Your review should be a clear assessment of both the general value of the entire research as well as the specific details of the study. Your main objective is to decide whether the manuscript should be accepted for publication. In making this decision, you need to comment on what you perceive to be the strengths and weaknesses of the paper. You should also make appropriate suggestions for improvement, if improvement is possible, when discussing weaknesses.
Introduce your review with a brief paragraph of three or four sentences in which you recommend that the paper should be (1) accepted as is, (2) revised according to your suggestions and resubmitted, or (3) rejected outright, and a general statement of why you make that recommendation. You should then give more detailed comments according to the different sections of the manuscript. In your review, you need to strike a balance between providing constructive criticism and excessive nitpicking. You should also aim for a helpful tone rather than a punitive one.
Introduction The purpose of the Introduction section is to provide the reader with a context for the study.
Primarily, the Introduction should provide a rationale for the study. This is done by informing the reader about previous theory and research on the topic and showing how this particular study can make an important contribution to the topic. Questions to ask:
1. Is the question important? Does it offer us new and valuable insights into perceptual and/or cognitive development? 2. Does the author provide a good context for the study by citing relevant research and theory? 3. Do the hypotheses make sense and do they follow from the introduction?
Method This section is intended to provide the reader with a detailed account of how the experiment was
conducted. It should be clear who the subjects were and how they were sampled; what methods were used and how they were employed; what the independent and dependent variables were and how they were measured.
Questions to ask: 1. Is the sampling method appropriate? Is the final sample appropriate in terms of age, size, and representativeness? Keep in mind the challenges that researchers face in finding samples representative of the larger population. 2. Are the methods and procedures appropriate for the questions being posed? 3. Are the measures valid? Do they truly measure what the authors assume they are measuring?
Results In this section, the author should provide a clear picture of the influence of the independent
conditions on the dependent measures. It should be clearly written and easy to understand.
Questions to ask: 1. Is the presentation of results clear and understandable? 2. Does the author present adequate information so that you can evaluate whether the hypotheses were supported or rejected? 3. Are the results consistent and â€œimpressiveâ€ or do they tend to be small and inconsistent?
Discussion At this point, the authors provide the reader with an interpretation of the results. The authors should
describe what the results mean, in terms of the original questions that were posed. The authors should also consider the merits of alternative explanations, and may discuss practical implications of the findings of the study. Questions to ask:
1. Does the author fairly discuss whether the hypotheses were supported or rejected? 2. Do you agree with the authorâ€™s assessment of the results? 3. Are there plausible alternative explanations of the results that the author does not consider?
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