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BIO 550 Week 7 Discussions Questions
BIO 550 Week 7 Discussions Questions
DQ1 Why is it necessary to critique research literature? Justify your rationale.
DQ2 What is the difference between summarizing and critiquing an article? Present supportive details in your explanation.
Most academic articles or books will put forward a claim or an argument of some kind.
This might be explicit, such as those in argumentative papers, or the authors might use
argumentative techniques in their discussion of data and results.
When critiquing an argumentative article or book, which do not follow a research
report structure, you will need to critique how the argument is made. Some critical
questions to ask yourself about the argument include:
• Does the author clearly state their argument or thesis?
• Does the author provide reasonable premises (supporting points) that will support their argument?
• Is the theoretical position or framework justified and does it seem appropriate?
• Does the author acknowledge assumptions or bias in their argument? If not, can you identify bias or
• Is each supporting premise supported with credible and viable evidence?
• What literature are they drawing on? Have they overlooked anything?
• Does the author use problematic argument techniques such as slippery slopes or logical fallacies?
• Are any key issues overlooked?
• Does the author make any assumptions or generalisations?
• Does each point clearly and logically lead to the author’s conclusion?
CRITIQUING RESEARCH ARTICLES
When critiquing research articles, it is useful to ask yourself questions about the purpose of each component
of the article, and whether it achieves that purpose.
The title should be descriptive enough to give you a clear idea about what the research deals with.
• Does the title clearly indicate what the research is about, without being extremely long or too short
to be informative?
• Are the variables or theoretical issues and any relationships between them stated?
The introduction should orientate the reader to the study by introducing the question/problem, introducing
the background of the study, and clearly stating the background and rationale of the research.
• Is the research question/problem researchable?
• Is the problem important enough to justify the research?
• Is the background of the research relevant to the research question?
• Is the aim clearly stated and focused on one main idea?
• Do you have a clear idea of what the study tried to achieve?
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THE LITERATURE REVIEW
The literature review should give an overview of the available literature which frames or surrounds the
problem being researched. It should look at the similarities and differences between the literature, as well
as the strengths and limitations. It should illustrate how the current study fits into the existing framework of
research or how it fills a gap in the literature.
• Is the literature review broad, yet focused on the issue?
• Is there historical as well as contemporary material to put the area of study into a context?
• Is there convincing evidence to support assertions?
• Does it fairly represent opposing views?
• Does the literature review use a theoretical framework?
• Does it reveal gaps in the knowledge which this research will fill?
THE METHODS AND RESEARCH DESIGN
This section should clearly state what the researcher did and how it was done, allowing the reader to
evaluate the methods used, the consistency, the reliability of the study, its validity and whether it could be
replicated. As a minimum, there should be a brief synopsis of the research approach taken.
• Is there a clear rationale for the chosen research approach, methods and/or instruments used?
• Is the research method appropriate for the research question?
• Was the collection of data appropriate for the research question?
• Was process of obtaining ethics clearance and how ethical standards were maintained clear?
• Is there enough information concerning the participants? Do they represent the research well? If
any participants did not complete the study, was this explained? Were details of major
demographic information made evident, e.g., geographical location, gender, age?
• Were any instruments or apparatus identified and described? If any apparatus were obtained or
donated by a commercial source, was it stated?
• Were any control features in the research design stated?
• Are any limitations of the study discussed?
• Were any ambiguous terms used?
DATA ANALYSIS (also known as the ‘Results and Findings’ section)
This section should contain a summary the main results and findings in enough detail so that the reader can
understand how the conclusions have been reached. In qualitative research, illustrative samples of data are
frequently used. In quantitative data, individual scores or raw data are not discussed. All relevant data,
including that which runs counter to the hypothesis, should be discussed. The reader should be made clear as
to what the data provided means and why it is important.
• Were the steps involved in the data analysis explained and the strategies justified?
• Was the data analysis rigorous enough to substantiate the claims?
• Were all data taken into account? If not, why not?
• Are the presented results relevant to the research question?
• Do the tables and graphs (if any) make the data analysis clearer?
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In this section, the implications of the research results are evaluated and interpreted in relation to the research
question. This is where the findings and the selected theoretical framework come together. The discussion
should contain a clear statement of support or otherwise of the original hypothesis or research question. The
results of this study and those of other studies should be discussed, and any suggestions for improvements or
further research are made here.
There should be no repetition of points already made in other sections.
• Have the results been interpreted in relation to the research question and aims?
• Have the results been discussed with reference to the research question, hypothesis (if applicable)
and theoretical or conceptual frameworks?
• Have conclusions and/or recommendations been appropriately drawn from the data analysis?
• Did the researcher highlight the most important results?
• Have the results been used to support or refute the results of other studies?
• How relevant and useful are the results to practice?
This section should summarise the main points and indicate the usefulness of the research. It should not include
any new information. Areas for future research may be suggested.
• Were the main points drawn out?
• Were fresh insights or a new perspective on the topic demonstrated?
• Have any recommendations been made based on the research?
• Were there any suggestions for future research?
REFERENCE LIST OR BIBLIOGRAPHY
This should contain a list of all sources referred to in the article (in the case of a reference list) or all sources
actually accessed in preparation for the article (in the case of a bibliography).
• Are all sources cited clearly and with full bibliographic details provided?
• Has a wide range of works in the field been referred to?
• Does the list contain both seminal (classic) and more contemporary literature?
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