Article Critique "

Article Critique “My advice to new researchers who are critiquing literature…is that you practice, that every time that you go through and you read a research article for a course paper for your dissertation, for your doctoral study, that you read it with a critical eye.” Dr. Gary Burkholder Critiquing an article is a skill that researchers continuously hone throughout their careers. By doing this, researchers can better understand existing literature and improve their own research skills. For this Application, you will critique an article as a first step toward completing a literature review. To prepare for this Application: Select one of the articles from your literature review for this assignment. Review the Journal Article Critique handout as well as the media segment on article critique. Print out the Journal Article Critique handout and use the guidelines to help you read the article with a critical eye. Make notes on the handout to help you determine the overall strengths and weaknesses of the article. QUESTION: The assignment: Craft a 5-page article critique based on the guidelines in the Journal Article Critique handout. ______________________________________________________________________ Introduction As you continue to evaluate the literature, you need to examine not only studies that address the construct or phenomenon of your interest, but also studies that use the methodology you are considering using to examine this phenomenon or construct. This week you will work on aligning your research interest with an appropriate theoretical framework that you will use as a tool to study it. Learning Outcomes By the end of this week, you will be able to: Draw inferences from qualitative articles about the relationship between theory and the qualitative approach Critique a qualitative research article ____________________________________________________________________ Required Resources This page contains the Learning Resources for this week. Be sure to scroll down the page to see all of this week’s assigned Learning Resources. To access select media resources, please use the media player below. Course Text: Qualitative Research Design: An Interactive Approach o Chapter 3, “Conceptual Framework: What Do You Think Is Going On?” You are strongly encouraged to try the concept mapping activity mentioned in this chapter. Links to concept mapping software are listed below in the Research Toolkit. Course Text: Qualitative Data Analysis: A Methods Sourcebook o Chapter 2, “Research Design and Management,” pp. 20 25 This excerpt from Chapter 2 describes how to build a conceptual framework for a qualitative research study. Course Text: Qualitative Inquiry & Research Design: Choosing Among Five Approaches o Chapter 2, “Philosophical, Paradigm, and Interpretive Frameworks” In this chapter, you will review several different philosophical assumptions, paradigms, and worldviews, such as post positivism, social constructivism, advocacy, and pragmatism. You will also read about interpretive communities. Course Text: Patton, M. Q. (2015). Qualitative research & evaluation methods (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. o Chapter 3, “Variety in Qualitative Inquiry: Theoretical Orientations” pp. 100-144 In this excerpt from Chapter 3, you will review theoretical traditions and orientations, including ethnography, auto ethnography, heuristic inquiry, ethno methodology, and symbolic interaction. Journal Articles o Use one of the articles you have located for your literature review for this week’s Application. Handouts o Journal Article Critique (Word document) This handout explains the importance of scholarly critique and provides instructions for critiquing journal articles. JOURNAL ARTICLE CRITIQUE HANDOUT. Journal Article Critique Introduction Scholarly critique is an important aspect of your role as scholar-practitioner. Scholarly critique takes on a number of forms, of which peer review and critical reviews of the literature are two common examples. There are many examples of why it is important to develop good skills in scholarly critique. 1. In the peer-review process commonly used by editors of journals, scholars review research prior to publication to ensure quality, relevance, and contribution to the field. 2. The system of tenure that is common in traditional colleges and universities depends on a process of peer review by departmental colleagues. At some point in time, you may be on such a committee (at a university or in some other setting) where you have to critically evaluate a colleague for promotion. 3. Because there is no such thing as the perfect research study, scholarly critique is critical to understanding the limitations of research studies and how those limitations could be addressed in future studies. 4. The critical literature review article requires good critical evaluation skills to help other scientists understand the current state of knowledge in a particular field of study in terms of what we know and what still needs to be more fully understood. 5. The skills you will develop in the critical evaluation of articles will also help you become a better reviewer of your own drafts. In the short term, this better self-assessment will strengthen the work you submit to dissertation committee members. In general, this approach helps researchers become their own skeptics/critics, thereby developing more valid research designs and research write-ups that can better stand up to peer scrutiny. 