Studying psychology will require you to read articles published in the academic literature. Research Articles can be complex and may seem daunting, but a few simple techniques can make the process much easier.
Understand how the article is structured and understand the function of each section. Psychology articles follow a fairly standard format with the following sections:
Skim the article to become familiar with the topic. Skimming may let you know that the paper is not appropriate to your research. This will save you time because you only want to deeply read articles that are relevant to your research.
Take notes and ask questions:
As you read take notes of important points and look up things that are important but you don't understand.
Some of the key questions to ask yourself are:
Questions for critical readers.
1. What is the author’s goal?
2. What hypothesis will be tested in the experiment?
3. If I had to design an experiment to test this hypothesis, what would I do?
4a. Is my proposed method better than the authors?
4b. Does the author’s method actually test the hypothesis?
4c. What are the independent, dependent, and control variables?
5. Using the participants, apparatus, materials, and procedures described by the author, what results would I predict for this experiment?
6. How did the author analyze the data?
7. Did I expect the obtained results?
8a. How would I interpret these results?
8b. What applications and implications would I draw from my interpretation of the results?
9a. Does my interpretation, or the author’s, best represent the data?
9b. Do I or does the author offer the most cogent discussion of the applications and implications of the results?
10. Am I being too critical
From Roediger III, H. L., & Gallo, D. A. (2001). Reading journal articles in cognitive psychology. Visual perception: Key readings in cognition, 405-415. http://web.stanford.edu/class/psych136s/reading/ReadingJournalArticles_RoedigerGallo.pdf