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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


PSYBLOG

by Jeremy Dean
 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

4.5 stars
Content Quality: 4.5 stars
Effectiveness: 4 stars
Ease of Use: 4.75 stars
Reviewed: Jun 23, 2012 by Psychology
Overview: PSYBLOG is a collection of blog articles on recent findings or topics of interest in psychology. The studies covered have been published in reputable academic journals in many different areas of psychology. Information is presented in an accessible and interesting way that would likely appeal to students (at all levels) and the general public. Topics are slightly restricted, but still broad enough to be of interest and use to a diverse audience. The blog has over 50,000 readers and is written and designed by Jeremy Dean, a researcher at University College London.
Learning Goals: • The reader/learner will acquire introductory knowledge and understanding of high interest psychology topics.
Target Student Population: Students in any level of study from middle school, high school, college, graduate, and post-graduate would find the site interesting. It would be of most value to those in middle school, high school, undergraduate psychology classes, and those no longer in school who would not likely have access to databases and are just interested in exploring psychology. Students at the graduate level might need more depth, but would likely still enjoy reading the articles.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: The material is presented in such a way that readers would likely need very little background knowledge in psychology. However, having some basic understanding may help readers glean more information from the site.
Type of Material: Collection of articles (articles on a variety of topics likely of interest to students and the general public)
Recommended Uses: • The collection would be useful for students looking for research ideas or those just interested in psychology who want to skim through one site for summary information rather than use the research databases. It is a useful site to begin a search, or to get basic information from the field of psychology. • The collection also could be useful as supplementary readings to complement assigned academic readings in a class. It could be particularly useful in an introductory psychology course as it presents material in an easily readable and interesting format.
Technical Requirements: Requires an Internet connection and compatible browser (accessed using Chrome Browser for the desktop and Mozilla Firefox 11)

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: • The site covers a large diversity of topics--classic studies as well as new findings. • The materials could be equally useful to the general public and undergraduate students in psychology.
Concerns: • Given these articles are research summaries, students should not rely on these pages as sources but should read and use the original source. • The diversity of psychology disciplines is not fully represented (which would be challenging at best, without a large staff of experts). The depth of coverage limits the utility of the site as an academic resource (would be inadvisable to use as a primary source of course readings).

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: • The information is well written and will make the material more accessible to the average reader. • The material covers a diverse set of topics that are presented in an interesting and easy-to-read format.
Concerns: • The details of how information is found are often critical. While the reader is referred to the original source, in many cases one can only get to an abstract. This is not a fault that can be corrected, but a weakness in general of online information. • Depth of coverage is lacking as a teaching tool. The site does not present materials in a sequence for instruction and does not suggest any learning activities to help rehearse or master content. Articles are often disconnected.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: • While it may take a minute to find the search link, it is easy to use. Interesting summaries are easily found on the main page or through Explore PSYBLOG. • The site is very easy to navigate, and it is easy to locate information on specific topics of interest. Very little user-action is required to interact with the materials. • The site is interesting and visually engaging.
Concerns: • Instructions for using the site are not present (nor especially necessary). Some users may have difficulty navigating the site if they are less familiar with blogs.