Article Critiques

Introduction

One of the primary goals of Proseminar is to develop your skills to read and write critically about empirical research. Simply put: You cannot generate knowledge without learning first how to critically evaluate extant work.

To be clear, thinking critically does not mean focusing only on what might be “wrong” about something. All research – published and not – has limitations, holes, and sometimes, out-right errors, and you will only grow and develop as a scholar when you learn to find these limitations, identify unanswered questions, and point directly to errors. All these things can be done respectfully and in the spirit of pursuing the truth, not simply identifying problems.

Questions to Guide Each Critique

The questions each article critique should address are:

A. Theoretical Perspective (about 3 pages)

  1. Critique the author’s conceptual framework.
  2. Comment on the need for this study and its importance.
  3. How effectively does the author tie the study to relevant theory and prior research?
  4. Evaluate the clarity and appropriateness of the research questions or hypotheses.

B. Research Design and Analysis (about 4 pages)

  1. Critique the appropriateness and adequacy of the study’s design in relation to the research questions or hypotheses.
  2. Critique the adequacy of the study’s sampling methods (e.g., choice of participants) and their implications for generalizability.
  3. Critique the adequacy of the study’s procedures and materials (e.g., interventions, interview protocols, data collection procedures).
  4. Critique the appropriateness and quality (e.g., reliability, validity) of the measures used.
  5. Critique the adequacy of the study’s data analyses. For example: Have important statistical assumptions been met? Are the analyses appropriate for the study’s design? Are the analyses appropriate for the data collected?

C. Interpretation and Implications of Results (about 3 pages)

  1. Critique the author’s discussion of the methodological and/or conceptual limitations of the results.
  2. How consistent and comprehensive are the author’s conclusions with the reported results?
  3. How well did the author relate the results to the study’s theoretical base?
  4. In your view, what is the significance of the study, and what are its primary implications for theory, future research, and practice?

Rubric

We assign 8 points to each of the 13 article critique questions.

For each question, we look for three elements in your response:

  1. A brief summary of what the authors did/reported.
  2. Your critique / evaluation of what the authors did.
  3. And support for your evaluation (e.g., reasons, rationale, evidence, etc.).

Low, average, and strong responses differ as follows:

  • Strong (scores ~ 7-8) – Do all three with some real conceptual substance and, at times, insight.
  • Above Average (scores ~ 5-6) – Do two of three explicilty – i.e., clear writing, clear evaluation and/or clear rationale/evidence.
  • Average (scores ~ 4) – Do two of three (e.g., ‘a’ and ‘b’ or ‘a’ and ‘c’), but not very explicitly.
  • Below Average (scores ~ 2-3) – Do one of the 3, often vaguely.
  • Low (scores ~ 0-1) – Fail to address the questions

Article Critique #1

In this assignment, you will learn about what makes for a good article critique by analyzing past article critiques and deriving the criteria that makes one article critique better than another. Specifically, in this first assignment we’ve provided you with three sample critiques of an article’s theory, methods, and results, each scored High, Average, and Low. But we aren’t going to tell you which example corresponds with which score. That’s your assignment!

Step 1 – Background

Before you begin, first make sure you understand the article critique process, its central importance in the 1st year development of students, and the role your critiques play in the preliminary exam [note: link takes you to MSU EPET page, click on program handbook, see page 19 for exam information]. Also make sure you read the 13 questions that each article critique should answer.

Step 2 – Read the Article

Before evaluating the critiques, first read the article being critiqued: Zhang, S., & Duke, N. (2008). Strategies for Internet Reading with Different Reading Purposes: A Descriptive Study of Twelve Good Internet Readers. Journal of Literacy Research, 40(1), 128-162. doi: 10.1080/10862960802070491.

Step 3 – Review Example Critiques

Next, review these three example critiques (i.e., nine examples).

Step 4 – Individually

For each section (i.e., theory, methods, and results), order the three examples from best to weakest. Then, list any general principles, rules, or rubrics you can that would guide these rankings.

Step 5 – As a Group

In your group, reach consensus on the rankings, and the principles, rules, and rubrics.

Step 6 – Instructor Scores

After students have completed the assignment, you will be given access to the instructors’ ratings of these same responses.

Article Critique #2

In this assignment, you will critique an article with the help of a partner.

Step 1 – Read the Article

First, read the article being critiqued: Lai, C., Yang, J., Chen, F., Ho, C., & Chan, T. (2007). Affordances of mobile technologies for experiential learning: the interplay of technology and pedagogical practices. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 23(4), 326-337. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2729.2007.00237.x.

Step 2 – Individually

Write a a review of the article by yourself. Bold each of the 13 questions. Keep your responses to no more than 1800 words. Do not post your review anywhere, or turn it in anywhere.

Step 3 – Swap Critiques with a Partner

On your own, compare your review with a partner’s review (partners will be assigned in class). Read your partner’s review carefully. Make notes of points of agreement and disagreement.

Step 4 – With Your Partner

With your partner, complete a joint review of no more than 1800 words. Submit one review for both of you (on your online portfolio, or dropbox if your portfolio is not ready). The same grade will be awarded to both you and your partner.

Article Critique #3

Guidelines

  • Critique THIS ARTICLE .
  • This is an INDIVIDUAL assignment.
  • Your critique should not exceed 1800 words.
  • Email your critique to Cary as docx file labeled “Lastname_AC3”.
  • Also post a copy of your critique on your own web presence, as this is one of the required turn-ins for your first year prelim.

Article Critique #4

Guidelines

  • Critique THIS ARTICLE .
  • This is an INDIVIDUAL assignment.
  • Your critique should not exceed 1800 words.
  • Email your critique to Cary as docx file labeled “Lastname_AC4”.
  • Also post a copy of your critique on your own web presence.

Article Critique #5

Guidelines

  • Critique THIS ARTICLE .
  • This is an INDIVIDUAL assignment.
  • Your critique should not exceed 1800 words.
  • Email your critique to Cary as docx file labeled “Lastname_AC5”.
  • Also post a copy of your critique on your own web presence.