Child Development 133 (01 & 02)
Research Methods in Human Development

Hembree            Fall, 2013


Summary/Critique Paper

Two 3-4 page summaries of empirical journal articles are required. For the first paper (due 9/23), you will summarize the first supplementary reading listed below. For the second paper (due 11/6), you will  choose an article you plan to use in writing your research project report to summarize. Please attach a copy of the second summary article to your second paper. 

Each paper should include a short summary of the study (introduction, hypotheses, method, results, discussion), as well as an evaluation of the study's method and/or conclusions. Be sure to use the guiding questions, as well as the writing checklist, to assist you writing in your critique papers. These tools will help you to identify the most important points of the article to include in your paper. You may re-write the first critique paper to improve your grade - see course schedule for due date.


At the top of your paper, you should write the reference of the study, using APA style (see below for example). The structure of your paper should mirror the structure of the article itself. It should have five sections (do not use headings!).

Introduction - Begin with an introductory paragraph explaining the researcher's rationale, purpose and hypotheses. Do not summarize the abstract.

Method - Describe the study participants and the procedures and materials used to collect data.

Results - Summarize what the researcher(s) found (there is no need to report actual statistics, just main findings).

Discussion - Discuss the researcher's conclusions and tie them to other research in the field. Given the results of this study, what might be the next step for researchers interested in this topic?

Evaluation - Evaluate the study. What were (at least two) strengths or limitations to the researcher's method or conclusions?

Some suggestions:

  • This is a short paper. DO NOT use headings.
  • This is a short paper. There is no need to use direct quotes. Use your own words, giving credit for ideas that are not your own.
  • In summarizing your study, stick to the MOST important points of the paper. For ideas about what is most important, see the abstract at the beginning of the paper or consult your text.  
  • Use APA style; Be succinct and CLEAR. Avoid informal or "flowery" language. Consult your APA text for important reminders about writing style.
  • Proofread and revise your paper. It would be helpful, for example, to have a friend who has not read the study read your paper and try to tell you what the study was about. This will help you to discover what might be unclear in your summary.
  • See me if you are having difficulty with your paper or in understanding the study. I may be able to help.

Article for first summary paper: (Reading #1 available online using password provided by instructor):

Lindsey, E.W., Cremeens, P.R., & Caldera, Y.M. (2010). Mother–child and father–child

mutuality in two contexts: Consequences for young children’s peer relationships. Infant and

Child Development, 19,  142–160.


Send problems, comments or suggestions to:

California State University, Sacramento

College of Education

Department of Child Development

Updated: August 25, 2013

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