Final Feedback

26 Apr

The last set of blogs and comments have been marked.  I have really seen an improvement in your ability to present interesting debates and thoughtful comments throughout the term.  Steftevs and psucf0 wrote interesting blogs about the efficacy of removing RT outliers and applied this to a real world example in athletics.  Using such examples can improve the clarity of your argument by enabling an untrained reader to relate to the topic more easily.   ellislee15 wrote a brilliant blog about whether we can trust eye witness testimony.  She used a variety of sources of evidence, including video, news sites, and peer reviewed journals.  Combining different forms of evidence strengthens an argument.  Ellislee15 not only cited research, but described the research, summarising the main findings of the article.  Moving beyond a statement that evidence supports or refutes your argument, to explaining why this evidence agrees or disagrees with your argument, is extremely important.

mballen91 wrote a thought provoking reply to an article about the emotive topic of animal research.  He explained his argument rationally, alongside evidence in the literature.  Thought provoking is exactly that – provoking a thought or thoughts in your reader; perhaps even challenging their own views on the topic.  1jessicakes also wrote an excellent comment that cleverly broadened the debate about gaming/internet addiction and the DSM. 1jessicakes suggested that perhaps there should be a generic classification for addiction and dependence disorders, rather than creating a multitude of specific disorders, such as Internet Addiction disorder.  Thoughtful and thought provoking.

Thank you for all the effort you have made to engage with and understand the often challenging work we have done this semester.  Best wishes in your exams and final year of your degree.  It has been a pleasure working with you all.






Blog and Comments Week 8

19 Mar

A fantastic set of blogs and comments this week; many thoughtful arguments with good use of evidence.

See psud74 for a concise, well-balanced debate about the relative value of applied and theoretical research findings.   ellislee15 continues to explore the “file drawer” problem, highlighting the need for falsification if psychology is to be seen as a science, and mballen91 provides a detailed discussion of how the placebo effect might be caused, reviewing evidence from a number of different sources.

The high-standard of  writing this week is continued in the comments.  You are clearly thinking about the arguments presented, critically evaluating the material, and adding significant contributions to the debate.  I often read convincing comments that caused me to think differently about a topic.  psuc7f expands the argument, in support of changing your first answer in MCQ exams, by evaluating evidence on memory bias.  sinaealice makes a convincing argument for removing outliers, with a comprehensive example from the literature. larabarker adds converging evidence to psucc3‘s interesting blog suggesting “you are what you wear”.

Lots of great blogs and comments – for more ideas and thought-provoking debates see the blog roll on the right-hand side of this blog.

Week 5 Small Groups

25 Feb

Hi all,

I’m aware we’ve covered quite a lot in the last few weeks and it may be a bit overwhelming, but you’re doing a great job engaging with and understanding the work.  A couple of you have asked about reading associated with the class.  If you want some help consolidating your learning, or just a different explanation of the things we’ve covered you can look on the web, or any stats text book.  Chapter 13 in Andy Field up to page 482 (I have third edition), before he goes on to Repeated Measures with several independent variables, covers the stuff we did in class this week.  The Gravetter and Wallnau textbook has examples of ANOVA tables to fill out if you wanted to practise those a bit more.

Good luck in your exams next week.

Week 2/3 Blogs and Comments Feedback

13 Feb

Housekeeping:  Please make sure your blog allows comments from other people without waiting for moderation.  You can see how to do this in an earlier blog I posted here.

This is generic feedback; some of it may apply to you, some of it may not.  Much of this feedback can be generalised to other writing assignments.  Read on to find out what you’re doing well and suggestions of how you might improve…


Many fantastic comments this week.  You’ve really got to grips with these.  As a group, you argue a point well with good use of evidence, demonstrating critical thinking skills which prompts discussion and debate.  Try to apply these skills when writing your blogs.  Lots of great examples to point you in the direction of this week, including psuae5, roisin07m, and fraseral.


Some thought provoking blogs, with logical, well reasoned arguments and critically evaluated supporting evidence.  For example, prpij presents a confident debate about the use of animals in research, leading to a well balanced, convincing conclusion.

Remember you are writing to present an argument on a topic.

  • You need to move beyond discussion to persuasion.  You need to persuade your reader that the standpoint of your argument is valid.  One key way to do this is by including critically-evaluated supporting evidence.
  • Your argument needs to be explicit.  What is it that you are about to debate?  Where do you stand on the issue? Do not leave this for your reader to infer.
  • Your argument needs to be consistent.  A balanced argument does not mean agreeing with all sides, but rather acknowledging different aspects of the argument.  Merely presenting “this is good because… and this is bad because…” is not enough.  Your reader will not know what you are arguing if you include all sides of the argument without synthesis or critical evaluation.   You need to evaluate the evidence and come to a resolution.   It is your role, in the position of persuader, to synthesise the information and present it accordingly.  Remember to provide counter-arguments to evidence that refutes your standpoint.

Please read my feedback that I have posted since 8th October onwards.  Many blog points are being lost for the same reasons…  If you do not understand my feedback, or are struggling to implement it in your work, please come and speak to me.

