A guide for critique of research articles
Following is the list of criteria to evaluate (critique) a research article. Please note that you should first summarize the paper and then evaluate different parts of it.
Most of the evaluation section should be devoted to evaluation of internal validity of the conclusions. Please add at the end a section entitled ''changes in the design/procedures if I want to replicate this study." Attach a copy of the original article to your paper.
Click here to see a an example (this is how you start) of a research critique.
Click here to see the original article.
The following list is a guide for you to organize your evaluation. It is recommended to organize your evaluation in this order. This is a long list of questions. You don’t have to address all questions. However, you should address highlighted questions . Some questions may not be relevant to your article.
1. Is there a statement of the problem?
2. Is the problem “researchable”? That is, can it be investigated through the collection and analysis of data?
3. Is background information on the problem presented?
4. Is the educational significance of the problem discussed?
5. Does the problem statement indicate the variables of interest and the specific relationship between those variables which are investigated? When necessary, are variables directly or operationally defined?
Review of Related Literature
1. Is the review comprehensive?
2. Are all cited references relevant to the problem under investigation?
3. Are most of the sources primary, i.e., are there only a few or no secondary sources?
4. Have the references been critically analyzed and the results of various studies compared and contrasted, i.e., is the review more than a series of abstracts or annotations?
5. Does the review conclude with a brief summary of the literature and its implications for the problem investigated?
6. Do the implications discussed form an empirical or theoretical rationale for the hypotheses which follow?
1. Are specific questions to be answered listed or specific hypotheses to be tested stated?
2. Does each hypothesis state an expected relationship or difference?
3. If necessary, are variables directly or operationally defined?
4. Is each hypothesis testable?
1. Are the size and major characteristics of the population studied described?
2. If a sample was selected, is the method of selecting the sample clearly described?
3. Is the method of sample selection described one that is likely to result in a representative, unbiased sample?
4. Did the researcher avoid the use of volunteers?
5. Are the size and major characteristics of the sample described?
6. Does the sample size meet the suggested guideline for minimum sample size appropriate for the method of research represented?
1. Is the rationale given for the selection of the instruments (or measurements) used?
2. Is each instrument described in terms of purpose and content?
3. Are the instruments appropriate for measuring the intended variables?
4. Is evidence presented that indicates that each instrument is appropriate for the sample under study?
5. Is instrument validity discussed and coefficients given if appropriate?
6. Is reliability discussed in terms of type and size of reliability coefficients?
7. If appropriate, are subtest reliabilities given?
8. If an instrument was developed specifically for the study, are the procedures involved in its development and validation described?
9. If an instrument was developed specifically for the study, are administration, scoring or tabulating, and interpretation procedures fully described?
Design and Procedure
1. Is the design appropriate for answering the questions or testing the hypotheses of the study?
2. Are the procedures described in sufficient detail to permit them to be replicated by another researcher?
3. If a pilot study was conducted, are its execution and results described as well as its impact on the subsequent study?
4. Are the control procedures described?
5. Did the researcher discuss or account for any potentially confounding variables that he or she was unable to control for?
1. Are appropriate descriptive or inferential statistics presented?
2. Was the probability level, α, at which the results of the tests of significance were evaluated,
specified in advance of the data analyses?
3. If parametric tests were used, is there evidence that the researcher avoided violating the
required assumptions for parametric tests?
4. Are the tests of significance described appropriate, given the hypotheses and design of the
5. Was every hypothesis tested?
6. Are the tests of significance interpreted using the appropriate degrees of freedom?
7. Are the results clearly presented?
8. Are the tables and figures (if any) well organized and easy to understand?
9. Are the data in each table and figure described in the text?
Discussion (Conclusions and Recommendation)
1. Is each result discussed in terms of the original hypothesis to which it relates?
2. Is each result discussed in terms of its agreement or disagreement with previous results
obtained by other researchers in other studies?
3. Are generalizations consistent with the results?
4. Are the possible effects of uncontrolled variables on the results discussed?
5. Are theoretical and practical implications of the findings discussed?
6. Are recommendations for future action made?
7. Are the suggestions for future action based on practical significance or on statistical
significance only, i.e., has the author avoided confusing practical and statistical
8. Are recommendations for future research made?
Additional general questions to be answered in your critique.
1. What is (are) the research question(s) (or hypothesis)?
2. Describe the sample used in this study.
3. Describe the reliability and validity of all the instruments used.
4. What type of research is this? Explain.
5. How was the data analyzed?
6. What is (are) the major finding(s)?
How to Critique an Article
What Is an Article Critique?
