Article Summary1 Format
Article Summary Instructions: Follow these instructions for writing article summaries
Part of the challenge of writing an article summary is in deciding what is important and what is not important when reading an article. To help you with this task, I encourage you to use this article summary guide as you read articles for this class. After you summarize the article using this guide, you can easily insert parts of this guide into your introduction.
Below each question I have provided an example from the article titled “Intentional inferences are not more likely that unintentional ones: Some evidence against the intentionality bias hypothesis” This is an example only. You should answer each question using the article you are currently reading.
- Provide a full reference for the article you are summarizing in proper APA format. For this guide I will use the following article for all of my examples. You may read it and then see exactly what I chose to summarize.
Hughes, J. S., Sandry, J., & Trafimow, D. (2012). Intentional inferences are not more likely that unintentional ones: Some evidence against the intentionality bias hypothesis. Journal of Social Psychology, 152, 1-4. doi: 10.1080/00224545.2011.565383
- Main purpose of the article: Briefly note what you think the main purpose of the article is. For example, is the purpose to report on the findings of an experiment? Is it to review a number of different research projects on a particular topic? Is it to critique a research study done by a group of researchers? Is it to discuss the development of a survey? This explanation should be approximately 2 or 3 sentences long, and should be written in your own words, not the words of the authors of the article. For example:
The main purpose of the article is to provide evidence against the idea that intentional inferences are automatic. In a more carefully designed study, the author’s refuted the theory that intentional attribution is a heuristic or automatic process.
- Need for doing the research:in 2-3 sentences, explain in your own words, not the authors’, what the researchers claim the need for the research they conducted is, in other words, why did they conduct their research? What did they want to find out? For example:
The author’s felt that research was needed because there were inconsistencies with regard to the theory of intentional attribution. Rosset (2008) showed that people were more likely to judge an action as intentional when they were under time constraints. In contrast, Malle and Knobe’s (1997) theory of intentionality suggested that the process of making an intentional judgment is systematic and requires time. The author’s wanted to find out which theory was correct.
- How the research meets that need: in a 2-3 sentences, explain in your own words, not the authors’, how the specific research study (or those that they reviewed) addresses what the authors wanted to find out. For example:
The author’s replicated and improved the study conducted by Rosset (2008). They used the same sentences as Rosset, but also measured response time and examined consistency. They also manipulated time constraint. This study would help determine if there is a bias toward intentional judgment.
- The methods used: in a 3-4 sentences, explain in your own words, not the authors’, the methods the authors used to conduct their study. For example:
The author’s asked participants to judge a number of behaviors that were ambiguously intentional or accidental, or unambiguously intentional and accidental. Participants were randomly assigned to a speeded (they were instructed to go as fast as possible) or unspeeded (no instructions regarding speed) conditions. Participant’s responses (intentional or unintentional) and responses times were measured.
- Findings of the research: in 2-4 sentences (depending on the nature of the study/studies), explain in your own words, not the authors’, what the results of the study were – you do not have to provide specific numbers/statistics, just explain the main findings in narrative form. For example:
Participants were more likely to judge actions as intentional in the unspeeded than speeded condition. While participants were faster to respond to unambiguously (control) intentional than accidental sentences, they were slower to respond to ambiguous (test) intentional compared to accidental action sentences. Thus, in the test conditions, participants were faster to respond to accidental actions than intentional ones. Finally, participants were more consistent in responding to ambiguous and unambiguous accidental action sentences compared to intentional action sentences.
- Integrate the findings with previous research on the topic and/or theories that relate to the topic: in
2-4 sentences, explain in your own words, not the authors’, what relevance (see the discussion section of the paper you read) the authors’ believe their findings have to the larger literature on the topic. For example:
The data went in the opposite direction than would be expected based on the intentionality bias theory. If there was an intentionality bias, participants should have been more consistent and faster to respond to intentional action sentences compared to accidental action sentences. This finding lends support to Malle and Knobe’s (1997) theory on intentionality. It also suggests that judging an action as intentional takes time and cognitive resources.
- Problems and Questions: In complete sentences (not a list), explain any difficulties you had with the article, such as elements you found difficult to understand, or that were confusing or contradictory. Also, please mention any questions that came to mind as a result of reading/while you were reading the article. For example:
There was some jargon used in this paper. The author’s referred to the dual process model (the idea that we respond to stimuli either slowly and automatically, or more slowly and systematically) without fully explaining it.
- Ask for help: Can you find the answers to your questions via google or the textbook? If not, ask your teammates for assistance. See if they understood the areas that you had trouble with. Then, if you are still uncertain ask your instructor for assistance.
1 Adapted from Denise Emer’s Article Summary Format and Bordens & Abbot’s purpose of a research report