How To Read And Understand Psychology Research In Seven Minutes

Have you ever read a psychology study, felt like it was totally over your head, and wondered whether it had any practical benefits for “real” life? 

Well, if you’re nodding your head right now, this post is for you. It’s possible to understand the basic findings of psychology research without having a doctorate in statistics or knowing all the scientific jargon. Here’s how:

Psychological Research: Crash Course Psychology #2
Key Takeaways
1. Condense complex research: Learn how to extract essential information from psychology research articles efficiently.
2. Focus on key sections: Identify crucial sections like the introduction, methodology, and conclusion to grasp the main points.
3. Use effective reading strategies: Utilize skimming, scanning, and note-taking techniques to understand the content thoroughly.
4. Connect with real-world examples: Relate the research findings to practical scenarios for a better grasp of the concepts.
5. Enhance comprehension: Apply active reading methods to enhance your comprehension of psychology research quickly.

1. Title

The title of a paper is the first thing you should read before you decide whether to read the paper. The title should be descriptive, but not too long. It should also be interesting and make you want to read the paper.

Finally, it should accurately reflect what’s in the body of your paper and not contain any surprises or tricks that might make it seem like this is something other than what you think it is based on its title alone (e.g., “How Failing at School Leads To Success In Life” vs “How Failing At School Leads To Success In Life”).

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2. Abstract

The abstract is a summary of the article. The purpose is to give you an idea of what the article is about and to help you decide whether or not it’s interesting enough for you to read further.

The abstract should be written in a way that is easy to understand, even if you have never read this type of research before. It should not contain any conclusions or interpretations those are reserved for the body and discussion section. 

The abstract should be short, but not too short; if it’s too long, people will stop reading after the first paragraph or two!

3. Keywords

Keywords are the words used to describe a topic. They are usually found in the abstract, which is usually the first section of a research article. These keywords are often bolded so they stand out against their surroundings and make them easy to find. 

Identifying keywords is useful for finding other articles on similar topics, but it can also help you understand what a given study is about by matching up its key terms with those in other papers.

Sometimes keywords may be in multiple languages because researchers come from all over the world and write about subjects that don’t necessarily have common terms across cultures (this is particularly true for behavioral science). 

If you’re reading an abstract written primarily in another language, try using Google Translate or another translation tool like WordReference to help you make sense of it!

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4. Introduction

The introduction is the first paragraph of a paper, and it should provide an overview of what the reader will learn in the rest of the article. It serves as both a summary and a preview. The introduction should be brief about one page in length and to the point.

The purpose statement is where you tell your reader why you’re conducting this study. In other words, what do you want to find out? This section should include:

A broad research question that clearly articulates why this paper is important and not just important within psychology but also important for people outside of psychology (e.g., people who are interested in politics or policy).

Background information relevant to answering this broad research question (e.g., previous studies on similar topics).

A brief summary about how all these previous studies fit together or build upon each other (i.e., literature review).

5. Methodology

Methodology is one of the most important sections of a research paper. It describes exactly how the study was conducted, from beginning to end. Here’s what you need to know:

Sample Size And Selection 

This part tells you how many people participated in the study, as well as their gender and ethnicity, if those things were recorded. If something was not recorded (like age), this is where it would go.

Procedure For Data Collection

In this section, you’ll find out what kind of survey or experiment was used to collect information about each participant or group of participants (for example: “Participants were asked…”).

Procedure For Data Analysis 

This part explains how researchers looked at their results and came up with conclusions based on those results (for example: “Researchers found that…”).

Procedure For Data Interpretation

This section can sometimes be tricky because while researchers may report their results more than once during different parts of their paper, they might use different words every time they do so due to different foci within their work (such as impact versus significance). 

To get around this issue, simply look at which word(s) most accurately describe what happened during your reading session!

6. Results

The results section is the place in your research where you’ll find out all about the findings of a study, as well as how these findings were calculated.

The results section will usually have the following sections:

Results. This is where you read about each variable being tested and how it was measured. For example, if they were testing whether people with high blood pressure had higher support levels than people without high blood pressure.

They might report their results by saying something like “Support was negatively correlated with BP (r=-0.15)” or “BP was unrelated to support (r=0).” 

These numbers mean that there was a slight negative correlation between those two variables; however, it wasn’t statistically significant enough to be considered meaningful because r=0 is considered nonsignificant in this case (i.e., it could have just been due to chance). 

You can usually ignore these kinds of correlations unless they seem particularly important or interesting from what’s mentioned earlier in the article.. Correlations should never be used as evidence for causation! Always remember that correlation doesn’t equal causation!!

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7. Discussion

The discussion section should be the most important part of any research paper. It’s where you discuss your findings, limitations and implications of your study everything that’s important about it!

This is also where you can explain how you know that your findings are accurate and not just some fluke (this is called “statistical power”). You should also share what flaws in the design or execution of your study could have affected the results.

For example: “It was clear from our data that participants with social anxiety disorder were less likely to smile than control group members; however, we did not control for age differences between groups.” 

