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Article Summaries, Reviews & Critiques

  • Writing an article SUMMARY
  • Writing an article REVIEW

Writing an article CRITIQUE

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A critique asks you to evaluate an article and the author’s argument. You will need to look critically at what the author is claiming, evaluate the research methods, and look for possible problems with, or applications of, the researcher’s claims.


Give an overview of the author’s main points and how the author supports those points. Explain what the author found and describe the process they used to arrive at this conclusion.

Body Paragraphs

Interpret the information from the article:

  • Does the author review previous studies? Is current and relevant research used?
  • What type of research was used – empirical studies, anecdotal material, or personal observations?
  • Was the sample too small to generalize from?
  • Was the participant group lacking in diversity (race, gender, age, education, socioeconomic status, etc.)
  • For instance, volunteers gathered at a health food store might have different attitudes about nutrition than the population at large.
  • How useful does this work seem to you? How does the author suggest the findings could be applied and how do you believe they could be applied?
  • How could the study have been improved in your opinion?
  • Does the author appear to have any biases (related to gender, race, class, or politics)?
  • Is the writing clear and easy to follow? Does the author’s tone add to or detract from the article?
  • How useful are the visuals (such as tables, charts, maps, photographs) included, if any? How do they help to illustrate the argument? Are they confusing or hard to read?
  • What further research might be conducted on this subject?

Try to synthesize the pieces of your critique to emphasize your own main points about the author’s work, relating the researcher’s work to your own knowledge or to topics being discussed in your course.

From the Center for Academic Excellence (opens in a new window), University of Saint Joseph Connecticut

Additional Resources

All links open in a new window.

Writing an Article Critique (from The University of Arizona Global Campus Writing Center)

How to Critique an Article (from Essaypro.com)

How to Write an Article Critique (from EliteEditing.com.au)

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IOE Writing Centre

  • Writing a Critical Review


Writing a Critique

girl with question mark

A critique (or critical review) is not to be mistaken for a literature review. A 'critical review', or 'critique', is a complete type of text (or genre), discussing one particular article or book in detail.  In some instances, you may be asked to write a critique of two or three articles (e.g. a comparative critical review). In contrast, a 'literature review', which also needs to be 'critical', is a part of a larger type of text, such as a chapter of your dissertation.

Most importantly: Read your article / book as many times as possible, as this will make the critical review much easier.

1. Read and take notes 2. Organising your writing 3. Summary 4. Evaluation 5. Linguistic features of a critical review 6. Summary language 7. Evaluation language 8. Conclusion language 9. Example extracts from a critical review 10. Further resources

Read and Take Notes

To improve your reading confidence and efficiency, visit our pages on reading.

Further reading: Read Confidently

After you are familiar with the text, make notes on some of the following questions. Choose the questions which seem suitable:

  • What kind of article is it (for example does it present data or does it present purely theoretical arguments)?
  • What is the main area under discussion?
  • What are the main findings?
  • What are the stated limitations?
  • Where does the author's data and evidence come from? Are they appropriate / sufficient?
  • What are the main issues raised by the author?
  • What questions are raised?
  • How well are these questions addressed?
  • What are the major points/interpretations made by the author in terms of the issues raised?
  • Is the text balanced? Is it fair / biased?
  • Does the author contradict herself?
  • How does all this relate to other literature on this topic?
  • How does all this relate to your own experience, ideas and views?
  • What else has this author written? Do these build / complement this text?
  • (Optional) Has anyone else reviewed this article? What did they say? Do I agree with them?

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Organising your writing

You first need to summarise the text that you have read. One reason to summarise the text is that the reader may not have read the text. In your summary, you will

  • focus on points within the article that you think are interesting
  • summarise the author(s) main ideas or argument
  • explain how these ideas / argument have been constructed. (For example, is the author basing her arguments on data that they have collected? Are the main ideas / argument purely theoretical?)

In your summary you might answer the following questions:     Why is this topic important?     Where can this text be located? For example, does it address policy studies?     What other prominent authors also write about this?

Evaluation is the most important part in a critical review.

Use the literature to support your views. You may also use your knowledge of conducting research, and your own experience. Evaluation can be explicit or implicit.

Explicit evaluation

Explicit evaluation involves stating directly (explicitly) how you intend to evaluate the text. e.g. "I will review this article by focusing on the following questions. First, I will examine the extent to which the authors contribute to current thought on Second Language Acquisition (SLA) pedagogy. After that, I will analyse whether the authors' propositions are feasible within overseas SLA classrooms."

Implicit evaluation

Implicit evaluation is less direct. The following section on Linguistic Features of Writing a Critical Review contains language that evaluates the text. A difficult part of evaluation of a published text (and a professional author) is how to do this as a student. There is nothing wrong with making your position as a student explicit and incorporating it into your evaluation. Examples of how you might do this can be found in the section on Linguistic Features of Writing a Critical Review. You need to remember to locate and analyse the author's argument when you are writing your critical review. For example, you need to locate the authors' view of classroom pedagogy as presented in the book / article and not present a critique of views of classroom pedagogy in general.

Linguistic features of a critical review

The following examples come from published critical reviews. Some of them have been adapted for student use.

Summary language

  •     This article / book is divided into two / three parts. First...
  •     While the title might suggest...
  •     The tone appears to be...
  •     Title is the first / second volume in the series Title, edited by...The books / articles in this series address...
  •     The second / third claim is based on...
  •     The author challenges the notion that...
  •     The author tries to find a more middle ground / make more modest claims...
  •     The article / book begins with a short historical overview of...
  •     Numerous authors have recently suggested that...(see Author, Year; Author, Year). Author would also be once such author. With his / her argument that...
  •     To refer to title as a...is not to say that it is...
  •     This book / article is aimed at... This intended readership...
  •     The author's book / article examines the...To do this, the author first...
  •     The author develops / suggests a theoretical / pedagogical model to…
  •     This book / article positions itself firmly within the field of...
  •     The author in a series of subtle arguments, indicates that he / she...
  •     The argument is therefore...
  •     The author asks "..."
  •     With a purely critical / postmodern take on...
  •     Topic, as the author points out, can be viewed as...
  •     In this recent contribution to the field of...this British author...
  •     As a leading author in the field of...
  •     This book / article nicely contributes to the field of...and complements other work by this author...
  •     The second / third part of...provides / questions / asks the reader...
  •     Title is intended to encourage students / researchers to...
  •     The approach taken by the author provides the opportunity to examine...in a qualitative / quantitative research framework that nicely complements...
  •     The author notes / claims that state support / a focus on pedagogy / the adoption of...remains vital if...
  •     According to Author (Year) teaching towards examinations is not as effective as it is in other areas of the curriculum. This is because, as Author (Year) claims that examinations have undue status within the curriculum.
  •     According to Author (Year)…is not as effective in some areas of the curriculum / syllabus as others. Therefore the author believes that this is a reason for some school's…

Evaluation language

  •     This argument is not entirely convincing, as...furthermore it commodifies / rationalises the...
  •     Over the last five / ten years the view of...has increasingly been viewed as 'complicated' (see Author, Year; Author, Year).
  •     However, through trying to integrate...with...the author...
  •     There are difficulties with such a position.
  •     Inevitably, several crucial questions are left unanswered / glossed over by this insightful / timely / interesting / stimulating book / article. Why should...
  •     It might have been more relevant for the author to have written this book / article as...
  •     This article / book is not without disappointment from those who would view...as...
  •     This chosen framework enlightens / clouds...
  •     This analysis intends to be...but falls a little short as...
  •     The authors rightly conclude that if...
  •     A detailed, well-written and rigorous account of...
  •     As a Korean student I feel that this article / book very clearly illustrates...
  •     The beginning of...provides an informative overview into...
  •     The tables / figures do little to help / greatly help the reader...
  •     The reaction by scholars who take a...approach might not be so favourable (e.g. Author, Year).
  •     This explanation has a few weaknesses that other researchers have pointed out (see Author, Year; Author, Year). The first is...
  •     On the other hand, the author wisely suggests / proposes that...By combining these two dimensions...
  •     The author's brief introduction to...may leave the intended reader confused as it fails to properly...
  •     Despite my inability to...I was greatly interested in...
  •     Even where this reader / I disagree(s), the author's effort to...
  •     The author thus combines...with...to argue...which seems quite improbable for a number of reasons. First...
  •     Perhaps this aversion to...would explain the author's reluctance to...
  •     As a second language student from ...I find it slightly ironic that such an anglo-centric view is...
  •     The reader is rewarded with...
  •     Less convincing is the broad-sweeping generalisation that...
  •     There is no denying the author's subject knowledge nor his / her...
  •     The author's prose is dense and littered with unnecessary jargon...
  •     The author's critique of...might seem harsh but is well supported within the literature (see Author, Year; Author, Year; Author, Year). Aligning herself with the author, Author (Year) states that...
  •     As it stands, the central focus of Title is well / poorly supported by its empirical findings...
  •     Given the hesitation to generalise to...the limitation of...does not seem problematic...
  •     For instance, the term...is never properly defined and the reader left to guess as to whether...
  •     Furthermore, to label...as...inadvertently misguides...
  •     In addition, this research proves to be timely / especially significant to... as recent government policy / proposals has / have been enacted to...
  •     On this well researched / documented basis the author emphasises / proposes that...
  •     Nonetheless, other research / scholarship / data tend to counter / contradict this possible trend / assumption...(see Author, Year; Author, Year).
  •     Without entering into detail of the..., it should be stated that Title should be read by...others will see little value in...
  •     As experimental conditions were not used in the study the word 'significant' misleads the reader.
  •     The article / book becomes repetitious in its assertion that...
  •     The thread of the author's argument becomes lost in an overuse of empirical data...
  •     Almost every argument presented in the final section is largely derivative, providing little to say about...
  •     She / he does not seem to take into consideration; however, that there are fundamental differences in the conditions of…
  •     As Author (Year) points out, however, it seems to be necessary to look at…
  •     This suggest that having low…does not necessarily indicate that…is ineffective.
  •     Therefore, the suggestion made by Author (Year)…is difficult to support.
  •     When considering all the data presented…it is not clear that the low scores of some students, indeed, reflects…

Conclusion language

  •     Overall this article / book is an analytical look at...which within the field of...is often overlooked.
  •     Despite its problems, Title offers valuable theoretical insights / interesting examples / a contribution to pedagogy and a starting point for students / researchers of...with an interest in...
  •     This detailed and rigorously argued...
  •     This first / second volume / book / article by...with an interest in...is highly informative...

Example extracts from a critical review

Writing critically.

If you have been told your writing is not critical enough, it probably means that your writing treats the knowledge claims as if they are true, well supported, and applicable in the context you are writing about. This may not always be the case.

In these two examples, the extracts refer to the same section of text. In each example, the section that refers to a source has been highlighted in bold. The note below the example then explains how the writer has used the source material.    

There is a strong positive effect on students, both educationally and emotionally, when the instructors try to learn to say students' names without making pronunciation errors (Kiang, 2004).

Use of source material in example a: 

This is a simple paraphrase with no critical comment. It looks like the writer agrees with Kiang. (This is not a good example for critical writing, as the writer has not made any critical comment).        

Kiang (2004) gives various examples to support his claim that "the positive emotional and educational impact on students is clear" (p.210) when instructors try to pronounce students' names in the correct way. He quotes one student, Nguyet, as saying that he "felt surprised and happy" (p.211) when the tutor said his name clearly . The emotional effect claimed by Kiang is illustrated in quotes such as these, although the educational impact is supported more indirectly through the chapter. Overall, he provides more examples of students being negatively affected by incorrect pronunciation, and it is difficult to find examples within the text of a positive educational impact as such.

Use of source material in example b: 

The writer describes Kiang's (2004) claim and the examples which he uses to try to support it. The writer then comments that the examples do not seem balanced and may not be enough to support the claims fully. This is a better example of writing which expresses criticality.

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Further resources

You may also be interested in our page on criticality, which covers criticality in general, and includes more critical reading questions.

Further reading: Read and Write Critically

We recommend that you do not search for other university guidelines on critical reviews. This is because the expectations may be different at other institutions. Ask your tutor for more guidance or examples if you have further questions.

IOE Writing Centre Online

Self-access resources from the Academic Writing Centre at the UCL Institute of Education.