An article critique is an assignment that requires a student to critically read a research article and reflect upon it. The key task is to identify the strong and weak sides of the piece and assess how well the author interprets its sources. Simply put, a critique reflects upon the validity and effectiveness of the article's author's arguments in his or her work.
The key to success in writing this paper is critical thinking. The task of every research article author is to convince readers of the correctness of their viewpoint, even if it is skewed. Thus, the only ways to distinguish solid arguments from weak ones are to be a good researcher, have the right tools to pick out facts from fiction and possess solid critical thinking skills.
How to write a critique paper – In this guide, we will take you through the process of writing this type of work step by step. However, before we move on, it is worth noting that the main purpose of a good article critique is to bring up points that determine whether a reviewed article is either correct or incorrect—much like you would do while writing a persuasive essay. Although the purpose is similar, the structure of the article critique that we are going to address in this guide is slightly different from the standard 5-paragraph essay; however, both formats are suitable for convincing readers about the validity of your point of view.
How to Critique an Article: The Main Steps
This form of assignment is naturally challenging and rather confusing. It is no wonder why students may begin to feel overwhelmed with figuring out how to write an article critique.
To help you get your task done with ease, we have prepared a simple 3-step guide on how to summarize and critique an article:
Step 1: Reading the Article
First of all, to critique the article, you need to read it carefully. It is recommended to read the piece several times—until you fully understand the information presented for a better outcome. Next, you need to address the following questions:
1. Why is the article's author considered an expert in their field?
What makes a particular author's opinion sound valid? Does the author know about the topic? What do other field experts say about the author? Is the article's author covered in academic praise or not taken seriously?
2. What is the author's thesis/hypothesis?
What is the main message the author is trying to convey? Is this message clear? Or are there just plenty of general phrases without any specific details?
3. Who is the article's target audience?
Is the article geared toward a general audience? Or does it appeal to a specific group of people and use only understandable language for that audience?
4. Are the arguments presented valid?
Are the sources used by the author from all over the place? Does it seem like some sources are taken from areas that share a cult-like vocabulary?
5. What are the logical fallacies in the author's viewpoint?
Are there any logical blindspots? How much do they affect the outcome?
6. Is the conclusion clear and logical? Did the author arrive at a clear outcome in his or her work?
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Step 2: Collecting Proof
The first step will help you read and understand the piece, look at it from a critical point of view, and reflect upon it. Now, when you have an idea about which way you should be heading in your critique paper, it is the time to start gathering evidence. Here are the main steps you should undertake:
1. Define Whether the Author Is Following Formal Logic One of the key things to look for when writing an article critique is the presence of any logical fallacies. Establishing that the author's general idea follows logic is not easy, but it is essential to coping with the task.
Often, undereducated people have some common logical fallacies. An example is to accept certain information based on the feelings and/or emotions it evokes rather than focusing on the supporting arguments.
Here is a list of some common examples of logical fallacies with brief explanations of each:
- Ad hominem – when the author attacks someone expressing an opinion to discredit the other's point of view.
- Slippery Slope – when the author claims that an action will always end up being the worst possible scenario.
- Correlation vs. Causation – when the author concludes that actions 1 and 2 occurred one after the other, action two must be the effect of action 1. The problem with such a statement is that the author concludes the correlation between the two actions without looking deeper to see the real causes and effects.
- Wishful thinking – when the author believes something that is not backed up by any proof. This issue typically occurs when someone thinks the information is true because it makes them feel good.
2. Search for Any Biased Opinions in the Article Another step is to evaluate the piece based on biased opinions. The thing is that people often pick sides of an argument based on the outcomes rather than the evidence. So, if the result makes them feel bad in any way, they can search for any proof that would discredit it and, thus, make them feel better.
3. Pay Attention to the Way the Author Interprets Others’ Texts. Does He or She Look at Others’ Viewpoints through Inappropriate Political Lenses? It takes much time and experience in research practice to recognize the fingerprints of all the political slants out there. To grasp the concept, let's look at the subject of animal studies. To begin with, it's worth noting that some people become involved in certain industries due to their emotional involvement in their related topics. For example, people who write about animals are likely those who genuinely love them. This can put their work at risk of being biased toward portraying animals in a way that gives their topic more importance than it deserves. This is a clear example of what you should be looking for.
When reading and re-reading the article, find and highlight cases in which the author overstates the importance of some things due to his or her own beliefs. Then, to polish your mental research instruments, go back to point 1 of this list to review the list of logical fallacies you can look out for.
4. Check Cited Sources Another big step to writing a perfect critique paper is identifying whether the author cited untrustworthy sources of information. Doing this is not easy and requires a certain experience.
