Breaking Down a Research Article Part 2

Below is an example of how to start breaking down an article!

Key information: 

  1. Title- Dissociation debates: everything you know is wrong
  2. Arthur(s)-  Richard Loewenstein, MD
  3. Publication- Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience
  4. Publication date – September 2018
  5. DOI- 10.31887
  6. Page numbers/ volume numbers 20(3) p 229-242

Synthesizing information: 

  1. Is this source reliable/ respected? 
    1. The paper is written by a Medical Doctor with an MD license.
    2. The writer works at the Trauma Disorder Program at Sheppard Pratt. This program is one of two well known treatment centers for those with a DID diagnosis, the other program being WIT in Florida. 
    3. The writer is also associated with the University of Maryland, Baltimore School of Medicine, a well know school known to have good research funding on the same campus as the University of Maryland Medical Center  

Without a full read so far this looks like a reliable, informed source in an academic peer reviewed journal. 

  1. APA citation 

Loewenstein, R. J. (2018). Dissociation debates: Everything you know is wrong. Controversies in Psychiatry, 20(3), 229–242.

How to Break Down a Research Article

Sorry for the delay, I decided to double and triple check my work for social work and researcher jargon. This guide is meant to be for beginners and non-social science persons.

At first you may want to start out with a work sheet, a few pieces of scratch paper, or two copies of the article. 

My method involves two steps:

1. Skimming the article for key information

2. A deep read of the article once the first step is processed

Part 1- Skimming Key information:

1. Title

2. Arthur(s)

3. Publication

4. Publication date

5. DOI

6. Page numbers/ volume numbers

Gathering this information first gives you a jump start on a few important things:

1. Is this source reliable/ respected?

2. The information needed for an appropriate APA citation

3. The information needed to recover the paper if you lose the copy you made/ source you found the article from

Part 2- Collecting the overarching details:

1. What question is this article trying to answer?

2. Why is this question important to the field?

3. What method is the paper using

For this portion of your work you may want to avoid reading the abstract, it could cause a bias when reading the full article and it may not give you a full depiction of the important information. Once you get used to this method of work, the abstract can be used to quickly decide if a paper will fit in with the question you are trying to answer. 

*Other information to consider at this stage*

When you get deeper into research methods you will not only look at what the papers say, but how reliable the source is. 

Key information for this includes-

1. Where was the paper published?

2. Who wrote the paper?

3. Who funded the paper?

4. What biases are acknowledged in the paper?

5. What biases may exist but are NOT acknowledged? (AKA- what can we infer based on what we know of these other factors)

Next up I will use this format to break down an article as an example.

Circling back to Dissociation

Follow me on a little journey today. There are some routes you take everyday that are muscle memory. Maybe from school to home, school to work, work to home. Maybe it’s the trip to your childhood home.

Imagine taking that trip one day. However you make it from school to hope and while you know you got home safe you don’t remember the journey.

This example is a small example of dissociation. This is something the brain does and it’s jarring and frustrating but it happens.

Dissociative disorders are a protection for the brain, however it is maladaptive. Imagine instead of just forgetting your travels you can’t remember full lessons, dates with your loved ones, trying to keep a work schedule when your mind is on “auto pilot”.

It would be pretty difficult wouldn’t it?

This is why I am so passionate about bringing awareness and understanding to this set of disorders.

Here is another resource guide on dissociation from an organization in the UK –

Love and Light all!

DID Series Post 2- An Article Review

DID Journal Review 1

Citation- Gillig, P. M. (2009). Dissociative Identity Disorder: A controversial diagnosis. Psychiatry (Edgmont), 6(3), 24-29. Retrieved from

I am reviewing the article Dissociative Identity Disorder: A controversial diagnosis in this post. Above is the APA citation for this article which you can use to retrieve it for your own review. I will take this time to note my bias, I do believe this diagnosis is real and that regardless of a clinicians feeling they need to honor a client’s lived experiences and symptoms. It is a diagnosis according to the DSM and that is what we use to decide if a patient meets criteria and then how to treat the patient.

