UNIVERSIDAD INTERAMERICANA DE PUERTO RICO
DEPARTAMENTO DE EDUCACIÓN Y PROFESIONES DE LA CONDUCTA
PROGRAMA DE PSICOLOGÍA
PROF. NOÉ GARCÍA
Instructions for Assignments #2, #3 & #4
As part of writing the final text (the instructions for this will be sent in another document) and
preparing for the oral report, students need to to various reviews of the existing literature (or what we
call a Literature Review) on the subject matter they selected. The assignments (#2,#3 and #4) bear a
similar logic and organization. What varies is the focus in terms of the selection of literature reviewed.
I. General Instructions for assignments (#2, #3 )
For each assignment you must hand in a Literature Review of a minimum of three (if you its
an individual work) to four (if its a group work) texts. Remember that the selection of literature
must be valid and consist of articles from a scientific/academic journal or chapters from a specialized
book(that either offers empirical studies or a systematic theoretical review) that elaborates about your
selected research topic. In this sense, only primary or secondary sources are valid for this type of
review. If you are ever unsure on the validity of the source, send me an e-mail and/or bring it to class to
assess it (please do this at least a few days before the due date to hand in said reviews). Remember that
a relatively good “rule of thumb” is that journals published from renown and respectable universities
and research institutions tend to go though rigorous editorial process (and tend to be peer-reviewed)
that safe-guard (at least in theory) from spurious, fallacious or wrongly made articles or studies.
A. Specific instructions regarding the format of the Literature Review
A review must never be reduced to simply reproducing the abstract. Each review should be one
(1) page long or at least a minimum of one to two (1-2) paragraphs (the maximum is relative, but it
shouldn’t generally be longer than two or three pages). You don’t have to use up a whole page per
review: if there’s still enough unused space you can continue on with your next review in the same
page (just leave at least a space between reviews). Before the reviews, at the top of the first page, there
should be a brief section in which you state your selected research topic and problem. The purpose of
this first literature review is that it should help you limit and identify the problem you want to review
(and possible changes you might due along the way, if needed). That is why I have asked you to try to
identify your possible research problem in a separate section.
The three (3) reviews, including the research topic and problem, should be handed in, printed
and stapled, following a Microsoft Word format, a letter size twelve (12) and a spacing of one and a
half (1.5) between sentences (or line spacing in the paragraph options). This assignment has a value of
fifteen (15) points.
B. Specific instructions regarding the organization and contents of the Literature Review
Each review must contain the following information, (which is based more or less, on Mertens 
outline and suggestions [p.111]), but organized and written in the form of a paragraph (or paragraphs):
1. Instead of a “title”: the author, name of the article and source following the APA format.
a. Aside from this first point, the rest of the information must be written in the form of a
paragraph (in a precise and clear matter).
2. The topic and problem studied by the author or authors.
3. The paradigm, theoretical model, therapy, assessment or intervention discussed/evaluated.
4. The selection criteria and selection of publication (specially relevant when reviewing MetaAnalyses and Systematic Reviews)
5. The design, which might include:
a. Type of sampling
b. Characteristics of participants
c. Data collection instruments and methods
6. Data Analysis Strategy.
9. Your own evaluation of the text. This part is very important! Explain how this research might
be of interest to your own research and, if you find it agreeable, give any constructive criticisms
you can offer.
C. Special consideration regarding how to evaluate content
The prior divisions are a useful way to identify and organize the relevant information and data
when doing the necessary synthesis in a Literature Review. Still, not all articles are well organized or
transparent in their writing styles, and sometimes its good to take into considerations a few pointers and
ask ourselves a few questions to guide the process. Some things are learned along the way and its
impossible to completely standardize and homogenize this things (one cannot deny that scientists, the
same way as artists and politicians, have their own idiosyncrasies and styles, which is also part of the
creative process). That being said, I recommend the directions and observations given by Sternberg
(2006) when doing reviews. Also, in the case of Meta-Analyses its a good idea to take into
considerations the recommendations given by Bastian (2014), alongside the texts discussed in Unit I
(these appear the end, in the references).