For example, let's look at Breitbart news. How would you define whether it is an untrustworthy source or not? To rate trustworthiness, one should know about its long history of distorting facts to suit a far-right agenda. Learning this requires paying a lot of attention to local and international news.
5. Evaluate the Language Used in the Article Language is vital in every article, regardless of the field and topic. Therefore, while working on your critique, you should pay close attention to the language the article's author uses.
Just to give you a clear example of what you should be looking for: some words have cultural meanings attached to them, which can create a confrontation in the article. Such terms can place people, objects, or ideas into the 'them' side in the 'us vs. them' scenario.
For example, if someone conservative refers to an opponent using the word “leftist”, this can be considered a form of attacking the messenger and not the message. A similar concept applies to a case when someone progressive refers to an opponent using the word “bigot”.
Using such language in an article is a clear sign of logical fallacies. Authors use it to discredit their opponents on the merit of who they are rather than what they say. This is poor word choice because the debate does not get resolved.
6. Question the Research Methods in Scientific Articles
This may not always be mandatory, but if you write an article critique for a scientific piece, you are expected to question and evaluate how the author did their research.
To do this, ask the following questions:
- How is the design of the study? Are there any errors in it?
- How does the piece explain the research methods?
- Was there a control group used for this research?
- Were there any sample size issues?
- Were there any statistical errors?
- Is there a way to recreate the experiment in a laboratory setting?
- Does the research (or experiment) offer any real impact and/or value in its field of science?
Step 3: Formatting Your Paper
Just like any other written assignment, a critique paper should be formatted and structured properly. A standard article critique consists of four parts: an introduction, summary, analysis, and conclusion. Below is a clear checklist to help you grasp the idea of how a good paper should be formatted:
- The name of the author and title of the article.
- The core idea of the author.
- A clear thesis that reflects the direction of your critique.
- The main idea of the article.
- The main arguments presented in the article.
- The conclusion of the article.
- Highlight the strong and weak sides of the article.
- Express an educated opinion regarding the article's relevancy, clarity, and accuracy, and back up your claims with direct examples from the piece.
- Summary of the key points of the article.
- Finalization of your conclusion with your comments on the relevancy of the research.
- If you claim the research is relevant, explain why further study in this field can be useful.
How to Critique a Journal Article
So, you were assigned to write a critique paper for a journal article? If you are not sure where to start, here is a step-by-step guide on how to critique a journal article:
1. Collect basic information Regardless of the article subject you are going to critique; your paper has to contain some basic information, including the following:
- Title of the article reviewed.
- Title of the journal where it is published, along with the date and month of publication, volume number, and pages where the article can be found.
- Statement of the main issue or problem revealed in the piece.
- Purpose, research methods, approach, hypothesis, and key findings.
- Therefore, the first step is to collect this information.
2. Read the article once and re-read after First, get an overview of it and grasp the general idea of it. A good critique should reflect your qualified and educated opinion regarding the article. To shape such an opinion, you have to read the piece again, this time critically, and highlight everything that can be useful for writing your paper.
3.Write your critique based on the evidence you have collected Here are the main questions to address when writing a journal article critique:
- Is the article's title clear and appropriate?
- Is the article's abstract presented in the correct form, relevant to the content of the article, and specific?
- Is the purpose stated in the introduction made clear?
- Are there any errors in the author's interpretations and facts?
- Is the discussion relevant and valuable?
- Has the author cited valid and trusted sources?
- Did you find any ideas that were overemphasized or underemphasized in the article?
- Do you believe some sections of the piece have to be expanded, condensed, or omitted?
- Are all statements the author makes clear?
- What are the author's core assumptions?
- Has the author of the article been objective in his or her statements?
- Are the approaches and research methods used suitable?
- Are the statistical methods appropriate?
- Is there any duplicated or repeated content?
You might also be interested in an article about how to write a descriptive essay .
How to Critique a Research Article
If you are wondering how to critique a research article in particular, below we’ve outlined the key steps to follow.
Before you start writing:
- Pick a piece that meets the instructions of your professor.
- Read the whole article to grasp the main idea.
- Re-read the piece with a critical eye.
- Define how qualified the author is on the chosen topic. What are the author's credentials?
- Reflect on the research methods used. Are the methods the author chose appropriate and helpful for answering the stated research question(s)?
- Evaluate the results. Are there any signs of the generalizability of the outcomes?
- Look for any bias in the article. Is there any conflict of interest or proof of bias?
- Define the overall quality of the research work. Does the article seem relevant or outdated?
