Submitted By Zazu
Discuss the process of peer review (8 marks)
Peer review is the assessment of scientific work by others who are experts in some field.
The purpose of peer reviewing is to ensure that any research conducted and published is of high quality. Peer reviews are usually unpaid and report on the quality of the research and then their views are considered by a peer review panel to ensure that the work is valid and it supports the conclusions. If the BPS agrees that the work is valid, then the research is published, for example in textbooks or journals, made available for the public.
There are several key points that must be considered when conducting the peer review process. Anonymity is practised so that the reviewers can be honest and objective, however this may have the opposite effect if reviewers use the veil of anonymity to settle old scored or buy rival research. This means that peer reviewers can either validate or in-validate research depending on their past experienced with that researcher. A solution for this has been in some cases where journals now favour open reviewing where both author and reviewer know each other’s identity.
It has been pointed out by Richie et al that journals are just as bad as newspapers for seeking eye catching storied. This has been signified by the tendancy of journals preffering to publish positive results, which results in publication bias of the research that eads to a misconception of the true facts. It has also been noted that journals avoid publishing straight replications of a study- which is a fundamental part of research validation. An example os of a replication study on paranormal phenomena by French (2011) who found that his research was not even considered for peer review.
There are several key points that must be considered when conducting the peer review process. It has been highlighted that when new research is discovered, there is no expert available to validate it, other than the researcher who discovered it the!selves. Smith (1999) therefore argue that this means that poor research may be passed because the reviewer didn't really understand it due to not being an appropriate chance of expert in that feild .This means that research can be incorrectly validated.
Another criticism of peer review is that peer review results in a preference for research that goes with existing theories rather than dissenting or unconventional work, in order to preserve the status quo. Therefore peer review may be one of the elements that slows down change, as changes take a long time to occur in scientific research and require a 'revolution' in the way people think.
Additionally, once research has been published, even if it is deemed fraudulent or shows the result of poor research activities it cannot be withdrawn from the public view. For instance,
Brooks (2010) points out that peer reviewed reseaech that was debunted , was comtuimually wed in debate in Parliament. This means that invalid research is still being used to support theories, which challenges the reliability and validity of past, present and future psychological research.…...