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Summarize this research study in detail. Make sure to state the methods, measures, participants, and results, and explain how the findings prove the influence of bilingualism on working memory and cognitive development.

Quick answer:

The materials and methods section explains that the researchers tested 180 participants from Spain, half bilingual, half monolingual, and used several tasks to investigate the potential impacts of bilingualism on executive functioning and working memory. They didn’t find a bilingual advantage in executive functioning, but they did in working memory, which proves that bilingualism influences working memory.

Expert Answers

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When summarizing a research article, a good way to start is with a review of the abstract. Reading the abstract will give you a brief overview of what the researchers were investigating and why, how they were investigating it, and what their main findings were. Let’s take a look at the given article, “The Impact of Bilingualism on Executive Functions and Working Memory in Young Adults.” In this abstract, the researchers explain that recent research says that bilingual advantages actually don’t stem from bilingualism but from uncontrolled factors. They were interested in this finding and “explored the potential impact of bilingualism on executive functioning (EF) abilities.” They also mention that they looked into bilingualism's role in working memory. Right from this section we know what the researchers were looking into and why. The simple language used in an abstract is also a great example to refer to when summarizing an article in your own words.

This article’s abstract also tells us that the researchers tested young bilingual and monolingual adults. If we go down to the “Materials and Methods” section, we can read more about the measures, methods, and participants. For instance, this section tells us that the researchers tested 180 young adults from Spain, half of whom were bilingual and half of whom even not. Identifying key details about the participants, like gender, age, and the languages they speak will help make your summary detailed and clear. You should also strive to describe the structure of the tasks the participants took part in. For instance, the “Materials” section outlines the four tasks the researchers used, including the Flanker task, the Simon task, the verbal Stroop task, and the numerical Stroop task.

When analyzing the findings, you should carefully review the researchers’ discussion of the data. Consider what they say about how the data responds to their hypothesis and be sure to note any limitations they mention. For instance, in this article’s conclusion, the researchers explain that from the working memory (WM) tasks “we clearly see that there was no effect of bilingualism in the easiest version of the tasks but it does improve the WM skills required in backward tasks where storing, manipulation, and retrieval are used.” This shows that there is some bilingual advantage in WM and thus that bilingualism does influence working memory and cognitive development.

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