Unit 05

Unit 5:
How to Find and Read Carefully the Psychological Science Literature
Unit 5: Assignment #1 (due before 11:59 pm Central on THU JUL 5):

  1. First:
    1. To learn the process journal articles go through en route to being published in the scholarly literature, read through Hartwright’s (2017) brief PowerPoint “What Is a Journal Article?
    2. To learn why in this course we will be using Google Scholar to find psychological science literature (rather than using PsychLit, PubMed, Web of Science, or other commercial data bases), read Harzing’s (2017) article, “Google Scholar Is a Serious Alternative to Web of Science.”
    3. Jot down, perhaps in your Course Journal, three reasons why it’s perfectly fine – and even preferable – to use Google Scholar, for the next time someone (maybe even a Psychology professor) questions your using Google Scholar to find scholarly literature.
  2. Next, to learn how to use Google Scholar, watch Charles Sturt University Library’s (2013) YouTube, “How to Use Google Scholar.”
    1. Because this YouTube was made by another university’s library, when the narrator tells you (at the 0:59 minute mark) to “enter Charles Sturt University,” you should instead enter “University of Wisconsin-Madison.”
    2. When the narrator tells you to select the “CSU Library,” you should instead select as many of the two library selections indicated in this screenshot as you can.
    3. Unless you’re planning to use EndNote, which is a citation management application, you can stop watching the YouTube at the 2:50 minute mark.
  3. Now, let’s talk about journal paywalls. As you’ll see when you to try to access the actual articles (rather than just the titles and abstracts of articles), you’ll have to jump through a lot of hoops. Those hoops are due to journals’ paywalls.
    1. If you weren’t a student or staff at a university, and therefore if you didn’t have access to a university’s library, you’d find that most of the “full texts” of journal articles (rather than just their titles and abstracts) were paywalled.
    2. Paywalled means that the full text of the journal article is available to you only if you pay a fee to access each journal article (or if you have a paid subscrption to the journal).
    3. To learn more about scholarly journal paywalls and the movement toward making journal articles open access rather than paywalled, read Mayyasi’s (2013) article, “Why Is Science Behind a Paywall?
    4. One legal way to work around journal paywalls is to install the Unpaywall browser plugin.
      • To learn about Unpaywall, read Unpaywall.org’s Frequency Asked Questions (FAQ).
      • Consider installing Unpaywall for the future when you are no longer a student or staff member at a university and therefore you no longer have access to your university’s library.
  4. Finally, it’s time to practice using Google Scholar. Think of three psychological science topics, each of which you will use as a search term on Google Scholar.
    1. It will be best if you use somewhat broad (but not too broad) topics.
      • For example, “mother-child attachment,” “adolescent depression,” “reading development,” “Big Five personality traits,” “change blindness,” “stereotype threat,” “effects of video games,” “treatment for eating disorders,” and “brain training” are broad enough.
      • In contrast, “development” and “personality” are too broad, and “depression in 12-year-olds” is probably not broad enough.
    2. For each of your three psychological science topics, use Google Scholar to find three journal articles, each of which is at a different level according to the Hierarchy of Scientific Evidence.
    3. You will probably need to experiment with using quoted phrases (e.g., “mother-child attachment” AND “meta-analysis”) for your Google Scholar searches.
    4. For each these 9 articles (three topics x three levels of scientific evidence = 9 articles), you must find each article’s complete PDF (not simply the article’s Google Scholar entry or the article’s abstract on the publishers’ website).
    5. For suggestions on what links to follow to find an article’s PDF, which is also called the article’s “Full Text,” look at this screenshot.
  5. Go to the Unit 5: Assignment #1 and #5 Discussion Board and make a new post of at least 200 words. For each of your three psychological science topics,
    1. describe briefly why you chose that topic;
    2. identify the level (on the hierarchy of scientific evidence) of each of the three articles you found on that psychological science topic (remember that each of your three articles needs to be at a different level on the hierarchy of scientific evidence); and
    3. embed a link to each of the three articles’ [full-text] PDFs;
      • Be sure to link to the actual [full-text] PDF, not simply the article’s Google Scholar entry or only the abstract that appears on a journal publisher’s website.
      • For this assignment, the [full-text] PDF can be behind a paywall; however, the paywall must be one that our university library allows users to cross over (when they are logged into the university’s network).
      • In other words, the paywall cannot be one that users of our university library are still not able to cross over.
      • Be sure to embed each of your three links using the technique you learned from Course How.
    4. At this point in the Unit, do not worry about using a citation style (e.g., APA citation style); we will focus on citation style later in this Unit. Instead, each of your links should be the title of the article, in Title Case, and should look something like this: “Attachment Security: A Meta-Analysis of Maternal Mental Health Correlates.”