- Pay attention to the sources used. Did the sources back up their research with theory and/or previous literature related to the topic?
Struggling to find the strong and weak points that can shape your critique? Here is a simple checklist to help you understand what to critique in a research article (separated by sections):
- Does the author make a problem statement?
- Does the problem statement correspond with the focus of the study?
- Is the problem stated researchable?
- Does the author provide background information regarding the problem?
- Does the author discuss the significance of the problem?
- Does the author mention variables and their correlations?
- Does the author have decent enough qualifications to perform this particular study?
2. Review of the Relevant Literature
- Is the review of the literature comprehensive?
- Are all references cited properly?
- Are most of the sources used by the author primary sources?
- Did the author analyze, critique, compare, and contrast the references and findings?
- Does the author explain the relevancy of his or her references?
- Is the literature review well organized?
- Does the review competently inform the readers about the topic and problem?
- Does the author specify key research questions and hypotheses?
- Is every hypothesis testable?
- Are all hypotheses and research questions clear, logical, and accurate?
- Does the author describe the size and main characteristics of participant groups?
- Does the author specify its size and characteristics if a sample is selected?
- Is there enough information on the method of selecting a sample used by the author?
- Are there any limitations or biases in the manner the author selected participants?
- Does the author specify the instruments used?
- Are the chosen instruments appropriate?
- Do the instruments meet general guidelines for protecting participants of the experiment?
- Did the author obtain all of the permissions needed?
- Does the author describe each instrument regarding reliability, purpose, validity, and content?
- If any instruments were developed specifically for this study, does the author describe the procedures involved in their development and validation?
3. Design and Procedures
- Is there any information given in terms of the research design used?
- Does the author describe all of their procedures?
- Are the specified design and procedures appropriate to investigate the stated problem or question?
- Do procedures logically relate to each other?
- Are the instruments and procedures applied correctly?
- Is the context of the research described in detail?
- Did the author present appropriate descriptive statistics?
- Did the author test all of his or her hypotheses?
- Did the author explicitly use the inductive logic used to produce results in their qualitative study?
- Are the results clear and logical?
- Did the author provide additional tables and figures? Are those easy to understand, relevant, and well-organized?
- Is the information from the presented tables and figures also provided in the text?
Discussion, Conclusion, or Suggestions
- Does the author discuss every finding concerning the original subject or hypothesis to which it relates?
- Does the author discuss every finding in agreement or disagreement with previous findings from other specialists?
- Are generalizations consistent with the results?
- Does the author discuss the possible effects of uncontrolled variables in the findings?
- Does the author discuss the theoretical and practical implications of their findings?
- Does the author make any suggestions regarding future research?
- Does the author shape his or her suggestions based on the study's practical significance?
Abstract or Summary
- Did the author restate the problem?
- Is the design used in the research identified?
- Did the author describe the type and number of instruments and subjects?
- Are all performed procedures specified?
- Did the author restate all of their key conclusions and findings?
- The structure of the article – Is the work organized properly? Are all titles, sections, subsections, and paragraphs organized logically?
- The author's style and thinking – Is the author's style and thinking easy to understand, clear, and logical?
As you go through all these steps, you can transition to writing. When writing your critique paper, you should critically evaluate the research article you have read and use the evidence collected from the piece. To help you structure your research article critique properly, here is a sample outline of a critique of research for the article The Effects of Early Education on Children's Competence in Elementary School:
1. Bibliographic Information
- Author(s): M. B. Bronson, D. E. Pierson & T. Tivnan
- Title: The Effects of Early Education on Children's Competence in Elementary School
- Year of publication: 1984
- Source: Evaluation Review, 8(5), 143-155
2. Summary of the Article
- Problem statement: Do early childhood education programs have significant and long-term impacts on kids’ competencies in elementary school?
- Background: To perform well in elementary school, children need to possess a variety of competencies.
- Hypothesis: Early childhood education programs decrease the rate of children who fall below the minimal competencies defined as necessary for effective performance in the second grade.
- Dependent Variables: mastery skills, social skills, and use of time; Independent Variables: Brookline Early Education Program; Controlled Variables: mother’s level of education.
- Research Design: A Quasi-experimental design, with a post-test only comparison group design, with no random selection of children, assignment to treatment, or control group.
- Sampling: The study engaged 169 students into the BEEP program. Students were selected randomly from the same second-grade classrooms and matched by gender. Also, the group was divided into children who continued their BEEP program (104) and those who moved elsewhere but were still tracked (65).
- Instrumentation: For the research, the authors used a specially developed tool – the Executive Skill Profile – to help detect and track students’ mastery, social, and time use skills.
