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Week 2 Writing Assignment: Article Summary

The next few pages contain files for the first writing assignment for this course: ARTICLE SUMMARY. The goal of summarizing is to give your reader a clear understanding of the original source.

You are to summarize a journal article from the six provided in 700 words  – To follow are the instructions.

The purpose of this assignment is:

1.  Read and understand scientific writing.

2.  Locate and include pertinent information in the article.

3.  Write concisely and clearly, including all important information and not including any “filler”.

How to Summarize a Research Article
Research articles use a standard format to clearly communicate information about an
experiment. A research article usually has seven major sections: Title, Abstract,
Introduction, Method, Results, Discussion, and References.
Determine your focus
The first thing you should do is to decide why you need to summarize the article. If the
purpose of the summary is to take notes to later remind yourself about the article you may
want to write a longer summary. However, if the purpose of summarizing the article is to
include it in a paper you are writing, the summary should focus on how the articles
relates specifically to your paper.
Reading the Article
Allow enough time. Before you can write about the research, you have to understand it.
This can often take a lot longer than most people realize. Only when you can clearly
explain the study in your own words to someone who hasn’t read the article are you ready
to write about it.
Scan the article first. If you try to read a new article from start to finish, you’ll get
bogged down in detail. Instead, use your knowledge of APA format to find the main
points. Briefly look at each section to identify:
• the research question and reason for the study (stated in the Introduction)
• the hypothesis or hypotheses tested (Introduction)
• how the hypothesis was tested (Method)
• the findings (Results, including tables and figures)
• how the findings were interpreted (Discussion)
Underline key sentences or write the key point (e.g., hypothesis, design) of each
paragraph in the margin. Although the abstract can help you to identify the main points,
you cannot rely on it exclusively, because it contains very condensed information.
Remember to focus on the parts of the article that are most relevant.
Read for depth, read interactively. After you have highlighted the main points, read each
section several times. As you read, ask yourself these questions:
• How does the design of the study address the research questions?
• How convincing are the results? Are any of the results surprising?
• What does this study contribute toward answering the original question?
• What aspects of the original question remain unanswered?
Plagiarism. Plagiarism is always a risk when summarizing someone else’s work. To
avoid it:
• Take notes in your own words. Using short notes or summarizing key points in
your own words forces you to rewrite the ideas into your own words later.
• If you find yourself sticking closely to the original language and making only
minor changes to the wording, then you probably don’t understand the study
Writing the Summary
Like an abstract in a published research article, the purpose of an article summary is to
give the reader a brief overview of the study. To write a good summary, identify what
information is important and condense that information for your reader. The better you
understand a subject, the easier it is to explain it thoroughly and briefly.
Write a first draft. Use the same order as in the article itself. Adjust the length
accordingly depending on the content of your particular article and how you will be using
the summary.
• State the research question and explain why it is interesting.
• State the hypotheses tested.
• Briefly describe the methods (design, participants, materials, procedure, what was
manipulated [independent variables], what was measured [dependent variables],
how data were analyzed.
• Describe the results. Were they significant?
• Explain the key implications of the results. Avoid overstating the importance of
the findings.
• The results, and the interpretation of the results, should relate directly to the
hypothesis.
For the first draft, focus on content, not length (it will probably be too long). Condense
later as needed. Try writing about the hypotheses, methods and results first, then about
the introduction and discussion last. If you have trouble on one section, leave it for a
while and try another.
If you are summarizing an article to include in a paper you are writing it may be
sufficient to describe only the results if you give the reader context to understand those
results.
For example: “Smith (2004) found that participants in the motivation group scored higher
than those in the control group, confirming that motivational factors play a role in
impression formation”. This summary not only tells the results but also gives some
information on what variables were examined and the outcome of interest. In this case it
is very important to introduce the study in a way that the brief summary makes sense in
the larger context
Edit for completeness and accuracy. Add information for completeness where necessary.
More commonly, if you understand the article, you will need to cut redundant or less
important information.
Stay focused on the research question, be concise, and avoid generalities.
Edit for style. Write to an intelligent, interested, naive, and slightly lazy audience (e.g.,
yourself, your classmates). Expect your readers to be interested, but don’t make them
struggle to understand you. Include all the important details; don’t assume that they are
already understood.
• Eliminate wordiness, including most adverbs (“very”, “clearly”). “The results
clearly showed that there was no difference between the groups” can be shortened
to “There was no significant difference between the groups”.
