Some notes on reading and evaluating behavioral research Courtesy Lyle Brenner Different papers have different approaches and goals, so not all of the considerations below will necessarily apply. But here are some questions to ponder when reading an empirically-focused research paper. 1. Overall : What is the overall point of the paper? Is the topic interesting? If so, to whom would it be of most interest? What conclusion(s) do the authors want you to take away? Are they successful in supporting those conclusions with either data or logical argument? How might you summarize the paper’s main point in one or two sentences? 2. Introduction : What earlier concepts/literature does the paper draw on? Does the paper accurately describe and characterize these concepts? Are important concepts or perspectives omitted? 3. Hypotheses/Predictions : Does the paper propose/test a particular hypothesis? Or perhaps pit multiple hypotheses against each other? Are any proposed hypotheses clearly
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