- Collection/Ethics: The observation took place in Spring, during the students’ second-grade year. On different days (between three and six weeks apart) the observers recorded behaviors of all children for six 10-minute periods. Duration and frequency of behaviors were also recorded.
- Data analysis: The researchers conducted a series of tests to examine any significant changes in mastery, social, and time use skills between matched pairs of children (those who were engaged in BEEP and those who moved elsewhere).
- Authors’ findings: The study showed that children who were engaged in the BEEP program performed better on tests and showed better mastery and social skills. There were no significant changes in students’ time use skills. The early education program made a difference at all three levels of treatment for students whose mothers have college educations. However, the same program made a difference only at the most intense level for students whose mothers don’t have college educations.
- Possible Threats to the Internal Validity
- ~ History: Was not controlled as the comparison children may have not spent their entire lives in the same area as the treatment students.
- ~ Maturation: Controlled. Students were matched by gender and grade.
- ~ Testing: The observers recorded students’ behaviors within 3-to-6 week periods. This fact may have influenced their behaviors.
- ~ Instrumentation: The tool used may have been a subject to bias from the observers' perspective.
- ~ Selection bias: All selected students volunteered to participate in the study. Thus, the findings could be affected by self-selection.
- ~ Experimental mortality: Students who left the area were still tracked as a part of the treatment group, though they should have been evaluated separately.
- ~ Design contamination: It is possible that children in the comparison group learned skills from the students in the treatment group since they all were from the same classroom.
- Possible Threats to External Validity
- ~ Unique features of the program: The program was available both for community residents and non-residents.
- ~ Experimental arrangements: Brooklin is an affluent community, unlike many others.
- Is the reviewed article useful?
- Does it make sense?
- Do the findings of the study look convincing? Explain.
- Does the study have any significance and/or practical value for its respective field of science?
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Video Guide: How to Write an Article Critique
Article critique example.
Now, as you know how to write this type of assignment step by step, our nursing essay writing service are going to share an example of journal article critique to help you grasp the idea of how the finished work should look.
“The education system cannot address what it does not acknowledge” (Shewchuk, and Cooper 942). Ontario, a province in Canada, understands this and has come up with an initiative and policies to improve equity in their schools. To achieve this, they have implemented an Equity and Inclusive Education (EIE) strategy. The practical purpose for EIE strategy is to ensure that in Ontario there is inclusive education, in which there are no biases, barriers, or power dynamics that discourages student learning possibilities. Acknowledging a problem and committing to finding its solution is the first step an administration can do to be supportive of their education system. However, the proper thought, research, and policy guidelines should be formulated to ensure the policies and strategy are inclusive of the potential issues, and have room for expansion. The procedures proposed are religious accommodative, anti-discrimination, and harassment of any kind. The policy should have a sound technique of how it will be implemented and reviewed and monitored after. Ontario has done just that, and the purpose of this article is to evaluate how well the equity program has been implemented in the province in attempts to foster equity in schools.
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Still Struggling to Grasp the Concept?
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How to Critique a Research Methodology
A research method is the specific procedure used to answer a set of research questions. Popular methods vary by field, but include qualitative as well as quantitative approaches. Qualitative approaches rely more on observation and interpretation, while quantitative methods focus on data collection and analysis. Research methods should not be confused with research methodology, which is the study of research methods.
Identifying and Critiquing a Research Method
Find the research method in a research paper by looking for a section by this title, which will typically be toward the beginning of the paper, after the abstract and introduction. The description of the research method should include a rationale for why it was chosen.
Ask yourself whether the method used makes sense in answering the research questions. Most basically, research questions which seek to understand a phenomenon may be best answered with qualitative methods such as case studies or narrative approaches. Research questions which seek to describe a phenomenon may be better suited to quantitative methods, such as experiments or surveys.
Match the research questions with the author’s conclusions. Make sure the research questions were answered specifically. Incomplete answers often indicate improper choice of research method.
Be aware of the most common methodological errors. First, even when a specific method answers specific research questions, data disparities and questions that arise during research often cause scientists to redesign their studies. Thus, a completed study should proceed logically from question to method to discussion and conclusions. If there are obvious questions left unanswered, a methodological error may be the cause.
Examine the researcher’s conclusions from a broad perspective. Ask yourself if they make significant contributions to existing knowledge about the topic. For example, if a study of apples reveals that they have seeds, this would not be a significant finding. Studies that merely support existing knowledge can be helpful, but an overly basic study can be the result of an improper method.
- Before critiquing any study, become familiar with the most common research methods in your specific field.
