The following critical evaluation and review are dedicated to an exploration of research published in Pakistan Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology on the perception of love in young adults. The research uses the method of semi-structured interviews to illustrate and investigate the proposed thesis, describing the three stages of love and attachment development.
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The abstract used in the original research paper provides a general overview of the study, and identifies the purpose of the paper, outlining the methods and steps taken to highlight the key points of the research, as well as the main findings. It gives an adequate overview of the work and allows the reader to form a first opinion on the article. The abstract also mentions the relevance of the paper and outlines its audience: the concerned parents and psychology counselors; this may be considered a professional touch.
The introduction of the article can be compared in length with another half of the paper, including the body and the conclusion. However, such lengthy introduction is justified, as it offers a thorough background research on the matter; moreover, the authors further explain their research goals, identifying them as the investigation of the perception of love in young adults who are romantically involved in a relationship and exploration of feelings that these people experience in love. The citation in the introductory part of the article provides evidence for the problematic of the research, and the quoted sources are relevant and of high priority, for example, the works of Maslow or Marsden.
Still, this introductory note does not provide an explanation why this research model has been taken or how the cultural and social context influences the perception of love among young people. While these ideas were mentioned briefly in the introduction, none of them received any development in the body of the paper or further in the article. Under this approach it may be difficult to understand the model of the research and its methods, or find an explanation for such choice, but in fact, they are justified because the used approach is classical for the researches on such topics; however, the authors of the paper fail to provide the necessary arguments in the introduction. Thus, it can be said that the introduction to the article is rather solid but somewhat one-sided, with a focus on background and citation from relevant sources; although some of the weak points of this part were partially corrected further by presenting the detailed information in other sections.
The body of the paper is substantial, and the information on methodology and results of the research is presented here, as well as the analysis of the topic and the description of the conducted interviews with a list of questions, dialogue transcripts, and the additional materials, such as diagrams for the stages of love development; this information is detailed and comprehensive. In the section of methodology three smaller subsections can be found, illustrating the sample group, consisting of two representatives, the assessment tool, namely, the semi-structured interview, the procedure, and its analysis. Such subdivision makes the paper more readable and allows searching for necessary information in a fast and easy way.
The method of interviewing used in the research is clearly explained and justified, and the important details of data collection and conducting the research are shown, as well. However, some questions may arise due to the sample size as the group of two women aged 22, cannot be viewed as representative and may threaten the credibility of the research in itself. It is obvious that the sample should have been expanded to include at least two more people, preferably men, or the name of the paper should have been changed to “Perception of love in young women”. Another issue of this part of the work is that the diagrams are introduced in the middle of the text, making part of it very difficult to read. It would have been better if these diagrams were put into a separate subsection or in an appendix to enhance the readability of the article. The citation sources are hardly used for proving the authors’ point of view in this section, as well.
The discussion and analysis in the paper are well balanced, the authors acknowledge the merits and the limitations of the research, including the size of the sample group; however they dedicate the larger part of the paper to results discussion and comments on the interview transcripts, overlooking the conclusion, which is solid, bit somewhat laconic. The authors show that they were able to prove the theses posed in the paper, such as “Romantic love leads to happiness; romantic love would show positive association with sincerity, commitment, honesty, understanding, care, sharing and money; there would be a negative association between possessiveness and romantic love; media would have an impact on perception of love” (Kokab & Ajmal, 2012, p. 48) and to support the arguments with research evidence. They have also found proof to the idea of love development stages and shown the evidence for it, as well. Still, it might have been helpful to provide more distinguished recommendations for future researches on the subject, or the ideas for improvement in the research that was conducted, in addition to the results description. It would also be recommended to fill the abovementioned gaps in all parts of the paper, expand the sample group, elaborate the research of the social and cultural context, which seems to have a major influence on the topic and completely review the structure of the paper.
Kokab, S. & Ajmal, M. A. (2012). Perception of Love in Young Adults. Pakistan Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology 9(2), 43-48.