PSYC20038 Positive Psychology: Research Methods (2020)
Assessment 4: Critical Review and Research Proposal
In this final assessment, you will source and critically evaluate three published research articles, and make a proposal for future research based on your critical evaluation. The articles sourced will be your choice, but must be:
- Peer-reviewed primary source journal articles (i.e., articles reporting new research findings from an original study conducted by the authors, not a review article). The articles must be published in reputable journals.
- Relevant to one specific area of interest in the Positive Psychology/ wellbeing/resilience domain, but this must be a different area of focus than the choice in Assessment 1. You will source three journal articles each reporting an empirical study relevant to the chosen area of interest, ensuring that you have not previously critiqued these journal articles in this unit or other units in this course.
The critical review and research proposal will include consideration of the following:
- What is the predominant area of interest for the researcher/s, and why is the area considered important? (This will be the basis for the introduction.)
- What are the main research questions in each article?
- Compare and contrast the methodologies used by the researchers in each article
- What are the key findings in each of the publications, and do they appear to be justified? (Are the conclusions drawn justified based on the evidence gained in the study?)
- What are the strengths and limitations of each of the chosen research publications? (This description should be more than a repetition of the limitations that the article authors report themselves)
- A critical evaluation of the suggestions made by the researcher(s) for future research (assess the appropriateness of the suggestions for future research that were made by the study authors, and whether other suggestions could be warranted)
- Identification of an important ‘gap’ in the research literature (based on the 3 chosen publications) that you propose could be further explored in research, and a justification for why this proposed future research would be worthwhile. The justification will include
how addressing this ‘gap’ links to the publications you have reviewed, and is a logical next-step for developing the publication authors’ line of enquiry further. (Your proposed idea should follow from the gaps identified in the 3 articles you chose to critically review. Note that it’s not expected that you will necessarily come up with an entirely new/unique research gap that has never been tested before, because you are basing your idea on your critical evaluation of only 3 journal articles.)
- Formulation of at least one future research question that would address the identified ‘gap’ in knowledge (using the guiding principles of the PICO [Population, Intervention/Exposure, Comparison, Outcomes] style framework).
- A description of the proposed research design and method you would use to attempt to answer your research question (e.g., research study design, types of participants you would seek, method and procedure for generating data, variables of interest, etc.).
The maximum word count for this assessment task is 3000 words (+/- 10%).
This word limit includes in-text citations but excludes any reference section. Meeting the word count is included as a part of the marking criteria in your marking rubric on Moodle. See the Psychology Word Count Information document on Moodle for a rationale for using this type of word limit restriction.
Using a marking rubric, you will be assessed on:
- Accurate reporting of the predominant research area of interest, and research questions
- Ability to interpret, critique, and summarise the reported research findings
- Quality of comparing and contrasting of the research methodologies used in the three journal articles.
- Quality and comprehensiveness of the identification of the strengths, weaknesses, and future research directions.
- Critical analysis of key gaps/areas for further research based on the chosen literature.
- The rationale as to why the identified gap would be of benefit to address in future research.
- Development of a meaningful research question using the principles of the PICO (Population, Intervention/Exposure, Comparison, and Outcomes) style framework.
- Development of appropriate research design and method to answer the research question posed.
- Clarity, conciseness, and quality of written communication and critical thinking in the assessment piece, and adherence to the word-limit.
- Correct use of APA referencing style for in-text citations and the reference list.
Tips on how to critically evaluate research articles are available in the Theme 3 Moodle Workbook and under the Assessment section of the Moodle page.
Assessment criteria and marking rubric for this assessment are shown on the following page.