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How to Write an Article Critique

Tips for Writing a Psychology Critique Paper

Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

sample essays critiquing a research paper

Emily is a board-certified science editor who has worked with top digital publishing brands like Voices for Biodiversity, Study.com, GoodTherapy, Vox, and Verywell.

sample essays critiquing a research paper

Cultura RM / Gu Cultura / Getty Images

  • Steps for Writing a Critique

Evaluating the Article

  • How to Write It
  • Helpful Tips

An article critique involves critically analyzing a written work to assess its strengths and flaws. If you need to write an article critique, you will need to describe the article, analyze its contents, interpret its meaning, and make an overall assessment of the importance of the work.

Critique papers require students to conduct a critical analysis of another piece of writing, often a book, journal article, or essay . No matter your major, you will probably be expected to write a critique paper at some point.

For psychology students, critiquing a professional paper is a great way to learn more about psychology articles, writing, and the research process itself. Students will analyze how researchers conduct experiments, interpret results, and discuss the impact of the results.

At a Glance

An article critique involves making a critical assessment of a single work. This is often an article, but it might also be a book or other written source. It summarizes the contents of the article and then evaluates both the strengths and weaknesses of the piece. Knowing how to write an article critique can help you learn how to evaluate sources with a discerning eye.

Steps for Writing an Effective Article Critique

While these tips are designed to help students write a psychology critique paper, many of the same principles apply to writing article critiques in other subject areas.

Your first step should always be a thorough read-through of the material you will be analyzing and critiquing. It needs to be more than just a casual skim read. It should be in-depth with an eye toward key elements.

To write an article critique, you should:

  • Read the article , noting your first impressions, questions, thoughts, and observations
  • Describe the contents of the article in your own words, focusing on the main themes or ideas
  • Interpret the meaning of the article and its overall importance
  • Critically evaluate the contents of the article, including any strong points as well as potential weaknesses

The following guidelines can help you assess the article you are reading and make better sense of the material.

Read the Introduction Section of the Article

Start by reading the introduction . Think about how this part of the article sets up the main body and how it helps you get a background on the topic.

  • Is the hypothesis clearly stated?
  • Is the necessary background information and previous research described in the introduction?

In addition to answering these basic questions, note other information provided in the introduction and any questions you have.

Read the Methods Section of the Article

Is the study procedure clearly outlined in the methods section ? Can you determine which variables the researchers are measuring?

Remember to jot down questions and thoughts that come to mind as you are reading. Once you have finished reading the paper, you can then refer back to your initial questions and see which ones remain unanswered.

Read the Results Section of the Article

Are all tables and graphs clearly labeled in the results section ? Do researchers provide enough statistical information? Did the researchers collect all of the data needed to measure the variables in question?

Make a note of any questions or information that does not seem to make sense. You can refer back to these questions later as you are writing your final critique.

Read the Discussion Section of the Article

Experts suggest that it is helpful to take notes while reading through sections of the paper you are evaluating. Ask yourself key questions:

  • How do the researchers interpret the results of the study?
  • Did the results support their hypothesis?
  • Do the conclusions drawn by the researchers seem reasonable?

The discussion section offers students an excellent opportunity to take a position. If you agree with the researcher's conclusions, explain why. If you feel the researchers are incorrect or off-base, point out problems with the conclusions and suggest alternative explanations.

Another alternative is to point out questions the researchers failed to answer in the discussion section.

Begin Writing Your Own Critique of the Paper

Once you have read the article, compile your notes and develop an outline that you can follow as you write your psychology critique paper. Here's a guide that will walk you through how to structure your critique paper.


Begin your paper by describing the journal article and authors you are critiquing. Provide the main hypothesis (or thesis) of the paper. Explain why you think the information is relevant.

Thesis Statement

The final part of your introduction should include your thesis statement. Your thesis statement is the main idea of your critique. Your thesis should briefly sum up the main points of your critique.

Article Summary

Provide a brief summary of the article. Outline the main points, results, and discussion.

When describing the study or paper, experts suggest that you include a summary of the questions being addressed, study participants, interventions, comparisons, outcomes, and study design.

Don't get bogged down by your summary. This section should highlight the main points of the article you are critiquing. Don't feel obligated to summarize each little detail of the main paper. Focus on giving the reader an overall idea of the article's content.

Your Analysis

In this section, you will provide your critique of the article. Describe any problems you had with the author's premise, methods, or conclusions. You might focus your critique on problems with the author's argument, presentation, information, and alternatives that have been overlooked.

When evaluating a study, summarize the main findings—including the strength of evidence for each main outcome—and consider their relevance to key demographic groups.  

Organize your paper carefully. Be careful not to jump around from one argument to the next. Arguing one point at a time ensures that your paper flows well and is easy to read.

Your critique paper should end with an overview of the article's argument, your conclusions, and your reactions.

More Tips When Writing an Article Critique

  • As you are editing your paper, utilize a style guide published by the American Psychological Association, such as the official Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association .
  • Reading scientific articles can be challenging at first. Remember that this is a skill that takes time to learn but that your skills will become stronger the more that you read.
  • Take a rough draft of your paper to your school's writing lab for additional feedback and use your university library's resources.

What This Means For You

Being able to write a solid article critique is a useful academic skill. While it can be challenging, start by breaking down the sections of the paper, noting your initial thoughts and questions. Then structure your own critique so that you present a summary followed by your evaluation. In your critique, include the strengths and the weaknesses of the article.

Archibald D, Martimianakis MA. Writing, reading, and critiquing reviews .  Can Med Educ J . 2021;12(3):1-7. doi:10.36834/cmej.72945

Pautasso M. Ten simple rules for writing a literature review . PLoS Comput Biol . 2013;9(7):e1003149. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003149

Gülpınar Ö, Güçlü AG. How to write a review article?   Turk J Urol . 2013;39(Suppl 1):44–48. doi:10.5152/tud.2013.054

Erol A. Basics of writing review articles .  Noro Psikiyatr Ars . 2022;59(1):1-2. doi:10.29399/npa.28093

American Psychological Association.  Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association  (7th ed.). Washington DC: The American Psychological Association; 2019.

By Kendra Cherry, MSEd Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

How to Write a Critique Paper: Format, Tips, & Critique Essay Examples

A critique paper is an academic writing genre that summarizes and gives a critical evaluation of a concept or work. Or, to put it simply, it is no more than a summary and a critical analysis of a specific issue. This type of writing aims to evaluate the impact of the given work or concept in its field.

Our specialists will write a custom essay specially for you!

Want to learn more? Continue reading this article written by Custom-writing experts! It contains:

  • best tips on how to critique an article or a literary work,
  • a critique paper example with introduction, body, and conclusion.

💁 What Is a Critique Paper?

  • 👣 Critical Writing Steps

👀 Critical Essay Types

📝 critique paper format, 📑 critique paper outline, 🔗 references.

A critique is a particular academic writing genre that requires you to carefully study, summarize, and critically analyze a study or a concept. In other words, it is nothing more than a critical analysis. That is all you are doing when writing a critical essay: trying to understand the work and present an evaluation. Critical essays can be either positive or negative, as the work deserves.

👣 How to Write a Critique Essay: Main Steps

Starting critique essays is the most challenging part. You are supposed to substantiate your opinion with quotes and paraphrases, avoiding retelling the entire text. A critical analysis aims to find out whether an article or another piece of writing is compelling. First, you need to formulate the author’s thesis: what was the literary work supposed to convey? Then, explore the text on how this main idea was elaborated. Finally, draft your critique according to the structure given below.

Critical Writing Steps Include: Critical Reading, Analyzing the Text, and Making the Draft.

Step 1: Critical Reading

1.1. Attentively read the literary work. While reading, make notes and underline the essentials.

  • Try to come into the author’s world and think why they wrote such a piece.
  • Point out which literary devices are successful. Some research in literary theory may be required.
  • Find out what you dislike about the text, i.e., controversies, gaps, inconsistency, or incompleteness.

1.2. Find or formulate the author’s thesis. 

  • What is the principal argument? In an article, it can be found in the first paragraph.
  • In a literary work, formulate one of the principal themes, as the thesis is not explicit.
  • If you write a critique of painting, find out what feelings, emotions, or ideas, the artist attempted to project.

1.3. Make a summary or synopsis of the analyzed text. 

  • One paragraph will suffice. You can use it in your critique essay, if necessary.
  • The point is to explore the gist.

Step 2: Analyzing the Text

After the reading phase, ask yourself the following questions :

  • What was your emotional response to the text? Which techniques, images, or ideas made you feel so?
  • Find out the author’s background. Which experiences made them raise such a thesis? What other significant works have they written that demonstrate the general direction of thought of this person?
  • Are the concepts used correctly in the text? Are the references reliable, and do they sufficiently substantiate the author’s opinion?

Step 3: Drafting the Essay

Finally, it is time to draft your essay. First of all, you’ll need to write a brief overview of the text you’re analyzing. Then, formulate a thesis statement – one sentence that will contain your opinion of the work under scrutiny. After that, make a one-paragraph summary of the text.

You can use this simple template for the draft version of your analysis. Another thing that can help you at this step is a summary creator to make the creative process more efficient.

Critique Paper Template

  • Start with an introductory phrase about the domain of the work in question.
  • Tell which work you are going to analyze, its author, and year of publication.
  • Specify the principal argument of the work under study.
  • In the third sentence, clearly state your thesis.
  • Here you can insert the summary you wrote before.
  • This is the only place where you can use it. No summary can be written in the main body!
  • Use one paragraph for every separate analyzed aspect of the text (style, organization, fairness/bias, etc.).
  • Each paragraph should confirm your thesis (e.g., whether the text is effective or ineffective).
  • Each paragraph shall start with a topic sentence, followed by evidence, and concluded with a statement referring to the thesis.
  • Provide a final judgment on the effectiveness of the piece of writing.
  • Summarize your main points and restate the thesis, indicating that everything you said above confirms it.

You can evaluate the chosen work or concept in several ways. Pick the one you feel more comfortable with from the following:

Just in 1 hour! We will write you a plagiarism-free paper in hardly more than 1 hour

  • Descriptive critical essays examine texts or other works. Their primary focus is usually on certain features of a work, and it is common to compare and contrast the subject of your analysis to a classic example of the genre to which it belongs.
  • Evaluative critical essays provide an estimate of the value of the work. Was it as good as you expected based on the recommendations, or do you feel your time would have been better spent on something else?
  • Interpretive essays provide your readers with answers that relate to the meaning of the work in question. To do this, you must select a method of determining the meaning, read/watch/observe your analysis subject using this method, and put forth an argument.

There are also different types of critiques. The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, in the article “ Writing critiques ,” discusses them as well as the appropriate critique language.

Critique Paper Topics

  • Critique of the article Is Google Making Us Stupid? by Nicholas Carr .
  • Interpret the symbolism of Edgar Alan Poe’s The Black Cat .
  • Examine the topicality of the article Impact of Racial/Ethnic Differences on Child Mental Health Care .
  • Critical essay on Alice Walker’s short story Everyday Use .
  • Discuss the value of the essay The Hanging by George Orwell .
  • A critique on the article Stocks Versus Bonds : Explaining the Equity Risk Premium .
  • Explore the themes Tennessee Williams reveals in The Glass Menagerie.
  • Analyze the relevance of the article Leadership Characteristics and Digital Transformation .
  • Critical evaluation of Jonathan Harvey’s play Beautiful Thing .
  • Analyze and critique Derek Raymond’s story He Died with His Eyes Open .
  • Discuss the techniques author uses to present the problem of choice in The Plague .
  • Examine and evaluate the research article Using Evidence-Based Practice to Prevent Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia .
  • Explore the scientific value of the article Our Future: A Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing .
  • Describe the ideas E. Hemingway put into his A Clean, Well-Lighted Place .
  • Analyze the literary qualities of Always Running La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L. A .
  • Critical writing on The Incarnation of Power by Wright Mills .
  • Explain the strengths and shortcomings of Tim Kreider’s article The Busy Trap .
  • Critical response to Woolf’s novel Mrs. Dalloway .
  • Examine the main idea of Richard Godbeer’s book Escaping Salem .
  • The strong and weak points of the article The Confusion of Tongues by William G. Bellshaw .
  • Critical review of Gulliver’s Travels .
  • Analyze the stylistic devices Anthony Lewis uses in Gideon’s Trumpet.
  • Examine the techniques Elie Wiesel uses to show relationship transformation in the book Night .
  • Critique of the play Fences by August Wilson .
  • The role of exposition in Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart.
  • The main themes John Maxwell discusses in his book Disgrace .
  • Critical evaluation of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 .
  • The ideas and concept of the book The Vegetarian Imperative .
  • Different points of view on one historical figure in the book Two Lives of Charlemagne .

