READING EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH:
QUESTIONS TO GUIDE YOUR ANALYSIS
Geoffrey W. Sutton, Ph.D.
Use the following questions to help you read psychological experiments. With experience, the questions should become a natural part of your analysis.
Who are the authors?
When was the study published?
Where do the authors write?
How do you contact the lead author?
Which journal published the article?
How was the research funded?
What might the above situation suggest about the research?
What was studied (variables)?
Why was it studied (need, importance)?
What theory or theories provide the context for the study?
What have previous studies found?
What was expected (purpose, hypotheses)?
Whom (describe the participants)?
Other key variables
How did the authors operationally define their variables?
How to (what procedures were followed)?
How did they control for possible confounding effects (internal validity)?
How were the data analyzed?
What happened (what did the authors discover in each experiment)?
So what (how are the findings related to the theory and hypotheses)?
How far can we generalize (limitations and external validity)?
What’s next (what do the authors suggest we should no next)?
How credible are their sources (relevance of the reference list)?
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