Unit 5: Assignment #2 (due before 11:59 pm Central on FRI JUL 6):

  1. As you learned in Unit 4, one indicator of bad science reporting in the popular press is the lack of reliance on peer-reviewed studies. Therefore, when reading a popular press article, it’s important to find out if the popular press article is based on results reported in a scholarly article.
  2. Good popular press articles indicate they’re based on results from a scholarly article by providing a link to those scholarly articles.
    1. For example, look at the first page of Kaplan’s (2013) popular press article “Most Depressing Brain Finding Ever” and the first page of Mooney’s (2013) popular press article, “Science Confirms: Politics Wrecks Your Ability to do Math.”
    2. Both of these two popular press articles link to the study on which they’re based with words such as “According to a new psychology paper, …” “The study, …” and “… research paper …”.
  3. Other popular press articles link to the study’s scholarly article at the end of their popular press article.
    1. For example, take another look at Fradera’s (2017) article, “How Much Are Readers Misled by Headlines that Imply Correlational Findings Are Causal?,” which you read during Unit 4.
    2. However, note that the link given to the scholarly article on which Fradera’s popular press article is based leads to only the journal article’s abstract. That’s because the scholarly article is not open access; it’s paywalled.
      • If readers of the popular press article don’t have access to a university library, they won’t be able to read more than the abstract of the scholarly article, unless they’re willing to pay $11.95.
      • Readers who won’t be able to read the entire scholarly article (unless they pay $11.95) include journalists who want to write popular press articles about that scholarly article.
  4. Find ten popular press articles on topics that interest you. For each of the ten popular press articles:
    1. Identify whether the popular press article is based on the results reported in a scholarly article.
    2. If the popular press article is based on the results reported in a scholarly article, identify whether the popular press article links to that scholarly article.
    3. If the popular press article is based on a scholarly article and if the popular press article links to that scholarly article, identify whether the scholarly article is open access or paywalled.
  5. Go to the Unit 5: Assignment #2 Discussion Board and make a new post in which you list (in a numbered list) the ten popular press articles. For each of the ten popular press articles,
    1. provide a link to the popular press article (use the name of the popular press article for the text that you use for your embedded link, e.g., “Most Depressing Brain Finding Ever”);
    2. provide a link to the scholarly article, if it was provided in the popular press article (use the wording that was used in the popular press article, e.g., “According to a new psychology paper“); and
    3. tell us whether the scholarly article is available through open access or only through a (university library) paywall.

Unit 5: Assignment #3 (due before 11:59 pm Central on FRI JUL 6):

