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Looking Our Limitations in the Eye: A Tutorial for Writing About Research Limitations in Psychology

08 Jun 2023-
TL;DR: The authors present a tutorial for psychology researchers to "own" their research limitations, inspired by Whitcomb et al.'s "steel-person principle" (reflecting on what the best argument is against your conclusions), and specific advice for different types of limitations.
Abstract: Limitations are an inherent part of the research process. Looking these limitations in the eye is no easy task, but it is important if the field of psychology wishes to be considered a credible science. Current practices for reporting limitations in psychology leave much room for improvement. Concrete guidance for discussing specific limitations is lacking. The aim of this tutorial is to enable psychology researchers to “own” their research limitations (inspired by Whitcomb et al., 2017). We provide general recommendations, such as the ‘steel-person principle’ (reflecting on what the best argument is against your conclusions), and specific advice for different types of limitations. We assembled a team with expertise in assessing various aspects of validity, and structured this tutorial around recommendations for discussing common threats to construct, internal, external, and statistical conclusion validity (Shadish et al., 2002). Our goal is to prompt psychologists to write more deeply and clearly about the limitations of their research, and to hold each other to higher standards when reviewing each other’s work. A major limitation of this tutorial is that our advice risks being applied formulaically, and as a substitute for critical thinking about limitations. Further, this tutorial should not replace efforts to prevent or reduce research limitations in the first place. Instead, readers should use this tutorial as a starting point for reflecting on their limitations which should be thoughtfully incorporated in all relevant conclusions throughout their paper.
Trending Questions (3)
How to write the strength and limitations of the research paper?

The paper provides general recommendations for discussing limitations in psychology research, but does not specifically address how to write the strengths and limitations of a research paper.

How about research limitation?

The paper discusses the importance of acknowledging and discussing research limitations in psychology. It provides general recommendations and specific advice for different types of limitations.

What are limitation of these paper?

The paper mentions that a major limitation of the tutorial is that the advice given may be applied formulaically and as a substitute for critical thinking about limitations.