Part 1: Research Fundamentals – Article Critique (25 points, 5%)
Choose one of the Op-Ed topics. Find an academic research journal article related to that topic. You can chose from the class readings or find one on your own. Write a 3-5 page (not including the cover page) critique paper of that article addressing the areas listed below. I’m interested in your words so do not rely on quotations from the article. I urge you to share your article with me before you begin; some research articles are not well-suited for this assignment.
1. What are the research questions?
What were the research questions or hypotheses? (Is there more than 1?) Research Questions are often stated as “The purpose of this study was to…” Usually found in the introduction (or background) section.
2. What is the rationale for the study?
Why was the research conducted? In other words, the article’s introduction (or background) section presents some background literature where “gaps in the literature” or “conflicting information” or “no prior research exists” is exposed. The author makes a case for why the study should have been done. I.e. what is the study’s relevance to the field and how will it expand current knowledge.
3. What are the important variables? What were the independent and dependent variables?
Independent variable is one that stands alone and isn’t changed by the other variables you are trying to measure. For example, someone’s age might be an independent variable. A dependent variable is something that depends on other factors. For example, a child’s vocabulary could be a dependent variable that is influenced by parenting practices, school quality, or a disability.
4. What were the main findings?
Provide a short description in your own words of the main findings. How did the independent variable / impact/relate to the dependent variable? Answer the question you identified in question 1. Be specific about the findings and direction of the effect. For example: NOT SPECIFIC – “attending class impacted grades” it is not specific because we don’t know HOW it impacted grades. Example: SPECIFIC – “attending class significantly improved students’ grades. Students who regularly attended class earned 1 letter grade higher than students who did not attend class regularly.” This is usually found in the results and discussion sections (not in the introduction).
5. What are the theoretical implications of this study?
How do the theories we have discussed in class relate to this study? Did the researchers cite a guiding theory? Could you apply any of our theories to this research and how? What connections do you see between the theories we have studied and the study?
6. What are the cultural implications of this study?
What cultural considerations (if any) were made as part of the study? Do you agree with the way a culture was characterized? Would you agree or disagree with how culture was defined / used / discussed in this study?
7. What do you recognize as limitations of the study?
What could be done to make the study better? Were there any drawbacks that might influence the conclusions? How would you do the study differently?
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