A review paper is an example of critical thinking. Critical thinking has many uses. It means you take nothing for granted. Critical thinking means you do not believe something just because you saw it in print or because some authority said so. Critical thinking is analyzing and probing the questions, statements and arguments of your own as well as of others. Critical thinking is examining the definition of terms, the assumptions behind arguments as well as the logic used to develop the arguments. Critical thinking is criticism, which may not be easy for many of you. Humility and skepticism are quite appropriate scientific attitudes. Humility is the willingness to accept the possibility that your theory could be wrong. Skepticism is the attitude that any theory could be wrong. Even Nobel Prize winning theories are only working assumptions.
Critical thinking is the most important lesson of your college education. Psychology may change over the years but critical thinking will not. Critical thinking is a tool that will allow you to test information and points of view for the rest of your life. Critical analysis is the basis for review papers.
There are six questions to be considered in a review paper and in critical thinking.
1/ Are the authors biased?
2/ Are the articles published in journals that have peer review?
3/ Is there any bias in the selection of the participants?
4/ Are the results generalizable to other participants?
5/ Could the methods used have biased the finding?
6/ Are there contradictory or conformity studies?
The purposes of a review paper are to summarize the results of research, and to point out the strengths and shortcomings of the research. The typical paper will be 10 -20 pages in length not including the reference section. The goal is to make sense of the literature. A review paper focuses on primary sources, on original experiments reported in peer reviewed journals. Write your paper so a classmate can understand. Your classmates are your audience.
The title page is the first page of your paper. Number all pages. The title page lists the title of your review, the course name and number, the date submitted and your name. The references will end the paper. Finally staple the paper in the upper left corner. Do not put any covers of any type on the paper.
There may be seven parts to the review.
1. Abstract A long (less than 250 words) paragraph that summarizes your review.
2. Introduction In the introduction provide a short history and define the problem that you are addressing (1-2 pg.). A clear statement of the problem or question Your motivation for the topic Summarize your conclusion Why is it important?
3. Literature review A main body of information 8-16 pg.) Present the evidence both pro and con. Comprehensive Up to date
4. Methods Appropriate Adequate description, could you replicate? Applies to the question Use of methods Advantages and disadvantages
5. Results or analysis, a discussion. In the discussion you will analyze the evidence. Appropriate (1-3 pg.) Applies to the question Limitations Insight
6. Conclusion, a paragraph. Summarize findings Cite strengths and weaknesses Implication for the field Future direction for research but don’t just tell me that more research is needed.
I will keep the copy that you submit so be sure to keep aNOTHER copy.
A review paper surveys and critically reviews particular areas or issues in psychology. Is your review helpful in conducting, analyzing, or interpreting research?
There are two main approaches to a review paper. One is to present two opposing views on a subject and then come to a conclusion. the second approach is to try to make a point. In either case you will describe and evaluate the studies that you have chosen, you cannot do one without the other.
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