BubbleBoiiii
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Hi there,

I have found numerous interesting articles as evidence for my arguments in my essay and have stumbled across a very helpful meta-analysis which further proves my point. However, I'm a bit stuck as to how best use this in my essay.

I was thinking about the potential structure of; topic sentence (describing point/argument) and then detailing one of two supporting studies and then rounding this off with the support of a meta analysis. Is this about right? We have never really discussed using meta-analyses in our work but I think that it would be a useful addition to my work - though if I am wrong about that then please feel free to correct me!
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axxxxxa
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Heyy, that structure seems about right. Meta-analysis has the highest quality of evidence (for a non-single study; a single study would be RCTs) so it would definitely help substantiate your point(s). Though I just realised is this for uni or..?
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BubbleBoiiii
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(Original post by axxxxxa)
Heyy, that structure seems about right. Meta-analysis has the highest quality of evidence (for a non-single study; a single study would be RCTs) so it would definitely help substantiate your point(s). Though I just realised is this for uni or..?
Hi sorry yes this is for university work (psychology department)

Also I'm a bit of noob with TSR and whatnot so what do mean by RCTs? (sorry I had a quick search and I understand now! Silly me)
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axxxxxa
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(Original post by BubbleBoiiii)
Hi sorry yes this is for university work (psychology department)
Lol that's okay just wanted to gauge the level before going in too detail. I would suggest (if you haven't thought about it already) to also "critically appraise" the studies you mentioned/ described if possible. Incorporating a meta-analysis is just like using a single study except for the potentially higher quality evidence since a meta-analysis usually involves multiple studies. So the way of writing or presenting your evidence is no different from any other studies. Does this make sense? Let me know if it doesn't haha.
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BubbleBoiiii
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(Original post by axxxxxa)
Lol that's okay just wanted to gauge the level before going in too detail. I would suggest (if you haven't thought about it already) to also "critically appraise" the studies you mentioned/ described if possible. Incorporating a meta-analysis is just like using a single study except for the potentially higher quality evidence since a meta-analysis usually involves multiple studies. So the way of writing or presenting your evidence is no different from any other studies. Does this make sense? Let me know if it doesn't haha.
Yes that makes sense thanks very much

I normally do some critical analysis of studies I mention as in one paragraph detailing the good points and then in the next potential limitations (and how other research may answer these etc.) as I found before that I would write too much all in one paragraph. If it's not too cheeky of me, is there a specific typical structure that you follow in such essays/typical points of critique you look for?
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axxxxxa
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(Original post by BubbleBoiiii)
Yes that makes sense thanks very much

I normally do some critical analysis of studies I mention as in one paragraph detailing the good points and then in the next potential limitations (and how other research may answer these etc.) as I found before that I would write too much all in one paragraph. If it's not too cheeky of me, is there a specific typical structure that you follow in such essays/typical points of critique you look for?
I'm an "over writer" too in that I usually write over the limit and then have to trim down afterwards haha.

And no worries, happy to answer! I don't really have a set structure as it depends on the essay question. I'll just give an example to make things simpler. So for example the topic is "neurobiology of Schizophrenia" and lets say one of my points is to discuss the dopamine hypothesis. I would

- give a brief background on the dopamine hypothesis (e.g. schizophrenia is caused by excess dopamine)
- produce evidence supporting this hypothesis (usually experimental evidence)
- produce evidence against
- discuss possible reasons for the conflicting results. this would also count as your critical appraisal
- your opinion on the matter i.e. which argument is more viable (for or against?)

Other things to look out for during critical appraisal

- generalisability (maybe there was participant selection bias)
- were there any issues with the methodology or data analysis.
- Were there confounding factors that influenced the results
- what were the limitations

*there are so many other things to discuss though

That being said, critiquing is not only about finding the pros/ cons of a particular study but also how you can synthesise information from various sources to build your arguments. To push your mark to a higher band, you have to go beyond just repeating what has been published. Throw in your insight and opinions on the matter too. You don't need to do this too many times, just put forth your own ideas for every subtopic at least. I find the easiest was to do this is to discuss possible reasons for the conflicting results (as above). But depends on the essay question and what works for you!

I'm not sure which year of uni you are in. But I completed my degree in psychology and I can say writing psychology essays is no easy feat! It takes a lot of practice to master it. Hope this helps!
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BubbleBoiiii
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(Original post by axxxxxa)
I'm an "over writer" too in that I usually write over the limit and then have to trim down afterwards haha.

And no worries, happy to answer! I don't really have a set structure as it depends on the essay question. I'll just give an example to make things simpler. So for example the topic is "neurobiology of Schizophrenia" and lets say one of my points is to discuss the dopamine hypothesis. I would

- give a brief background on the dopamine hypothesis (e.g. schizophrenia is caused by excess dopamine)
- produce evidence supporting this hypothesis (usually experimental evidence)
- produce evidence against
- discuss possible reasons for the conflicting results. this would also count as your critical appraisal
- your opinion on the matter i.e. which argument is more viable (for or against?)

Other things to look out for during critical appraisal

- generalisability (maybe there was participant selection bias)
- were there any issues with the methodology or data analysis.
- Were there confounding factors that influenced the results
- what were the limitations

*there are so many other things to discuss though

That being said, critiquing is not only about finding the pros/ cons of a particular study but also how you can synthesise information from various sources to build your arguments. To push your mark to a higher band, you have to go beyond just repeating what has been published. Throw in your insight and opinions on the matter too. You don't need to do this too many times, just put forth your own ideas for every subtopic at least. I find the easiest was to do this is to discuss possible reasons for the conflicting results (as above). But depends on the essay question and what works for you!

I'm not sure which year of uni you are in. But I completed my degree in psychology and I can say writing psychology essays is no easy feat! It takes a lot of practice to master it. Hope this helps!
That is so useful - thanks so much! I am a second year student and though I should know better, I have definitely found it to be a hard battle! Yes I struggle with putting my opinion into essays I think, so I should try work on that for this coming one. Thanks very much again!
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axxxxxa
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(Original post by BubbleBoiiii)
That is so useful - thanks so much! I am a second year student and though I should know better, I have definitely found it to be a hard battle! Yes I struggle with putting my opinion into essays I think, so I should try work on that for this coming one. Thanks very much again!
You're very welcome! Don't worry bout it, you still have time and hopefully by your third year you can produce high quality essays and also for your project dissertation
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