You are on page 1of 15

Topics - Reading a Research Article

Brief Overview: Purpose and Process of Empirical Research Standard Format of Research Articles Evaluating/Critiquing Research

Role and Purpose of Empirical Research

To provide answers to questions about behavior by using the scientific method. Descriptive (to describe) Correlational (to predict) Causal-(to control, explain causation)
Experimental Comparative

Process of Empirical Research

Identify and define research problem and questions. Formulate hypotheses on basis of theory, prior research and/or hunches. Design research study to collect data bearing on questions. Conduct the research. Analyze the data (through statistical methods). Interpret the data in light of the research questions.

Standard Format of Research Articles

Abstract Introduction: Context, Research Problem, Review of Literature Methods Results Discussion References

Background - the reasons the author(s) conducted the study; theoretical framework Statement of Purpose - the goal of the research (the destination); the problem statement Hypotheses - educated guesses about relationships or differences

Participants (sample) - who the subjects are, how obtained/selected Materials (equipment, apparatus, measuring instruments) - what was used, quality of measuring instruments Procedures - how study was conducted; what subjects did or what was done to them

Technical summary of the statistical analyses used: In text In tables In figures

Non-technical interpretation of results Linking results to original purposes and hypotheses Why the results turned out the way they did Identifying the studys limitations Suggesting steps for further research

Evaluating Research
Goal: to be able to critique a research article by identifying the strengths and weaknesses of each component of the research
Tools for Evaluating Research Reports

Evaluating Introductions: Literature Review

Literature review: to place current study in context of what is known/not known
Nature of literature cited Researcher bias Rationale/need for study Theoretical framework Link of framework to research questions Sufficiency of information Usefulness of review

Evaluating Introductions: Research Questions/Hypotheses

Research questions and hypotheses drive the study
Clarity of problem Sufficient rationale Contribution to existing knowledge Link to theoretical framework and lit review Assumptions explicit/implicit Operational definition of terms Statement of hypotheses

Evaluating Methodology
Sufficient detail of procedures (treatment), design and instruments Full description of population Full description of sampling method Quality of measures used Obvious weaknesses in design

Evaluating Results
Appropriateness of statistical techniques used Clarity of presentation of results Adequacy of presentation of results

Evaluating Discussion/Conclusions
Consistency of conclusions with findings Appropriateness of generalizations Discussion of implications of findings Discussion of limitations of study Alternative explanation for findings Linkage of conclusions with theoretical framework, research questions

Practice Exercise Evaluating the Introduction

Literature Review Research problem/questions