  1. To develop a good personal cataloging system for all scholarly articles that you save to your own computer:
    1. Download (and save onto your own computer) the PDFs of each of the 9 journal articles you found in Assignment #1.
    2. Decide on a filename convention for journal article PDFs that you save on your computer.
      • A simple but useful convention is LastName_JournalName_PublicationYear.pdf, for example, Garcia_PsychologicalScience_2017.pdf, for which LastName refers to the last name of the author who is listed first (this person is usually called the “first author”), JournalName refers to the name of the journal (e.g., Psychological Science), and PublicationYear is self-explanatory.
      • The LastName_JournalName_PublicationYear.pdf convention is relatively good because chances are you won’t be saving multiple PDFs with the same first author’s last name, published in the same journal, during the same year.
      • Although using keywords (e.g., adolescent suicide) in your filename might seem like a better idea, many journal articles can be characterized by multiple keywords (e.g., adolescent suicide, meta-analysis, U.S. participants only, post-2000, small sample). And the keyword that makes most sense to you when you first read the article might not make most sense to you a few weeks, much less months or years, later.
      • Besides, for scholarly writing, you will need to know the first author’s last name, the journal’s name, and the publication year, so you might as well capture that information in your filename.
      • Having said all of this, you can decide what filename convention will be most useful to you; just be sure to use a consistent convention.
    3. Rename the PDFs of the 9 journal articles you downloaded using the filename convention you’ve decided upon.
    4. Take a single screenshot of the 9 filenames in your computer’s directory.
      • Your screenshot should include only the part of your screen that shows the 9 filenames, not your entire screen.
      • If you’re not sure how to take a partial screenshot (i.e., a screenshot of only part of your screen, rather than your entire screen), this website will help you.
  2. We turn now from filename conventions to article citation conventions.
    1. For this course, we will use APA (American Psychological Association) citation style.
    2. However, be aware that many psychological scientists do not use only APA citation style because many of the journals in which psychological scientists publish their research do not use APA citation style (they use other citation styles).
    3. The easiest way to put a journal article citation into APA style is to use a citation generator. There are several free-to-use online citation generators, for example, Citation Machine™ and Cite Fast, for which you simply type in a journal article’s title and the online citation generator will generate the citation. When using these online citation generators,
      • be sure you select APA style for a journal article;
      • remember what you learned from Unit 1 about discriminating between ads on the webpage and non-ad content. (Don’t click to download something that’s not your citation!); and
      • be aware that online citation generators do not correct your misspellings, change your capitalization (if you type or copy/paste in ALL CAPS, you’ll get ALL CAPS back in your citation), or fill in missing information for you. They simply put into order the information you input into them.
    4. If you already have access to citation management software or apps, such as Endnote, Mendeley, or Zotero, you may use one or more of those. However, these programs and apps require purchasing and installing software.
    5. You can also manually create citations in APA style by following the rules (or tutorials) provided on various sites, such as the APA Style Blog or Purdue’s Online Writing Lab.
  3. Go to the Unit 5: Assignment #3 Discussion Board and make a new post in which you
    1. list the APA-style citations for each of the 9 articles you downloaded;
    2. describe briefly (in one or two sentences) how you created those APA-style citations (e.g., did you use an online citation generator?)
    3. embed the partial screenshot you took of the 9 filenames (showing your chosen filename convention) into your Discussion Board post (remember to embed, not attach, and to re-size your image so that it’s no larger than 500 pixels); and
    4. describe briefly (in one or two sentences) why you chose the filename convention you chose.

Unit 5: Assignment #4 (due before 11:59 pm Central on FRI JUL 6):