6. Your dissertation requires a scholarly critique of the literature, similar to a critical literature review. Thus, you need to understand how to train yourself to be a critical reader of the research. If you want to become an expert on a particular topic, you also need to become an expert on critically dissecting and evaluating the research studies in that area of study. 7. The scholar-practitioner model is one that relies on evidence-based practice. You are being trained to be critical consumers of literature so that you can make key decisions regarding best practices in the field. Understanding best practices requires one to be able to critically evaluate study findings and determine whether those findings will remain valid in real-world settings. 8. In the dissertation process, your committee is essentially a team of peer reviewers who provide input to help you achieve the best possible research project that demonstrates doctoral level scholarship. Start the process of learning to be a critical reviewer of the scientific literature by dispelling a couple of common myths that you have. I am not worthy of critiquing something that has already been published in a peer-reviewed journal. In fact, you have a lot of knowledge now about research design and statistics that you can use to determine if a study is truly valid and where the limits to the findings exist. If you are not worthy of critiquing a published article, then can you possibly be worthy of attaining scholarship in a particular discipline? If a study has already been published in a peer-reviewed journal, then it must be a really good study. There is no such thing as a perfect study. In fact, just because a study is published does not guarantee that it is necessarily sound in all aspects. Studies may be good, but all studies have areas for improvement. Typically, three reviewers provide input; sometimes, it may be only two reviewers. Thus, decisions are made based on a very small set of inputs, which means that there may be key things missed that may not have been noticed by the original reviewers. Thus, the assignment to critique a peer-reviewed article should not be approached as something negative. Peer review is one of the key processes that sustains and furthers knowledge. Approach the critique from the following perspectives: 1. You are reviewing a study that was deemed to be publishable, but challenge yourself to use the knowledge you have gained in your research courses to see how the study could be made even better. 2. Review research using the criteria described below to understand better where the ga
ps are in our understanding of the field. Limitations in sample size, sampling strategy, and design, for example, can easily form the basis for another dissertation or scholarly research study. Therefore, you should use the critique as a means of generating ideas for your own research as well as approaches you can take in your own dissertation to improve the validity and overall soundness of your study. A suggested resource for this course is an excellent, easy to read (and relatively inexpensive) text on how to approach the critical literature review. This would also be a great resource as you complete the literature review for the dissertation. Pyrczak, F. (2009). Evaluating research in academic journals: A practical guide to realistic evaluation (4th ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Pyrczak. Overall Requirements 5 pages maximum (not including the reference page). Times Roman or Arial 12-point font. One-inch margins at top and bottom and along left and right sides. Any editing marks (track changes or comments) are removed. Paper is appropriately spell checked and grammar checked. Must be a paper that is available as full text through the Walden library. At the end of the paper, provide to the Instructor the full hyperlink to the full text article. The article chosen must have been published within the previous 5 years. Rubric Introduction. Provide a brief and concise summary of the problem of the study and main findings. Cite the study using APA format and provide the full citation at the end of the paper in a reference section. Critique of the Literature Review. Some things to consider are: o Was the problem clearly articulated, and was ample evidence provided to support the problem being addressed? o Was the theoretical or conceptual framework present, was its relationship to the present study described, and was it appropriate to the problem being addressed? o Was the literature cited appropriate to the topic? o Was the literature primarily from current sources (within 5 years of the article publication date)? o Did the author choose citations judiciously, or did it appear that quantity of citations was emphasized over quality? o Does the literature review present a clear and non-biased approach to the topic? o Were the research questions and/or hypotheses clearly stated? Do they logically derive from the literature review? Critique of the Methods/Research Design. Some things to consider are: o Were the participants adequately described in terms of population, inclusion and exclusion criteria, and sampling strategy? o Is the sample representative of the population? o Is there support that the sample size ensures adequate statistical power? o For qualitative, was the approach to sampling adequately described and justified? Is the number of participants in the study justified? o Was there a statement indicating that IRB approval was obtained? o Were procedures for protecting participant rights included? o