Since the APA critique paper format is one of the most common, let’s discuss it in more detail. Check out the information below to learn more:

The APA Manual recommends using the following fonts:

  • 11-point Calibri,
  • 11-point Arial,
  • 10-point Lucida Sans Unicode,
  • 12-point Times New Roman,
  • 11-point Georgia,
  • 10-point Computer Modern.

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Add 1-inch margins on all sides.

📌 Page numbers

Page numbers should appear at the top right-hand corner, starting with the title page.

📌 Line spacing

The entire document, including the title page and reference list, should be double-spaced.

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📌 Title page

The title page should include the following information:

  • page number 1 in the top right-hand corner of the page header,
  • paper title,
  • the student’s name,
  • the name of the department and the college or university,
  • course number and name,
  • the instructor’s name,
  • due date (the date format used in your country).

📌 Critique paper title

The title of your critique paper should be no more than 12 words. In addition, it should be centered and typed in bold using title case.

📌 In-text citations

For the in-text citation, provide the author’s last name and publication year in brackets. If you are using direct citation, add the page number after the year.

📌 References

The last page of your paper should include a list of all sources cited in your essay. Here’s a general format of book and journal article citations you should use:

Book: Last name, First initial. Middle initial. (Year). Book title: Subtitle . Publisher.

Journal article: Last name, First initial. Middle initial. (Year). Title of the article. Journal Title, volume (issue number), start page–end page.

The main parts of good critical response essays are:

  • Introduction. The introduction is the most essential part of the critical response. It should be concise and include the author and title of the work being analyzed, its main idea, and a strong thesis statement.
  • Summary. This should be brief and to the point. Only the author’s/creator’s main ideas and arguments should be included.
  • Analysis/interpretation. Discuss what the author’s/creator’s primary goal was and determine whether this goal was reached successfully. Use the evidence you have gathered to argue whether or not the author/creator achieved was adequately convincing (remember there should be no personal bias in this discussion).
  • Evaluation/response. At this point, your readers are ready to learn your objective response to the work. It should be professional yet entertaining to read. Do not hesitate to use strong language. You can say that the work you analyzed was weak and poorly-structured if that is the case, but keep in mind that you have to have evidence to back up your claim.
  • Conclusion. The last paragraph of your work should restate the thesis statement, summarize the key points, and create a sense of closure for the readers.

Critique Paper Introduction

The introduction is setting the stage for your analysis. Here are some tips to follow when working on it:

  • Provide the reader with a brief synopsis of the main points of the work you are critiquing .
  • State your general opinion of the work , using it as your thesis statement. The ideal situation is that you identify and use a controversial thesis.
  • Remember that you will uncover a lot of necessary information about the work you are critiquing. You mustn’t make use of all of it, providing the reader with information that is unnecessary in your critique. If you are writing about Shakespeare, you don’t have to waste your or your reader’s time going through all of his works.

Critique Paper Body

The body of the critique contains the supporting paragraphs. This is where you will provide the facts that prove your main idea and support your thesis. Follow the tips below when writing the body of your critique.

  • Every paragraph must focus on a precise concept from the paper under your scrutiny , and your job is to include arguments to support or disprove that concept. Concrete evidence is required.
  • A critical essay is written in the third-person and ensures the reader is presented with an objective analysis.
  • Discuss whether the author was able to achieve their goals and adequately get their point across.
  • It is important not to confuse facts and opinions . An opinion is a personal thought and requires confirmation, whereas a fact is supported by reliable data and requires no further proof. Do not back up one idea with another one.
  • Remember that your purpose is to provide the reader with an understanding of a particular piece of literature or other work from your perspective. Be as specific as possible.

Critique Paper Conclusion

Finally, you will need to write a conclusion for your critique. The conclusion reasserts your overall general opinion of the ideas presented in the text and ensures there is no doubt in the reader’s mind about what you believe and why. Follow these tips when writing your conclusion:

  • Summarize the analysis you provided in the body of the critique.
  • Summarize the primary reasons why you made your analysis .
  • Where appropriate, provide recommendations on how the work you critiqued can be improved.

For more details on how to write a critique, check out the great critique analysis template provided by Thompson Rivers University.

If you want more information on essay writing in general, look at the Secrets of Essay Writing .

Example of Critique Paper with Introduction, Body, and Conclusion

Check out this critical response example to “The Last Inch” by James Aldridge to show how everything works in practice:


In his story “The Last Inch,” James Aldridge addresses the issue of the relationship between parents and children. The author captured the young boy’s coming into maturity coinciding with a challenging trial. He also demonstrated how the twelve-year-old boy obtained his father’s character traits. Aldridge’s prose is both brutal and poetic, expressing his characters’ genuine emotions and the sad truths of their situations.

Body: Summary 

The story is about Ben Ensley, an unemployed professional pilot, who decides to capture underwater shots for money. He travels to Shark Bay with his son, Davy. Ben is severely injured after being attacked by a shark while photographing. His last hope of survival is to fly back to the little African hamlet from where they took off.

Body: Analysis 

The story effectively uses the themes of survival and fatherhood and has an intriguing and captivating plot. In addition, Ben’s metamorphosis from a failing pilot to a determined survivor is effectively presented. His bond with his son, Davy, adds depth and emotional importance to the story. At the same time, the background information about Ben’s past and his life before the shark attack could be more effectively integrated into the main story rather than being presented as separate blocks of text.

Body: Evaluation 

I find “The Last Inch” by James Aldridge a very engaging and emotional story since it highlights the idea of a father’s unconditional love and determination in the face of adversity. I was also impressed by the vivid descriptions and strong character development of the father and son.


“The Last Inch” by James Aldridge is an engaging and emotional narrative that will appeal to readers of all ages. It is a story of strength, dedication, and the unbreakable link between father and son. Though some backstory could be integrated more smoothly, “The Last Inch” impresses with its emotional punch. It leaves the readers touched by the raw power of fatherly love and human will.

📚 Critique Essay Examples

With all of the information and tips provided above, your way will become clearer when you have a solid example of a critique essay.

Below is a critical response to The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

When speaking of feminist literature that is prominent and manages to touch on incredibly controversial issues, The Yellow Wallpaper is the first book that comes to mind. Written from a first-person perspective, magnifying the effect of the narrative, the short story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman introduces the reader to the problem of the physical and mental health of the women of the 19th century. However, the message that is intended to concern feminist ideas is rather subtle. Written in the form of several diary entries, the novel offers a mysterious plot, and at the same time, shockingly realistic details.

What really stands out about the novel is the fact that the reader is never really sure how much of the story takes place in reality and how much of it happens in the psychotic mind of the protagonist. In addition, the novel contains a plethora of description that contributes to the strain and enhances the correlation between the atmosphere and the protagonist’s fears: “The color is repellent, almost revolting; a smoldering unclean yellow, strangely faded by the slow-turning sunlight” (Gilman).

Despite Gilman’s obvious intent to make the novel a feminist story with a dash of thriller thrown in, the result is instead a thriller with a dash of feminism, as Allen (2009) explains. However, there is no doubt that the novel is a renowned classic. Offering a perfect portrayal of the 19th-century stereotypes, it is a treasure that is certainly worth the read.

If you need another critique essay example, take a look at our sample on “ The Importance of Being Earnest ” by Oscar Wilde.

And here are some more critique paper examples for you check out:

  • A Good Man Is Hard to Find: Critique Paper
  • Critique on “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  • “When the Five Rights Go Wrong” Article Critique
  • Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey — Comparison & Critique
  • “The TrueBlue Study”: Qualitative Article Critique
  • Ethical Conflict Associated With Managed Care: Views of Nurse Practitioners’: Article Critique
  • Benefits and Disadvantages of Prone Positioning in Severe Acute Respiratory Distress: Article Critique
  • Reducing Stress in Student Nurses: Article Critique
  • Management of Change and Professional Safety – Article Critique
  • “Views of Young People Towards Physical Activity”: Article Critique

Seeing an example of a critique is so helpful. You can find many other examples of a critique paper at the University of Minnesota and John Hopkins University. Plus, you can check out this video for a great explanation of how to write a critique.

  • Critical Analysis
  • Writing an Article Critique
  • The Critique Essay
  • Critique Essay
  • Writing a Critique
  • Writing A Book Critique
  • Media Critique
  • Tips for an Effective Creative Writing Critique
  • How to Write an Article Critique
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How to Write an Article Critique Step-by-Step


Table of contents

  • 1 What is an Article Critique Writing?
  • 2 How to Critique an Article: The Main Steps
  • 3 Article Critique Outline
  • 4 Article Critique Formatting
  • 5 How to Write a Journal Article Critique
  • 6 How to Write a Research Article Critique
  • 7 Research Methods in Article Critique Writing
  • 8 Tips for writing an Article Critique

Do you know how to critique an article? If not, don’t worry – this guide will walk you through the writing process step-by-step. First, we’ll discuss what a research article critique is and its importance. Then, we’ll outline the key points to consider when critiquing a scientific article. Finally, we’ll provide a step-by-step guide on how to write an article critique including introduction, body and summary. Read more to get the main idea of crafting a critique paper.

What is an Article Critique Writing?

An article critique is a formal analysis and evaluation of a piece of writing. It is often written in response to a particular text but can also be a response to a book, a movie, or any other form of writing. There are many different types of review articles . Before writing an article critique, you should have an idea about each of them.

To start writing a good critique, you must first read the article thoroughly and examine and make sure you understand the article’s purpose. Then, you should outline the article’s key points and discuss how well they are presented. Next, you should offer your comments and opinions on the article, discussing whether you agree or disagree with the author’s points and subject. Finally, concluding your critique with a brief summary of your thoughts on the article would be best. Ensure that the general audience understands your perspective on the piece.

How to Critique an Article: The Main Steps

If you are wondering “what is included in an article critique,” the answer is:

An article critique typically includes the following:

  • A brief summary of the article .
  • A critical evaluation of the article’s strengths and weaknesses.
  • A conclusion.

When critiquing an article, it is essential to critically read the piece and consider the author’s purpose and research strategies that the author chose. Next, provide a brief summary of the text, highlighting the author’s main points and ideas. Critique an article using formal language and relevant literature in the body paragraphs. Finally, describe the thesis statement, main idea, and author’s interpretations in your language using specific examples from the article. It is also vital to discuss the statistical methods used and whether they are appropriate for the research question. Make notes of the points you think need to be discussed, and also do a literature review from where the author ground their research. Offer your perspective on the article and whether it is well-written. Finally, provide background information on the topic if necessary.

When you are reading an article, it is vital to take notes and critique the text to understand it fully and to be able to use the information in it. Here are the main steps for critiquing an article:

  • Read the piece thoroughly, taking notes as you go. Ensure you understand the main points and the author’s argument.
  • Take a look at the author’s perspective. Is it powerful? Does it back up the author’s point of view?
  • Carefully examine the article’s tone. Is it biased? Are you being persuaded by the author in any way?
  • Look at the structure. Is it well organized? Does it make sense?
  • Consider the writing style. Is it clear? Is it well-written?
  • Evaluate the sources the author uses. Are they credible?
  • Think about your own opinion. With what do you concur or disagree? Why?


Article Critique Outline

When assigned an article critique, your instructor asks you to read and analyze it and provide feedback. A specific format is typically followed when writing an article critique.

An article critique usually has three sections: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.

  • The introduction of your article critique should have a summary and key points.
  • The critique’s main body should thoroughly evaluate the piece, highlighting its strengths and weaknesses, and state your ideas and opinions with supporting evidence.
  • The conclusion should restate your research and describe your opinion.

You should provide your analysis rather than simply agreeing or disagreeing with the author. When writing an article review , it is essential to be objective and critical. Describe your perspective on the subject and create an article review summary. Be sure to use proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation, write it in the third person, and cite your sources.

