Report Writing Alternative

How does the report writing alternative work?

Beginning on Friday, August 27th, there will be a link located on this page to access the Canvas website for this alternative opportunity. On Canvas, you will find the list of approved journal articles, directions for writing the summary, and instructions for how to submit it. If you have any questions please review this page and then contact if you need further assistance.

Link to Canvas page

Report credit is awarded in units of one (1) credit. A summary of a journal article published by the American Psychological Association (APA) or the American Psychological Society (APS) – if done according to the instructions provided – earns one credit. Such journals cover all of the major subfields of psychology, such as social, personality, clinical, developmental, cognitive, and behavioral neuroscience. A list of approved research articles from a variety of journals has been curated for you on the Canvas site you will be using for report writing.

  • If you choose to fulfill all four hours of credit by satisfying the Report Writing option, you can bypass the Research Participation option entirely by writing four article summaries.
  • If you choose to fulfill part of your four-credit requirement with the Report Writing option, log onto the SONA system to satisfy the remainder of the credits.
  • The report writing alternative may also be used to earn extra credit, once you have met the four-credit research requirement in PSY 101 classes – or in other courses that offer this extra credit option. Details will be provided by your instructors.
How do I write a report?

To obtain report credit, choose a journal article that interests you from the approved list, and write a summary of the research it describes. Each 350-word summary of a journal article receives one (1) report credit. The minimum word count does not include the name of the article, journal, or your identifying information.

Research articles are generally organized into Introduction, Method, Results, and Discussion sections, so you can follow this overall structure in your report, using the following questions as a guideline.  Your report does not have to answer all of these questions to receive credit.

  • What previous research had been done in the area that the researchers were studying?
  • What did the researchers expect to find in their own study?
  • What procedures were used in the study (or studies) conducted by the researchers?
  • Who were the research participants, and where did they come from?
  • What variables were being manipulated and/or measured by the researchers?
  • What were the major results or findings of the study?
  • What were the main conclusions made by the researchers, based on their findings?
  • What did you find interesting or problematic about the research or its findings?

Since research participation credit is due by last day of classes, these reports should be submitted with sufficient time so that they can be reviewed and credited.  Do not leave this until the last minute, or you may risk a grade of Incomplete ("I").


Journal article summaries must be written in your own words -- and go beyond the article abstract.

Plagiarism is a violation of academic integrity and will be reported and sanctioned.