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Psychology: Evaluating Research

Research help in the area of Psychology.

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Spotting Bad Science

Impact Factor/Predatory Journals


The impact factor (IF) is a measure of the frequency with which the average article in a journal has been cited in a particular year.  It is used to measure the importance or rank of a journal by calculating the times its articles are cited.​​


Predatory Open-Access Publishing is an exploitive open-access academic publishing business model that involves charging publication fees to authors without providing the editorial and publishing services and rigor associated with legitimate journals.  The idea that they are "predatory" is based on the view that academics are tricked into publishing with them, though some authors may be aware that the journal is poor quality or fraudulent. - Wikipedia. 
Information provided in the above links are the work on independent researchers and may not be completely accurate.  Use your own knowledge and best judgment to determine journal quality. 

Questions to ask of your research

  • Was the research well conducted?
  • Is the research question clearly stated?
  • Is there evidence of a clear search strategy of previous literature?
  • Is the study design appropriate?
  • Is it clear how the study population was sampled and is the sample representative?
  • How was the data collected?
  • What is the reliability and validity of the data collected?
  • Were confounding influences and biases considered?
  • Does the data justify the conclusions drawn?
  • Does the study add any new knowledge to the subject area?
  • Has the word been published in a peer-reviewed journal?
  • Has the study obtained and followed ethical approvals and standards?
Fawkes C, Ward E, Carnes D. (2015).  What evidence is good evidence? A Masterclass in critical appraisal.  International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine, 18(2), 116-129. doi: