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Article Critiques

Article critiques are an essential part of graduate research. The first part of the critique is at the knowledge/comprehension level. The second part of the critique includes analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the study, identification of logical linkages among component parts of a study, and evaluation of the study’s quality and usefulness for practice.

How to write an Article Critique

  1. Article CritiquesIntroduction
    1. Identify the references in the article (use APA format)
    2. Describe the qualifications of the authors (such as research expertise, clinical experience, educational preparation)
    3. Discuss the clarity and conciseness of the article title (type of study, variables, and population identified). Did it clearly indicate the focus of the study and create an interest in reading the research?
    4. Discuss the quality of the abstract (includes purpose; highlights design, sample, intervention [if applicable], and key results)
  2. Problem: Include both background and significance of the problem and the problem statement.
  3. State the purpose from the article.
  4. Examine the literature review.
      1. Are relevant previous studies and theories described? Provide an example of each.
      2. Are the references current? (Number of sources in last 5 years? Last 5 years?)
      3. Are the studies critiqued?
      4. Describe the current knowledge (what is known and not known) about the research problem.
  5. Examine the study framework or theoretical perspective.
    1. Is the framework explicitly expressed, or must the reviewer extract the framework from implicit statements in the literature review?
    2. Is the framework based on scientific, substantive, or tentative theory?
    3. Does the framework identify, define, and describe relationships among the concepts of interest?
    4. Is a map of the framework provided for clarity? If a map is not presented, develop a map that represents the study's framework and describe the map.
    5. Link the study variables to the relevant concepts in the map.
    6. How is the framework related to the body of knowledge in nursing?
  6. List any research objectives, questions, or hypotheses.
  7. Identify and define (conceptually and operationally) the major study variables. Identify the study variables by examining the purpose and the objectives, questions, or hypotheses. Examine the results section to identify additional variables. Identify the type of each variable: independent, dependent, or research.
    1. Independent variables: Identify and define conceptually and operationally
    2. Dependent variables: Identify and define conceptually and operationally
    3. Research variables: Identify and define conceptually and operationally
  8. Identify attributes/demographic variables and other relevant terms.
  9. Describe the research design.
  10. a. Identify the specific design of the study.

    b. Identify the treatment or intervention if appropriate for the study conducted.

    c. How were subjects assigned to groups if groups were studied?

    d. Were pilot study findings used to design this study? If yes, briefly discuss the pilot and the changes made in this study based on the pilot.

  11. Describe the sample and setting.
  12. a. Identify inclusion and exclusion sample criteria.

    b. Indicate the method used to obtain the sample.

    c. State the sample size. Indicate if a power analysis was conducted to determine the sample size. Identify the refusal to participate number and percentage.

    d. Identify the characteristics of the sample.

    e. Identify the sample mortality (or attrition) number and percentage.

    f. Indicate the type of consent obtained and institutional review board approval.

    g. Identify the study setting and indicate whether it is appropriate for the study purpose.

  13. Identify and describe each measurement strategy used in the study with the following guidelines and put the information in the table below.
  14. a. Identify the author of each instrument.

    b. Identify the type of each measurement strategy (i.e. Likert scale, visual analog scale, physiological measure, questionnaire, observation, or interview).

    c. Identify the level of measurement (nominal, ordinal, interval, or ratio) achieved by each measurement strategy.

    d. Discuss how the instrument was developed.

    e. Report the reliability of each instrument from previous studies and the current study.

    f. Report the validity of each instrument from previous studies and the current study.

  15. Describe the procedures for data collection.
  16. a. If appropriate, identify the intervention protocol.

    b. Detail how the data were collected.

  17. Describe the statistical analyses used.
  18. a. List the statistical procedures used to describe the sample.

    b. Was the level of significance or alpha identified? If so, indicate what it was (.05, .01, or .001).

    c. List each objective, question, or hypothesis and: (1) identify the focus (description, relationships, or differences) of each objective, question, or hypothesis and (2) list the statistical procedures, the statistics, specific results, and probability value (p = ) in a table as shown next.

  19. Describe the researcher's interpretation of findings.
  20. a. Are the findings related back to the study framework?

    b. Which findings are in keeping with those expected?

    c. Which findings were unexpected?

    d. Are the findings consistent with previous research findings?

  21. What study limitations did the researcher identify?
  22. How did the researcher generalize the findings?
  23. What were the implications of the findings for nursing?
  24. What suggestions for further study were identified?
  25. Is the description of the study sufficiently clear to replication?


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