Were the procedures for executing the design carefully described in a way that you or other scientists could replicate the study? o For qualitative, is the process for collecting, organizing, and analyzing the data appropriately transparent? o Is the role and activity of the researcher in the data collection setting/sites described? o Were reliability and validity measures of questionnaires, scales, or other measurement instruments presented? Do measures exhibit adequate reliability and validity? o Were instruments used in populations for which they may not have been normed? Was there effort made to ensure reliability and validity in the study sample? o Was the design appropriate to test the hypothesis(es) or address the research questions? o Was random assignment used? If not, what are the potential flaws to internal and external validity? Critique of the Results section. Some things to consider are: o Are the important characteristics of the sample described? o Are participation rates (and attrition rates in longitudinal studies) described? For longitudinal studies, was differential attrition determined? o Were key descriptive statistics provided for all variables? o Do the results address the hypotheses under question? o For qualitative, were the findings tied back to the research question? o For qualitative, was it clear how findings arose? Were findings linked to the application of steps/methodology described in the methods section? o For mixed methods, are findings described in a holistic, complementary way in order to address the research questions? o For mixed methods, is the necessity of each type of data (qualitative and quantitative) clear for answering each research question? o Are tables and figures used effectively? Were tables not used when they would have been very helpful to the reader? For qualitative (when needed) are models used effectively (and labeled effectively) in order to understand findings and interpretations? (Models are sometimes included in the discussion rather than the results section.) o Are effect sizes and p-values reported for all inferential findings? Critique of the Discussion section. Some things to consider are: o Are the results discussed in the context of the research presented in the literature review section? o Are methodological limitations adequately addressed? Think in terms of sample representativeness, generalizability of results, and potential threats to internal and external validity. o Are implications for further research described? o Are implications for practitioners described? o Is the contribution/significance to the field in relation to the continuum of inquiry clear? o For a qualitative study, is there some discussion of the researchers reflections, insights, challenges, biases, surprises, etc.? Overall Evaluation. Some things to consider are: o Evidence to support strengths and limitations of the study. o Evidence that supports that the study was both reliable and valid. o Justification for why you would include this as an important piece of evidence in your study. Grading Rubric _____ ( 5) Introduction Comments: _____(10) Critique of the literature review Comments: _____(10) Critique of the Methods/Research Design Comments: _____(10) Critique of the Results Section Comments: _____(10) Critique of the Discussion Comments: _____ ( 5) Overall Impression of the study Comments: Media Video: Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010e). Doctoral research: Article critique. Baltimore, MD: Author. Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 7 minutes. Dr. Gary Burkholder explains the benefits of critiquing peer-reviewed articles and provides guidelines to assist you in your article critique. To view this video program, use the media player located at the top of this page. Accessible player TRANSCRIPT OF THE VIDEO (Dr. GRAY BURKHOLDER) Article Critique Program Transcript [MUSIC PLAYING] GARY BURKHOLDER: I’m Dr. Gary Burkholder. I’m a faculty member for the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and for the College of Health Sciences. I’ve been with Walden for about nine years now. And I mentor doctoral students. Before coming to Walden, I spent several years working as a bio statistician and a research design expert on a couple of community-based research organization grants. There’s several things that researchers look for when critiquing an article. And journal articles generally tend to come in four sections. They come in the introduction and literature review section, the methodology section, the results section, and the discussion section. And each one of those has very distinct characteristics and things that people look for. For example, in the introduction and literature review section, a couple things to look for are, first, the theory. You want to make sure that there’s adequate explanation of the theory. And that the hypotheses that you generate eventually are derived from theory. Most journals look for theory. And they require that as a means for publication. And also your dissertation or doctoral study is required to be theoretically based. So this is a good practice for you to start looking and train your eye to looking for what theoretical basis researche