Article Critique Formatting

When writing an article critique, you should follow a few formatting guidelines. The importance of using a proper format is to make your review clear and easy to read.

Make sure to use double spacing throughout your critique. It will make it easy to understand and read for your instructor.

Indent each new paragraph. It will help to separate your critique into different sections visually.

Use headings to organize your critique. Your introduction, body, and conclusion should stand out. It will make it easy for your instructor to follow your thoughts.

Use standard fonts, such as Times New Roman or Arial. It will make your critique easy to read.

Use 12-point font size. It will ensure that your critique is easy to read.


How to Write a Journal Article Critique

When critiquing a journal article, there are a few key points to keep in mind:

  • Good critiques should be objective, meaning that the author’s ideas and arguments should be evaluated without personal bias.
  • Critiques should be critical, meaning that all aspects of the article should be examined, including the author’s introduction, main ideas, and discussion.
  • Critiques should be informative, providing the reader with a clear understanding of the article’s strengths and weaknesses.

When critiquing a research article, evaluating the author’s argument and the evidence they present is important. The author should state their thesis or the main point in the introductory paragraph. You should explain the article’s main ideas and evaluate the evidence critically. In the discussion section, the author should explain the implications of their findings and suggest future research.

It is also essential to keep a critical eye when reading scientific articles. In order to be credible, the scientific article must be based on evidence and previous literature. The author’s argument should be well-supported by data and logical reasoning.

How to Write a Research Article Critique

When you are assigned a research article, the first thing you need to do is read the piece carefully. Make sure you understand the subject matter and the author’s chosen approach. Next, you need to assess the importance of the author’s work. What are the key findings, and how do they contribute to the field of research?

Finally, you need to provide a critical point-by-point analysis of the article. This should include discussing the research questions, the main findings, and the overall impression of the scientific piece. In conclusion, you should state whether the text is good or bad. Read more to get an idea about curating a research article critique. But if you are not confident, you can ask “ write my papers ” and hire a professional to craft a critique paper for you. Explore your options online and get high-quality work quickly.

However, test yourself and use the following tips to write a research article critique that is clear, concise, and properly formatted.

  • Take notes while you read the text in its entirety. Right down each point you agree and disagree with.
  • Write a thesis statement that concisely and clearly outlines the main points.
  • Write a paragraph that introduces the article and provides context for the critique.
  • Write a paragraph for each of the following points, summarizing the main points and providing your own analysis:
  • The purpose of the study
  • The research question or questions
  • The methods used
  • The outcomes
  • The conclusions were drawn by the author(s)
  • Mention the strengths and weaknesses of the piece in a separate paragraph.
  • Write a conclusion that summarizes your thoughts about the article.
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Research Methods in Article Critique Writing

When writing an article critique, it is important to use research methods to support your arguments. There are a variety of research methods that you can use, and each has its strengths and weaknesses. In this text, we will discuss four of the most common research methods used in article critique writing: quantitative research, qualitative research, systematic reviews, and meta-analysis.

Quantitative research is a research method that uses numbers and statistics to analyze data. This type of research is used to test hypotheses or measure a treatment’s effects. Quantitative research is normally considered more reliable than qualitative research because it considers a large amount of information. But, it might be difficult to find enough data to complete it properly.

Qualitative research is a research method that uses words and interviews to analyze data. This type of research is used to understand people’s thoughts and feelings. Qualitative research is usually more reliable than quantitative research because it is less likely to be biased. Though it is more expensive and tedious.

Systematic reviews are a type of research that uses a set of rules to search for and analyze studies on a particular topic. Some think that systematic reviews are more reliable than other research methods because they use a rigorous process to find and analyze studies. However, they can be pricy and long to carry out.

Meta-analysis is a type of research that combines several studies’ results to understand a treatment’s overall effect better. Meta-analysis is generally considered one of the most reliable type of research because it uses data from several approved studies. Conversely, it involves a long and costly process.

Are you still struggling to understand the critique of an article concept? You can contact an online review writing service to get help from skilled writers. You can get custom, and unique article reviews easily.


Tips for writing an Article Critique

It’s crucial to keep in mind that you’re not just sharing your opinion of the content when you write an article critique. Instead, you are providing a critical analysis, looking at its strengths and weaknesses. In order to write a compelling critique, you should follow these tips: Take note carefully of the essential elements as you read it.

  • Make sure that you understand the thesis statement.
  • Write down your thoughts, including strengths and weaknesses.
  • Use evidence from to support your points.
  • Create a clear and concise critique, making sure to avoid giving your opinion.

It is important to be clear and concise when creating an article critique. You should avoid giving your opinion and instead focus on providing a critical analysis. You should also use evidence from the article to support your points.

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sample essays critiquing a research paper


Write a Critical Review of a Scientific Journal Article

1. identify how and why the research was carried out, 2. establish the research context, 3. evaluate the research, 4. establish the significance of the research.

  • Writing Your Critique

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Read the article(s) carefully and use the questions below to help you identify how and why the research was carried out. Look at the following sections: 


  • What was the objective of the study?
  • What methods were used to accomplish this purpose (e.g., systematic recording of observations, analysis and evaluation of published research, assessment of theory, etc.)?
  • What techniques were used and how was each technique performed?
  • What kind of data can be obtained using each technique?
  • How are such data interpreted?
  • What kind of information is produced by using the technique?
  • What objective evidence was obtained from the authors’ efforts (observations, measurements, etc.)?
  • What were the results of the study? 
  • How was each technique used to obtain each result?
  • What statistical tests were used to evaluate the significance of the conclusions based on numeric or graphic data?
  • How did each result contribute to answering the question or testing the hypothesis raised in the introduction?
  • How were the results interpreted? How were they related to the original problem (authors’ view of evidence rather than objective findings)? 
  • Were the authors able to answer the question (test the hypothesis) raised?
  • Did the research provide new factual information, a new understanding of a phenomenon in the field, or a new research technique?
  • How was the significance of the work described?
  • Do the authors relate the findings of the study to literature in the field?
  • Did the reported observations or interpretations support or refute observations or interpretations made by other researchers?

These questions were adapted from the following sources:  Kuyper, B.J. (1991). Bringing up scientists in the art of critiquing research. Bioscience 41(4), 248-250. Wood, J.M. (2003). Research Lab Guide. MICR*3260 Microbial Adaptation and Development Web Site . Retrieved July 31, 2006.

Once you are familiar with the article, you can establish the research context by asking the following questions:

  • Who conducted the research? What were/are their interests?
  • When and where was the research conducted?
  • Why did the authors do this research?
  • Was this research pertinent only within the authors’ geographic locale, or did it have broader (even global) relevance?
  • Were many other laboratories pursuing related research when the reported work was done? If so, why?
  • For experimental research, what funding sources met the costs of the research?
  • On what prior observations was the research based? What was and was not known at the time?
  • How important was the research question posed by the researchers?

These questions were adapted from the following sources: Kuyper, B.J. (1991). Bringing up scientists in the art of critiquing research. Bioscience 41(4), 248-250. Wood, J.M. (2003). Research Lab Guide. MICR*3260 Microbial Adaptation and Development Web Site . Retrieved July 31, 2006.

Remember that simply disagreeing with the material is not considered to be a critical assessment of the material.  For example, stating that the sample size is insufficient is not a critical assessment.  Describing why the sample size is insufficient for the claims being made in the study would be a critical assessment.

Use the questions below to help you evaluate the quality of the authors’ research:

  • Does the title precisely state the subject of the paper?
  • Read the statement of purpose in the abstract. Does it match the one in the introduction?


  • Could the source of the research funding have influenced the research topic or conclusions?
  • Check the sequence of statements in the introduction. Does all the information lead coherently to the purpose of the study?
  • Review all methods in relation to the objective(s) of the study. Are the methods valid for studying the problem?
  • Check the methods for essential information. Could the study be duplicated from the methods and information given?
  • Check the methods for flaws. Is the sample selection adequate? Is the experimental design sound?
  • Check the sequence of statements in the methods. Does all the information belong there? Is the sequence of methods clear and pertinent?
  • Was there mention of ethics? Which research ethics board approved the study?
  • Carefully examine the data presented in the tables and diagrams. Does the title or legend accurately describe the content? 
  • Are column headings and labels accurate? 
  • Are the data organized for ready comparison and interpretation? (A table should be self-explanatory, with a title that accurately and concisely describes content and column headings that accurately describe information in the cells.)
  • Review the results as presented in the text while referring to the data in the tables and diagrams. Does the text complement, and not simply repeat data? Are there discrepancies between the results in the text and those in the tables?
  • Check all calculations and presentation of data.
  • Review the results in light of the stated objectives. Does the study reveal what the researchers intended?
  • Does the discussion clearly address the objectives and hypotheses?
  • Check the interpretation against the results. Does the discussion merely repeat the results? 
  • Does the interpretation arise logically from the data or is it too far-fetched? 
  • Have the faults, flaws, or shortcomings of the research been addressed?
  • Is the interpretation supported by other research cited in the study?
  • Does the study consider key studies in the field?
  • What is the significance of the research? Do the authors mention wider implications of the findings?
  • Is there a section on recommendations for future research? Are there other research possibilities or directions suggested? 

Consider the article as a whole

  • Reread the abstract. Does it accurately summarize the article?
  • Check the structure of the article (first headings and then paragraphing). Is all the material organized under the appropriate headings? Are sections divided logically into subsections or paragraphs?
  • Are stylistic concerns, logic, clarity, and economy of expression addressed?

These questions were adapted from the following sources:  Kuyper, B.J. (1991). Bringing up scientists in the art of critiquing research. Bioscience 41(4), 248-250. Wood, J.M. (2003). Research Lab Guide. MICR*3260 Microbial Adaptation and Development Web Site. Retrieved July 31, 2006.

After you have evaluated the research, consider whether the research has been successful. Has it led to new questions being asked, or new ways of using existing knowledge? Are other researchers citing this paper?

You should consider the following questions:

  • How did other researchers view the significance of the research reported by your authors?
  • Did the research reported in your article result in the formulation of new questions or hypotheses (by the authors or by other researchers)?
  • Have other researchers subsequently supported or refuted the observations or interpretations of these authors?
  • Did the research make a significant contribution to human knowledge?
  • Did the research produce any practical applications?
  • What are the social, political, technological, medical implications of this research?
  • How do you evaluate the significance of the research?

To answer these questions, look at review articles to find out how reviewers view this piece of research. Look at research articles and databases like Web of Science to see how other people have used this work. What range of journals have cited this article?

These questions were adapted from the following sources:

Kuyper, B.J. (1991). Bringing up scientists in the art of critiquing research. Bioscience 41(4), 248-250. Wood, J.M. (2003). Research Lab Guide. MICR*3260 Microbial Adaptation and Development Web Site . Retrieved July 31, 2006.

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Writing, reading, and critiquing reviews

Écrire, lire et revue critique, douglas archibald.

1 University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada;

Maria Athina Martimianakis

2 University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Why reviews matter

What do all authors of the CMEJ have in common? For that matter what do all health professions education scholars have in common? We all engage with literature. When you have an idea or question the first thing you do is find out what has been published on the topic of interest. Literature reviews are foundational to any study. They describe what is known about given topic and lead us to identify a knowledge gap to study. All reviews require authors to be able accurately summarize, synthesize, interpret and even critique the research literature. 1 , 2 In fact, for this editorial we have had to review the literature on reviews . Knowledge and evidence are expanding in our field of health professions education at an ever increasing rate and so to help keep pace, well written reviews are essential. Though reviews may be difficult to write, they will always be read. In this editorial we survey the various forms review articles can take. As well we want to provide authors and reviewers at CMEJ with some guidance and resources to be able write and/or review a review article.

What are the types of reviews conducted in Health Professions Education?

Health professions education attracts scholars from across disciplines and professions. For this reason, there are numerous ways to conduct reviews and it is important to familiarize oneself with these different forms to be able to effectively situate your work and write a compelling rationale for choosing your review methodology. 1 , 2 To do this, authors must contend with an ever-increasing lexicon of review type articles. In 2009 Grant and colleagues conducted a typology of reviews to aid readers makes sense of the different review types, listing fourteen different ways of conducting reviews, not all of which are mutually exclusive. 3 Interestingly, in their typology they did not include narrative reviews which are often used by authors in health professions education. In Table 1 , we offer a short description of three common types of review articles submitted to CMEJ.

