give you a quick preview
of the purpose and results of the article.
Step 4: Read the Introduction. Highlight the purpose of the article and the author’s hypothesis
(e.g., what was studied, what the authors predicted, and why they found the topic worthy of
study). Pay attention to the context provided for the research. (For example: What research has
been done previously in the field? What issue or problem is this study trying to address?)
Step 5: Read the Methods section. Note the description of the participants and any tests, surveys,
questionnaires, apparatus, or other materials that were used. Pay particular attention to the details
involved in the experimental procedure. How were the variables manipulated or measured?
Recall that the independent variable (IV) is the variable that is manipulated by the research [e.g.,
whether the room is hot or cold – if that is the variable of interest) or whether participants are
given a placebo, shown any type of media or other stimuli, given talk therapy, or instructed to
take medication (if that is the variable of interest)]. Remember that the independent variable is
what was different about the experiences of the different groups. Recall also that the dependent
variable (DV) is that variable that is measured, or, the outcome of the study (i.e., test
performance or lessening of depressive symptoms).
Step 6: Read the Results. Try not to get intimidated by complex statistical analysis. Instead of
focusing on the numbers, focus on the short descriptions that accompany the findings explaining
what the researchers found. (Did the researchers find evidence that supports their hypothesis?)
Step 7: Read the Discussion. Pay special attention here to what the authors say about the
importance of their findings or the lack of findings. Think about other things you could do to
look at this issue.
Step 8: Prepare a 3- to 5-page summary of the article fully paraphrased in your own words and
your own writing style and structure. Changing a few words from the original is not fully
paraphrasing. Be sure to address the following questions in your summary:
• What is the purpose of the research? (Address specifics regarding the overall purpose of
the research in question.)
• What hypothesis is tested? (Provide a clear statement of the researchers’ prediction.)
• How did the researchers investigate their research question? (Provide details regarding
the study methodology.)
• What are the pertinent results of the manipulation? (What were the findings and
• What is your opinion of the study conducted? Should it be repeated? What could be
• What is your overall impression of the work? What are the implications of the study for
the practice of counseling psychology?
Your summary should be written as a coherent essay (do not format as a bullet list of answers to
these questions). You may include additional insights in your analysis, but you must address
these key issues.
Step 9: Prepare your Article Review according to the following guidelines:
• Structure your paper utilizing APA style (7th Edition); this includes title page, headings,
in-text citations, reference page, and general paper format (1-inch margins, doublespaced, appropriately sized sans serif or serif fonts – e.g., 12 Times Roman). An abstract
is not required.
• Apply sound writing mechanics: write with clarity, paying attention to spelling, grammar,
Critical Article Review Paper