Having started my PhD in Psychology just recently, I have been a psychology student for a long time now. Doing a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree has surely given me the chance to observe my own progression as a researcher as well as others. In my experience, a large number of students choose a very specific population of focus when it comes to their major projects. For example, a researcher might be interested to understand how international university students’ anxiety affects their concentration. Generally you might think that such a correlational research project would result in interesting findings – but what if it didn’t?
One of the best advice I have ever received from my lecturer is that the main purpose of major projects is not to publish significant results or to deliver a groundbreaking piece of research (although this is the ideal case scenario); it is to prepare us for the future and to make us good researchers when it counts (i.e. in the ‘real world’). While this is very realistic and somewhat reassuring, I firmly believe that there is one route that a lot of student researchers can take in order to ensure that they come out of the research process with rich, useful and satisfying data (because after all, we all have egos): by using mixed methods! Continue reading
“Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose“
(Zora Neale Hurston)
As psychological researchers we have to ask ourselves the big question of WHY we are conducting research; a question that some might argue may be even more important than questioning HOW we go about it. From starting with a research idea to concluding the research process certainly takes longer than most people would think. However, it does not stop there. While some may say that they are conducting research because it is part of their degree or job, most of you will know that, in an ideal case scenario, we conduct research in order to make the world (or at least the world of psychology) a little richer. This is certainly a privilege that we enjoy when being active in a discipline such as psychology.
As psychologists and, more importantly, as psychology students, we heavily rely on the peer-review process. When conducting an online search for journal articles that shall inform our next research project or assignment, we expect to find high-quality research right then and there. The peer-review process saves us time; we approach our search with the assumption that a large amount of articles that we find (at least those published in peer-reviewed journals) provide us with valuable insights into the area we are focussing on, even by just reading through the abstract. The reviewer is our friend! In this post I will offer some insight into my personal experiences regarding the peer-review process from the standpoint of the reviewer. More specifically I will highlight how I have systematically approached manuscripts that I was asked to review.