Category Archives: Uncategorized

Publishing the results of coursework research: An interview with Julian Burger and Koen Derks

submit-you-mustBeing an undergrad is hard. With the days spent in lecture rooms and the nights devoted to catching up with essays and assignments, one wonders how is it even possible for undergrads to do any research – let alone publish it. While there is no expectation from undergrads to publish, a rough (and very anecdotal) approximation is that around 1 in 100 students publish during their undergraduate studies in either a peer-reviewed journal or other online outlets. (However, this highly depends on the field and publishing culture of the affiliated institution). There are also many benefits to publishing as undergrad; as illustrated by Griffith (2001), an early publication – regardless of the importance of the findings or prominence of the outlet – can increase student’s confidence and inspire a prolific academic career in the future. So how do these acclaimed one-in-a-hundred undergrads manage to publish amid challenges of the student life?

One way is to publish the outputs of coursework assignments – be it an empirical study or a review article. This is precisely what Julian Burger and Koen Derks from the University of Amsterdam did with the group assignment from one Image result for r shiny logoof their Research Masters courses. Together with their classmates, they developed a method for ranking publications in a literature review, and wrote it all up in an article that was recently published in JEPS. In addition, they created an interactive tool in R Shiny – a package implemented in R that allows for effective and didactic illustration of one’s analysis tools and methods. We were curious about the process of publishing the results of coursework assignments, so we invited Julian and Koen to share some of their insights. We hope you enjoy the read – and hopefully get inspired to publish some of your own coursework research as well!

Could you tell us a little bit about the study you recently published in JEPS?

Our recently published study in JEPS has its origin in our 2016 Research Master course “Good Research Practices”, which elaborated on the methodological do’s and don’ts of scientific research. Our course coordinator at the time based the course around the topic of a prevalent misunderstanding in the use of ANCOVA, namely that when groups differ on a covariate, removing the variance associated with the covariate also removes the variance associated with the group (Miller & Chapman, 2001). As such, an ANCOVA with covariates that are too intimately related to group membership yields unreliable results. As preparation for group-projects, every student searched for 40 articles (20 before and 20 after Miller & Chapman) related to the issue under consideration. Out of a need for a concise literature overview, we started thinking about possible solutions to aggregate this literature. We were under the impression that there had to be a way to statistically find the top-something relevant articles that everybody could read to get a simple, but complete, overview of the topic. This is how the idea of a network model of our literature search was born. We came up with two distinct methods with which we created separate networks, one of their citation structure and one of their co-occurrence frequency. These networks, as they describe the relationships between articles, give relevant insight in the relative importance of the articles in the literature.

Creating a Shiny App sounds like an exciting way of presenting one’s research. Was it hard for you and your colleagues to build the app?

We have had some experience with programming in R during the Bachelor and Master programmes. However, we had never implemented a Shiny app to demonstrate our work publicly. Programming the network method itself was the most difficult part. The Shiny app is of course a nice way to promote the network method and let other people benefit from it, and since Shiny is well documented, it was a fairly straightforward task. Shiny has so many advantages for demonstrating your work and making it publicly available for others, it is amazing for these projects.

derks-app-viewA view inside the Shiny app for network visualization of literature search. The app accompanies the publication, and instructions for use can be found in Appendix C of online supplementary materials.

Publishing a paper with 52 co-authors sounds like a challenging collaborative endeavour. Could you recap the process for us – how did it all go, from the first idea to final manuscript edits?

Within one group of the course, we worked on a way to aggregate the literature collected by all students. In this group we applied the two different network models to the articles collected by all contributors. From our experience it is very important to assign a clear role distribution from an early time-point on and communicate the obligations that come with this well. Throughout the course, we presented the results of the analyses in class, collected feedback by the students and after the course wrote the article in a team of two. We appointed a main contributor who took care of the main writing and fine-tuning and a second contributor who wrote another part of the article. The course coordinator took a supervising role and was available for meetings and feedback on the writing.

And what were the most difficult aspects?

Coordinating the feedback and rewriting the article. If you work with multiple authors that takes a lot of time. Because some of our classmates were following other courses, it was not always easy to contact them for feedback in the later stages of the publishing process.

Do you have any tips for students who are thinking about publishing the results of their coursework research? Or maybe for lecturers who consider structuring their course assignments in a similar way?

From our experience in working on this project, we think these points might help in coordinating a project with a large group of students:

1. A clear role distribution. To prevent misunderstandings regarding responsibility, we advise to spend enough time on clarifying who is working on what.

2. Not too many contributors involved in the actual writing. From our experience, it worked well to have two people involved in the main writing. It is of course useful to collect feedback from the group, but to have a coherent story, not too many writers should be involved.