• Use specific, concrete language. Use precise language and cite specific examples
to support assertions. Avoid vague references (e.g. “this illustrates” should be
“this result illustrates”).
• Use scientifically accurate language. For example, you cannot “prove”
hypotheses (especially with just one study). You “support” or “fail to find support
for” them.
• Rely primarily on paraphrasing, not direct quotes. Direct quotes are seldom
used in scientific writing. Instead, paraphrase what you have read. To give due
credit for information that you paraphrase, cite the author’s last name and the year
of the study (Smith, 1982).
• Re-read what you have written. Ask others to read it to catch things that you’ve
missed.
Adapted from: Summarizing a Research Article 1997-2006, University of Washington
Running head: ETHIC MINORITY ACADEMIC MOTIVATION
1
Factors Influencing Academic Motivation of Ethnic Minority Students
Nicholas Swink
University of California, Irvine
ETHNIC MINORITY ACADEMIC MOTIVATION
2
Factors Influencing Academic Motivation of Ethnic Minority Students
Ethnic minorities, defined as a group significantly smaller than the dominant ethic group
within the population, struggle with academic underperformance. As ethnic minority students
age, they are more likely than ethnic majority groups to score lower grades, obtain fewer credits,
and fail examinations. Though researchers have identified several factors which could explain
this phenomenon, such as stereotype threats and socioeconomic factors, this paper dives into the
effects that motivation can have on ethnic minority students. The existing literature lacks
research on the influence of motivation on ethnic minority students, and although this paper
attempts to coalesce findings on motivation and ethnic groups, it lacks appliability and
generalizability.
Research Question
This paper dives into existing literature surrounding ethnic minority motivation and
struggles in education to synthesize information about the factors that influence the academic
motivation of ethnic minority students and how these factors affect the academic motivation of
ethnic minority students. Though the research presented can serve the purpose of providing
information supporting the academic propulsion of disadvantaged students, the true aim of this
study is to generate an inventory of factors influencing school-age ethnic minority groups.
Hypothesis
This study hypothesizes that motivating ethnic minority groups can lead to better
academic performance in these groups. This hypothesis is based around the idea that the biggest
issue ethnic minority groups face is the interaction between their motivation and their contexts,
creating underdeveloped academic performance.
ETHNIC MINORITY ACADEMIC MOTIVATION
3
Methods
A systematic literature search was conducted in the domains of PubMed, ERIC (via
EBSCO), and PsycINFO (via EBSCO), with inception of the databases taking place in the
timeframe of December 2013 to January 2014. Inclusion and exclusion factors, such as ethinc
minorities are the subjects or gifted students, respectively, were then factored in to cut down the
number of relevant articles. After the factors were applied, the articles were further analysed in
two steps: a random effects meta-analysis using IBM SPSS Statistics 20.0 to determine
differences in motivation between the groups, and a qualitative synthesis through
meta-ethnography to elucidate key concepts, identify contradictions, and facilitate article
interpretation. Lastly, keyword searches were used to categorize articles through group-defined
classification strategies such as social factors and family support which finalized the organization
of articles for use in this study.
Results
After review of the existing literature, this study provides four main factors that correlate
with academic motivation: individual factors such as well-being and self-efficacy, family-related
factors such as parental values and support, school-related factors such as the school
environment, and social factors such as discrimination/racism. These factors help support the
notion that motivation is important for improving academic performance in ethnic minority
groups, with a positive association between the two factors.
Discussion
This review struggles with generalizability and applicability, largely due to the lack of
existing literature on the subject. The articles studied generalize different ethnic groups into one
group, a result of the search process used, and fail to account for more than westernized high
ETHNIC MINORITY ACADEMIC MOTIVATION
4
schools in America and Europe, with a vast majority of information coming from America.
Furthermore, though factors were clearly defined in the results, these factors have little
repeatability from article to article, demonstrating that more information is needed before using
this information in a real-world context.
Conclusion
In conclusion, factors that influence academic motivation can be classified as individual,
family-related, school-related, and social, all of which can be influenced through interventions.
Though the importance of this information should be acknowledged, this study does lack both
universality and applicability in its findings, which is largely due to a lack of literature
surrounding motivation and its correlation with ethnic minority groups. This study may provide a
structure for identifying structures that influence motivation, supporting further-tested
interventions and research methods. Motivation is shown to correlate with academic
achievement, but without further research, motivation is not the solution to the disparities in
academic achievement that ethinic minority groups face.
ETHNIC MINORITY ACADEMIC MOTIVATION
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References
Isik, U., El Tahir, O., Meeter, M., Heymans, M. W., Jansma, E. P., Croiset, G., & Kusurkar, R.
A. (2018). Factors Influencing Academic Motivation of Ethnic Minority Students: A
Review. ​SAGE Open​. doi:10.1177/2158244018785412

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