PSYC20038 – Positive Psychology: Research Methods
Assessment Marking Rubric & Feedback sheet for Assessment 4 – Critical Review and Research Proposal
|Accurate reporting of the||Accurate and thorough||Accurate and clear reporting||Some accuracy in reporting||Limited accuracy in reporting||No real accuracy in reporting|
|predominant research area||reporting of the area of||of the area of research and||of the area of research and||of the area of research and||of the area of research and|
|of interest, and research||research and journal article||journal article research||journal article research||journal article research||journal article research|
|Ability to interpret, critique||Logical and insightful||Logical interpretation and||Some interpretation and||Limited or emerging||No real interpretation and|
|and summarise the reported||interpretation and critique of||critique of the research||critique of the research||interpretation and critique of||critique of the research|
|research findings.||the research findings,||findings including||findings including||the research findings; limited||findings; limited summary of|
|including consideration of the||consideration of the||consideration of the||summary of the reported||the reported research|
|appropriateness of the||appropriateness of the||appropriateness of the||research findings.||findings.|
|methodology; thorough||methodology; clear summary||methodology; general|
|summary of the reported||of the reported research||summary of the reported|
|research findings.||findings.||research findings.|
|Quality of comparing and||In-depth and insightful||In-depth and logical||General discussion||Description of research||No real attempts to compare|
|contrasting of the research||comparing and contrasting of||comparing and contrasting of||comparing and contrasting of||methodologies, including||and contrast research|
|methodologies used in the||research methodologies;||research methodologies;||research methodologies;||participant sampling, choice||methodologies, with no real|
|three journal articles.||thorough consideration of||clear consideration of||general consideration of||of instruments, and||consideration of participant|
|participant sampling, choice||participant sampling, choice||participant sampling, choice||procedure.||sampling, choice of|
|of instruments, and||of instruments, and||of instruments, and||instruments, and procedure.|
|Quality and||Insightful and thorough||Logical and thorough||General discussion of||Limited, surface level||No real discussion of|
|comprehensiveness of the||discussion of strengths,||discussion of strengths,||strengths, weaknesses and||discussion of strengths,||strengths, weaknesses and|
|identification of the strengths,||weaknesses and future||weaknesses and future||future research directions.||weaknesses and future||future research directions.|
|weaknesses, and future||research directions.||research directions.||research directions.|
|Critical analysis of key||Logical and insightful||Logical discussion of gaps||Some discussion of gaps and||Limited, surface level||No real discussion of gaps|
|gaps/areas for further||discussion of gaps and areas||and areas for further||areas for further research.||discussion of gaps and areas||and areas for future|
|research based on the||for further research.||research.||for further research.||research.|
|Rationale as to why the||Insightful justification for||Clear justification for||General justification for||Little justification for future||No real justification for future|
|identified gap would be of||identified future research||identified future research||identified future research||research using at least one||research using the articles.|
|benefit to address in future||based on an integration of||based on an integration of||based on at least two of the||of the articles.|
|research.||the three articles.||the three articles.||articles.|
|Development of a meaningful||Development of an insightful||Development of a logical||Development of a general||Development of a research||No real attempts at|
|research question using the||and logical research||research question,||research question that||question, but with limited||developing a research|
|principles of the PICO/PEO||question, demonstrating||demonstrating clear||demonstrates some||understanding of identified||question, with no real|
|style framework.||thorough understanding of||understanding of identified||understanding of identified||gaps and unit content.||demonstrated understanding|
|identified gaps and unit||gaps and unit content, and||gaps and unit content, and||of research gaps and unit|
|content. Clear articulation of||use of PICO/PEO format.||attempted use of the||content.|
|research question using||PICO/PEO format.|
|Development of an||Development of an insightful||Development of a clearly||Development of a generally||Development of a research||No real attempts at|
|appropriate research design||and highly appropriate||appropriate research design||appropriate research design||design and method, but with||developing a research design|
|and method to answer the||research design and method||and method that could||and method that could||limited consideration to its||and method to answer a|
|research question posed.||that could logically answer||logically answer the research||answer the research||appropriateness for||research question. No real|
|the research question posed.||question posed. Good||question posed. Some||answering the research||demonstration of|
|In-depth understanding of||understanding of unit content||understanding of unit content||question posed. Limited||understanding the unit|
|unit content on research||on research methods||on research methods||understanding of unit content||content on research|
|methods demonstrated.||demonstrated.||demonstrated.||on research methods||methods.|
|Clarity, conciseness and||Purposeful, well integrated,||Well integrated and succinct||Writing is academic in tone||There are several errors and||The degree of errors in|
|quality of written||organised, and succinct||academic writing that clearly||but occasionally lacks focus,||instances of ineffective use||vocabulary, grammar,|
|communication and critical||academic writing that clearly||conveys points and critical||integration and/or||of vocabulary, grammar,||punctuation, word choice,|
|thinking, and adherence to||conveys points and critical||thinking. Minor errors in||succinctness, and/or there||punctuation, word choice,||academic tone, spelling,|
|the word-limit.||thinking. Written within 5%||vocabulary, grammar, and||are errors or instances of||spelling, academic tone,||and/or organisation is such|
|of the word-limit.||organisation. Written within||ineffective use of vocabulary,||and/or organisation, which||that it is difficult to know|
|10% of the word-limit.||grammar, and organisation.||obscures meaning and||what the writer is trying to|
|The errors infrequently||demonstration of critical||express. Submission is|
|affect readability and||thinking some of the time.||more than 20% over (or|
|demonstration of critical||Written within 20% of the||under) the word-limit.|
|thinking. Written within 15%||word-limit.|
|of the word-limit.|
|Correct use of APA||Referencing (in-text||Referencing (in-text||Referencing (in-text||There are a number of errors||Referencing (in-text|
|referencing style for in-text||citations and reference list)||citations and reference list)||citations and reference list)||and inconsistencies in APA||citations and reference list)|
|citations and the reference||and presentation conforms||and presentation conforms||and presentation generally||style (for in-text citations||and presentation|
|list.||to current edition of APA||to current edition of APA||conforms to current edition of||and the reference list).||consistently incorrect and/or|
|style.||style, with infrequent and||APA style, but with errors||non-APA style applied.|
|minor errors.||that are more regular.|