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Is the Research Good or Bad?
Structure of a Journal Article
How to Read a Research Study Article
If you don’t see these sections, it's not a research study article.
Brief overview and key points of the study
Read to quickly determine the article’s relevance to your topic
Hypothesis of the study and review of relevant literature
Read for the context of the problem and the prior relevant research
Detailed information about the research conducted
Includes participants, procedures, instruments, history and background of the instruments chosen, and the variables
Summary of data, including:
relationships among variables
methodology for statistical analysis
P value (construct for significance, .05 or .01)
N (sample size)
how the results relate to the hypothesis or problem stated in the introduction.
Comparisons may be included to clarify findings, or to explore unanticipated findings
Summary of results in narrative form.
Usually relates the results of the study to prior study results and gives suggestions for further study
List of the sources cited
Sources not directly cited but used as prior reading
Research Article Critique
Evaluative Criteria for Each Section
Statement of the Problem or Hypothesis - Introduction:
Problem or Hypothesis clearly stated?
Review of Literature - Introduction:
Pertinent literature included?
Review of literature well organized?
Review of literature is critical?
Relationship of the literature reviewed to the problem is apparent?
Research design explained fully such that you could repeat it?
Research design appropriate to the problem?
Variables well described, such as: population, sampling method, data gathering methods, etc.?
Instrument used described and some history and context for this decision given?
Measures to assure the validity and reliability of the data collected given?
Data Analysis - Result:
Method used to analyze data is well explained?
Methods used are applied and interpreted correctly?
Results of analysis clearly stated?
Conclusions clearly stated and relevant to the stated problem?
Generalizations applied appropriately?
Recommendations for further study appropriate?
Tone of discussion is objective?
Source: Hall, B. W., Ward, A. W., & Comer, C. B. (1988). Published Educational Research: An Empirical Study of Its Quality. Journal of Educational Research, 81(3).