Some of you might have asked themselves this question a couple of times when checking out the literature of a specific field. Imagine the following situation: You have completed your research and now you want to compare your results to research done previously. You finally found the suitable article, have the necessary effect sizes/power and can start comparing. But wait: Who actually tells you that the reported results are correct? Would you happen to notice if the results had been influenced by factors which are sometimes not even visible to the authors themselves? The probability of you detecting them, are tiny, especially as you only have certain information of how the study has been done and what elements have been removed. It is hard to digest, but most research findings, even those reported in high quality journals, are incorrect. Try to imagine the impact this situation has on your education and your research such as research in general.
In the following post I want to discuss multiple factors of why and how research results can be false and want to outline some aspects of how the situation might be improved. The main aspects are thereby retrieved from Ioannidis essay (2005). Continue reading →
Following our tradition from 2010 and 2011, we present you an overview of the aspects of APA style that students find the most difficult. The data was collected from the manuscripts submitted to us in 2012. Just as in the previous two posts, we were more interested in the type of mistakes that students do, rather than their quantity. In this year’s analysis, more categories have been included compared with the previous two (27 in total), which allowed us to conduct a more detailed investigation on common APA style mistakes. This was done by identifying the mistake categories with the highest frequencies from the papers submitted to us. This post will guide you through the most common APA style mistakes and offer you advice on how to avoid them when writing your own paper. We will start off with the general formatting of the paper; then, we will move on to citing sources and formatting the reference list.
Martin Vasilev is a final year undergraduate student of Psychology at the University of Sofia, Bulgaria, and the author of some of the most popular posts on JEPS Bulletin (see for example, his post on the most common mistakes in APA style was the most read in the JEPS Bulletin in 2013 and his post on writing literature reviews, which was reprinted in the MBA Edge, a magazine for prospective postgraduate students in Malaysia)
A recent JEPS bulletin post revealed that the largest percent (37%) of APA style mistakes in the manuscripts submitted for the 4th issue of the Journal of European Psychology Students (JEPS) are related to reference formatting. This is consistent with the analysis of APA style mistakes from 2010 where the largest proportion of APA style mistakes in the past JEPS submissions were related to references as well, although in a significantly larger percent (51%).
As described in a previous post, writing proper references may involve several issues–correctly listing references cited in text, as well as having all references in the list cited in text. Problems also occur in correct spelling of the references, formatting in-text citations according to APA guidelines, formatting the reference list according to the specific APA rules applying to each type of publication and ordering the references alphabetically by the authors’ surnames.
Even though the APA manual is the guide no.1 in resolving these issues–doing it manually by the book requires a lot of time and attention. The good news is that there is a number of electronic tools that can also help to avoid these mistakes. This post offers you a brief introduction to two solutions–Zotero and Mendeley Desktop.
Referencing causes a great number of mistakes in APA formatting (see also our recent analysis of manuscripts submitted to JEPS). This is perhaps not surprising, given the amount of details a writer has to observe when enlisting a single item in the references list. Should the titles be capitalised throughout or not? What is in italics what is not? Where do commas and full stops go? Why is there a standardised way of reporting references in the first place?
Students encounter problems with formatting headings according to the APA Style surprisingly often. 9% of manuscripts of submitted to the Journal of European Psychology Students manifested a problem in that area (Vainre, 2011). Even though compared to the previous version of the manual, the APA has simplified its standards considerably, much confusion still seems to be there. Hopefully this post will clarify a thing or two. Continue reading →
What’s the most difficult part of the APA style for students? Continuing the practice from 2010, I’ll demonstrate the typical mistakes found in the manuscripts submitted for the 4th issue of the Journal of European Psychology Students (JEPS). Given that JEPS requires submitted manuscripts to follow APA style, this post may be useful for anyone writing papers according to these regulations.
This post will also refer to any material that would provide more information on how to avoid the incompatibility with the APA style.
There are so many obstacles you have to face when doing your own research: After finding a suitable field, conducting your research and writing it down on paper, your supervisor might end up tearing it into pieces should they find shortcomings in your methodology or results section. In contrast to the widespread procedure, the authors of the study presented below have failed not only to discuss methodological issues, but they have made up a complete study that got published in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry. Has the entire review process failed for this study? What does this case teach you?
Sina Scherer, studying at University of Münster, Germany, and University of Padova, Italy. I have previously worked as JEPS Bulletin Editor and am active in a NMUN project simulating the political work of the United Nations as voluntary work. I am interested in cognitive neuroscience and intercultural psychology, anthropology and organizational psychology (aspects of work-life balance, expatriation).
Whether we like it or not, science mainly exists in English. Sadly, scientists whose mother tongue it happens to be, have a distinct advantage to get their work published. There are many reasons why this may be, but thats not the topic of this post. One thing for sure, the better you’re able to express yourself in English, the more likely is your manuscript read through when you submit it, regardless if it’s to be published or to be evaluated by your prof. How to beat the language barrier and write outstanding professional texts? Here are some tips and sites to help you.
Germany’s Minister of Defence, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg (or more correctly: Karl Theodor Maria Nikolaus Johann Jacob Philipp Franz Joseph Sylvester Freiherr von und zu Guttenberg), faces allegations and extensive proof of plagiarismas well asconsequences for his mistakes. Obviously, plagiarism has much finer shades than plain copy-paste. It now seems to be most appropriate to talk about what could be considered as taking credit for someone else’s (or one’s own previous) work and how to correctly refer to the original source.
Although inner qualities should play a more important role than looks, it cannot be argued that the first impression is often based on the appearance. Naturally that also goes for formatting one’s paper, even if the content of such work is often studied to great depth and less is done to analyse the layout and formalities.
Still, editors need to assess whether a certain manuscript should be reviewed and/or published or not. To set a standard for presentation of one’s work, journals only publish manuscripts that conform to the publication guidelines. JEPS, as many other journals in psychology, follows the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association’s (APA, 2009). Although the APA manual is widespread and used on almost every continent, manuscripts often fail to comply with its rules.
This post introduces suggestions to avoid the main mistakes found in the manuscripts submitted for the 3rd issue of JEPS. Given that JEPS follows APA Style, this post may be useful for anyone writing papers in that system.
Figure 1. Common Mistakes in Manuscripts submitted to JEPS
The post is structured to introduce most common mistakes first and less common ones later on. Figure 1 gives an overview of what will be under discussion. Referencing caused the majority of incompliances with the APA Style followed by troubles with formatting headings correctly. Writing abstract and keywords as well as making the tables and figures look correct each made up 12% of the mistakes. Finally, 7% of the mistakes stemmed from errors in blind review rules. Each of these will be discussed, common errors brought out and suggestions on how to avoid them given.