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Paper instructions:
For this homework assignment, your goal is to take the perspective of a science journalist. Taking one of the scholarly, empirical articles that you’ve found for your final paper, you need to explain the research clearly enough that anyone off the street can understand it; picture explaining the research to a typical high school student–they’re pretty bright, but they may not have heard about a lot of this stuff before. (You can use the same article you used for your second checkpoint, but it might help you out more to use a different one.)

Before you try to explain the research, make sure you understand it! Taking a cue from the last checkpoint assignment, focus on reading the abstract first to get the main ideas; think about some concrete questions to focus your reading. This will help you to make more sense of the paper when you finally read it.

There should be three distinct sections to your research review.
First, provide an explanation of the motivation for the research. Try to put it into context for your reader: why should they care about this? What’s the “hook”? You should also clearly state the researchers’ hypothesis here.
Second, you should clearly describe what the researchers actually did. What were they measuring? Did they interview people? Then describe what kinds of questions they asked (don’t just list them). Did they conduct an experiment? Then talk about the conditions (what did they manipulate?) they were comparing and how they differed. Avoid jargon: if you don’t know what a word or phrase means, you shouldn’t be writing it. Either find out what it means, or skip it.
Third, how did the research turn out? What were the results? Did they support the researchers’ hypothesis, or not? What are the larger implications of this research–what does this mean for how we understand the world? What’s the big idea your reader can take away from this study? Relate the results back to the questions that were raised in the first section.
Finally, you should include a properly formatted reference and citation for the article you’re using. (Not sure what that looks like? Take a look at the Purdue Online Writing Lab (Links to an external site.).)
One more thing: NO QUOTES! I often see students using quotes as a crutch to avoid actually explaining something, so I’m knocking that crutch out. I want you to explain the article in your own words. A suggestion: read through a section that you’re going to write about, then take a break–go make a sandwich, check Facebook, whatever. After 10-15 minutes, come back and see if you can remember what you read. Now you’re guaranteed to be using your own words, instead of trying to figure out how to improve on what the authors originally wrote.

Keep in mind that this assignment is essentially one part of your final paper. You’ll ultimately be doing an article review for each article that you have (3 total). Also, one exception to the “no quotes” thing: if you’re including exact phrasing of some of the materials that were used in the study (as in the specific questions participants were asked in the sample article review) you can use quotes–otherwise, no!

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