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. http://www.ma.utexas.edu/users/mks/statmistakes/filedrawer.html

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. http://projecteuclid.org/DPubS?service=UI&version=1.0&verb=Display&handle=euclid.ss/1177013012

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.

Qualatative research : Easy or Harder than it looks

among psychology students there is a common misconception that qualitative methods or research is substantially easier than spss or statical programs.

qualitative data is extremely time consuming as it requires te investigator to meticulously analyse the data for themes which represent the research topics and highlight a substantial viewpoint .

janet llieva, steve Baron and Nigel Heculum conducted an online in the pros and cons of marketing research. they found that the main problem with qualitative data is that it is not always representative of the population thus not generalisehttp://www.mendeley.com/research/online-surveys-in-marketing-research-pros-and-cons/.

further studies were conducted by Patrica Johnson and john t. Winstone. this study brought together the pro and cons of data analysis software for qualitative research. they fund  that there were many advantages such as improved validity, audabilityand flexibility of the data and  the methods used to analyse  the data.  he concerns were mainly as the software is deterministic and often uses rigid processes to analyse the data it also only focuses on the volume and breath of the data rather than he depth and the meaning of the data which in my eyes would hinder the development of a qualitative research as qualatative is ment to focus on the detail within the data which makes  Qualiataive analysis what it is.http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1547-5069.2000.00393.x/abstract

on the whole qualitative research would say is even more complex and demanding than statistics and numerical data due to its subjective nature and  th fact  that individuals view and present thought can influence   the outcome of the analysis.

till next time


Covert observation: Needed or Ethically Unsound…….You Decide

As a trainee psychologist i often ponder  the question does the end justify  the means when conducting research. Is it ethically right to stretch the nerves and break the boundaries of your participants trust through deception in order to obtain data or should this ludicrous practice be stopped.

this question is often at  the fore front of my mind when i am thinking about the option of covert observations.  it has been noted by individuals such as Roger Homan the possible advantages of sch methods. he described this particular method as  “pragmatic expedient, ideally non reactive way to gie access to a secret transaction” as  the participant wa  free from disturbance and inhibition” . Mr Hammond states a valid and accurate point as covert observations I general do not harm the individuals being observed but rather draw on on methods in order to see natural behaviours which may not be presented within the confines of an experiment. although I still feel disconcerted at the prospect of decieving participants in order to obtain valid and reliable results.  http://jstor.org/590062

 One individual wo shares my view is Alison Lurie. Lurie states that ” particular ironic version of the means justify ends argument with an excuse that we were seeking truth , we were proposing to lie ourselves blind to the truth seekers ” . bold statements like this highlight the fact that it is never okay to decieve your participants through covert methods no matter the gain you may achieve scientific progress it may hinder.  Further more C.D Herrara states that ” deception rampant in society…… methods no more immoral than the behaviour it prevails …. morally indistinguishable from deception.” http://jstor.org/590062  http:/onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111.j.1468-4446..1999.00331.x/abstract

strong poyant  arguments such as this have led me to believe that however helpful covert analysis may be in  helping individuals observe naturalistic behaviours another thing, it still counts as deception as the participant’s are often often unaware tat  they are partaking in n experiments thus  breaking ethical guidelines such as the right to with draw and the  need for full informed consent.

But in the eyes of some “the goal is justifiable”; Denzin 1968.  ccj.sagepub.com/content/http:1111.12/2/97.short

till next time