Critically reading a paper
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Critically reading a paper



Week 2 content for Psychological Research in Practice.

Week 2 content for Psychological Research in Practice.



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    Critically reading a paper Critically reading a paper Presentation Transcript

    • Psychological Research in Practice (PRIP - 7PS065) Week 2 - Critically Reading Journal Articles
    • Overview
      • The why of critical reading
      • The how of critical reading
        • Understand the Structure of a Journal Article
        • Scan and skim read the article
        • Take Notes, Check References and Clarify Any Misconceptions
        • Try to Answer Key Questions
    • The why of critical reading
      • When studying psychology you will need to read articles published in academic and professional journals.
      • You might read these articles as part of a literature review for a paper you are writing, or as a critique of an article.
      • However for this module, you will need to understand a wide range of research methodologies in order to select the one that is most appropriate for your research question.
      • It is therefore essential that you understand what you are reading and find ways to then summarize the content in a manner in which you will understand the content.
    • The how of critical reading
      • Although research articles can be complex, if you utilize
      • a few simple tactics it can make the process much
      • easier:
      • 1. Understand the structure of a journal article
      • 2. Scan and skim read the article
      • 3. Take notes, check references & clarify any
      • misconceptions
      • 4. Try to answer key questions
    • Understand the Structure of a Journal Article
      • Most articles follow a fairly standardized format that conforms to
      • guidelines established by the American Psychological Association
      • (APA). Let’s go through the structure:
      • Abstract
      • This short paragraph-long section provides a brief overview of the article of what was done, why and what was found and concluded.
      • Reading the abstract is the best way to get an idea of the content of the paper.
      • It also enables you to decide if the article is relevant to your topic of interest.
    • Understand the Structure of a Journal Article
      • Introduction
      • The second section of the article introduces the research question and reviews previous research and literature on the topic.
      • This part of the paper will help you better understand the background of the research
      • It will allow you to understand what has previously been found regarding the topic area providing a greater understanding of question at hand.
    • Understand the Structure of a Journal Article
      • Method Section
      • This part of the paper provides details about how the research was conducted. Here
      • you will find the following sub-sections:
      • Design
      • It will formally state and describe the design of the study (experiment, longitudinal, etc.) and the variables of interest (IVs, DVs).
      • Include information about how the data were generated (i.e. focus group, interview etc.) and a clear introduction to the analytic approach used
      • Participants
      • Here there will be information on the number of participants in the study, summary details of any relevant characteristics and how they were sampled.
      • Apparatus/Materials
      • Details of the materials used and how were they devised will be included.
      • Procedure
      • This will describe how exactly the study was carried out including details of informed consent, debriefing, etc.
    • Understand the Structure of a Journal Article
      • Results/ Analysis Section
      • This section will include the statistical analysis and detail what researchers found.
      • Tables and figures may be included in this section
      • Analytic themes will be outlined, supported by quotes in data
      • Discussion Section
      • In this section, the researchers will interpret what the results actually mean
      • They may include limitations of the work and outline implications for future research that should be conducted.
    • Understand the Structure of a Journal Article
      • References Section
      • This section lists all articles and other sources (books, websites, etc.) cited within the article.
    • Scan and Skim Read the Article
      • Once you’ve understood the basic structure of the article, your first step should be to briefly skim through the paper.
      • Do not attempt an in-depth reading of a paper before you have skimmed over it. Doing so may cost you valuable time if you realise the paper was not exactly what you were looking for/ interested in.
      • Skimming can allow you to become familiar with the topic quickly.
    • Take Notes, Check References & Clarify any Misconceptions
      • Once you have determined that the paper is relevant and appropriate for your research topic your next step should be to carefully read through each section.
      • Take notes of important points, including any terminology or concepts that you do not understand.
      • Once you’ve read the entire article, look up the information that you didn’t understand using another source such as a dictionary, textbook, or online resource.
      • You should then go back to the text and re-read the paper. At this point it also makes sense to take notes of who the author(s) have made reference to.
      • You might find research on the topic area in which you are interested which may further source your own paper, so check the reference section too if need be.
    • Try to Answer Key Questions
      • Regardless of the reason for reading the article (for support of
      • your own research hypothesis, analysing the article, or
      • critiquing the research methods or findings) there are several
      • important questions that you should aim to answer as you read the
      • paper:
      • What is the main hypothesis?
      • Why is the research important?
      • How is it different from previous research?
      • What measurements and procedures were employed? Could an alternative have been utilised?
    • Try to Answer Key Questions
      • What were the variables in the study?
      • What were the key findings?
      • What are the drawbacks of the research?
      • Have any future research implications been suggested? How could I address these in my own research?
    • Critical Reading (Four example studies)
      • Now that you have learned some tips about critically reviewing a paper, you’re job is now to critically read the following 5 articles and decide which to focus your research on or whether you would like to form a group with other students on the module that will look at a different topic.
      • It is your choice what you choose to investigate but you must provide a good rationale for studying the topic and form a good research question and hypothesis with the others in your group:
      • Van Strien, J.W., & Van Beek, S. (2000). Ratings of Emotion in Laterally Presented Faces: Sex and Handedness Effects. Brain and Cognition, 44 , 645–652.
      • Ludwig, A.B., Borella, E., Tettamanti, M. & de Ribaupierre, A. (2010). Adult age differences in the color stroop test: A comparison between an item-by-item and a blocked version. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 8, 135-142.
      • Novelli, D., Drury, J. & Reicher, S. (2010).Come together: Two studies concerning the impact of group relations on ‘personal space’. British Journal of Social Psychology, 49, 223-236.
      • Crossley, M. (2003). ‘Would you consider yourself a healthy person?’: Using focus groups to explore health as a moral phenomenon. Journal of Health Psychology, 8, 501-514.