- Critique a researcher's work based on what the work claims to be. It's unfair to critique any research based on what it isn't.
- "Mass Communication Research and Theory"; Guido H. Stempel, III et al.; 2003
Robin Donovan has been a freelance health writer specializing in chronic illness and women's health since 2008. Her work has appeared in "Cincinnati Magazine," "Southeast Ohio" magazine, "Perspectives" magazine, the "Athens News" and other publications. She has a master's degree in journalism from Ohio University.
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How to Critique an Article (Psychology)
- Is the sample size adequate to find the effect? Are power analyses mentioned?
- Are there equal numbers of males and females?
- Are there a range of socioeconomic strata and ethnicities?
- For this class, is the diagnosis confirmed?
- Where were the participants obtained from, and are they a biased sample?
- If it is an experimental design, was true random assignment done (random number generator)?
- Are the measures widely used in the field?
- Are the measures reliable and valid?
- Are they appropriate for the group or age being studied (i.e. not too difficult or too easy)?
- Are all the measures explained adequately?
- Do the measures seem to have face validity -- that is, do they measure what the authors say the variable of interest is in an adequate fashion?
- Last Updated: Nov 5, 2021 9:46 AM
- Subjects: Psychology
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How to Review a Journal Article
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For many kinds of assignments, like a literature review , you may be asked to offer a critique or review of a journal article. This is an opportunity for you as a scholar to offer your qualified opinion and evaluation of how another scholar has composed their article, argument, and research. That means you will be expected to go beyond a simple summary of the article and evaluate it on a deeper level. As a college student, this might sound intimidating. However, as you engage with the research process, you are becoming immersed in a particular topic, and your insights about the way that topic is presented are valuable and can contribute to the overall conversation surrounding your topic.
Some disciplines, like Criminal Justice, may only want you to summarize the article without including your opinion or evaluation. If your assignment is to summarize the article only, please see our literature review handout.
Before getting started on the critique, it is important to review the article thoroughly and critically. To do this, we recommend take notes, annotating , and reading the article several times before critiquing. As you read, be sure to note important items like the thesis, purpose, research questions, hypotheses, methods, evidence, key findings, major conclusions, tone, and publication information. Depending on your writing context, some of these items may not be applicable.
Questions to Consider
To evaluate a source, consider some of the following questions. They are broken down into different categories, but answering these questions will help you consider what areas to examine. With each category, we recommend identifying the strengths and weaknesses in each since that is a critical part of evaluation.
Evaluating Purpose and Argument
- How well is the purpose made clear in the introduction through background/context and thesis?
- How well does the abstract represent and summarize the article’s major points and argument?
- How well does the objective of the experiment or of the observation fill a need for the field?
- How well is the argument/purpose articulated and discussed throughout the body of the text?
- How well does the discussion maintain cohesion?
Evaluating the Presentation/Organization of Information
- How appropriate and clear is the title of the article?
- Where could the author have benefited from expanding, condensing, or omitting ideas?
- How clear are the author’s statements? Challenge ambiguous statements.
- What underlying assumptions does the author have, and how does this affect the credibility or clarity of their article?
- How objective is the author in his or her discussion of the topic?
- How well does the organization fit the article’s purpose and articulate key goals?
- How appropriate are the study design and methods for the purposes of the study?
- How detailed are the methods being described? Is the author leaving out important steps or considerations?
- Have the procedures been presented in enough detail to enable the reader to duplicate them?
- Scan and spot-check calculations. Are the statistical methods appropriate?
- Do you find any content repeated or duplicated?
- How many errors of fact and interpretation does the author include? (You can check on this by looking up the references the author cites).
- What pertinent literature has the author cited, and have they used this literature appropriately?
Following, we have an example of a summary and an evaluation of a research article. Note that in most literature review contexts, the summary and evaluation would be much shorter. This extended example shows the different ways a student can critique and write about an article.
Chik, A. (2012). Digital gameplay for autonomous foreign language learning: Gamers’ and language teachers’ perspectives. In H. Reinders (ed.), Digital games in language learning and teaching (pp. 95-114). Eastbourne, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
Be sure to include the full citation either in a reference page or near your evaluation if writing an annotated bibliography .
