Analyzing the Article:
Primary Source vs. Other Articles
In general, you should always analyze and study an article, carefully, before selecting it for your research (let alone, printing it). Your instructor should cover the differences between a primary source (examples: experiment, quasiexperiment, correlational or descriptive study) and a secondary source (examples: literature review, book review).
You should also be able to look beyond any editorials or brief articles that do not focus on any type of psychological study at all. Here are some clues to guide you:
A primary source should be more than a couple pages long. While part of the article may review other experiments and studies done on a topic, that part should be limited to the introduction and should not cover the entire article. Most often, you will see the article broken down into categories such as Method, Measures, Procedures, Data Analysis, Results, and Conclusion. The wordings and number of such categories can vary. Studies usually will include exhibits, charts, or graphs as a visual to the data the author(s) have collected.
A secondary source will be more of an analysis of other articles. The author(s) are not conducting an experiment or study on his/her/their own. Instead, the entire article discusses, evaluates and probes other studies. You, yourself, will be creating a "secondary source" with the paper you will write for this assignment.
Scholarly vs. Popular Articles
Purpose - report on original research or experimentation
Length - longer, in-depth analysis
Authors - expert or scholar in discipline, name and credentials provided
Language/Audience - jargon of discipline for scholarly readers
Format/Structure - serious look, structure (abstract, introduction, literature review, methodology, results, conclusion), always cite sources
Evaluation - reviewed and evaluated by subject experts and editors
Popular Magazine Articles
Purpose - to entertain, to sell products, to promote a particular viewpoint
Length - short, broad overview, litle depth
Authors - staff writer/journalist, name and credentials often not provided
Language/Audience - simple language, general readers
Format/Structure - slick, attractive appearance, not a specific format, does NOT cite sources, lots of graphics
Evaluation - not evaluated by subject experts or editors