JAA – 03 Analysis #3


Journal articles are peer-reviewed publications that help scholars communicate ideas, theories, empirical analyses, and conclusions.

The ability to critically read journal articles is a skill that is developed with practice. This skill is especially useful when you transfer to a 4-year college or university.

If you are contemplating attending graduate school to earn a Masters, professional, or Doctoral degree, then analyzing journal articles is an essential skill.

Analyzing a journal article is related to reading. Reading is a skill that is developed with practice and is important for your future academic, professional, and personal endeavors.

  • Academically, your reading load will increase with each semester you are in higher education. Building that skill now will serve you well into the future.
  • Professionally, you will have contracts, employee handbooks, technical manuals, financial reports, and other documents to read.
  • Personally, your son, daughter, nephew, or niece will need you to teach them to read.

Estimated Time

An estimated 5 hours is needed to complete this activity.


Step 1: Obtain the Article

You have three options for obtaining and viewing the article.

  1. Option 1 – Read on Accessible Webpage:
  2. Option 2 – Download PDF: DownloadLinks to an external site. a PDF copy of the journal article from
  3. Option 3 – View in Canvas: Do Americans perceive diverse judges as inherently biased?Actions

Step 2: Analyze the Article

Step 3: Demonstrate identification of parts

Recall there are twelve parts of a journal article:

  1. The Title of an article appears on the first page of the article. The Title is brief, typically no more than 5-10 words, and identifies for the reader the subject of the article.
  2. The Main Point of an article is typically found in the Abstract. An Abstract is a summary of the article which is located on the first page, after the Title. The main point may be in the Introduction of the article.
  3. The Question of an article is typically found in the Abstract. The question may be in the Introduction of the article as well.
  4. The Puzzle is a missing piece of knowledge that the article seeks to fulfill.
  5. The Debate is how scholars currently argue the subject of the article. Debates have at least two sides, and the two sides we are most familiar with are “pro” and “con”. However, debates can be more complex.
  6. The Theory is how the author thinks something works. For example, we may have a theory about how campaigns influence voters. Theories consists of constants, variables, and the relationships between variables.
  7. The Hypotheses are derived from the Theory. A hypothesis is the expectation that one variable affects another variable in a specific way.
  8. The Research Design is how the author compares the effect of the explanatory variable (X) on the outcome variable (O) in a group (G) or set of groups.
  9. The Empirical Analysis is the use of quantitative or qualitative evidence to explore whether the hypothesized relationship between two variables does indeed occur in the world.
  10. The Policy Implications are how the findings of the article should influence the behavior of individuals, groups, organizations, or governments.
  11. The Contribution to the Discipline is how the article helps fill the missing Puzzle piece.
  12. Future Research offers suggestions for future research that build on the findings from the article.

You need to identify each part, with the exception of needing to write out a Research Design, which is explained in the next step.

Where you annotate each part depends on whether you are annotating on a paper copy or electronic copy of the journal article.

  • Paper: hand write on the margins or the back of the page.
  • Electronic: electronically highlight the text and/or comment in margins of the page.

Step 4: Write Out the Research Design

  • Read JAA – Writing out a Research Design.
  • Of the 12 parts, only one of them needs to be written out: Research Design. The Research Design is how the author compares the effect of the explanatory variable (X) on the outcome variable (O) in a group (G) or set of groups.
  • I want to emphasize that you need to use the G O X notation when writing out a Research Design.

  • Again, I want to emphasize that you need to use the G O X notation when writing out a Research Design.

Step 5: Use Student Annotation within Canvas or Upload your file


Can you explain the 12 parts in more detail?

Yes, if needed, return to the Details of Analyzing Journal Articles page and the Walkthrough Presentation for clarification on the concept.

Why do I have a hard time finding the Research Design in an article?

Research design notation is not common in political science journal articles.

Part of the reason is that political scientists do not agree on a conceptual, let alone an operational, definition of research design.

This lack of agreement is a function of the diversity of graduate training and experience that political scientist have.

Can I read a walkthrough of a Two-Group, Pre-test and Post-test Research Design?

Yes, read JAA – Writing out a Research Design.

Where can I find an in-depth discussion of research design?

For an in-depth discussion on research design, you can read Chapter 6 – Elements of Research Design in Introduction to Political Science Research MethodsLinks to an external site..

How do I view annotation feedback comments?

Go to How do I view annotation feedback comments from my instructor directly in my assignment submission?Links to an external site. to learn how I directly include feedback on the file you upload, compared to the Assignment Comments or Rubric Results.

Do you host live Zoom workshops for the Journal Article Analysis?

Yes, visit the iPoliSci Workshops assignments located in every weekly module for a schedule of Journal Article Analysis workshops or Ask Me Anything workshops.


Rubrics are “a guide listing specific criteria for grading or scoring academic papers, projects, or tests”. Every assessment in the course has a rubric. A table of this assessment’s rubric is provided below for students. However, this table is not accessible for some screen readers.

For students using a screen reader, an accessible version of the rubric table can be accessed by scrolling down further or clicking on the three vertical dots in the upper right corner of the assessment and selecting “Show Rubric”.

If you need additional help, visit How do I view the rubric for my assignment?

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