Critiquing a Published Article

It is always tempting to read without writing. Reading for academic purpose, invariably means reading with a computer to hand, or pen and paper, so that notes can be made during reading. Even just highlighting important extracts as you read can be futile if you are not going to go back over the highlighted text and read it again to make useful notes. Method 1 University of Calgary Guidelines for Writing a Critique Elements of a research critique Questions to ask/Information to include Identifying information to include Where and when was the article published? Who wrote the article? What was the purpose of the study? What was the nature of the study (e.g., a case study, ethnography, a content analysis, or an experimental study)? What is the analytical approach or theoretical framework (e.g., a feminist analysis, a critical analysis, an application of a specific theoretical model)? Research design and methodology How does the method reflect or augment other studies of the same topic? What makes this method feasible? How realistic is it? Why will this method produce data that will answer the research question? How does the method address questions of validity? How does the researcher overcome the limitations of the method? Are there large limitations or minor ones?

How will these limitations affect your ability to use this data to answer your research question?

Was the research conducted ethically and following tri-council guidelines?

Interpretation of findings Did the researcher find a correlation (relationship) or a cause?

Are there alternative interpretations of the findings? How “generalizable” are the findings?

Can the findings be applied to other populations or situations? Writing quality, clarity, & style, and the organization of information Does the source reflect the genre of the source’s discipline(s)? Does the source offer sufficient detail? Are there gaps in the description or places with unnecessary description?

Does the source present the information logically? Do the sources present an objective viewpoint? Does the author seem to have a bias or blind spot? The value of the study Is the research problem significant?

What contribution does the study make to the advancement of knowledge, theory, or practice? Elements of a Research Critique and Questions to Consider in Writing a Critique Method 2 developed by Professor Tom Bourner If you have difficulty thinking critically about something you are reading, you may wish to try applying the following set of questions, developed by Professor Tom Bourner (2003).

1. What explicit assumptions are being made? Can they be challenged? 2. What implicit/ taken-for-granted assumptions are being made? Can they be challenged? 3. How logical is the reasoning? 4. How sound is the evidence for the assertion(s)?

5. Whose interests and what interests are served by the assertions? 6. What values underpin the reasoning? 7. What are implications of the conclusions? 8. What meaning is conveyed by the terminology employed and the language used? 9. What alternative conclusions can be drawn from the evidence? 10. What is being privileged and what is off-the-agenda in this discourse? 11. What is the context of the discourse? From what different perspectives can the discourse be viewed?

12. How generalisable are the conclusions? Source: Bourner, T. (2003). “Assessing Reflective Learning.” Education and Training. Method 3 Method designed by Mike Wallace and Alison Wray It consist of first producing a synopsis of anything you read, it may be an article or a chapter of a book. You have to ask Five Critical Synopsis Questions of this article or chapter as follows (and of course note down your answers).

1. Why am I reading this? 2. What are the authors trying to do in writing this? 3. What are the authors saying that’s relevant to what I want to find out? 4. How convincing is what the authors are saying? 5. In conclusion, what use can I make of this?

From your answers to these questions, you can write a critical summary through the following structure: Title Introducing the text – use Question 1 to write this Reporting the content – use Questions 2 & 3 to write this Evaluating the content – use Question 4 to write this Drawing your conclusion – use Question 5 to write this.

When you are producing a literature review which will compare a number of articles or chapters about a subject, if you have completed the synopsis questions, again you have a ready-made set of information to compare articles:

So a comparative critical summary would take this structure: Title Introducing the text – use answers to Question 1 for all texts Reporting the content – use answers to Questions 2 & 3 for all texts to answer this (you can synthesise the answer rather than dealing with each one in turn) Evaluating the content – use answers to Question 4 for all texts to answer this (you can easily compare each text this way) Drawing your conclusion – use answers to Question 5 to compare how useful each of the texts is in relation to your research question.

Assessment 1 – Article Collection & Structured Abstract (30%) Name: Student id: Theoretical concept the articles relate to List of reviewed articles: Provide reference for each academic article (formatted using the Harvard Referencing Style.

Check here for the format and examples: https://libraryguides.vu.edu.au/harvard ) Conceptual article (proposed theory) Quantitative article Qualitative article Mixed method article Business Research Methods – BMO 6630 TRI 1 2019 – SYD [Word count: overall 1000 words for all five sections]

1. A brief summary of the theory & discussion of progression in field 2. Discussion of common themes across all the four articles

3. Discussion of different themes across all the four articles.

4. Discussion of study limitations & how these limitations differ across the various research designs (e.g. quantitative, qualitative, mixed).

5. Discussion of future research directions proposed in the articles (commonalities & differences)

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