Psychology - Research Methods - Peer Review

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  • Peer Review
    • Definition of peer review
      • When psychological research is subject to independent scrutiny by other psychologists who are experts in the field
      • Prior to publication
      • Identifies poor research and only allows the best to be published
      • Research can either be published, rejected or revised in some way.
    • What do peers do?
      • They assess the work in terms of its validity, significance and originality.
      • Check appropriate- ness of research design
      • Look at the ethical issues
      • Check the sampling techniques
      • Check for operationalis-ation of variables
      • Look at potential sources of bias
      • Look at reliability, validity and interpretation of findings
      • Look how appropriate the conclusion is
      • Check the statistical analysis is appropriate
    • Why is peer review important?
      • They check the work is methodologi-cally sound, valid and does not involve plagiarism of other people's research
      • Check the researchers have referred to relevant research by other psychologists
      • Check the research is important or significant in a wider context
      • Ensures that any research paper published in a well - respected journal has integrity because it has been scrutinised by experts in the field, therefore can be taken seriously
      • Experts checking work increases probability that weaknesses will be identified and addressed. This can stop poor work entering the public domain.
      • Peer review maintains the standards of published work and allows University research departments to be rated and funded in terms of their quality.
    • Problems with peer review
      • Conservative - most research builds on previous research. Research that contradicts the generally accepted theory is less likely to be published. This slows down theory progression
      • Publication bias/the file drawer problem - publication favours significant results. For every study showing significant results, there could be a hundred with non-significant findings. Leads to distortion
      • Bias in peer review
        • Objectivity - difficult for a reviewer to be objective, particularly if the researcher supports an opposing theory.
        • No anonymity - in some fields there are very few experts and everyone knows each other, so anonymity is not possible
        • Institution bias - research from prestigious universities is favoured.
        • Gender bias - male researcher seem to be favoured.


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