In this case, we have no idea if older people tend to have more severe cases of SAD or if they simply smile less often because they’re older. But by acknowledging this limitation, we can reduce its impact on our conclusions about what caused SAD sufferers’ symptoms.

8. Conclusion

A good conclusion will sum up the key findings, draw out their implications for psychology as a whole and provide an overview of what’s next.

This is an area where you can be creative and use your knowledge of the wider field to inform your writing style. For example, if the study has identified a new phenomenon in psychology, this may be something that people are curious about or want to explore further. 

The next step would then be to conduct more research into how this plays out in other contexts. Alternatively, if it’s a replication of previous work but with a more robust methodology (e.g., more participants).

Then maybe you could write about how we can improve replications like these by using better methods in future studies.

9. Acknowledgements

Many people play a role in the research process, and it’s important to let them know that you appreciate their help. This is especially true when it comes to funding, but many other forms of support are also acknowledged in research papers.

The acknowledgements section is often required if the paper was funded by an agency such as NIH, NSF or any other federal agency with strict requirements for writing acknowledgement sections. 

If you read a paper with an acknowledgement section that doesn’t meet these requirements (e.g., it’s missing names), then it’s probably not going to be accepted for publication by most journals. 

If possible, check out other papers in your field if they include missing names in their acknowledgments sections or no mention at all (except “we thank our advisor”).

Then this may be because those researchers were pressured into leaving them out as part of their agreement with the funding agency that provided their grant money.

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10. References (And Potentially References Cited)

The last thing you should do is read the references. This is because they are listed in reverse chronological order, with the most recent article first. The first article will typically be a review or meta-analysis (a study that reviews a bunch of other studies). 

It’s important to pay attention to these because they will help you understand how all of the research fits together and what things have been found about this topic in general.

Next, look at any articles directly after them that cite them as referencing their work this can indicate that those authors found their work helpful or relevant enough to include it as reference material in their research paper. 

Finally, look through all of the other documents listed under each article until you find one that interests you enough for further reading…and there we go! You’ve just finished reading another journal article!

You Can Read And Make Sense Of A Psychology Research Article Or Paper Quickly

A research article is a summary of the findings of a study. Most psychology researchers write their articles in this format:

The introduction will tell you what the study is about and why it matters, which results in your question or need to know more is answered.

The method section explains how they did the research, including any studies they used as references (like previous studies on related topics) and what materials/equipment were used to collect data. 

This part can be boring if you’re not interested in these details, but don’t skip it! It’s important for understanding how trustworthy an experiment is because you want to know if it was actually done properly or if there were any flaws that could affect its results.

The results section describes what happened when people who took part in the study did things like solve puzzles or answer questions about themselves (this includes anything else relevant). 

If this information isn’t clear enough for you, ask yourself “Do I understand why X happened?” If not then go back through those sections until it does make sense!

Finally comes discussion & conclusion where researchers explain how their findings fit into existing knowledge (if at all). For example: “These results show that people have different preferences when choosing ice cream flavors.”

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If you’re looking for a quick way to read and understand the contents of a research paper, look no further! This article covers all the basics so you can be up to speed in no time. We’ve even summarized it for you below:

Title: The title of an article summarizes its key findings, so it’s important that scientists make sure theirs are accurate.

Abstract: An abstract is a short overview of what was studied, how it was done and what conclusions were reached after evaluation.

Keywords: These are words or phrases used in articles to help people find them more easily on Google, WebMD etcetera when searching for specific topics online; they also provide clues about what kind of information will be present within their texts too!

Introduction: A short paragraph that describes background material related directly before starting their experiments with section headings like “Literature Review” or “Previous Work” as well as details about why this study was conducted in particular geographic locations

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources for further reading on how to enhance your understanding of psychology research and study methodologies:

APA’s Study Better Tips Short Description: The American Psychological Association offers valuable tips to help you study more effectively and improve your grasp of psychology concepts.

How to Read Research in Psychology Short Description: This resource provides insights into reading and comprehending research articles in the field of psychology, assisting you in navigating academic literature.

Guide: How to Read Psychology Journal Articles Short Description: WikiHow offers a step-by-step guide on effectively reading psychology journal articles, making complex research more accessible.


How can I improve my study habits for psychology?

Enhancing your study habits for psychology involves techniques like creating a dedicated study space, using active learning methods, and practicing regular self-assessment.

What are some strategies for reading and comprehending psychology research?

Strategies for reading psychology research include skimming abstracts, identifying key sections like introduction and conclusion, and taking notes to summarize main points.

How do I read and understand complex psychology journal articles?

To understand complex psychology journal articles, break down the content into manageable sections, look up unfamiliar terms, and relate the information to real-life examples.

Are there any recommended resources for learning to read research effectively?

Yes, the APA offers study tips, and resources like Lumen Learning provide guidance on reading and understanding research articles in psychology.

How can I critically analyze the information presented in psychology research?

Develop critical analysis skills by evaluating the research methodology, considering the credibility of sources, and comparing findings with other studies in the field.

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