Critique of a research article is an objective assessment of a scientific paper according to several criteria (the educational significance of the problem, the methods of investigation, the completeness of the content, etc.). A competent critique should contain your impressions of the article, supported by numerous facts. Thus, before analyzing research, the author should read it and prepare arguments. Only then one can write a clear and convincing text.
Why Critique of Research Articles is Important?
First, it allows you to identify the strengths and weaknesses of a scientific paper. You determine a sequence of the author’s actions, as well as assess the clarity of the offered results. Critical analysis of research papers teaches you to determine their place in the scientific community.
By the same logic, the critic can analyze their own work, being impartial and objective. Thus, if the students are able to critique literature adequately, they can identify and eliminate the weaknesses before the submission of their own academic papers. Today, a scientific world is overloaded with information, printed, and electronic publications. In a mass of information available, you need to find studies that have real scientific value.
Main Steps in Writing a Research Article Critique
Actually, a critique of a research article may be one of the most difficult academic assignments for students. The following step-by-step guide will explain how to critique an article easily.
1. Preliminary analysis of the research article.
At this stage, it is necessary to evaluate information about the author and the research topic. Most importantly, the critic should answer the following questions:
- Who is the author of the article? Is the critic familiar with the author’s other works?
- How relevant is the chosen topic? Who is the target audience of the material? Is the topic theoretical or applied (practical)? Does the critic need additional skills to understand the meaning of the article (terms, symbols, etc.)?
- What is the purpose of the analyzed paper? What hypothesis has the author generated? Is it fully confirmed/disproved?
2. Review of your own views and beliefs.
Our worldview, previous knowledge, and bias affect the perception of information we receive. Ask yourself, what ideas about the researched topic do you already have? Can they influence your assessment of the article or the author’s position?
3. Preliminary assessment of the scientific material.
Here, you need to make a brief summary of the research article, which will reflect the following.
- Assessment of the scientific problem (relevance, significance);
- An innovative approach, uniqueness of the offered ideas;
- Evaluation of the results.
4. A general critical analysis of the content.
You should express your opinion on how the research was conducted. Access how the results are presented and whether the arguments are logical. Both weak and strong sides of the author’s arguments must be evaluated. Besides, it’s significant to adduce facts in support of your opinion.
Preferably, use these points to make your research article critique comprehensive:
- Compliance of the title with its content;
- The objectives of the paper. Are the goal and objectives of the study clearly identified?
- The adequacy of the chosen approach to the discussed problem;
- The novelty of the ideas. Are the author’s arguments really new or are they rather a reconstruction of old ideas?
- Logical coherence. Are the arguments and statements agreed with each other, or do any of them contradict or cancel each other?
- Logical compliance of the initial statements with the conclusions;
- How many facts are offered in support of his point of view; what types of facts? Did the author miss any important facts?
- Reliability and relevance of the sources on which the arguments are based;
- Are the examples and illustrations appropriate and relevant?
- Research procedure. How clearly the author described the essence of the experimental work, how it was carried out; whether the chosen methods correspond to the tasks;
- Discussion and conclusions. Whether the analysis of the results corresponds to the received data;
- Compliance of the objectives with the conclusions made. Has the author fully attained the objectives set?
- Does the author suggest future research opportunities?
- Clarity, conciseness, and accuracy of the used scientific terminology.
5. The bias of the author.
Is there a possibility of bias in the research procedure and/or interpretation of the results? Does the author use emotions instead of looking at plain facts?
It is important for scientists to be able to restrain their own emotions and accurately reflect facts, objectively conduct analysis, and make competent conclusions based on evidence, instead of personal representations and impressions.
6. Description of scientific value.
Evaluate the significance of the conducted research for the scientific community. The contribution may be different, depending on the author’s goal. For example, a new view of the problem was introduced, different concepts were generalized and consolidated into a single theory. In some cases, new ways of solving scientific problem can be offered. This way, you can obtain new empirical results.
7. The influence of the article.
In order to determine the level of the impact of a research article on science development, consider the number and nature of citations. Analyze a list of all the referenced publications or links to the paper you are critiquing. For detailed analysis, review some of them (at least two or three). Determine what kinds of links were made, and briefly consider the influence of the original article on subsequent ones. If there are no links to the analyzed work, try to make assumptions about the reasons.
Only extensive experience in analyzing numerous scientific texts will help scholars develop their own style and learn to express their thoughts within the necessary structure. Remember, when analyzing someone else’s text, do not perceive it as the ultimate truth, even if it is written by an experienced author. Developing the skill of critical thinking is one of the main goals of education, and is worthy of all your work and diligence.