You will adopt the role of a journal reviewer. You will be required to critically review the methodological and data analysis components of a mock journal article, as well as re-analyse the data and present it in correct APA style.
This assessment is very different from any assessment that you would have done in the past. It has been deliberately designed for this course, and to complement and test your knowledge of research methods and data analysis.
In this lab, you are cast in the role of someone who is reviewing a journal article that has been submitted for publication. When manuscripts are submitted for publication, they are reviewed by at least two people using a system called blind peer reviewing. What this means is that you don’t know who is reviewing your paper, and your name and affiliation is taken off the manuscript so the reviewer does not know the author’s name or where the paper comes from. This is an attempt to avoid all sorts of biases creeping into the review process.
The mock manuscript is a single file that can be found on the Moodle class space. I have tried to present it as closely as possible as a “real” manuscript. It is obviously more basic than the research you would find in a manuscript presented for publication, and the citations are made up (no references have been provided; do you think that is something you should comment on?), but the basic structure, format, and presentation is pretty much what you would see in a “real” manuscript.
What is unusual is that you will be provided with the raw data in SPSS format that formed the basis for the manuscript. This is rare, but it does happen. Authors are regularly asked to keep copies of their raw data so that the article reviewer or journal editor can check the statistical analysis. Making raw data publicly available for quality control is starting to become more common. This is part of what is referred to as the Open Science movement. There is a good short introductory article on open science from The Conversation here: https://theconversation.com/research-transparency-5-questions-about-open-science-answered-76851. Finally, there is a letter to the editor that will form the basis for your report.
Your job is to fill in the section under the heading “Specific points of note”. What you need to do is point out the flaws in background, design, method, analysis, and interpretation that has led to your strong rejection of the paper. You need to highlight what the author has done and where he has gone wrong, and you need to correct his errors by providing the correct analysis of the data, including correct versions of the tables, if need be. Your focus must be on the methodological aspects of the manuscript; for example, you shouldn’t waste space making comments on the APA style of the paper, or saying that the discussion is too short, or stuff such as that. I repeat–your focus should be on the design, analysis, interpretation, and method. That is the main reason why you have rejected the paper. You certainly aren’t meant to criticise the actual research; in other words, there’s no need to provide reference material on the actual topic. It’s the methodological issues that count. By the way, this also includes ethics.