semester 2 week 5 homework for TA




Why is the “file drawer problem”a problem ????

this is  a question that as a trainee psychologist i have pondered for a while …. what is the file drawer phenomena and why is such a problem when it comes to publishing major research.

the file drawer  problem/ phenomena which was coined by Robert  Rosenthal in 1979, is to do with publication bias ; essentially it  draws on the issue which arises when researches reject their null  due to the statistical insignificance of the results thus leading less  likelihood of their   data  being published. these negative or inclusive results often never reach the  public reasachers , editors, pharmaceutical companies and medical journals are wary of publishing such data which may go against/ contradict common belief.  this in my eyes is a major problem as it shows a direct representation of the data field thus leading to direct problems when it comes to continuation if experiments or extreme bias of data.

the file drawer problem has major implications when it comes to question validity as the effect reduces validity: the  literature produces by the file drawer  effect is largely unrepresentative of the population of the studies  for example Merck’s research on Vioxx (arthritis drug) had the results that showed that the drug wasnt as effective. this research is deretimental both  those adminstration and taking the drug as the pseudo result gives an inaccurate image of its true effect as  it largely distorts the data thus giving a bias slant on the results.

 Iyangar and Greenhouse in 1988 suggested a plausible way of fixing publishing bias; the sensitivity of effect size( 0.05). as this scale can directly show the level of significance an entity posses, thus creating a stricter more efficient presentation of the data without ruling out haf he results ………  the more stringent the alpha level , the better the test  of significance  is.

to conclude in my opinion the file drawer effect is an out dated practice which should be replaced for a method that best equips the psychological community.

“Should psychology be written for the layman or should science be exclusively for scientists????”

I believe strongly that psychological , journals, articles and reports should be written for individuals thus making them accessible by the general public. yes some of the words used would be the psychology specific but the statistics and evaluations of the results should be accessible to all walks of life thus written in a straight forward fashion , explainable to an individual outside the field.

The statistics element is often shown  in adverts or in journals use statistic in order to illustrate their point . One example of this is “the Virginia twin study “: this study tested 1412 pairs of  caucasian twins on how genetics and the environment  can impact on their development during adolescence. The statistics in such studies help the reader to quickly grasp the findings in order to make sense of the possible impact they may have on the world or he selves  as statistics shown as percentages  are an easy, reliable, straight forward way for individuals to engage with the present findings. 

Further more as psychology is somewhat a social science and not just a neural science  i believe that i is in psychologists best interests to pass on their knowledge  to others thus creating an accessible platform where information can be recieved freely.