Three common types of review articles submitted to CMEJ

More recently, authors such as Greenhalgh 4 have drawn attention to the perceived hierarchy of systematic reviews over scoping and narrative reviews. Like Greenhalgh, 4 we argue that systematic reviews are not to be seen as the gold standard of all reviews. Instead, it is important to align the method of review to what the authors hope to achieve, and pursue the review rigorously, according to the tenets of the chosen review type. Sometimes it is helpful to read part of the literature on your topic before deciding on a methodology for organizing and assessing its usefulness. Importantly, whether you are conducting a review or reading reviews, appreciating the differences between different types of reviews can also help you weigh the author’s interpretation of their findings.

In the next section we summarize some general tips for conducting successful reviews.

How to write and review a review article

In 2016 David Cook wrote an editorial for Medical Education on tips for a great review article. 13 These tips are excellent suggestions for all types of articles you are considering to submit to the CMEJ. First, start with a clear question: focused or more general depending on the type of review you are conducting. Systematic reviews tend to address very focused questions often summarizing the evidence of your topic. Other types of reviews tend to have broader questions and are more exploratory in nature.

Following your question, choose an approach and plan your methods to match your question…just like you would for a research study. Fortunately, there are guidelines for many types of reviews. As Cook points out the most important consideration is to be sure that the methods you follow lead to a defensible answer to your review question. To help you prepare for a defensible answer there are many guides available. For systematic reviews consult PRISMA guidelines ; 13 for scoping reviews PRISMA-ScR ; 14 and SANRA 15 for narrative reviews. It is also important to explain to readers why you have chosen to conduct a review. You may be introducing a new way for addressing an old problem, drawing links across literatures, filling in gaps in our knowledge about a phenomenon or educational practice. Cook refers to this as setting the stage. Linking back to the literature is important. In systematic reviews for example, you must be clear in explaining how your review builds on existing literature and previous reviews. This is your opportunity to be critical. What are the gaps and limitations of previous reviews? So, how will your systematic review resolve the shortcomings of previous work? In other types of reviews, such as narrative reviews, its less about filling a specific knowledge gap, and more about generating new research topic areas, exposing blind spots in our thinking, or making creative new links across issues. Whatever, type of review paper you are working on, the next steps are ones that can be applied to any scholarly writing. Be clear and offer insight. What is your main message? A review is more than just listing studies or referencing literature on your topic. Lead your readers to a convincing message. Provide commentary and interpretation for the studies in your review that will help you to inform your conclusions. For systematic reviews, Cook’s final tip is most likely the most important– report completely. You need to explain all your methods and report enough detail that readers can verify the main findings of each study you review. The most common reasons CMEJ reviewers recommend to decline a review article is because authors do not follow these last tips. In these instances authors do not provide the readers with enough detail to substantiate their interpretations or the message is not clear. Our recommendation for writing a great review is to ensure you have followed the previous tips and to have colleagues read over your paper to ensure you have provided a clear, detailed description and interpretation.

Finally, we leave you with some resources to guide your review writing. 3 , 7 , 8 , 10 , 11 , 16 , 17 We look forward to seeing your future work. One thing is certain, a better appreciation of what different reviews provide to the field will contribute to more purposeful exploration of the literature and better manuscript writing in general.

In this issue we present many interesting and worthwhile papers, two of which are, in fact, reviews.

Major Contributions

A chance for reform: the environmental impact of travel for general surgery residency interviews by Fung et al. 18 estimated the CO 2 emissions associated with traveling for residency position interviews. Due to the high emissions levels (mean 1.82 tonnes per applicant), they called for the consideration of alternative options such as videoconference interviews.

Understanding community family medicine preceptors’ involvement in educational scholarship: perceptions, influencing factors and promising areas for action by Ward and team 19 identified barriers, enablers, and opportunities to grow educational scholarship at community-based teaching sites. They discovered a growing interest in educational scholarship among community-based family medicine preceptors and hope the identification of successful processes will be beneficial for other community-based Family Medicine preceptors.

Exploring the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on medical education: an international cross-sectional study of medical learners by Allison Brown and team 20 studied the impact of COVID-19 on medical learners around the world. There were different concerns depending on the levels of training, such as residents’ concerns with career timeline compared to trainees’ concerns with the quality of learning. Overall, the learners negatively perceived the disruption at all levels and geographic regions.

The impact of local health professions education grants: is it worth the investment? by Susan Humphrey-Murto and co-authors 21 considered factors that lead to the publication of studies supported by local medical education grants. They identified several factors associated with publication success, including previous oral or poster presentations. They hope their results will be valuable for Canadian centres with local grant programs.

Exploring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on medical learner wellness: a needs assessment for the development of learner wellness interventions by Stephana Cherak and team 22 studied learner-wellness in various training environments disrupted by the pandemic. They reported a negative impact on learner wellness at all stages of training. Their results can benefit the development of future wellness interventions.

Program directors’ reflections on national policy change in medical education: insights on decision-making, accreditation, and the CanMEDS framework by Dore, Bogie, et al. 23 invited program directors to reflect on the introduction of the CanMEDS framework into Canadian postgraduate medical education programs. Their survey revealed that while program directors (PDs) recognized the necessity of the accreditation process, they did not feel they had a voice when the change occurred. The authors concluded that collaborations with PDs would lead to more successful outcomes.

Experiential learning, collaboration and reflection: key ingredients in longitudinal faculty development by Laura Farrell and team 24 stressed several elements for effective longitudinal faculty development (LFD) initiatives. They found that participants benefited from a supportive and collaborative environment while trying to learn a new skill or concept.

Brief Reports

The effect of COVID-19 on medical students’ education and wellbeing: a cross-sectional survey by Stephanie Thibaudeau and team 25 assessed the impact of COVID-19 on medical students. They reported an overall perceived negative impact, including increased depressive symptoms, increased anxiety, and reduced quality of education.

In Do PGY-1 residents in Emergency Medicine have enough experiences in resuscitations and other clinical procedures to meet the requirements of a Competence by Design curriculum? Meshkat and co-authors 26 recorded the number of adult medical resuscitations and clinical procedures completed by PGY1 Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in Emergency Medicine residents to compare them to the Competence by Design requirements. Their study underscored the importance of monitoring collection against pre-set targets. They concluded that residency program curricula should be regularly reviewed to allow for adequate clinical experiences.

Rehearsal simulation for antenatal consults by Anita Cheng and team 27 studied whether rehearsal simulation for antenatal consults helped residents prepare for difficult conversations with parents expecting complications with their baby before birth. They found that while rehearsal simulation improved residents’ confidence and communication techniques, it did not prepare them for unexpected parent responses.

Review Papers and Meta-Analyses

Peer support programs in the fields of medicine and nursing: a systematic search and narrative review by Haykal and co-authors 28 described and evaluated peer support programs in the medical field published in the literature. They found numerous diverse programs and concluded that including a variety of delivery methods to meet the needs of all participants is a key aspect for future peer-support initiatives.

Towards competency-based medical education in addictions psychiatry: a systematic review by Bahji et al. 6 identified addiction interventions to build competency for psychiatry residents and fellows. They found that current psychiatry entrustable professional activities need to be better identified and evaluated to ensure sustained competence in addictions.

Six ways to get a grip on leveraging the expertise of Instructional Design and Technology professionals by Chen and Kleinheksel 29 provided ways to improve technology implementation by clarifying the role that Instructional Design and Technology professionals can play in technology initiatives and technology-enhanced learning. They concluded that a strong collaboration is to the benefit of both the learners and their future patients.

In his article, Seven ways to get a grip on running a successful promotions process, 30 Simon Field provided guidelines for maximizing opportunities for successful promotion experiences. His seven tips included creating a rubric for both self-assessment of likeliness of success and adjudication by the committee.

Six ways to get a grip on your first health education leadership role by Stasiuk and Scott 31 provided tips for considering a health education leadership position. They advised readers to be intentional and methodical in accepting or rejecting positions.

Re-examining the value proposition for Competency-Based Medical Education by Dagnone and team 32 described the excitement and controversy surrounding the implementation of competency-based medical education (CBME) by Canadian postgraduate training programs. They proposed observing which elements of CBME had a positive impact on various outcomes.

You Should Try This

In their work, Interprofessional culinary education workshops at the University of Saskatchewan, Lieffers et al. 33 described the implementation of interprofessional culinary education workshops that were designed to provide health professions students with an experiential and cooperative learning experience while learning about important topics in nutrition. They reported an enthusiastic response and cooperation among students from different health professional programs.

In their article, Physiotherapist-led musculoskeletal education: an innovative approach to teach medical students musculoskeletal assessment techniques, Boulila and team 34 described the implementation of physiotherapist-led workshops, whether the workshops increased medical students’ musculoskeletal knowledge, and if they increased confidence in assessment techniques.

Instagram as a virtual art display for medical students by Karly Pippitt and team 35 used social media as a platform for showcasing artwork done by first-year medical students. They described this shift to online learning due to COVID-19. Using Instagram was cost-saving and widely accessible. They intend to continue with both online and in-person displays in the future.

Adapting clinical skills volunteer patient recruitment and retention during COVID-19 by Nazerali-Maitland et al. 36 proposed a SLIM-COVID framework as a solution to the problem of dwindling volunteer patients due to COVID-19. Their framework is intended to provide actionable solutions to recruit and engage volunteers in a challenging environment.

In Quick Response codes for virtual learner evaluation of teaching and attendance monitoring, Roxana Mo and co-authors 37 used Quick Response (QR) codes to monitor attendance and obtain evaluations for virtual teaching sessions. They found QR codes valuable for quick and simple feedback that could be used for many educational applications.

In Creation and implementation of the Ottawa Handbook of Emergency Medicine Kaitlin Endres and team 38 described the creation of a handbook they made as an academic resource for medical students as they shift to clerkship. It includes relevant content encountered in Emergency Medicine. While they intended it for medical students, they also see its value for nurses, paramedics, and other medical professionals.

Commentary and Opinions

The alarming situation of medical student mental health by D’Eon and team 39 appealed to medical education leaders to respond to the high numbers of mental health concerns among medical students. They urged leaders to address the underlying problems, such as the excessive demands of the curriculum.

In the shadows: medical student clinical observerships and career exploration in the face of COVID-19 by Law and co-authors 40 offered potential solutions to replace in-person shadowing that has been disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They hope the alternatives such as virtual shadowing will close the gap in learning caused by the pandemic.

Letters to the Editor

Canadian Federation of Medical Students' response to “ The alarming situation of medical student mental health” King et al. 41 on behalf of the Canadian Federation of Medical Students (CFMS) responded to the commentary by D’Eon and team 39 on medical students' mental health. King called upon the medical education community to join the CFMS in its commitment to improving medical student wellbeing.

Re: “Development of a medical education podcast in obstetrics and gynecology” 42 was written by Kirubarajan in response to the article by Development of a medical education podcast in obstetrics and gynecology by Black and team. 43 Kirubarajan applauded the development of the podcast to meet a need in medical education, and suggested potential future topics such as interventions to prevent learner burnout.

Response to “First year medical student experiences with a clinical skills seminar emphasizing sexual and gender minority population complexity” by Kumar and Hassan 44 acknowledged the previously published article by Biro et al. 45 that explored limitations in medical training for the LGBTQ2S community. However, Kumar and Hassen advocated for further progress and reform for medical training to address the health requirements for sexual and gender minorities.

In her letter, Journey to the unknown: road closed!, 46 Rosemary Pawliuk responded to the article, Journey into the unknown: considering the international medical graduate perspective on the road to Canadian residency during the COVID-19 pandemic, by Gutman et al. 47 Pawliuk agreed that international medical students (IMGs) do not have adequate formal representation when it comes to residency training decisions. Therefore, Pawliuk challenged health organizations to make changes to give a voice in decision-making to the organizations representing IMGs.

In Connections, 48 Sara Guzman created a digital painting to portray her approach to learning. Her image of a hand touching a neuron showed her desire to physically see and touch an active neuron in order to further understand the brain and its connections.

Writing a Critique Paper: Seven Easy Steps

Were you assigned or asked by your professor to write a critique paper? It’s easy to write one. Just follow the following four steps in writing a critique paper and three steps in presenting it, then you’re ready to go.