The Critical View:

In a 1988 article surveying responses clinicians had received about their patient’s who suffered for DID, formerly MPD. These reactions included forced hospitalizations, and forced discharge from care. It is suspected these reactions are from the “controversy” surrounding the diagnosis. Clinicians wonder if the diagnosis is real, a type of malingering, or something made up by other clinicians. Underneath this is the fear that criminals will use this diagnosis to get out of charges for crimes. Additionally, some case studies have been refuted due to suggestibility of patients of “social contamination”/

Moving along to a paper in 1993 it was believed that DID was a form of borderline Personality Disorder. The following Chart is based upon the Information in DSM III which would have been available when this study was published. DSM came out the year following this articles publication.

SymptomsBorderline Personality DisorderDissociative Identity Disorder
Unpredictable/Impulsive BehaviorX
Pattern of unstable/Intense relationshipsX
Inappropriate/Intense AngerX
Identity DisturbanceX
Intolerance of being aloneX
Existence of 2 or more distinct personalitiesX
Personality that is dominant determines behaviorX
Each Personality is distinctX

I don’t see it unless a distinct personality has BPD but I am a product of DSM IV and DSM 5 so I may be missing relevant information based in the time period and culture. DSM III accessed here:

The Acceptance View:

Those practitioners who accept this diagnosis as valid propose that the diagnosis is born from ambivalent attachment, extreme and/or repeated abuse. There is a belief that the disorder could start with an imaginary friend which could then become a distinct personality due to the development stage practitioners assume the trauma occurred.

Practitioners assume there is a role for attachment theory, parenting theory(authoritarian), and narcissistic abuse ( parentified child relationships).

The article then reviews current studies on DID and attention, DID and memory, and the average patient. Due to the purpose of the article review I will stop here. However, I encourage all who are interested to read the article in full.

Love and Light.

DID Series Post 1: What is D.I.D.?

D.I.D. Is the acronym for Dissociative Identity Disorder, formerly known as MPD, or Multiple personality disorder.

NAMI- National Association on Mental Illness- has a great two page brief on this particular illness. Please see the following link-

Dissociative identity disorder is a disorder marked by amnesia, 2 or more district personalities, loss of time, out of body experiences, and detachment. Also a lack of self-identity is a characteristic. With all that going on I feel like there are enough battles for these folx to face. We do not need them to face a system stacked against them.

I will be doing a series on this disorder as advocation, psycho education, and just trying to do my part to fight the stigma! Next up will be a journal review.

Upcoming Series!

Since watching Deadly Illusions this week and writing my post yesterday it has come back to my attention that DID needs more information.

Education can fight hate and dismissal of this vulnerable population. I will be writing a post about the generalities of the diagnosis, using the DSM criteria, a post or two that include journal reviews, and a list of resources. Let me know if there are specific questions you have.

Love and light,


D.I.D. Is not a Plot Twist

Hello All,

I am writing this today because I just finished watching the horror movie Deadly Illusions. Spoilers ahead if you have not watched this movie and intend to.

The huge “plot twist” to this movie is that one of the main characters was horribly abused as a child, developed DID and one of her personalities went on a killing spree. Let me make it very clear, other peoples trauma and real life disorder and struggles are not a Hollywood plot twist waiting to be used.

Movies like Split, Psycho, and Session 9, do nothing but objectify a psychological disorder. The people who suffer from this disorder have already faced enough trauma to cause the splits in their mind. They don’t need to be ridiculed by Hollywood and made out to be serial killers.

To top this all off half the psychological community pretends this disorder does not exist even though it’s in the DSM. Let me be very clear, this disorder exists. Someone I love very much has this disorder. I also know several people in college who have this disorder and stopped going to treatment because some providers and psychology professors decided that the disorder did not in fact exist but it was a type of pathological lying for attention.

In my current frustration I cannot even begin to state how damaging this is, to hear from people that practice in a helping profession to say what boils down to YOU DONT EXIST. What can also be heard as YOU DONT MATTER and YOU ARE A LIAR.

More education on this matter to come. I see a need for a series to be written.