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Guidelines for Critique of Research Article
(Approx. Length: 2-3 single-spaced types pages)
Title your paper “A Critique of ________________.” The title should contain the full reference to the article, in standard APA form. E.g.:

A Critique of Vorih, L. and Rosie, P. (1978). Rock Point Community School: An example of Navajo-English bilingual elementary school program.TESOL Quarterly, 3,263-269.

I. Write an abstract. In approx. 150 words, summarize the.major characteristics and findings of the study. Include:
a. theoretical framework used by the author(s)

b. methodology and design of study— e.g., experiment, quasi-experiment, survey, ethnography, historical or policy study;

c. major question(s) the study addressed;

d. what was done (if experiment or quasi-experiment, what was the treatment or the experiment program; if ethnography, historical or policy study, etc., who was observed, interviewed, or what documents were read or examined) (i.e. subjects (including’. age, sex, socio-economic status, ethnicity/language group))

f. major findings.

II. Analyze and critique these four portions of the study. Questions you should consider are listed below. (Each section may begin with a brief summary of this portion of the study, but the sections should primarily be analytical, not expository.)

a. Statement of the problem and the research questions:

-What is being studied and why?

-Does the reader know what is being studied? Is /Are the issue(s) clearly stated? Are there well-formulated research questions?

-Is there sufficient justification given for the -study? Why is this question worth pursuing? -is the background information, including review of literature, adequate?

b. Theoretical Framework:

      -What theory are the authors drawing from to frame their study?

c. Methods and procedures:

-how were the data collected?
-does the author tell you what s/he did, how data were collected, analyzed, and interpreted?
-if relevant, what are the potential threats to internal or external validity?
**Most importantly, do the procedures and methods seem appropriate, given the research question(s)? For example, an experimental study using hypothetical children may not be appropriate for studying how teachers group children for academic instruction; an ethnography may not be appropriate for deciding between two competing approaches to ESL instruction.

d. Author’s analysis of results and conclusions:

-what are the results and what conclusions does the author draw form them?

-do the data (results) seem to support the author’s conclusions? Why/why not? -are other interpretations of the data possible? If so, what are they?

**In short, how convincing are the author’s conclusions and interpretations of findings? (Make certain you state very clearly what these conclusions and interpretations are.)

How convincing a study’s findings are will depend on:

1. Soundness and adequacy of methodology,

2. Logic of the argument(s) the author uses, and

3. Quality and nature of the data,

all of which are part of the study.

But how convincing you find an author’s conclusions will also depend on your views, knowledge, and experience. You should, of course, bring your own knowledge and experience to bear in writing this critique. (Beware of arguing from isolated examples, though.) But if you support or challenge conclusions based on outside data, viewpoints, experiences, etc. (that is, information not part of the study under review), be certain to make these sources of information explicit. Don’t say, for example, “Children can learn a second language most easily before they are six,” unless you back it up with reasoning or evidence. Otherwise, the statement is merely an assertion, the validity of which can’t be judged.

Avoid, in other words, unexamined assumptions, biases, intuitions, etc. We all have these, so there is no point in pretending they won’t color our thinking. The challenge is to recognize them. Make them explicit, and examine them — logically, empirically, or however is appropriate.

III. Critique.

Here, please address any critiques regarding any aspect of your article. You can speak about criticisms you have regarding any aspect of the research (e.g. research question, significance, theory, methods, data analysis) or also any issue with the “political economy” of the article (e.g. implicit bias in the author, how the research is funded).

Briefly suggest how the problems identified in your analysis could have been resolved or minimized. If you were conducting the study, what would you do differently (including starting over from scratch)? You may also want to consider a study’s limited scope and make suggestions for how it could have been given more generalizability, or how it might have encompassed a more substantive set of issues and questions. This is your opportunity, with the benefit of hindsight, to come up with a better research plan.


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