  1. You’ve now learned
    1. how to search for and find scholarly articles;
    2. how to meaningfully name files containing scholarly articles that you save to your computer; and
    3. how to use a citation generator to create APA style citations of scholarly articles.
  2. It’s time to learn how to read scholarly articles!
    1. Reading scholarly articles really is a skill that needs to be acquired and then honed.
    2. Various researchers have suggested various effective strategies, although there’s some similarity among their approaches.
  3. Look through all six of these approaches:
    1. Raff (2016): “How to Read and Understand a Scientific Article: A Guide for Nonscientists
    2. Hartwright (2017): “How to Read an Academic Journal Article.” (To download the “Scrapbook” Hartwright references, click here; then, click on the blue “Download” button in the upper right-hand corner.)
    3. Kossowaska (2013): “How to Read and Get the Most Out of a Journal Article
    4. Pecchia’s (no date): “Reading and Taking Notes on Scholarly Journal Articles
    5. Purugganan and Hewitt (2003:) “How to Read a Scientific Article
    6. Laubepin (2013): “How to Read (and Understand) a Social Science Journal Article
  4. Experiment with a couple of the above approaches, applying the approach to one or more of the 9 articles you have downloaded.
    1. If the approach you first select doesn’t work for you as well as you thought it would, try another approach.
    2. Keep experimenting until you find one approach that works well for you (and matches your skill set and work style).
  5. Apply the approach you’ve chosen to three of the 9 articles you found in Assignment #1 and saved as PDFs in Assignment #3.
    1. Most of the approaches have templates or outlines that you can use.
    2. All recommend jotting down information.
    3. Take a screenshot of each of your three applications of the approach (e.g., the templates or outlines you made; the annotations you wrote; or the notes you took — whatever shows your application of the approach).
    4. You will have a total of three screenshots, one for each of the three articles, demonstrating how you applied the approach you chose to each article.
  6. Go to the Unit 5: Assignment #4 Discussion Board and make a new Discussion Board post. Using at least 200 words, tell us
    1. which approach you chose;
    2. why you chose that approach; and
    3. why you chose against other approaches.
    4. Also, embed your three screenshots in your Discussion Board post (remember to embed, not attach, and resize any image larger than 500 pixels). The amount of text in your three screenshots is in addition to the (at least 200 words) text you write in your post explaining 1. 2. and 3.

Unit 5: Assignment #5 (due before 11:59 pm Central on SUN JUL 8):

  1. Go to the Unit 5: Assignment #1 and #5 Discussion Board and read the posts made by other member(s) of your Chat Group.
  2. Make a response post, of at least 200 words, to each member of your Chat Group. Remember that your responses to other students should always include at least two of the four recommended components (as mentioned in the Course Syllabus).
    1. If you are in a Chat Group with two other members, and one of the two other Chat Group members hasn’t yet posted their Unit 5: Assignment #1 — and the due date for Unit 5: Assignment #1 has passed — you can make two responses to the Chat Group member who has already posted their Unit 5: Assignment #1.
    2. If you are in a Chat Group with only one other member, and that other Chat Group member hasn’t yet posted their Unit 5: Assignment #1 — and the due date for Unit 5: Assignment #1 has passed — you can make a response to a student who is not in your Chat Group.

Unit 5: Assignment #6 (due before 11:59 pm Central on SUN JUL 8):

