Critical Analysis of a Text Text



What review question am I asking of this text? (e.g. what is my research question? why select this text? does the Critical Analysis of this text fit into my investigation with a wider focus? what is my constructive purpose in undertaking a Critical Analysis of this text?)


What ty!e of literature is this? (e.g. theoretical, research, practice, policy? are there links with other types of literature?)

". a)

What sort of intellectual !ro#ect for stu$y is %eing un$ertaken? ow clear is it which pro!ect the authors are undertaking? (e.g. knowledge"for"understanding, knowledge"for"critical evaluation, knowledge"for"action, instrumentalism, reflexive action?)


ow is the pro!ect reflected in the authors$ mode of working? (e.g. a social science or a practical orientation? choice of methodology and methods? an interest in understanding or in improving practice?)


%hat value stance is adopted towards the practice or policy investigated? (e.g. relatively impartial, critical, positive, unclear? what assumptions are made a#out the possi#ility of improvement? whose practice or policy is the focus of interest?)


ow does the sort of pro!ect #eing undertaken affect the research questions addressed? (e.g. investigating what happens? what is wrong? how well does a particular policy or intervention work in practice?)


ow does the sort of pro!ect #eing undertaken affect the place of theory? (e.g. is the investigation informed #y theory? generating theory? atheoretical? developing social science theory or a practical theory?)


ow does the authors$ target audience affect the reporting of research? (e.g. do they assume academic knowledge of methods? critici&e policy? offer recommendations for action?)

&. a)

What is %eing claime$? %hat are the main kinds of knowledge claim that the authors are making? (e.g. theoretical knowledge, research knowledge, practice knowledge?)


g.g. is there sufficient evidence to support claims made with a high degree of certainty? is there sufficient evidence from other contexts to support claims entailing extensive generali&ation?) (. is there a conceptual framework guiding data collection? is a conceptual framework selected after data collection to guide analysis? is there a largely implicit theoretical orientation?) 2 . sources are used to #ack the claims? (e. introduction or conclusion? unclear?) d) %ith what degree of certainty do the authors make their claims? (e.g.g. is #eing argued? what are the three to five most significant claims that encompass much of the detail? are there key prescriptions for improving policy or practice?) c) ow clear are the authors$ claims and overall argument? (e.g.g. in a sentence.#) %hat is the content of the main claims to knowledge and of the overall argument? (e. range of sources is used to #ack the claims? (e. what.g. if any. a) To what extent is there %acking for claims? ow transparent is it what. first hand experience? the authors$ own practice knowledge or research? literature a#out others$ practice knowledge or research? literature a#out reviews of practice knowledge or research? literature a#out others$ polemic?) c) (f claims are at least partly #ased on the authors$ own research.g. do they indicate tentativeness? qualify their claims #y acknowledging limitations of their evidence? acknowledge others$ counter" evidence? acknowledge that the situation may have changed since data collection?) e) ow generali&ed are the authors$ claims ' to what range of phenomena are they claimed to apply? (e.g. do all claims fit together in supporting an argument? do any claims contradict each other?) '. is the range of sources adequate? are there methodological limitations or flaws in the methods employed? do they include cross"checking or )triangulation$ of accounts? what is the sample si&e and is it large enough to support the claims #eing made? is there an adequately detailed account of data collection and analysis? is a summary given of all data reported?) d) Are sources of #acking for claims consistent with degree of certainty and the degree of generali&ation? (e. is there any statement of the #asis for assertions? are sources unspecified?) #) %hat. the specific context from which the claims were derived? other similar contexts? a national system? a culture? universal? implicit? unspecified?) f) ow consistent are the authors$ claims with each other? (e. a) )ow a$equate is any theoretical orientation to %ack claims? ow explicit are the authors a#out any theoretical orientation or conceptual framework? (e. stated in an a#stract. if any. how ro#ust is the evidence? (e.g.

as for +c) c) (s there any evidence from others$ work that challenges the authors$ claims. critical. could the authors have provided stronger #acking for their claims? 3 . a) What is my summary evaluation of the text in relation to my review question or issue? ow convincing are the authors$ claims. is there relevant research or practice literature? check any as for +c) -.g. a) To what extent are claims su!!orte$ or challenge$ %y others. theoretical orientations or value stances to support their claims? do they acknowledge others$ counter"evidence?) #) (f the authors use evidence from others$ work to support their claims. work? *o the authors relate their claims to others$ work? (e. To what extent are claims consistent with my ex!erience? 1.#) %hat assumptions does any explicit or implicit theoretical orientation make that may affect the authors$ claims? (e. if at all..g. and if so. how ro#ust is it? (e.g. a relatively impartial. how ro#ust is it? (e. have they pre"!udged the phenomena discussed? are they #iased? is it legitimate for the authors to adopt their particular value stance? have they over"emphasi&ed some aspects of the phenomenon while under" emphasi&ing others?) +. and why? #) ow.g. are they listed? are they stipulatively defined? are concepts mutually compati#le? is use of concepts consistent? is the use of concepts congruent with others$ use of the same concepts?) *. does a perspective focus attention on some aspects and under"emphasi&e others? if more than one perspective is used. do the authors refer to others$ pu#lished evidence. or positive stance? is this stance informed #y a particular ideology? is it adopted #efore or after data collection?) #) ow may any explicit or implicit value stance adopted #y the authors affect their claims? (e. a) To what extent $oes any value stance a$o!te$ affect claims? ow explicit are the authors a#out any value stance connected with the phenomena? (e. how coherently do the different perspectives relate to each other?) c) %hat are the key concepts underpinning any explicit or implicit theoretical orientation? (e.g.g.g.

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