II. Specific Instructions for each assignment
In reality the most important aspect of this accumulation of reviews is that they lead to the final
text, which should have enough information to compose an over-view on the state of a model, therapy,
instrument, assessment or subject matter. Some subject matters have more data and empirical studies
accumulated, and some, because of various reasons (associated with the nature of the subject matter,
model or methods needed), have less or are either less accessible or more difficult/complex to access in
terms of effectiveness, outcome and evidence. Still it is relevant to account for the state of it, and there
are always empirical studies (some more directly associated with Evidence-Based Practice than others,
that might employ certain qualitative methods whose quantity is hard to assess). For that reason, its is
important that the selection of literature (and always be selective in your Literature Reviews) has a
certain distribution of texts.
A. Distribution of texts in terms of method and content
For the sake of this class, and these assignments, you need to have the following distribution of texts,
from the total of nine (9) to twelve (12) articles reviewed:
1) At least have three (3) articles that are fairly recent (from the last five years).
2) At leas have three (3) articles that are Meta-Analyses (of your selected subject matter, model,
intervention, therapy or assessment) or at least Systemic Reviews (if you can prove that no MetaAnalysis exist).
3) One or two (1-2) texts/articles that provide an overview or discussion, be it theoretical, historical or
empirical (a specific experiment or empirical study), associated with the subject matter.
4) The more specific you are in regards to a population, the better. That being said, it might be possible
that certain populations, in combination with certain subject matters, are not as studied as others
(although it is rather rare). If you are interest in a certain age, social group, nationality or gender, you
should have a sufficient quantity of texts that provides you with sufficient data and information. You
should have at least three (3) texts or articles that provide sufficient information regarding your
selection of population.
5) Obviously these number can overlap, so in many ways you have a relative flexibility in this scenario.
For example, you can have three meta-analysis, that are fairly recent and are specialized to the
population you are interested on, and two theoretical articles, one on the subject matter itself and
another on the model you are interested on. Here we have only five (5) articles and have covered the
minimum of bases required in terms of distribution and content. In this hypothetical case it is up to you
to decide how to distribute the rest of the texts (either more Meta-Analysis, Systemic Reviews,
empirical or experimental studies, theoretical discussions, etc.).
B. Suggested content for each assignment
This is organization and distribution of the Literature Reviews is completely suggestive and it is
meant solely as a way of organizing your texts which might prove to make the whole process more
accessible. Still, it is just a suggestion.
The second assignment, which is the first Literature Review, could just center on articles that
provide you with a theoretical overview or empirical studies regarding your selected subject matter.
The reasoning behind this is that such texts are rich in content, and sometimes can better guide the
students in terms of the main concepts, terminology and even techniques associated with the selected
subject matter/problem of study. This might be useful for students who are still unsure on certain
aspects or details regarding the subject matter.
The third assignment (second Literature Review) should center on Meta-Analyses or, if none
can be found, Systemic Reviews. This will give you a good idea on the present state of the subject
matter, problem, model, etc. From here, one can better pin-point the possibilities and limits of one’s
research interest. The fourth assignment (third and last Literature Review) should fill in the gaps
regarding the results of the prior review (for instance, one might’ve found in the prior Meta-Analysis
only studies that favor one’s selection of a model, therapy or intervention, so it might be a good idea to
look for rebuttals or possible oppositions-it is always a good idea to look for null hypothesis and even
articles that might oppose one’s views).
C. Dates for hand in each Literature Review
The second assignment is due on: April/02/2019
The third assignment is due on: April/23/2019
The fourth assignment is due on: May/14/2019
Bastian, H. (20/January/2014). Five key things to know about meta-analysis. Scientific American.
Retireved from https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/absolutely-maybe/5-key-things-to-knowabout-meta-analysis/?print=true
Garg, A.X., Hackam, D., & Tonelli, M.(2008). Systematic Review and Meta-analysis: When one study
is just not enough. Clinical Journal American Society Nephrology: 253-260.
Sánchez-Meca, J. & Marín-Martínez, F. (2010). Meta-analysis in Psychological Research. International
Journal of Psychological Research 3(1): 150-162.
Sternberg, R.J. & Grigorenko, E.L.(2006). Review Articles for Methods. In Robert J. Sternberg (Ed.)
Reviewing scientific works in psychology (31-42). New Have: Yale University
Sternberg, R.J. (2006). Review Theory Articles. In Robert J. Sternberg (Ed.) Reviewing scientific
works in psychology (43-58). New Have: Yale University
Mertens, D. (2010). Literature Review and Focusing the Research. In Donna M. Mertens,
Research and Evaluation in Education and Psychology (89-122). Los Angeles: Sage
UNIVERSIDAD INTERAMERICANA DE PUERTO RICO