3. Have one main responsible contributor. It worked very well for us to appoint one main contributor, who took the main responsibility of incorporating and coordinating feedback.

4. Make use of feedback sessions. From our experience, the main benefit of working in a big group is that you can use a lot of input from different perspectives.

What are your future career plans?

Koen: This year I started a PhD focused on statistical auditing. My main topic is developing Bayesian alternatives to classical audit methods and implementing these methods in JASP for Audit (JfA), which is built to support auditors in their statistical journey. In the future, I plan on staying in academia and continue learning about Bayesian statistics.

Julian: I started my PhD this year on network models/dynamical systems in psychopathology. My plan is to make these models more accessible for clinical practice and at some point in the future to combine the research with working as a therapist myself.

Any final comments?

The Journal of European Psychology Students is a great outlet for publishing findings from such a student course project, so we think it is definitely worthwhile trying to write down your work and get to know the process of scientific practice and publishing!

If you’re inspired by Julian’s and Koen’s story and wish to put some of your own coursework research in writing, check out out submission guidelines at jeps.efpsa.org!

Karla Matić

Karla Matić is a psychology graduate of University of Leuven with interests in cognitive neuroscience, large-scale neuroimaging methodology, and science policy. She is currently an intern in the European Research Council (ERC) in Brussels. If she didn't aspire for an academic career, she would be running a book-café on a small Croatian island.

More Posts

Follow Me:
Twitter

Facebooktwitterrss

How to stop being busy and become productive

With the rise of social media, potential distractions have risen to unseen levels; they dominate our daily lives. Do you check Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, or Email on a constant basis? Do you have an embarrassing relationship with your alarm clock’s snooze button? Do you pass on social invites, telling other people that you are too busy? As a generation, we have lost the ability to focus sharply on the task at hand; instead, we work on a multitude of things simultaneously, lamenting that we do not achieve what we seek to achieve. Continue reading

Fabian Dablander

Fabian Dablander just finished his Masters in Cognitive Science at the University of Tübingen. He is interested in innovative ways of data collection, Bayesian statistics, and open science. You can find him on Twitter @fdabl.

More Posts - Website

Facebooktwitterrss

Are You Registering That? An Interview with Prof. Chris Chambers

There is no panacea for bad science, but if there were, it would certainly resemble Registered Reports. Registered Reports are a novel publishing format in which authors submit only the introduction, methods, and planned analyses without actually having collected the data. Thus, peer-review only focuses on the soundness of the research proposal and is not contingent on the “significance” of the results (Chambers, 2013). In one strike, this simple idea combats publication bias, researchers’ degrees of freedom, makes apparent the distinction between exploratory and confirmatory research, and calms the researcher’s mind. There are a number of journals offering Registered Reports, and this is arguable the most important step journals can take to push psychological science forward (see also King et al., 2016). For a detailed treatment of Registered Reports, see here, here, here, and Chambers (2015). Continue reading

Fabian Dablander

Fabian Dablander just finished his Masters in Cognitive Science at the University of Tübingen. He is interested in innovative ways of data collection, Bayesian statistics, and open science. You can find him on Twitter @fdabl.

More Posts - Website

Facebooktwitterrss

Introducing jamovi: Free and Open Statistical Software Combining Ease of Use with the Power of R

For too long, Psychology has had to put up with costly, bulky, and inflexible statistics software. Today, we’d like to introduce you to a breath of fresh air: jamovi, free statistics software available for all platforms that is intuitive and user-friendly, and developed with so much pace that its capabilities will potentially soon outrun SPSS. Continue reading

Peter Edelsbrunner

Peter Edelsbrunner

Peter is currently doctoral student at the section for learning and instruction research of ETH Zurich in Switzerland. He graduated from Psychology at the University of Graz in Austria. Peter is interested in conceptual knowledge development and the application of flexible mixture models to developmental research. Since 2011 he has been active in the EFPSA European Summer School and related activities.

More Posts

Facebooktwitterrss

JEPS introduces Registered Reports: Here is how it works

For  more than six years, JEPS has been publishing student research, both in the form of classic Research Articles as well as Literature Reviews. As of April 2016, JEPS offers another publishing format: Registered Reports. In this blog post we explain what Registered Reports are, why they could be interesting for you as a student, and how the review process works. Continue reading

Katharina Brecht

Katharina Brecht

After finishing her PhD at the University of Cambridge, Katharina is currently a Postdoc in the Institute of Neurobiology at the University of Tübingen. Her research interests revolve around the mechanisms of social and causal cognition in animals.

