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Research critique

Critiquing research studies and articles is one of the method to improve the quality of research projects and it is also a method to learn research methodology for beginners.

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Research critique

  1. 1. Muthuvenkatachalam Srinivasan, Ph.D Scholar, Mental Health Nursing.
  2. 2. It is a critical evaluation/appraisal of a research report
  3. 3.  “A critical estimate of a piece of research which has been carefully and systematically studied by a critic who has used specific criteria to appraise the favorable, less favorable and other general features of the research study” Leininger
  4. 4.  Requires critical thinking, appraisal & intellectual skill  Involves a careful examination of all aspects of a study to judge the merits, limitations, meaning and significance & knowledge of the topic
  5. 5.  To assess students` methodological and analytical skills (identify limitations & strengths)  Seasoned researcher to help journal editions  Written critique is a guide to researcher  To advance nursing knowledge & profession
  6. 6.  Two principles to remember when critiquing a research are (a) be objective (b) make your comments specific to the work you are reviewing  Critique should be an advisory and constructive nature
  7. 7.  Read & Critique the entire study  Be objective & Realistic  Comment on strengths and weakness  Give specific examples  Use the positive terms whenever possible and say the positive points first
  8. 8.  Avoid vague generalizations of praise and fault findings  Be sensitive in handling negative comments  Evaluate substantive, ethical, methodologic, interpretative presentational dimensions  Suggest alternatives
  9. 9.  What type of study was conducted ?  What was the setting ?  Were the steps clearly identified ?  Was there a logical flow ?
  10. 10.  Substantive & theoretical dimensions  Methodologic dimensions  Ethical dimensions  Interpretative dimensions  Presentation/stylistic dimensions
  11. 11.  Readers of a research report need to determine whether a study was worthy in terms of the significance of the problem, the soundness of the conceptualization & appropriateness of the conceptual framework.  Normally communicated in the report’s introduction
  12. 12.  The heart of a research critique lies in the analysis of the methodologic decisions adopted.  In a quantitative study, the four major decision points to focus critical attention are Decision 1, Design :What design will yield the most unambiguous and meaningful results about the relationship between the independent and dependent variables?
  13. 13.  What extraneous variables are to be controlled and how best can this be accomplished? DECISION 2, SAMPLE : who should participate in the study? DECISION 3, DATA COLLECTION :What method should be used to collect the data? DECISION 4, DATA ANALYSIS :What statistical analysis will provide the most appropriate tests of the research hypotheses?
  14. 14.  Need to consider whether the right of human subjects were violated during the investigation.  If there is potential Ethical concerns, we need to consider its impact both on the scientific merit and on well being of the participants.
  15. 15.  Research reports conclude with a Discussion, Conclusions or Implications section.  Here researcher attempt to make sense of the analysis, to consider whether the findings support or fail to support hypotheses or theory.
  16. 16.  Writing a research report should be clear, grammatical, concise and well organized.  Unnecessary jargon should be minimized.  Quantitative research reports are written in a more formal, impersonal fashion, using either the third person or passive voice to connote objectivity
  17. 17.  Qualitative studies are written in a more literary style, using first or second person & active voice to connote proximity & intimacy with the data & phenomenon under study.
  18. 18.  Clear / concise  Too big / too small  Gives precise information  Research questions empirically tested?  Definitions of terms clearly described?
  19. 19.  Is the purpose of the study presented ?  Is the significance (importance) of the problem discussed ?  Does the investigator provide a sense of what he or she is doing and why ?
  20. 20.  Is the problem statement clear ?  Does the investigator identify key research questions and variables to be examined ?  Does the study have the potential to help solve a problem that is currently faced in clinical practice ?
  21. 21.  Does the report tie the problem to various related research?  Is there overdependence on secondary source?  Recent literature included?  Overdependence on anecdotes/ opinion articles over empirical studies?  Paraphrased adequately? Analyzed critically?
  22. 22.  Does literature review follow a logical sequence leading to a critical review of supporting and conflicting prior work ?  Is the relationship of the study to previous research clear ?  Does the investigator describe gaps in the literature and support the necessity of the present study.
  23. 23.  Is a rationale stated for the theoretical/ conceptual framework ?  Does the investigator clearly state the theoretical basis for hypothesis formulation ?  Does it link the problem to a theoretical / conceptual framework in a natural way?
  24. 24.  Is the hypothesis stated precisely, logically and in a form that permits it to be tested ?  Does it express a predictable relationship?  Do they flow logically?  Do they include general population of interest?
  25. 25.  Are the relevant variables and concepts clearly and operationally defined ?  Is the design appropriate for the research questions or hypotheses ?
  26. 26.  Is experimental/ non experimental approaches best?  Appropriate procedures and methods of data collection described sufficiently and clearly?  Procedure for preventing contamination between treatment and control group described?  If there was more than one data collector, was the inter-rater reliability adequate ?
  27. 27.  Are the subjects and sampling methods described ?Sample size justified?  Is the sample of sufficient size for the study, given the number of variables and design ?  Is there adequate assurance that the rights of human subjects were protected ?Response rate reported?  Are the subjects representative of the sample? Are key characteristics described?
  28. 28.  Instruments clearly identified and described?  Method of development of tools appropriate with regard to structure?  Are the instruments developed specifically for the study? Are the processes for its development described?
  29. 29.  Are appropriate instruments for data collection used ?  Are reliability and validity of the instruments adequate ?  If instrument new/ adapted, if sufficient testing done?  Evidence for validity and reliability presented?
  30. 30.  Is analysis consistent with objectives of study?  Type of analysis appropriate for type of data?  Is information unnecessarily converted?
  31. 31.  Are the statistical tests used identified and the values reported ?  Are appropriate statistics used, according to level of measurement, sample size, sampling method, and hypotheses/ research questions?
  32. 32.  Are the results for each hypothesis clearly and objectively presented ?  Are the figures and tables used efficiently to highlight and streamline the presentation of results?  Are results described in light of the theoretical framework and supporting literature ?
  33. 33.  All important results discussed?  Interpretation organized in meaningful fashion?  Does interpretation distinguish practical and statistical significance?
  34. 34.  Is it appropriate?  Are implications of findings discussed (i.e., for practice, education and research) ?  Does it include nursing implication?  Are recommendations for further research stated ?
  35. 35.  Is the study of sufficient quality to meet the criterion of sufficient merit ?  Does the study meet the criterion of replicability ?  Is the study of relevance to practice ?  Is the study feasible for nurses to implement ?  Does the benefits of the study outweigh the risks ?
  36. 36.  Are conclusions based on the results and related to the hypothesis ?  Are study limitations identified ?  Are generalizations made within the scope of the findings ?
  37. 37.  Title- of reasonable length  Summary- abstract included  Bibliography- style & citation  pleasant to read  Grammatically correct  No complex sentences
  38. 38.  Research is the best possible means of answering many questions, no single study can provide conclusive evidence  Evidence is accumulated through the conduct and evaluation of several studies  Reader who can do reflective and thorough critiques of research of reports play a role advancing nursing knowledge
  39. 39.  Burns N, Grove SK.The Practice of Nursing Research conduct, critique & utilization. 5 edi. W.B. Saunders Company: Philadelphia; 2005.  Polit DF, Beck CT. Nursing Research Principles and Methods. 7 edi. LippincottWilliams & Wilkins company: Philadelphia; 2004.  Rose Marie Nieswiadomy. Foundations of Nursing Research. 5 edi. Dorling Kindersley Pvt. Ltd. Pearson Education: India; 2009.