In Chik’s article “Digital Gameplay for Autonomous Foreign Language Learning: Gamers’ and Teachers’ Perspectives”, she explores the ways in which “digital gamers manage gaming and gaming-related activities to assume autonomy in their foreign language learning,” (96) which is presented in contrast to how teachers view the “pedagogical potential” of gaming. The research was described as an “umbrella project” consisting of two parts. The first part examined 34 language teachers’ perspectives who had limited experience with gaming (only five stated they played games regularly) (99). Their data was recorded through a survey, class discussion, and a seven-day gaming trial done by six teachers who recorded their reflections through personal blog posts. The second part explored undergraduate gaming habits of ten Hong Kong students who were regular gamers. Their habits were recorded through language learning histories, videotaped gaming sessions, blog entries of gaming practices, group discussion sessions, stimulated recall sessions on gaming videos, interviews with other gamers, and posts from online discussion forums. The research shows that while students recognize the educational potential of games and have seen benefits of it in their lives, the instructors overall do not see the positive impacts of gaming on foreign language learning.
The summary includes the article’s purpose, methods, results, discussion, and citations when necessary.
This article did a good job representing the undergraduate gamers’ voices through extended quotes and stories. Particularly for the data collection of the undergraduate gamers, there were many opportunities for an in-depth examination of their gaming practices and histories. However, the representation of the teachers in this study was very uneven when compared to the students. Not only were teachers labeled as numbers while the students picked out their own pseudonyms, but also when viewing the data collection, the undergraduate students were more closely examined in comparison to the teachers in the study. While the students have fifteen extended quotes describing their experiences in their research section, the teachers only have two of these instances in their section, which shows just how imbalanced the study is when presenting instructor voices.
Some research methods, like the recorded gaming sessions, were only used with students whereas teachers were only asked to blog about their gaming experiences. This creates a richer narrative for the students while also failing to give instructors the chance to have more nuanced perspectives. This lack of nuance also stems from the emphasis of the non-gamer teachers over the gamer teachers. The non-gamer teachers’ perspectives provide a stark contrast to the undergraduate gamer experiences and fits neatly with the narrative of teachers not valuing gaming as an educational tool. However, the study mentioned five teachers that were regular gamers whose perspectives are left to a short section at the end of the presentation of the teachers’ results. This was an opportunity to give the teacher group a more complex story, and the opportunity was entirely missed.
Additionally, the context of this study was not entirely clear. The instructors were recruited through a master’s level course, but the content of the course and the institution’s background is not discussed. Understanding this context helps us understand the course’s purpose(s) and how those purposes may have influenced the ways in which these teachers interpreted and saw games. It was also unclear how Chik was connected to this masters’ class and to the students. Why these particular teachers and students were recruited was not explicitly defined and also has the potential to skew results in a particular direction.
Overall, I was inclined to agree with the idea that students can benefit from language acquisition through gaming while instructors may not see the instructional value, but I believe the way the research was conducted and portrayed in this article made it very difficult to support Chik’s specific findings.
Some professors like you to begin an evaluation with something positive but isn’t always necessary.
The evaluation is clearly organized and uses transitional phrases when moving to a new topic.
This evaluation includes a summative statement that gives the overall impression of the article at the end, but this can also be placed at the beginning of the evaluation.
This evaluation mainly discusses the representation of data and methods. However, other areas, like organization, are open to critique.
How to critique a research article or prepare yourself for critique
The ability to write a well-crafted critique is a highly sought-after skill in academic work. Although some incorrectly perceive a critique as an opportunity to denigrate or ridicule the works of others, on the contrary, a well-written critique can be constructive and advance the original paper.
Below are some relevant considerations when you are either attempting to undertake a critical analysis/review of an article or about to write an article that will undergo a critical review. Each point is formulated as a question.
Are the introductory parts of the paper relevant?
The early parts of an article capture the main message that the researcher intends to convey. The abstract itself has to briefly capture the key aspects of the paper, from beginning to end. Most readers of an article will begin by examining the abstract first so as to have a general overview of what the paper is going to cover.
The article’s introduction section lays the important groundwork for the topic under investigation. It provides a brief description of the relevant concepts and provides the foundation upon which the remaining text is built. Another important component of the introductory parts of a paper is the study’s objective which needs to be clearly and concisely expressed for all readers to comprehend without any confusion.
Perhaps the most important section is the problem statement. It needs to be stated and discussed in a way that the reader can understand the underlying needs/problems that the research paper addresses. Having clearly stated the problem, the research questions and/or hypothesis should revolve around it.
Does the literature review match the subject matter being researched?
It is important that the literature review be organized in a systematic and coherent manner, according to the demands of the article. As a general rule of thumb, the majority of the literature review (and the article as a whole) should discuss contemporary views and citations. If your article is being written in the year 2021, for example, try to cite recent sources (e.g. from the past five years if possible). The definition of what constitutes “recent research” differs depending on the research area; some research subjects tend to change slowly over time whereas others (such as IT) move quickly. Thus, a five-year old paper in the field of organizational science may be considered somewhat recent, whereas a five-year old paper in AI research would be considered somewhat antiquated.