More Posts

Facebooktwitterrss

Bayesian Statistics: Why and How

bayes_hot_scaled

Bayesian statistics is what all the cool kids are talking about these days. Upon closer inspection, this does not come as a surprise. In contrast to classical statistics, Bayesian inference is principled, coherent, unbiased, and addresses an important question in science: in which of my hypothesis should I believe in, and how strongly, given the collected data?  Continue reading

Fabian Dablander

Fabian Dablander just finished his Masters in Cognitive Science at the University of Tübingen. He is interested in innovative ways of data collection, Bayesian statistics, and open science. You can find him on Twitter @fdabl.

More Posts - Website

Facebooktwitterrss

Interview with Prof. Ralph Hertwig

Ralph Hertwig is director of the Center for Adaptive Rationality at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin. He is well known for his interdisciplinary research on cognitive search, judgment, and decision making under risk and uncertainty. To this end, his lab uses a wide array of methods, ranging from experiments, surveys, and computer simulations to neuroscientific tools. 

Ralph Hertwig

What I enjoy most about my job as a researcher … What I most enjoy is the opportunity to team up with people from other fields or schools of thought and produce something I could never have come up with on my own. Continue reading

Jonas Haslbeck

Jonas Haslbeck

Jonas is a Senior Editor at the Journal of European Psychology Students. He is currently a PhD student in psychological methods at the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. For further info see http://jmbh.github.io/.

More Posts

Facebooktwitterrss

What Do Whigs Have To Do With History of Psychology?

The 2013 December issue of the journal Theory & Psychology saw a forceful exchange between Kurt Danziger and Daniel N. Robinson on the nature of psychology’s disciplinary history. For those unfamiliar with the names, both are eminent scholars in (among other things) history of psychology. The exchange boils down to Danziger accusing Robinson of creating a romanticized history of psychology, tying the discipline down to Ancient Greek philosophies.  What Danziger cannot forgive in such a way of writing history of science is the idea of a concept that stays the same throughout history, and then finds its way into psychology. For example (Danziger, 2013, p. 835): “This understanding of psychology’s history has always relied on the belief that the concept of ‘human nature’ represents some historically unchanging essence guaranteeing continuity, no matter how great the gulf that appears to separate the present from the remote past.” Robinson, in turn, answers with two articles in the same issue defending his position with insinuations that Danziger and his supporters are not familiar enough with Aristotle’s body of work to mount such a criticism. His repartees, sans the scholastic posturing, can be summed up well with the sentence (Robinson, 2013a, p. 820): “It is worth noting in order to make clear that the past can be highly instructive without being causally efficacious.” Continue reading

Ivan Flis

Ivan Flis is a PhD student in History and Philosophy of Science at the Descartes Centre, Utrecht University; and has a degree in psychology from the University of Zagreb, Croatia. His research focuses on quantitative methodology in psychology, its history and application, and its relation to theory construction in psychological research. He had been an editor of JEPS for three years in the previous mandates.

More Posts

Facebooktwitterrss

Looking for New Contributors

bulletin contributorsThe Journal of European Psychology Students’ Bulletin blogs about academic writing, scientific publishing, and essential research skills in the field of psychology. The JEPS Bulletin aims to connect psychology students from all over Europe by providing a unique platform for learning and sharing of knowledge, and subsequently, serving as an indispensable companion for students in the process of conducting and reporting psychological research. The JEPS Bulletin is proud to have a great number of active Contributors who are psychology students throughout Europe. Currently, the JEPS Bulletin is recruiting new Contributors so in case you want to be part of the list on your left keep reading.

Continue reading

Pedro Almeida

Pedro Almeida

Pedro Almeida is a graduate student and research assistant at the University of Groningen, Netherlands. His main research interests are evolutionary psychology and the intersection between marketing and psychology. Previously, he worked as an Editor for the Journal of European Psychology Students (JEPS).

More Posts - Website

Facebooktwitterrss

Why meta-analysis? A guide through basic steps and common biases

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 Meta: meta- combining form. From Greek meta ‘with, across, or after.’  Pertaining to a level above or beyond.

 Analysis: analysis |əˈnaləsis| noun. From Greek analuō ‘I unravel,  investigate’. Detailed examination of the elements or structure of  something,
 
Often times, researchers and students find themselves going through a  dense amount of papers on a certain topic only to find results that don’t  really seem to point towards a coherent or homogenous conclusion. Does this treatment work?
Continue reading

Luís Miguel Tojo

Luís Miguel Tojo

Luís Miguel Tojo is a MSc student in Cognitive Neuroscience (Neuropsychology) at Maastricht University, Netherlands, since 2012, having finished his BSc in Psychological Sciences at the University of Coimbra, Portugal. He is currently Vice President of EFPSA (2013-2014) and has been the Research Officer for the Junior Researcher Programme since early 2012. His research interests cover neuroprotective factors against neurodegenerative diseases and brain insults, and neuropsychopharmacological approaches to mental illness.

More Posts

Facebooktwitterrss