rs are using. Another thing to look for is the currency of literature. We like to be able to see articles that the bulk of the literature cited has come from within the last five years. And you want to look for that. And the reason for that is very important, is that when you read a research article, you want to know what the state of the art is now. You don’t want to know what happened 20 or 30 years ago because you could get articles that could tell you that. So you want to make sure that the literature is current. The next section is the methodology section. This is probably one of the most important sections, in particularly for this course because you’re going to be focused on research, design, and analysis. So some of the things that you want to look for are what is the particular design that was chosen? What is the particular methodology? If they chose a quantitative design, was it a quasi-experimental design? Was it an experimental design? How were participants chosen? How were they selected to participate? How were they assigned to groups? 2012 Laureate Education, Inc. 1 If you’re doing a qualitative study, what are the research questions that are being proposed? And for those research questions, are they linked back to the literature review that was done previously? These are very important things from an integrity of the research design standpoint. Another important aspect of the method section is the instrumentation. If researchers are using surveys in their study, it’s really important that they justify that they’re reliable and valid. All instrumentation has to be reliable and valid. And if it’s not reliable and valid, then it really throws into question the reliability and validity of the results of the overall study. So this is something that you want to take a look at. Another thing you want to look at is sampling. In quantitative designs and strategies, if you’re using random sampling, how was that done? If you’re using convenient sampling, why were convenience samples used? Also in those kind of studies, if you’re using multiple groups, how are those participants assigned to groups? Are they preexisting groups? Or were they randomly assigned? In terms of a qualitative study, it’s really important to look at the justification for the sampling. Sampling designs are very different. In qualitative studies, it’s really important to look at the sampling strategy. Sampling strategies are different for qualitative studies than they are in quantitative studies. And you need to describe very carefully how you’re going to get participants for your study, based on the particular approach. And you want to look, when you’re reading the literature, you want to look to understand and make sure that they’re telling you how they did that because that really says a lot about transferability of the results, credibility of the findings in qualitative research. The next section is the results section. In the results section, this is where you find the analyses. So you want to be looking for things like, are there adequate tables that stand on their own, that are very descriptive in terms of presenting the results? Are the analyses that were done appropriate for the hypotheses that were being tested? It’s amazing many times how other kinds of analyses might have been stronger. It doesn’t mean that what was done was bad. But it just might mean that there were some stronger kinds of analyses that were done. The last section is the discussion. Here you want to look for what are the limitations of the study. And this is really important, again, because this is where you could potentially find your contribution to the literature in terms of your own dissertation design. You also want to see how the results are linked back into the literature that was reviewed in the introduction. This is extremely important again. And it creates an integrity of the research study. 2012 Laureate Education, Inc. 2 And also you want to find out, what are the implications for future research? And also what are the implications for practitioners? And, again, this is extremely important for scholar practitioners because you want to address the question and you want to see addressed, how is it that these findings can be applied in the real world? And it’s amazing how many articles are published that don’t have this very important aspect. And this is one place where you can jump in as a scholar practitioner and really make your contribution, if you will, in terms of your critique of the literature. My advice to new researchers who are critiquing literature, whether you be graduate student or undergraduate student, whatever, is that you practice, that every time that you go through and you read a research article for a course paper, for your dissertation, for your doctoral study, that you read it with a critical eye. Pull out a checklist. You’re going to have a rubric in the course that’s going to show you how to structure the journal critique. Keep that with you and use that for the first several times when you’re reviewing literature and help you to identify and pinpoint strengths and limitations of the study. And once you do that enough times, it will become automatic with you. And you won’t have to rely on that rubric anymore. And it’ll become second nature to you in terms of how you approach the literature. [MUSIC PLAYING] Research Toolkit Websites o Inspiration Software o MindJet o Microsoft Office Online: Visio These websites provide software that will help you develop concept maps. Handouts o Walden Dissertation Rubric Available from The Dissertation Rubric is a Word document linked in the section for PhD Dissertation Process and Documents. o Walden Qualitative Dissertations This document directs you to dissertations in the Walden Library that use a variety of qualitative approaches and discipline