Psychology Literature Review Sample

This post presents a set of principles on what makes a good literature review.The principles aim to assist students who are writing a literature review.

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The limitations of a methodology can affect all studies that use the methodology.

Understanding and critiquing the methodology allows the author to assess whether the theoretical claims argued by researchers using this methodology are justified and allows the reader to understand this also.

The former reports the size of the effect, whereas the latter only reports the direction.

In another example looking at the effect of different types of diversity on team performance actual correlations or Cohen’s ds from studies or meta-analyses could be reported.

This is particularly important in literature reviews concerned with the practical importance of findings.

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For example, in research looking at faking personality tests in selection and recruitment, reporting that (a) "student samples were able to increase their conscientiousness score on average by one standard deviation" (e.g., Cohen’s d = 1) when asked to fake is a lot clearer than reporting that "students were able to increase their conscientious score".Understanding causation (i.e., explanation) has important implications for making recommendations for I/O psychology practice (i.e., control).For example, if self-efficacy does not causally influence performance, then attempts by organisations to manipulate self-efficacy in the aim of improving performance may be useless.Some details that are typically less relevant include the exact number of males and females in the study, racial breakdowns of the sample, and the exact scale used to measure the variable.If such details are reported, a persuasive argument is given explaining why these details may alter the results.Researchers preparing an academic publication may also find them a useful refresher.The principles pertain to dedicated literature reviews and introduction sections of empirical reports.Effect size can also be incorporated into a style of writing which puts relationships and effects in context.Using words like "small", "medium" and "large" to describe relationships in the literature, drawing on Cohen’s recommendations for effect size, can help the reader understand the relative importance of particular relationships (see Lee Becker's notes to learn more about effect sizes).Critical Evaluation: Good literature reviews base claims on empirical research.Research is critically evaluated and issues such as the following are discussed: level of analysis; confounding variables; correlation or causation; mediation and moderation; generalisability; limitations of sample size; issues of measurement; implications of design (correlational, experimental); effect size and practical significance; quantitative and qualitative methods; and so on.


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