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Week 2 content for Psychological Research in Practice.

Week 2 content for Psychological Research in Practice.

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  • 1. Psychological Research in Practice (PRIP - 7PS065) Week 2 - Critically Reading Journal Articles
  • 2. 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
  • 3. 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.
  • 4. 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
  • 5. 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.
  • 6. 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.
  • 7. 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.
  • 8. 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.
  • 9. Understand the Structure of a Journal Article
    • References Section
    • This section lists all articles and other sources (books, websites, etc.) cited within the article.
  • 10. 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.
  • 11. 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.
  • 12. 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?
  • 13. 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?
  • 14. 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.