As an aside, it’s fantastic to read about novel research in your blogs.  In the interest of interest and learning, it would be great to see a more diverse range of examples in your blogs and comments.  There are millions of journal articles out there – lets have a few more in here!

Any questions?  Just ask.

Semester 2

26 Jan

Hi All,

I’ll post feedback each fortnight about your blogs and comments here.  Please remember to include the links to your comments on your blogs.  If you do not do this, your comments will not be marked.

If your blog link does not appear on the blog roll on the right side of the screen, and you’re in my group on Thursday 10-12, please email me with your blog address.

Any questions, please ask.

Best wishes,



Week 8/9 Blogs & Comments

5 Dec


A fantastic set of comments this week.  Really interesting debates and good use of evidence.  statisticsbyrachel wrote a thought provoking comment about the efficacy of mental health classification systems, with excellent supporting evidence.  theakatysingleton provides a thoughtful counterargument to the debate surrounding the blog topic “Should the taxpayer support basic research?” demonstrating careful consideration of the more subtle issues involved.  See ellislee15 for a clear explanation of a study that supports the role of demand characteristics discussed in the blog.  The comment also suggests an alternative method to the blog author for reducing demands characteristics – rather than deceiving participants, ellislee15 suggests using methods less susceptible to demand characteristics.

Please be sure to post your links to the comments.


Take a look at psycho-something for a strong argument on the role of journalists in conveying accurate information about research findings, and read on for some extra feedback about the blogs.

Argument needs to be logical and well-reasoned

You must make an argument in your blog and provide evidence.  If you merely describe information, you cannot get the higher grades.  I understand that you need to set a context for your debate, which may involve describing some concepts, but be sure to make a logical argument that runs throughout your blog… not just in the closing paragraph.

Evidence should support the argument and be critically evaluated

Evidence needs to be relevant to your argument.  A link to a site that also describes what you’re describing , does not classify as evidence.  You should describe and explain the evidence, and state how it supports your argument.

Below are two extreme examples that I hope will help illustrate the comments I made above.  The links are real and should work!

A. Blog topic = Walking home: Yellow or Black coat?

Blog = Boris owns two coats.  A black one and a yellow one.  The black one is warm (BlackDownJacket) and the yellow one is brightly coloured (highVisjacket).  Boris should wear a yellow coat when walking home. 

In the above example, the argument is not explicit.  The reader must infer the argument from what is written and there is no evidence to support the author’s conclusion.


B. Blog topic = Boris should wear a yellow coat when walking in the dark to avoid being run over.

Blog = Boris owns two coats.  A warm black coat, and a brightly coloured yellow one. But which one should he wear when he’s walking home at night?  Mueller et al. analysed the factors associated with vehicle collisions with pedestrians in Washington State and found that one factor that seemed to mediate pedestrian injuries and fatalities was the clothing colour they wore.  For example, over a three year period there were 798 injuries for people wearing light/reflective coloured clothing versus 1,613 injuries with people wearing dark clothing.  This evidence suggests that when walking home in the dark Boris should wear the yellow coat to help him avoid being knocked down by a vehicle.  Indeed, David Shinar investigated night-time pedestrian visibility and found that wearing reflective clothing doubled the distance from which the pedestrian could be seen.  This meant the cars could see the person “at a distance greater than the stopping distance for a car travelling at 90 km/h”.  Thus, Boris would be safer walking at night in bright clothing because cars can see him more clearly and from a greater distance than if he wore the black coat.  But what if the weather is cold?  Perhaps Boris will be putting himself at risk from hypothermia by not wearing the black warm coat.  Interestingly, the NHS suggests that avoiding hypothermia can be best achieved by wearing something on your head, wearing waterproof and windproof clothing (which the yellow jacket is) and by keeping on the move.  So, walking home in the yellow jacket is both safe for visibility and keeping warm.  If it’s really cold, Boris should consider wearing the black coat beneath the yellow coat to keep himself both warm and highly visible.  But he must remember that brighter is better at night!

In this blog, the title is informative of the consequent argument and the reader is left in no doubt what the author’s point of view is.  The author’s comments are substantiated by evidence from two separate sources directly relevant to the argument.  The author identifies a possible counter argument (what if it’s cold?) and provides evidence in support of their rebuttal.

Any questions? Just ask.

See you on Wednesday.

Week 4/5 Blogs and Comments

2 Nov

Good luck in your mid-term exams next week.  Have confidence in yourselves.

Blogs this week were on really varied topics… great that you are venturing further afield, but do try to stay in sight of the realms of research methods.  Whatever your topic, remember to go beyond description, to making an argument, and critically evaluating evidence.  Use a thesis statement to introduce your argument clearly – it’s ok to choose a side of the fence!   edua6a prompted some interesting debate about the causes of Shizophrenia – see comments by psucac and ishani2110, and psychodynamicalec wrote an interesting blog about the misuse of stats in the courtroom.

Some cracking comments this week – you’re really getting to grips with making logical, well reasoned arguments with excellent supporting evidence!  Remember there are more marks to be had if you write 7 comments.