One of the students’ requirements I specified in the course module is a critique paper. Just so everyone benefits from the guide I prepared for that class, I share it here.

To standardize the format they use in writing a critique paper, I came up with the following steps to make their submissions worthwhile.

Since they are graduate students, more is expected of them. Hence, most of the verbs I use in writing the lesson’s objectives reside in the domain of higher thinking skills or HOTS. Developing the students’ critical thinking skills will help them analyze future problems and propose solutions that embody environmental principles thus resonate desirable outcomes aligned with the goal of sustainable development.

Table of Contents

Step-by-step procedure in writing a critique paper.

I quickly wrote this simple guide on writing a critique paper to help you evaluate any composition you want to write about. It could be a book, a scientific article, a gray paper, or whatever your professor assigns. I integrated the essence of the approach in this article.

The critique paper essentially comprises two major parts, namely the:

1) Procedure in Writing a Critique Paper, and the

2) Format of the Critique Paper.

First, you will need to know the procedure that will guide you in evaluating a paper. Second, the format of the critique paper refers to how you present it so that it becomes logical and scholarly in tone.

The Four Steps in Writing a Critique Paper

Here are the four steps in writing a critique paper:

To write a good critique paper, it pays to adhere to a smooth flow of thought in your evaluation of the piece. You will need to introduce the topic, analyze, interpret, then conclude it.

Introduce the Discussion Topic

Introduce the topic of the critique paper. To capture the author’s idea, you may apply the  5Ws and 1H approach  in writing your technical report.

That means, when you write your critique paper, you should be able to answer the Why , When , Where , What , Who , and How questions. Using this approach prevents missing out on the essential details. If you can write a critique paper that adheres to this approach, that would be excellent.

Here’s a simplified example to illustrate the technique:

The news article by John Doe was a narrative about a bank robbery. Accordingly, a masked man  (Who)  robbed a bank  (What)  the other day  (When)  next to a police station  (Where) . He did so in broad daylight  (How) . He used a bicycle to escape from the scene of the crime  (How) . In his haste, he bumped into a post. His mask fell off; thus, everyone saw his face, allowing witnesses to describe him. As a result, he had difficulty escaping the police, who eventually retrieved his loot and put him in jail because of his wrongdoing  (Why) .

Hence, you give details about the topic, in this case, a bank robbery. Briefly describe what you want to tell your audience. State the overall purpose of writing the piece and its intention.

Is the essay written to inform, entertain, educate, raise an issue for debate, and so on? Don’t parrot or repeat what the writer wrote in his paper. And write a paragraph or a few sentences as succinctly as you can.

Analyze means to break down the abstract ideas presented into manageable bits.

What are the main points of the composition? How was it structured? Did the view expressed by the author allow you, as the reader, to understand?

In the example given above, it’s easy to analyze the event as revealed by the chain of events. How do you examine the situation?

The following steps are helpful in the analysis of information:

  • Ask yourself what your objective is in writing the critique paper. Come up with a guidepost in examining it. Are you looking at it with some goal or purpose in mind? Say you want to find out how thieves carry out bank robberies. Perhaps you can categorize those robberies as either planned or unplanned.
  • Find out the source, or  basis, of the information that you need. Will you use the paper as your source of data, or do you have corroborating evidence?
  • Remove  unnecessary information  from your data source. Your decision to do so depends on your objective. If there is irrelevant data, remove it from your critique.

We can use an analogy here to clearly explain the analysis portion.

If you want to split a log, what would you do? Do you use an ax, a chainsaw, or perhaps a knife? The last one is out of the question. It’s inappropriate.

Thus, it would be best if you defined the tools of your analysis. Tools facilitate understanding and allow you to make an incisive analysis.

Read More : 5 Tools in Writing the Analysis Section of the Critique Paper

Now, you are ready to interpret the article, book, or any composition once the requisites of analysis are in place.

Visualize the event in your mind and interpret the behavior of actors in the bank robbery incident. You have several actors in that bank heist: the robber, the police, and the witnesses of the crime.

While reading the story, it might have occurred to you that the robber is inexperienced. We can see some discrepancies in his actions.

Imagine, his mode of escape is a bicycle. What got into him? Maybe he did not plan the robbery at all. Besides, there was no mention that the robber used a gun in the heist.

That fact confirms the first observation that he was not ready at all. Escaping the scene of the crime using a bicycle with nothing to defend himself once pursued? He’s insane. Unimaginable. He’s better off sleeping at home and waiting for food to land on his lap if food will come at all.

If we examine the police’s response, they were relatively quick. Right after the robber escaped the crime scene, they appeared to remedy the situation. The robber did not put up a fight.

What? With bare knuckles? It makes little sense.

If we look at the witnesses’ behavior, we can discern that perhaps they willingly informed the police of the bank robber’s details. They were not afraid. And that’s because the robber appears to be unarmed. But there was no specific mention of it.

Narrate the importance of each of the different sections or paragraphs. How does the write-up contribute to the overall picture of the issue or problem being studied?

Assess or Evaluate

Finally, judge whether the article was a worthwhile account after all. Did it meet expectations? Was it able to convey the information most efficiently? Or are there loopholes or flaws that should have been mentioned?

Format of Presenting the Critique Paper

The logical format in writing a critique paper comprises at least three sections: the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. This approach is systematic and achieves a good flow that readers can follow.


Include the title and name of the author in your introduction. Make a general description of the topic being discussed, including the author’s assumptions, inferences, or contentions. Find out the thesis or central argument , which will be the basis of your discussion.

The robbery example appears to be inappropriate to demonstrate this section, as it is so simple. So we level up to a scientific article.

In any scientific article, there is always a thesis that guides the write-up. A thesis is a statement that expresses what the author believes in and tries to test in his study. The investigation or research converges (ideally) to this central theme as the author’s argument.

You can find the thesis in the paper’s hypothesis section. That’s because a hypothesis is a tentative thesis. Hypo means “below or under,” meaning it is the author’s tentative explanation of whatever phenomenon he tackles.

If you need more information about this, please refer to my previous post titled “ How to Write a Thesis .”

How is the introduction of a critique paper structured? It follows the general guidelines of writing from a broad perspective to more specific concerns or details. See how it’s written here:  Writing a Thesis Introduction: from General to Specific .

You may include the process you adopted in writing the critique paper in this section.

The body of the paper includes details about the article being examined. It is here where you place all those musings of yours after applying the  analytical tools .

This section is similar to the results and discussion portion of a scientific paper. It describes the outcome of your analysis and interpretation.


In explaining or expressing your argument, substantiate it by citing references to make it believable. Make sure that those references are relevant as well as timely. Don’t cite references that are so far out in the past. These, perhaps, would not amount to a better understanding of the topic at hand. Find one that will help you understand the situation.

Besides, who wants to adopt the perspective of an author who has not even got hold of a mobile phone if your paper is about  using mobile phones to facilitate learning during the pandemic caused by COVID-19 ? Find a more recent one that will help you understand the situation.

Objectively examine the major points presented by the author by giving details about the work. How does the author present or express the idea or concept? Is he (or she) convincing the way he/she presents his/her paper’s thesis?

Well, I don’t want to be gender-biased, but I find the “he/she” term somewhat queer. I’ll get back to the “he” again, to represent both sexes.

I mention the gender issue because the literature says that there is a difference in how a person sees things based on gender. For example, Ragins & Sundstrom (1989) observed that it would be more difficult for women to obtain power in the organization than men. And there’s a paper on gender and emotions by Shields et al. (2006) , although I wouldn’t know the outcome of that study as it is behind a paywall. My point is just that there is a difference in perspective between men and women. Alright.

Therefore, always find evidence to support your position. Explain why you agree or disagree with the author. Point out the discrepancies or strengths of the paper.

Well, everything has an end. Write a critique paper that incorporates the  key takeaways  of the document examined. End the critique with an overall interpretation of the article, whatever that is.

Why do you think is the paper relevant in the course’s context that you are taking? How does it contribute to say, the study of human behavior (in reference to the bank robbery)? Are there areas that need to be considered by future researchers, investigators, or scientists? That will be the knowledge gap that the next generation of researchers will have to look into.

If you have read up to this point, then thank you for reading my musings. I hope that helped you clarify the steps in writing a critique paper. A well-written critique paper depends on your writing style.

Read More : How to Write an Article with AI: A Guide to Using AI for Article Creation and Refinement

Notice that my writing style changes based on the topic that I discuss. Hence, if your professor assigns you a serious, rigorous, incisive, and detailed analysis of a scientific article, then that is the way to go. Adopt a formal mode in your writing.

Final Tip : Find a paper that is easy for you to understand. In that way, you can clearly express your thoughts. Write a critique paper that rocks!

Related Reading

Master Content Analysis: An All-in-One Guide

Ragins, B. R., & Sundstrom, E. (1989). Gender and power in organizations: A longitudinal perspective. Psychological bulletin , 105 (1), 51.

Shields, S. A., Garner, D. N., Di Leone, B., & Hadley, A. M. (2006). Gender and emotion. In Handbook of the sociology of emotions (pp. 63-83). Springer, Boston, MA.

© 2020 November 20 P. A. Regoniel

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Five tips for research paper presentation, how to write the conceptual framework in a research proposal, about the author, patrick regoniel.

Dr. Regoniel, a faculty member of the graduate school, served as consultant to various environmental research and development projects covering issues and concerns on climate change, coral reef resources and management, economic valuation of environmental and natural resources, mining, and waste management and pollution. He has extensive experience on applied statistics, systems modelling and analysis, an avid practitioner of LaTeX, and a multidisciplinary web developer. He leverages pioneering AI-powered content creation tools to produce unique and comprehensive articles in this website.

Thank you..for your idea ..it was indeed helpful

Glad it helped you Preezy.

This is extremely helpful. Thank you very much!

Thanks for sharing tips on how to write critique papers. This article is very informative and easy to understand.

Welcome. Thank you for your appreciation.

This website is intended for healthcare professionals

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Critiquing a published healthcare research paper

Angela Grainger

Nurse Lecturer/Scholarship Lead, BPP University, and editorial board member

View articles · Email Angela

sample essays critiquing a research paper

Research is defined as a ‘systematic inquiry using orderly disciplined methods to answer questions or to solve problems' ( Polit and Beck, 2017 :743). Research requires academic discipline coupled with specific research competencies so that an appropriate study is designed and conducted, leading to the drawing of relevant conclusions relating to the explicit aim/s of the study.

Relevance of research to nursing and health care

For those embarking on a higher degree such as a master's, taught doctorate, or a doctor of philosophy, the relationship between research, knowledge production and knowledge utilisation becomes clear during their research tuition and guidance from their research supervisor. But why should other busy practitioners juggling a work/home life balance find time to be interested in healthcare research? The answer lies in the relationship between the outcomes of research and its relationship to the determination of evidence-based practice (EBP).

The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) require registered practitioners to keep their knowledge and skills up to date. This requirement incorporates being aware of the current EBP relevant to the registrant's field of practice, and to consider its application in relation to the decisions made in the delivery of patient care.

Advanced clinical practitioners (ACPs) are required to be involved in aspects of research activities ( Health Education England, 2017 ). It is for this reason that practitioners need to know how EBP is influenced by research findings and, moreover, need to be able to read and interpret a research study that relates to a particular evidence base. Reading professional peer-reviewed journals that have an impact factor (the yearly average number of citations of papers published in a previous 2-year period in a given journal is calculated by a scientometric index giving an impact factor) is evidence of continuing professional development (CPD).

CPD fulfils part of the HCPC's and the NMC's required professional revalidation process ( HCPC, 2021 ; NMC, 2019 ). For CPD in relation to revalidation, practitioners can give the publication details of a research paper, along with a critique of that paper, highlighting the relevance of the paper's findings to the registrant's field of practice.

Defining evidence-based practice

According to Barker et al (2016:4.1) EBP is the integration of research evidence and knowledge to current clinical practice and is to be used at a local level to ensure that patients receive the best quality care available. Because patients are at the receiving end of EBP it is important that the research evidence is credible. This is why a research study has to be designed and undertaken rigorously in accordance with academic and scientific discipline.

