Critical Thinking In Psychology


 Psychology can be expounded as the scientific study of the human mind and its functions, particularly those impacting behavior in a particular context. This paper critiques a journal article by Wilson et al. (2010), which focused on psychological treatments of binge eating disorders. The paper starts with a summary of the article and then proceeds to a critical analysis.

Summary of the article

 The study by Wilson et al. (2010) was undertaken with the primary objective of establishing whether patients with binge eating disorder need specialty therapy beyond behavioral weight loss treatment and if interpersonal psychotherapy would be more effective than either behavioral weight treatment or cognitive behavior therapy among the patients that have a high negative affect within a two-year follow-up.

Literature review

 Even though the article does not have a specific section titled literature review, it can be explained that the first part of the article features an introduction of the research topic and a literature review.  Indeed, scholars have started by defining binge eating disorder (BED) and then proceeded to discuss Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT). After that, the scholars reviewed past research carried out and related to the research issue their study was focusing on. By reading the literature review section of the article, one gets to understand the context of the study by Wilson et al. (2010). Precisely, from the literature review, it is understood that interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) is an effective specialty treatment that can be used to treat binge eating disorder (BED). On the other hand, according to the literature review, behavioral weight loss treatment (BWL) and guided self-help based on cognitive behavior therapy (CBTgsh) can minimize binge eating among obese patients with BED within a short time.

Methods section

 Even though no specific section has been titled methods or methodology, by reading the article by Wilson et al. (2010), one can understand the ways that the researchers used. Precisely, it can be pointed out that the scholars carried out a primary study that involved a randomized, active control efficacy trial. The study was carried out in a university setting with 205 research participants who were both men and women and had a body mass index between 27 and 45.  Given the data analysis, the researchers used various statistical analysis tools to analyze the data they had collected from the study.

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Results section

 The results of the study have been presented in tables as well as in graphs. Moreover, the researchers have also explained the results to ensure that any reader understands the results presented in the tables and graphs. From the study that was carried out, it was found that at a 2-year follow-up, IPT and CBTgsh both resulted in an ideal decrease from binge eating than BWL.

Discussion section

 The discussion section in the article has been titled comments. In this section, the researchers have explained in detail their findings and, in some cases, compared the results with past studies. Indeed, it can be pointed out that by reading the discussion section, one understands the study’s findings and how they apply to the research subject.

Conclusion section

Even though there is no specific section in the article titled conclusion, it can be noted that the last two paragraphs of the report feature conclusions of the study. The reason why that is the case is that in these two paragraphs, the researchers have discussed the limitations of the study while at the same time concluding the findings of the study. In conclusion, the researchers noted that all three treatments had similar outcomes on binge eating posttreatment even though interpersonal psychotherapy was found to have the lowest attrition.

Analysis of the article


 As Saunders et al. (2009) and Patton (2002), the research methods used to carry out a given research is one aspect that is used to determine the strength or weakness of a given study. From the analysis of the survey carried out by Wilson et al. (2010), it can be explained that one of the study’s strengths is that the data the researchers used was explicitly collected for the specific research they carried out. That implied that the findings convinced the reader of the study’s article since the data used in the study was collected for the specific purpose of the study.

 From another perspective, another strength of the study can be explained as the detailed background information on the research topic that has been included in the article by the researchers. The reason why that is the case is that by reading the literature review section, one gets to have a better understanding of the research topic. Moreover, the fact that the researchers cited various secondary sources to support their claims meant that the arguments presented in the article were believable.


 Fontana and Frey (2000) pointed out that a study’s weaknesses are mainly determined by how the researchers undertook the study. From the analysis of the research by Wilson et al. (2010), it can be noted that one of the weaknesses of the study is the small sample size that was used. Indeed, considering that there are thousands of people in the US with eating disorders, the sample size of 205 used in the research can be argued to be an inappropriate representation of the research population. From another perspective, the subject section approach can be explained as a weakness since it was more of a convenient sampling approach, which implies that the extent to which the study’s findings can be generalized to the entire research population is questionable.

Another weakness of the article can be said to be its structure and layout. Indeed, the researchers did not have subsections and titles of the subsections. As a result, the article could end up boring to some readers since there are only four main sections with many paragraphs, and it could be monotonous for one to read them all at once.


Supported opinions

 As already pointed out in the article, the researchers have cited past research and other secondary sources to support their opinions. By citing various secondary sources, those reading the article understand why the researchers are of specific views and most likely get to agree with these opinions. On the other hand, it can also be noted that the fact that the secondary sources of information are not outdated makes the claims made by the scholars valid.

Standards Check  

From a standards check, the article by Wilson et al. (2010) can be explained to pass all means check since it features all the standard features of a journal article. For example, the article has an abstract that gives an overall idea of the article, while the method used in the study has also been well explained. In addition, from the introduction and the literature review section, it is easy to understand the need for the research that the researchers carried out.


In conclusion, the research by Wilson et al. (2010) was carried out in an ideal manner, and for that reason, the findings of the study can be considered to be valid and reliable. Nevertheless, it can be noted that if the researchers had addressed the weaknesses highlighted, the study findings would have been more credible and generalizable to the entire research population.


Fontana, A., Frey, J. (2000). Handbook of Qualitative Research. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative Research and Evaluation Methods (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publishers

Saunders, M., Lewis, P. Thornhill, A. (2009). Research methods for business students, (5th Ed). Harlow, Pearson Education.

Wilson, T. G., Wilfley, E. D., Agras, S., Bryson, W. S. (2010). Psychological Treatments of Binge Eating Disorder. Arch Gen Psychiatry, 67(1):94-101