Critiquing a Qualitative Research Article

                                                           Critiquing a Qualitative Research Article         

Why complete a qualitative research critique? As we endeavor in the search for answers to social issues, we tend to search for published literature. An assumption by most is that literature is “absolute”; unfortunately, not all published research is scientifically sound. As a result, critical analyses of published studies allow us to determine the usefulness of the study results. 

According to Polit & Beck (2006), research critiques are also mechanisms to provide feedback and recommendations for improvement.  

As a reviewer of research articles, it is recommended that you read the article in its entirety to get a sense of the study. The second time you read the article, pay attention to the sections and questions below. It may take reading the article a few times to come to terms with the different aspects of the article.  

*Articles submitted for publication are subject to critiques; this is a review by peers of a journal review board/editors who will determine if your research study includes the quality necessary to be published.

*Keep in mind that Research articles are written in different formats and include different terminology; not all sections below will be part of the article assigned to your team.


Instructions to complete Article Critique and provide Recommendations:

  1. If the sections below are included in your assigned article, it is expected that you will analyze/critique each section and provide a recommendation for improvement.
  • If you believe the section is clearly written, is easy to understand and reflects the purpose of the study, provide a written justification as to why it does not need to be changed. A “no change needed” is not acceptable.
  • Follow the same format of the Article when submitting your final submission, if your assigned article does not include a section on the template,include the section of the template and critique whether you believe they should have been included it to provide a better understanding of the study.  Students/teams are expected to conduct further research on the quality of sound scientific publications to provide a high-level written analysis/critique of the different section of the assigned article.
  • The final analysis/critique of the article sections will require 2+ well written paragraphs of your recommendations. Do not re-write/summarize the article; remember you are providing feedback/recommendations for improvement. Some content may have to be quoted, such as the research question for example, to provide clarity of its effectiveness or recommendations to improve on.
  • Submission should be double-spaced, 1” margins, use APA. Only 1 team member needs to upload the final critique.
  • Use the template below: Leave the bold headers and remove the rest of the content. If a section was not included in your article, would you recommend including it? If sections are merged together in your article, it is expected that your analysis/critique of the merged sections will be a more expanded analysis and written recommendation.

Research Critique Template

Title: Include full title, all authors (last name, initials), journal title, volume # & page numbers.        The title must be formatted in APA for this section.

 (1 paragraph) Abstract: From the abstract, is it clear what themajor theme of the research is?Does it provide a snapshot of the study? Does it include the topic, population, methodology? Is it coherent, readable and concise? What are your recommendations?

(2 paragraph) Introduction/Background: What is the main topic of this this research? Is this an important research topic that will add to the current body of literature? How do the authors present this topic? Is there a thorough review of literature outlining current knowledge on this topic?        What are your recommendations?

(2 paragraph) Purpose of Study: Is the purpose of the study clear? Is there a need for this study? Did the author(s) clearly state how the results of this study would improve a specific practice and add to a specific body of knowledge?  What are your recommendations?

(2 paragraph) Literature Review: Is the review logically organized? Was the literature included from recent studies (within 5 years)? If not, was the literature still relevant? Was the literature from primary sources of empirical nature or secondary sources? Did the author(s) relate previous studies to the current research problem? Does the review help establish the importance of the research?  What are your recommendations?

(2 paragraph) Methodology or Approach: Within a broad qualitative approach is it phenomenological, ethnographic, grounded theory, or broad qualitative design? Is there a theoretical framework to guide the study? Is the framework adequately described? Is the framework appropriate? What is the theory that guides this research (if one is used?) What are your recommendations?

(1 paragraph) Research Problem/Question: Does the research question or hypothesis reflect the purpose of the study? Is the research question clearly stated?                                                                                                  *The RQ(s) is of paramount importance in a research study. The wording, clarity, and conciseness of the RQ is important and allows for the effective focus of the research endeavor.   What are your recommendations?  

(1 paragraph) Sample/Participants: Who was defined as the target population? Were there inclusion and exclusion criteria stated? Do the selection criteria limit to whom the results may apply? What method was used to select the participants for the study (the sampling strategy)? Was the sampling strategy appropriate for this research question and approach? Does the sample suffer from any kind of bias?  What are your recommendations?

(1 paragraph) Data Collection: What was the method used to collect the data? How often was data collected and for how long? What instruments or tools were used? If these instruments or tools had been used in previous studies, did the author provide detail on the validity and reliability of their use? Did the author provide detail on such things as individual interviews, focus groups, observations, etc. Do you feel this instrument/ tool worked well or might an alternative have been more effective? What are your recommendations?

(1 paragraph) Data Analysis: This is one of the most important steps in the qualitative approach where the researcher’s understanding emerges inductively from the data and their interpretation of what the participant’s “story” is.                                                                                                                                                     To keep track of the large amounts of text, the researcher may describe specific systems for analyzing the data (computer programs such as NVivo, etc.) The researcher(s) may make reference to “immersion in the data”, where they begin by reading, many times, the details of what people have said or done.                                                                                                                              Codes, categories and themes may be described and illustrations of the way this was done may be presented to form an ‘audit trial’ to allow you to follow the way the researcher managed the data from transcript to coded themes. The data will be in the form of observed descriptions or verbal comments and statements from those involved.                                                                          Did the researcher(s) demonstrate “credibility” by describing feelings and emotions of participants? Did the researcher(s) description/illustration lead you to believe in the accuracy of the findings and the interpretation of them? Did the researchers corroborate  using several information sources through a process called triangulation (used as a source of validity)?        What are your recommendations?

(1 paragraph) Ethical Considerations: Were the participants fully informed about the nature of the research? Did an ethics committee (Institutional Review Board ‘IRB’) approve the study? Was informed consent gained and mention made of confidentiality? Could the study be said to be ethically rigorous? What are your recommendations?

(1 paragraph) Results/Findings: What themes or categories arose from the findings? Was there an attempt to ensure that the accuracy of these themes was checked in some way? Was the RQ(s) answered via the research findings? Were the results supported in the literature? Were there any unexpected findings? What are your recommendations?

(1 paragraph) Conclusion/Discussion & Recommendations: Were the findings evaluated and connections between current literature and the present study clearly described? Did the author describe how the results /findings impact/affect future research, theory, counseling, policy, etc.?  Was there an identified need for further research? What are the benefits of the information learned?   What are your recommendations?

(1 paragraph) Strengths & Limitations: Was there a strengths and limitations sections? Did the researchers acknowledge any limitations to the study? What are your recommendations?  

(1 paragraph) Application to practice: Did the study add to a particular field of study? How do the findings relate to practice? Was this section well-written? What are your recommendations?  

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