The elements of EBP

EBP comprises three elements ( Figure 1 ). The key element is research evidence, followed by the expert knowledge and professional opinion of the practitioner, which is important especially when there is no research evidence—for example, the most appropriate way to assist a patient out of bed, or perform a bed bath. Last, but in no way of least importance, is the patient's preference for a particular procedure. An example of this is the continued use of thermal screening dots for measuring a child's temperature on the forehead, or in the armpit because children find these options more acceptable than other temperature measuring devices, which, it is argued, might give a more accurate reading ( Grainger, 2013 ).

sample essays critiquing a research paper

Understanding key research principles

To interpret a published research study requires an understanding of key research principles. Research authors use specific research terms in their publications to describe and to explain what they have done and why. So without an awareness of the research principles underpinning the study, how can readers know if what they are reading is credible?

Validity and reliability have long been the two pillars on which the quality of a research study has been judged ( Gliner and Morgan, 2000 ). Validity refers to how accurately a method measures what it is intended to measure. If a research study has a high validity, it means that it produces results that correspond to real properties, characteristics, and variations in the part of the physical or social world that is being studied ( Jupp, 2006 ).

Reliability is the extent to which a measuring instrument, for example, a survey using closed questions, gives the same consistent results when that survey is repeated. The measurement is considered reliable if the same result can be consistently achieved by using the same methods under the same circumstances ( Parahoo, 2014 ).

The research topic is known as the phenomenon in a singular sense, or phenomena if what is to be researched is plural. It is a key principle of research that it is the nature of the phenomenon, in association with the study's explicit research aim/s, that determines the research design. The research design refers to the overall structure or plan of the research ( Bowling, 2014 :166).

Methodology means the philosophy underpinning how the research will be conducted. It is essential for the study's research design that an appropriate methodology for the conduct and execution of the study is selected, otherwise the research will not meet the requirements of being valid and reliable. The research methods will include the design for data sampling, how recruitment into the study will be undertaken, the method/s used for the actual data collection, and the subsequent data analysis from which conclusions will be drawn (see Figure 2 ).

sample essays critiquing a research paper

Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods studies

A quantitative methodology is where the phenomenon lends itself to an investigation of data that can be numerically analysed using an appropriate statistical test/s. Quantitative research rests on the philosophical view that science has to be neutral and value-free, which is why precise measurement instruments are required ( Box 1 ). Quantitative research is influenced by the physical sciences such as mathematics, physics, and chemistry. The purpose of quantitative studies is to identify whether there are any causal relationships between variables present in the phenomenon. In short, a variable is an attribute that can vary and take on different values, such as the body temperature or the heart rate ( Polit and Beck, 2017 :748).

Quantitative studies can sometimes have a hypothesis. A hypothesis is a prediction of the study's outcome, and the aim of the study is to show either that the hypothesis is demonstrated as proven, or that it is not proven. Often a hypothesis is about a predicted relationship between variables. There are two types of variables, independent and dependent. An independent variable causes a change in the specific phenomenon being studied, while a dependent variable is the change in that phenomenon. The first example in Box 1 might help to clarify the difference.

An example of a hypothesis would be that older people who have a history of falls have a reduction in the incidence of falls due to exercise therapy. The causal relationship is between the independent variable— the exercise therapy—and the dependent variable—a falls reduction.

A qualitative methodology aims to explore a phenomenon with the aim of understanding the experience of the phenomenon from the perspective of those affected by it. Qualitative research is influenced by the social and not the physical sciences. Concepts and themes arise from the researcher/s interpretation of the data gained from observations and interviews. The collected data are non-numerical and this is the distinction from a quantitative study. The data collected are coded in accordance with the type of method being used in the research study, for example, discourse analysis; phenomenology; grounded theory. The researcher identifies themes from the data descriptions, and from the data analysis a theoretical understanding is seen to emerge.

A qualitative methodology rests on the philosophical view that science cannot be neutral and value-free because the researcher and the participants are part of the world that the research study aims to explore.

Unlike quantitative studies, the results of which can often be generalised due to the preciseness of the measuring instruments, qualitative studies are not usually generalisable. However, knowledge comparisons can be made between studies that have some similarity of focus. For example, the uncovering of causative or aggravating factors leading to the experiences of pain management for oncology patients, and for patients who have rheumatoid arthritis, or another long-term health problem for which pain is a characteristic feature. The validity of a qualitative study relates to the accurate representation of the data collected and analysed, and which shows that data has been saturated, meaning no new data or analysed findings are forthcoming. This is demonstrated in a clear data audit trail, and the study's findings are therefore seen as credible (see the second example in Box 1 ).

Box 1.Research study examples

  • An example of a quantitative research study Kennedy and Burnett (2011) conducted a survey to determine whether there were any discernible differences in knowledge and attitudes between second- and third-year pre-registration nursing students toward hand-hygiene practices. The collected data and its subsequent analysis is presented in numerical tables and graphs, but these are supported by text explaining the research findings and how these were ascertained. For full details, see 10.1177/1757177411411124
  • 2. An example of a qualitative research study Morse et al (2014) undertook an exploratory study to see what coping strategies were used by women awaiting a possible diagnosis of breast cancer. Direct quotes from the study participants appeared in the writing up of the research because it is a requirement of qualitative research that there be a transparent data audit trail. The research showed two things, both essential requirements of qualitative research. First, how the collected data were saturated to ensure that no data had been left inadequately explored, or that the data coding had been prematurely closed and, second, having captured the breadth and depth of the data findings, the researchers showed how the direct quotes were thematically coded to reveal the women's coping strategies. For full details, see 10.1188/14.ONF.350-359
  • 3. An example of a mixed-methods study Lindsay-Smith et al (2018) investigated and explored the impact on elderly people's social wellbeing when they were members of a community that provided multi-activities. The study combined a quantitative survey that recorded participants' sociodemographic characteristics and measured participation in activities with a focus group study to gauge participants' perceptions of the benefits of taking part in the activities. For full details, see https://bmcgeriatr.biomedcentral.com/track/pdf/10.1186/s12877-018-0913-1.pdf

Sometimes a study cannot meet its stated research aims by using solely a quantitative or a qualitative methodology, so a mixed-methods approach combining both quantitative and qualitative methods for the collection and analysis of data are used. Cresswell (2013) explains that, depending on the aim and purpose of the study, it is possible to collect either the quantitative data first and analyse these, followed by the qualitative data and their analysis. This is an explanatory/exploratory sequence. Or the qualitative data may be collected first and analysed, followed by the quantitative; an exploratory/explanatory process. Whichever approach is used, the cumulative data analyses have to be synthesised to give a clear picture of the overall findings ( Box 1 ).

The issue of bias

Bias is a negative feature of research because it relates to either an error in the conceptualisation of the study due to the researcher/s adopting a skewed or idiosyncratic perspective, or to errors in the data analysis. Bias will affect the validity and reliability of a study, so it is important that any bias is eliminated in quantitative studies, or minimised and accounted for in qualitative studies.

Scientific and ethical approval

It should be noted that, before any research study proceeds, the research proposal for that study must have been reviewed and agreed to by a scientific and ethics committee. The purpose of a scientific and ethics committee is to see that those recruited into a study are not harmed or damaged, and that the study will contribute to the advancement of knowledge. The committee pays particular attention to whether any bias might have been introduced to a study. The researchers will have detailed the reason why the study is required, the explicit aim/s and purpose of the study, the methodology of the study, and its subsequent design, including the chosen research methods for the collection of the data (sampling and study recruitment), and what method/s will be used for data analysis.

A literature review is undertaken and the established (published) international literature on the research topic is summarised to highlight what is already known on the topic and/or to show any topic gaps that have not yet been researched. The British Educational Research Association (BERA) (2018) also gives guidance for research proposals that are deemed to be educational evaluation studies, including ‘close-practice’ research studies. Any ethical issues such as how people will be recruited into the study, the gaining of informed voluntary consent, any conflict of interest between the researcher/s and the proposed research topic, and whether the research is being funded or financially supported by a particular source will also have been considered.

Critiquing a published research paper

It is important to remember that a published paper is not the research report. It is a sample of the research report. The research author/s are presenting their research findings as a succinct summary. Only a passing mention might be made that ethical approval and voluntary informed consent were obtained. However, readers can be assured that all publications in leading journals with a good reputation are subject to an external peer review process. Any concerns about a paper's content will have been ironed out prior to publication.

It will be apparent that there are several particular research designs. The Critical Skills Appraisal Programme (CASP) provides online information to help the interpretation of each type of study, and does this by providing questions to help the reader consider and critique the paper ( CASP, 2021 ).

General points for critiquing a paper include the following:

  • The paper should be readable and have explicit statements on the purpose of the research, its chosen methodology and design
  • Read the paper thoroughly to get a feel for what the paper is saying
  • Consider what the researcher/s says about any ethical issues and how these have been handled
  • Look at how the data were collected and analysed. Are the explanations for these aspects clear? In a quantitative study, are any graphs or charts easy to understand and is there supporting text to aid the interpretation of the data? In a qualitative study, are direct quotes from the research participants included, and do the researcher/s show how data collected from interviews and observations were coded into data categories and themes?
  • In a mixed-method study, how are the quantitative and qualitative analyses synthesised?
  • Do the conclusions seem to fit the handling of the data's analysis?
  • An important test of validity is whether the study's title relates well to the content of the paper and, conversely, whether the content reflect a corresponding match to the study's title.

Finally, remember that the research study could have been conducted using a different methodological design provided the research aims would still have been met, but a critique of the paper relates to what has been published and not what otherwise might have been done.

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Step-By-Step Guide to Critiquing Research, Research Paper Example

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General Information

The article being critiqued is entitled “Intensive Nursing Care by an Electronic Followup System to Promote Secondary Prevention After Percutaneous Coronary Intervention” and is authored by several individuals, including Xin Hu, RN, Xiuqin Zhu, RN, Yuqi Liu, MD, and Lei Gao, MD (Hu et al., 2014)”. The affiliation of these authors are the Institute of Geriatric Cardiology and Medicine Department in addition to the Chinese PLA General Hospital in Beijing, China. Based on this information, it appears that an effective interdisciplinary team was established to investigate this issue. Because registered nurses worked on this research together with a team of physicians, it establishes a view of the topic that could be applied in a broad range of medical settings. All individuals involved in this project are well qualified and hold university or hospital appointments, indicating their level of experience in their respective fields. The article was published in the Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention , which is an appropriate journal for this particular topic.

The abstract of the article appears to provide a sufficient summary of the work done. This portion of the paper is clearly broken into several sections, including the purpose, methods, results, and conclusions, which is typical of a medical journal of this style. However, it appears that the authors placed too much of the results information into the results section of the abstract. The purpose of the abstract is to provide readers with a concise understanding of the type of research conducted in addition to major findings that are relevant to a particular research study. However, this study includes a large amount of statistical summary in the results section of the abstract that can better be described in the body of the paper. The inclusion of this dense amount of data makes it challenging for an individual reading the abstract to quickly ascertain what he or she needs to know about the results, forcing the focus to be on the statistical significance of the findings. On the other hand, the purpose of the article, “To investigate the effectiveness of an intensive nursing care electronic followup system for cardiovascular risk management after percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI)”, is summarized succinctly as are the methods and conclusions (Hu et al., 2014). Based on this information, it also appears that the title is accurately descriptive of the project conducted. However, it would have been beneficial for the research team to have included a shorter abstract to ensure that individuals that are interested in their research topic are better able to scan through the abstract and determine whether the study will be relevant for their specific needs.


The introduction of the paper is brief, but it appears to succinctly provide the reader with the necessary background concerning coronary heart disease (CHD). The section opens by explaining what the disease is and continues to demonstrate statistics related to the incidence and mortality of the illness. This is an effective use of the introduction section because it is essential to provide background information on the topic and connect the current research to a gap that is present in the field or literature. Specifically, the researchers explain that even though there have been significant improvements regarding CHD in terms of technology, there is still a need to decrease the prevalence of the disease and continue developing effective therapeutics and techniques to better manage these patients. Since the purpose of the study is to demonstrate the need for an electronic followup system, the rationale that the researchers provide is an effective way of introducing the need for such a system. Furthermore, this component of the introduction is presented in an effective manner. Most introductions are expected to present information in a manner that individuals that are not professionals in the field would be able to understand. The authors take care to use simple language and to clearly define terms so that individuals in any field will be able to understand the information that this section contains. Given that the topic presented is not just a concern among medical professionals, but information technology professionals as well, it is beneficial that the authors used this type of introduction to present the need for their study because it allows people from diverse fields to be able to access the information that this article contains and they are now able to use it in a more meaningful way.

