Assignment 2 This assignment is designed to train you how to read and analyze the information presented in a standard scientific journal article
This assignment is designed to train you how to read and analyze the information presented in a standard scientific journal article. As scientists, we gain most of our information through journal articles and NOT textbooks so summarizing and evaluating an article is an important skill to acquire. If you have any questions about this assignment, feel free to email your course instructor. Make sure to put “PSYC 3306EL 12” in your subject heading.
Some of the terms and ideas will be unfamiliar to you as you read the article. To do this assignment you must research what these terms mean and how they fit into the study of learning. Some terms will become clearer as you progress in the course, but the ones not covered in the text are your responsibility to research.
You must read the article linked below and provide a summary of the contents within approximately eight (8) double-spaced pages (do not be concerned if it goes a few pages over – up to 12 pages maximum). This assignment must be typed. There is a lot of information to put into eight pages so you must be clear and precise and learn how to edit your thoughts so you can express them in the least amount of space possible.
Article: Kislal, S., & Blizard, D.A. (2016). Conditioned context aversion learning in the laboratory mouse. Learning & Behavior, 44, 309-319.
The various sections you should analyze are as follows:
Summarize the previous findings that are reported in the introduction. Comment on what conclusion (hypothesis) can be drawn from these studies. Outline (in your own words) the definitions of some of the key terms discussed in this paper (e.g., Conditioned taste aversion, Conditioned context aversion, CS-UCS delay).
Remember: Using other articles and referencing them properly is a key step to this section. Don’t just rely on information on this topic from this one article.
What are the authors’ hypotheses? What predictions were they making and why did they make them? Why was this article written and what questions did it try to answer? Why should we care?
Outline the general methods the experimenters used to gather their data. Summarize the different experiments’ methodologies in your own words so that a first year Psychology student could understand what took place. What were the independent variables (HINT: different groups) and dependent variables? They used a few different control groups. Make sure you explain the purpose of each control group.
What did they find? Summarize the results. Explain the graphs in great detail (y-axis, x-axis) and give a description as to what they are telling you. Demonstrate that you know the point of each graph and explain how they support the authors’ hypothesis. Do not be vague! Clearly state what EACH graph is showing.
How did the authors interpret their results? Were their questions answered? What questions remained unanswered? Do you think enough evidence was provided to support their hypothesis and to refute the alternative hypotheses? How does this research expand our understanding of learning theory? Why is it important? Feel free to discuss how it is unimportant if you feel you can support that point.
What were the strengths of their methodology and what were the weaknesses? How might YOU design an experiment to answer the same questions? What experiment might you run (if you had unlimited resources) to further test their hypothesis? Do you agree with the authors’ conclusions? Why or why not?
You must accomplish three important things to succeed in this assignment:
- Read the article many times before you start doing the assignment. As you read the article take notes and write down questions you need to have answered to understand the article and the assignment. Answer these questions by talking to friends, doing some research, and asking the course instructor.
- Put the assignment in your own words. Often a student will think that “summarize” means to quote some sentences from the paper they are reading. When a professor reads something that you have copied there is no way for them to be able to tell if you UNDERSTAND what you have copied. By putting it into your own words, you demonstrate understanding.
- Put some thought into answering the assignment’s questions. When you are asked “Is this experiment important?” saying “yes” or “no” without explaining why you felt that is unacceptable. The students getting an A will demonstrate they have put critical thought into answering these questions.
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
- Use the headings (e.g., Introduction, Hypothesis, etc.) to break your paper into sections. You can break your summary into three sections for the methods and results to mirror the paper’s three experiments.
- Essay style answers only, no point form.
- APA referencing style. Remember to write out the ideas in your own words (i.e., no direct quoting from the paper OR other reference) BUT always reference where you got that fact/idea from.
- Maximum of 12 pages.
- No extensions granted – no exceptions.
See the Assignment Schedule for the due date.
Submit using the Dropbox.