This is not to say that older citations should not be accommodated. Older citations can and should be used sparsely, and may be particularly useful in order to provide the historical background to the contemporary research. The researcher needs to present a balanced critical analysis of the literature that captures different angles or perspectives of the subject matter he or she is investigating. For example, the empirical literature should be broad enough to discuss contrasting findings related to the research topic that support the hypothesis and those that do not.
How appropriate is the research methodology/design?
This is another very important aspect of the research article. It represents a roadmap towards the resolution of the study’s hypothesis by delineating the approach taken to find answers for the initial research questions. A faulty approach can lead to incorrect findings and conclusions. For that reason, the researcher has to critically reflect on the topic that they are studying to come up with a combination of the most suitable ways of collecting, measuring (if the data is quantitative), and analyzing/interpreting the obtained data.
Some pertinent considerations here include the instruments/methods used to collect the data, sample size/sampling technique, validity and reliability measures, and data analysis techniques. The various forms of validation ensure that the instrument is measuring what it purports to measure and nothing else while reliability ensures consistency of the research findings should the study be repeated.
Is the data analysis/discussion of findings comprehensive enough?
Assuming the research methodology is suitable, and the researcher succeeds in measuring all relevant variables, it then follows that the data analysis or discussion chapter must be as comprehensive as possible. Comprehensiveness implies that all key aspects of the problem, research questions and hypothesis should be discussed exhaustively. Likewise, the primary findings of the research paper should be compared and contrasted with findings from previous related studies.
If statistical (and any other) software were used in the measurements, the printouts from such software should be appropriately displayed to aid the analysis. Some of these printouts can also be displayed in the appendix section. The software type and version used for each measurement should be indicated below each printout (e.g., Eviews, version 11).
Does the conclusion capture what has been researched?
The conclusion is a rehash of all the previous sections of the article. It traces the article from the introduction to the discussion of findings. If done correctly, it should read like a summary, highlighting the key aspects of the article, especially the important findings and how they relate to the research problem. Particular care should be taken not to introduce any new ideas in the conclusion phase that are not originally part of the other sections.
How “polished” is the writing style?
This is to some extent governed by individual creativity since every research paper is bound to be different in style depending on the author. The researcher is however expected to organize his/her ideas according to their level of academic achievement. For instance, an undergraduate project is understandably less polished than a PhD thesis.
Whatever the level may be, there are fundamental rules every research article must follow. One such rule is the avoidance of plagiarism. Hence, all ideas that are not original to the researcher must be properly cited to avoid any wrongdoings. Another important rule is ensuring that the article is free from all forms of errors, be they typing, grammar, or punctuation errors. Ideas should be conveyed in a logical order where the proposed arguments clearly follow from the antecedent assumptions that have been made.
All institutions have a formal style guide for writing academic papers (e.g., APA, Chicago, MLA, etc). It is important to strictly adhere to the reference guide provided by the institution or publication.
When writing your research paper, it is essential that all the sections or chapters are meticulously crafted so as to survive even the harshest critical analysis. However, even if you do write a well-crafted research paper or thesis, that will not make you immune to criticism. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, don’t take it personal, it’s only business. Use the criticism to improve your work, and if you believe the critique is unwarranted, be prepared to defend your study using well-crafted arguments.
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1. state a definition for research critique. ... determining if the design and methodology are ... Read the research article or report in its.
WHAT IS AN ARTICLE CRITIQUE? A critique is a systematic ... method is established, the reader can critique the research design for methodological rigour.
How is a critique different from a summary? ... A summary of a research article requires you to share the key points of the article so your reader can get a clear
Discussion (Conclusions and Recommendation) · 1. What is (are) the research question(s) (or hypothesis)? · 2. Describe the sample used in this study. · 3. Describe
How to Critique a Research Article · Introduction · Method · Results · Discussion, Conclusion, or Suggestions · Abstract or Summary · Overall
Did the author use appropriate methods to gather. Page 2. the evidence? Was the evidence used by the author accurate? Are the article and the evidence still
Find the research method in a research paper by looking for a section by this title, which will typically be toward the beginning of the paper, after the
Method · Are the measures widely used in the field? · Are the measures reliable and valid? · Are they appropriate for the group or age being
Before getting started on the critique, it is important to review the article thoroughly and critically. To do this, we recommend take notes, annotating, and
How to critique a research article or prepare yourself for critique · Are the introductory parts of the paper relevant? · Does the literature review match the