The last information contained in the introduction reiterates the purpose of the research so that the reader can be brought back to the focus of the article. Since the intention of the following section is to discuss the research methodology used, this is an effective way to help remind the reader about what the research design intends to prove.

The authors provide a summary of the methods used in the study before explaining each component of the methodology in greater detail. This is a useful organizing technique because it allows a majority of readers to have instant access to the information that they may be looking for. Furthermore, it allows the reader to gain an understanding of which aspects of study design will be discussed in greater depth in this section. In particular, it is important to emphasize that the researchers recruited 840 individuals to the research study, which is one of the first facts that is mentioned. This is an adequate sample size for this type of study because the statistical tests conducted from its use are more likely to have a high statistical power. Following this statement, the researchers identify how these individuals were recruited to the study. It is helpful for the reader to understand this process because it helps disclose any potential biases at the beginning of the paper instead of leaving the reader to consider any shortfalls of the study following the act of reading it to completion.

In the “study design” section, the authors immediately disclose that their study is a prospective randomized trial. Furthermore, their control group and experimental group were equal, with 420 patients in each category. Randomization was a computer generated process to ensure that there was no human bias involved in the randomization process. A majority of the methods section would be easily understandable by an individual that is not a professional in the field, which adds an interesting aspect to this article. A lot of the methods sections that I have read in the past include a lot of technical jargon, but the authors prefer to avoid this style of writing, only using complex vocabulary when it is necessary to do so to explain scientific ideas in detail. This is an admirable approach because it makes it easier for students and nurses in training to understand what they are reporting in the literature. Thus, these professionals could reasonably apply an understanding of this research to their professional practice, thus accomplishing the suggestions that the authors set forth to promote.

Figure 1 is utilized to summarize the concepts presented in the methods section, which helps assist individuals that have a better time understanding information when it appears in graphical form. Based on the information presented in this diagram, we can see that all 840 patients were consented at the beginning of the study before they were provided with a questionnaire to assess information at the baseline. These individuals were then randomized in to the “control group” and the “intensive group”, in which sample size was 420 for each group. After a one year followup period, there was a high response rate; 401 individuals from the control group responded to the followup questionnaire, while 406 individuals in the intensive group responded to the followup questionnaire. Some participants were lost to followup due to change of address, loss of contact, or death. Last, the graphic indicates that the evaluation endpoints include achievement rate of good blood lipids, use of medication, and self-management abilities. Overall, this indicates that the authors adequately made use of figure 1 because it summarized a majority of information that an individual would need to know while looking through this research paper. Furthermore, the information highlighted justifies the methodology used while demonstrating that the study was effective due to the high percentage of participants that completed the followup questionnaire. It is apparent that the authors were concerned with the ability of the reader to understand the information presented, and they responded appropriately by providing a clearly labelled and designed flow chart to help readers understand the methods section of the paper.

Importantly, the researchers also detail the characteristics of the electronic followup system utilized. According to the authors, “An electronic followup management system, developed with Delphi procedures, was used. The electronic followup system consisted of the following 6 modules: data collection module, followup module, secondary prevention module, query module, reports module, and statistics module (Hu et al., 2014)”. It is beneficial to include this information so that parties that are interested in replicating the results or applying this method in practice can do so in a manner that is more reflective of the actual procedure used. To achieve a similar means, figure 2 demonstrates the algorithm used for the followup visits in each group. This is beneficial knowledge because it appears that researchers would be able to replicate this procedure step by step. This information is clearly provided to the reader both in step form and in paragraph form. Thus, it would not be necessary for an interested researcher to contact the original authors to uncover missing steps in the research protocol; all necessary information is present. It appears that the authors are incentivizing this method to be used in the health care field, which emphasizes the value that the authors think their research holds for other interested parties. Even the statistics software utilized is described in detail so that interested researchers can utilize the same version of SPSS used by the original research team.

It appears that the research team performed a series of calculations regarding the data that they received from the experiment, and this analysis appears complete. However, its presentation in paragraph form appears to be overwhelming to the reader, producing an effect similar to the one observed in the results portion of the abstract. It is beneficial for the analysis to be complete, but the paragraph form presentation is not effective. Fortunately, the researchers also produced several figures and tables to help summarize the results more effectively. Table 1 shows a complete summary of the baseline clinical characteristics that the patients presented at the beginning of the study. Likewise, table 2 shows the risk factor controls at baseline and at 12-months followup with a series of summary statistics also present. It is important to emphasize that although the information presented in this latter table effectively summarizes the findings of the study, it is placed in an unexpected location within the article. It appears that table 2 is a component of the discussion section, when it would be expected to be a part of the results. It is possible that it was placed at the bottom of the page for aesthetic purposes, however, this makes the summary of the results and/or discussion more confusing for the reader. Overall, it would have been beneficial for less results to have been explained in paragraph form and for more tables to have been shown instead.

The discussion section adequately relates the results of the study to findings that are already present in the literature to help the reader gain a better understanding of the context of the results. The most relevant problem discussed in the literature is that while patients are hospitalized, they are likely to comply with their medication requirements. However, this is likely to change when they are discharged from the hospital and nonadherence rates tend to skyrocket. Reasons for this lack of compliance often include a diminished understanding of the importance of compliance. The study demonstrated that gaps in knowledge could be filled by using a combination of current techniques in addition to electronic software technology. Overall, the authors argue that there are many practical uses for this technology so it is reasonable to implement it in health care practice. It appears that these claims are valid and that it would be beneficial to do so in a majority of care settings.

A primary limitation of the study is that it recruited patients from only one health care center, which makes it less reasonable to generalize the results to the overall population. It is also important to consider that the study was conducted in China, so there may be intrinsically different health characteristics of the patients that could confound the results or potentially make them not applicable to populations living in the United States and Europe. Health care systems tend to be diverse in different countries, so it is important to consider the diverse effects that could be seen across the world. It was not possible to research this understanding in this single study, but it would be valuable to investigate this relationship on a broader scale to determine whether these results are generalizable to the world population.

The conclusion succinctly defines the purpose and major findings of the study. It may have been beneficial for more aspects of the conclusion to have been included in the abstract to lessen the word count and to ensure that the presentation of the results component would have been more succinct.

A majority of the references used in this study were recent publications, although a large portion of the articles included were published more than five years prior to the release of this article. Interestingly, some articles were used from 1997, which may not have been necessary considering the large amount of recent literature that has been published concerning heart health. Furthermore, implementing technology into the health care setting is more of a recent concern, so articles older than 2000 may not be relevant for such an article. Technology has evolved at a rapid rate during the last several decades, as has the information that we currently hold about medicine. Thus, it is more beneficial for recent research articles to use primarily sources from within the last five years. While an exception to this rule can be made if the research is an original study or a pioneering article, the authors primarily used older articles, indicating that the information used could potentially be out of date.

Overall Impression

Overall, the authors effectively presented their research in a manner in which a majority of individuals are able to readily understand the information presented and to replicate the results accordingly. As such, it is challenging to determine who the audience for this particular article is. While it would seem that it is aimed at nurses, it is also possible that it is aimed at physicians and students as well. Aside from the presentation of the article, the authors researched a topic that is pertinent to the medical field today. Many professionals are growing concerned about how they can improve the quality that their institutions are able to offer. Technology seems to be a clear answer to this question for some. Even though there is promise in the realm of technology, it is necessary for us to understand how to integrate the use of technology into practice in a meaningful way. The authors of this article provide us with some interesting insight with regards to how to accomplish this, in addition to noting relevant next steps for their research which may provide us with additional understanding in the future.

This article is useful because it is presented in a manner that allows researchers to add to it or to alternate methodologies to determine what combinations of technology use or patient followup techniques might be the most effective. Thus, it is reasonable for researchers to replicate this study using patients in the United States to determine whether it would be worthwhile to continue investigating the method posed. While some hospitals and research institutions may wish to acquire more information before implementing this technique into practice, it is important to recognized that such implementation would serve as evidence-based practice and therefore help professionals determine whether the technique should be kept or whether improvements should be made. Since the field of health care is in a constant state of improvement, these authors beneficially contributed to practice. It is likely that many practitioners and researchers will encounter this article and at minimum, consider incorporating some of the ideas presented into their personal practice.

Coughlan, M., Cronin, P., Ryan, F. (2007). Step-by-step guide to critiquing research. Part 1: quantitative research. British Journal of Nursing , 16(11).

Hu, X., Zhu, X., Liu, Y., Gao, L. (2014). Intensive Nursing Care by an Electronic Followup System to Promote Secondary Prevention After Percutaneous Coronary Intervention.  Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention , 34: 396-405.

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    Establish the significance of the research; Writing Your Critique; Ask Us: Chat, email, visit or call ... stating that the sample size is insufficient is not a critical assessment. ... B.J. (1991). Bringing up scientists in the art of critiquing research. Bioscience 41(4), 248-250. Wood, J.M. (2003). Research Lab Guide. MICR*3260 Microbial ...

  14. A guide to critiquing a research paper. Methodological appraisal of a

    Introduction. Developing and maintaining proficiency in critiquing research have become a core skill in today's evidence-based nursing. In addition, understanding, synthesising and critiquing research are fundamental parts of all nursing curricula at both pre- and post-registration levels (NMC, 2011).This paper presents a guide, which has potential utility in both practice and when undertaking ...

  15. Critiquing a research article

    Abstract. This article explores certain concepts relating to critiquing research papers. These include considering the peer review process for publication, demonstrating the need for critiquing, providing a way to carefully evaluate research papers and exploring the role of impact factors. Whilst all these features are considered in this ...

  16. PDF Sample summary & critique papers

    Sample summary & critique papers. These examples are reproduced from Writing in Biology. 2004. Jan Pechenik, Tufts University. Explanatory text following examples by BC O'Donnell ([email protected]) 1) Example Summary of Primary Research Paper. Van der Laak, S. 1982.

  17. Writing Critical Reviews: A Step-by-Step Guide

    Ev en better you might. consider doing an argument map (see Chapter 9, Critical thinking). Step 5: Put the article aside and think about what you have read. Good critical review. writing requires ...

  18. Writing, reading, and critiquing reviews

    Literature reviews are foundational to any study. They describe what is known about given topic and lead us to identify a knowledge gap to study. All reviews require authors to be able accurately summarize, synthesize, interpret and even critique the research literature. 1, 2 In fact, for this editorial we have had to review the literature on ...

  19. Writing a Critique Paper: 7 Easy Steps

    1) Procedure in Writing a Critique Paper, and the. 2) Format of the Critique Paper. First, you will need to know the procedure that will guide you in evaluating a paper. Second, the format of the critique paper refers to how you present it so that it becomes logical and scholarly in tone. The Four Steps in Writing a Critique Paper

  20. Critical Appraisal of a Qualitative Journal Article

    This essay critically appraises a research article, Using CASP (critical appraisal skills programme, 2006) and individual sections of Bellini & Rumrill: guidelines for critiquing research articles (Bellini &Rumrill, 1999). The title of this article is; 'Clinical handover in the trauma setting: A qualitative study of paramedics and trauma team ...

  21. Critiquing a published healthcare research paper

    Critiquing a published healthcare research paper. Research is defined as a 'systematic inquiry using orderly disciplined methods to answer questions or to solve problems' ( Polit and Beck, 2017 :743). Research requires academic discipline coupled with specific research competencies so that an appropriate study is designed and conducted ...

  22. Step-By-Step Guide to Critiquing Research, Research Paper Example

    Step-By-Step Guide to Critiquing Research, Research Paper Example. Pages: 10. Words: 2783. Research Paper. Hire a Writer for Custom Research Paper. Use 10% Off Discount: "custom10" in 1 Click 👇. HIRE A WRITER! You are free to use it as an inspiration or a source for your own work. General Information.

  23. Research methods for social sciences.: EssayZoo Sample

    The structured method of scientific research ensures that the research is well organized, rigorous and leads to reliable findings. Non- research approaches like hearsay may lead to subjective findings. 2 Secondly, a scientific research processes allows collection of empirical evidence for the problem.

  24. Pew Research Center

    Pew Research Center