  1. The purpose of this Group Chat is for you to learn and practice using two more ways of finding scholarly articles.
    1. Meet online with your Chat Group for an online text-based chat lasting one hour.
    2. At the beginning of your one-hour Chat, each member of the Chat Group needs to sum the three two-digit numbers of their birthdate.
    3. For example, if you were born on March 18, 1997, your three two-digit-birthdate numbers are 03 (March), 18 (18th), 97 (1997), and the sum of your three two-digit birthdate numbers is 118 (03+18+97).
  2. The Group Member whose summed birthday number is the largest (or larger) number gets to be the Topic Picker. The Topic Picker needs to select (and tell the other Group Members), one psychological science topic.
    1. As when you selected three psychological science topics for this unit’s Assignment #1, it will be best if you select a somewhat broad (but not too broad) topic.
    2. Some examples are “seasonal affective disorder,” “addiction,” “false memories,” “gender roles,” “bullying,” “visual perception,” “leadership,” “motor control,” and “cognitive behavioral therapy.” But these are just examples. The Topic Picker can pick any psychological science topic they want.
    3. However, the Topic Picker cannot pick a topic that anyone in the Chat Group already selected for any Assignments in this unit.
  3. The Group Member whose summed birthday number is the smallest (or smaller) needs to use Google Scholar (during the Group Chat) to find one article that’s highly relevant to the topic that the Topic Picker selected. This first article will be your “seed article” for reasons that will become clear during the next steps.
    1. Be sure to capture the information needed to make an APA-style citation of this seed article.
    2. An easy way to capture the APA-style citation for an article listed on Google Scholar is to click the “Cite” link that’s immediately underneath the article’s entry on Google Scholar (as shown in this screenshot). That “Cite” link is a “Citation tool.”
  4. For Chat Groups with three members, the Group Member whose summed birthday number is neither largest nor smallest, needs to find your second article (during the Group Chat) by using Google Scholar’s “Cited By” tool. For Chat Groups with two members (or if only two members of a three-member Chat Group are participating in the Chat), this task will be done by the Group Member whose summed birthday number is largest (the Topic Picker).
    1. Find the Google Scholar entry for your Chat Group’s seed article.
    2. Locate the “Cited by” tool that is underneath the Google Scholar entry for the seed article (as shown in this screenshot).
    3. Clicking the “Cited by” tool shows all the articles that have cited the seed article.
    4. Select your second article by selecting an article that is closely related (in content) to the seed article, from the list of “Cited by” articles.
    5. Again, be sure to capture the information needed to make an APA-style citation of this second article (by using the “Cite link” underneath the second article’s Google Scholar entry).
  5. Now, rotate the next three tasks among your Chat Group members:
    1. Open the second article, meaning, open the actual article (the PDF), and look at the second article’s reference list. From the second article’s reference list, find your third article by selecting an article that is closely related (in content) to your seed article. Be sure to capture this third article’s citation information.
    2. Back on Google Scholar, find the Google Scholar entry for your third article. Use the “Cited by” tool, underneath your third article, to find your fourth article (which will be an article that cites your third article and is still closely related to the seed article). Capture this fourth article’s citation information.
    3. Last but not least, open the fourth article (the actual PDF); look at the fourth article’s reference list to find your fifth article, which should also be closely related to your seed article. Capture this fifth article’s citation information.
  6. Your Chat Group should have now found five closely related articles:
    1. your Chat Group’s seed article;
    2. your Chat Group’s second article, which you found by looking at the articles that have cited your seed article;
    3. your Chat Group’s third article, which you found by looking at the second article’s reference list;
    4. your Chat Group’s fourth article, which you found by looking at the articles that have cited your third article; and
    5. your Chat Group’s fifth article, which you found by looking at the fourth article’s reference list.
      • Basically, you’ve played a game of scholarly article “telephone.”
      • However, unlike the typical “telephone” game, your goal was to keep the content of all the articles closely related.
      • Moreover, you’ve developed teamwork skills (and interpersonal communication skills); for those of you who listed developing such skills in your course goals (back in Unit 1: Assignment #6), pat yourself on the back.
  7. Now, play a second round.
    1. The Topic Picker needs to select another psychological science topic.
    2. Again, the topic should not be too broad or too narrow.
    3. And, again, the topic cannot be a topic that anyone in the Chat Group has already selected for any of the other Assignments in this unit.
    4. Using this second topic, repeat steps c., d., and e., above so that you find five closely related articles for this second topic.
  8. At the end of your one-hour Chat:
    1. Nominate one member of your Chat Group (who participated in the Chat) to make a post on the Unit 5: Assignment #6 Discussion Board that lists the two topics and the APA-style citations for the five articles your Chat Group found for each of the two topics.
    2. Nominate another member of your Chat Group (who also participated in the Chat) to save the Chat transcript as a webpage and attach the Chat transcript to a Unit 5: Assignment #6 Discussion Board post.
    3. Nominate another member of your Chat Group (who also participated in the Chat) to make another post on the Unit 5: Assignment #6 Discussion Board that states the name of your Chat Group, the names of the Chat Group members who participated the Chat, the date of your Chat, and the start and stop time of your Chat.
    4. If only two persons participated in the Chat, then one of those two persons needs to do two of the above three tasks.
    5. Before ending the Group Chat, your Chat Group might want to arrange the time for the Group Chat you will need to hold during the next Unit (Unit 6: Assignment #6).
  9. All members of the Chat Group must record a typical Unit entry in their own Course Journal for Unit 5.

Congratulations, you have finished Unit 5! Onward to Unit 6!