Excerpts from Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association 5th Ed.

Types of Articles

Journal articles are usually reports of empirical studies, review articles, theoretical articles, methodological articles, and case studies. They are primary publications.

Reports of empirical studies are reports of original research. They typically consist of distinct sections that reflect the stages in the research process and that appear in the sequence of these stages:


Review articles are critical evaluations of material that has already been published. By organizing, integrating, and evaluating previously published material, the author of a review article considers the progress of current research toward clarifying a problem.

Theoretical articles are papers in which the author draws on existing research literature to advance theory in any area of psychology.

Methodological articles are papers in which new methodological approaches, modifications of existing methods, and discussions of quantitative and date analytic approaches are presented to the community of researchers.

Case studies are papers in which the author describes case material obtained while working with an individual or organization to illustrate a problem, to indicate a means for solving a problem, or to shed light on needed research or theoretical matters. (APA Manual, p. 7-8)

When researching journal articles to review, based on the above descriptions for types of scholarly articles, you will have a better understanding of the type of research used in conducting the study.

Guidelines for writing your summary or review:

  • Title and Title page
    The title is often an overlooked component in the development of writing papers.  Indeed, the title provides the first words the audience encounters upon reading the paper.  The title should introduce the topic of the review as well as generate interest in reading the journal article.
    The title page is a separate page with your name, the colleges name and date.
  • Introduction
    The introduction continues upon the tasks of the title--it both introduces the topic and generates audience interest in reading the journal article.  The introduction also indicates the purpose of the paper--to inform, persuade, call to action, etc.
    Some methods used to construct an introduction include; A personal anecdote illustrates the writer’s involvement within the topic, as well as moves the topic from the abstract to the real.  Examples, both real (have happened) and hypothetical (have the potential to happen) can also help to illustrate the problem.  Posing an interesting question can also generate reader interest. A quotation can provide a branch for the review.  Quotations, however, should be made relevant to the topic of the reviewed article.  An explanation of shocking statistics or the presentation of a striking image can also invite the audience to continue reading the paper.
  • Building Main Points
    Body Paragraphs
    ---Paragraphs may be ordered in several ways, depending upon the topic and purpose of     your research being reviewed in the journal article:
    ---General to specific information
    ---Most important point to least important point
    ---Weakest claim to strongest claim
  • Conclusion

    The conclusion is also an important paragraph in a review paper--it provides the last words that a writer will present to his or her audience.  Therefore, it should have a lasting impact.  The conclusion should work to reemphasize the main claims of the research topic, articulating the importance of the argued position and, when appropriate, the reader’s need to take action on the issue.  Writers should also avoid raising new claims in concluding paragraphs--there is no more room to argue points comprehensively or convincingly.  Such new points would be better repositioned within the body paragraphs.

    Reference Page

    The reference page is a single page with a heading and the reference listing of the journal article. Follow APA style format for listing your reference.