General description of problem and area of research - Research Study

Copy the Abstract:

1. Introduction (1 page)

1.1. General description of problem and area of research (context of study)

1.2. Specific research question(s)

1.3. What is this study supposed to add to the Body of Knowledge?

2. Summary of study (3-6 pages)

In this section use a descriptive tone, be concise using 1-3 sentences per item. You are welcome to use tables if needed.  

2.1. Model (what predicts what, at the conceptual level)

2.1.1 Graphic version of model – if the authors don’t have one, please try to create it  yourself)

2.2 Theory/ies used in the study.  

2.2.1 Major hypothes(is)(es). Explain how they are formulated.

2.3. Methodological design

2.4. Variables’ definitions and measures. Validity and reliability of the scales.  

2.5. Control factors/variables (if any) – implemented experimentally and/or statistically

2.6. Sample and population

2.7. Procedures – brief summary

2.8. Data analysis strategy

2.9. Claimed findings and contributions. Explain statistical tests used to test hypotheses, findings and their significance. (R square, p-value, mediation, moderation, etc.)

2.10. Your overall assessment of the of the quality of the research

3. Critique of study (3-6 pages)

This section is your informed commentary on each aspect of the study, and should be heavy on evaluation and assessment, with description kept to a minimum. Use the questions below only as the basis of your critique but customize them to your article’s evaluation. Some sections can be omitted if appropriate. Likewise, new sections can be added.

3.1. Is the relevancy of the study justified?

3.2. Is it clear why each theory was needed and how each theory was used?

3.2.1. Was theory used to formulate hypotheses?

3.2.2. Is the paper consistent? Are the components aligned? Research questions to theories, Research questions and theories to model, Model to hypotheses, Hypotheses to variables, variables to measures, Model to methodological design, Model to data analysis strategy

3.3. Critique utility and value of model

3.3.1. Clarity

3.3.2. Comprehensiveness and parsimony

3.3.3. Appropriateness of level(s) of analysis

3.4. Critique Population/sample(s).

3.4.1. Population from which sample (or census) is drawn

3.4.2. Type of sample

3.4.3. Is sampling procedure adequate? 

3.4.4. Is sample appropriate to address research questions?

3.5. Operational definition and measurement

3.5.1. Clarity and specificity of operational definitions of constructs and variables

3.5.2. Appropriateness of level of measurement

3.5.3. Reliability of measures

3.5.4. Internal and external validity of measures

3.5.5. Construct validity of measures

3.6. Statistical analysis

3.6.1. Appropriateness of analytical procedures to model

3.6.2. Appropriateness of procedures to data

3.6.3. Appropriateness of test statistics and other reported indicators to data analysis

3.6.4. Correctness of interpretation of data analysis

4. Credibility, future value, and recommendations (1-2 pages)

4.1. Credibility of contribution

4.1.1. Who cares?

4.1.2. Implications for theory

4.1.3. Implications for practice

4.2. What might have been improved in present study to enhance its credibility and contribution?

4.2.1. Design, Measures, Analysis

5. Describe your chosen area of study (Strategic Plan)

5.1. Define your topic of research interest.

5.2. What is your research question?

5.3. How do you plan to contribute to this area of study?

5.4. What kind of data do you plan to use for your research? (about 50 words)

Guidance on Writing

All sections of the critique should answer the questions in narrative form using complete sentences. It should resemble the kind of reviews found in high-quality journals.

Plan your review carefully after you have scanned and understood the requirements, so that you know what you are going to address and where, before you start writing.

Remember, you are not just reporting on the study, but critically assessing its elements and evaluating their appropriateness and effectiveness. Being “critical” does not mean just pointing out negatives, but mentioning particularly positive elements as well. Of course, it is important to point out negatives where you find them. 

Just because something got published in a good journal does not mean there cannot be real problems with it, and it is your job to identify them when present.  More often than you might suspect, there are critical flaws in published research studies, and if there are any in your article, we expect you to find them. We also expect you to make the connection of this paper with the overall research in the field and your area of future research.

Try to maintain academic language norms throughout, rather than a conversational tone. Use appropriate APA-style citations where needed. When in doubt, take a look at any good journal (AMJ, AMR, ASQ, etc.) and see how closely your work is mirroring that style.  If it’s not, make it so.

Your assessment of the statistical analysis is particularly important. Be clear in your discussion; if you do not immediately understand the statistical procedures being used, do some quick research on them using online statistical resources.

You do not need to know everything about a procedure to comment on it effectively, just enough. Be sure to comment on the reported numbers/tables and their interpretations, showing that you understand what particular statistics tell you.

In Section 4, you need think creatively about possible improvements, using any shortcomings that your critique identified as take-off points for your suggestions. Think even more creatively (but reasonably) about possible extensions of the study and new areas of research that it might open up leading to your own research study. In Sections 5, you describe your research ideas and area of research interest and how this paper can be useful for your future research.

Typical questions (Answers are to be completed from the article)

1.           Why did you choose this article and how it is related to your area of research interest?

2.           What are the dependent/independent/mediating/moderating variables in the study? Please explain.

3.           What is a unit of analysis?

4.           Does the theory presented in the article support the hypotheses? Answer this question for each hypothesis.

5.           What are the researchers trying to do with the theory that underlies their research – to find support for that theory? To show how the theory can be proven wrong? To compare between two competing theories? To come up with their own theory? Or maybe something else?

6.           Do the authors provide strong rationale for their hypotheses? (Make sure you examine that for each hypothesis).

7.           Discuss relevancy. Why is this study important and for whom?

8.           How were the variables measured? Discuss data collection instruments.

9.           Are the measures that were used in the study valid and reliable? Where is the proof for that in the article? Explain measurement model, Factor Loadings, Cronbach’s Alpha, Composite Reliability. What is the difference between validity and reliability of measures? Explain and provide examples from the article.

10.        Is it a cross-sectional or a longitudinal study? What is the difference between the two?

11.        How were the hypotheses tested? Was the method appropriate?

12.        Were all the hypotheses supported in the study? Where is the proof for that? If not supported, why?.

13.        For the supported hypotheses, how statistically significant are the results? (Explain statistical values such as p value or R square and their meaning).

14.        What are the main findings of the study?

15.        What are the study limitations? Why are these considered limitations?

16.        What are the study’s theoretical, practical and methodological implications?

17.        In retrospective - How could the study be improved? What would you have done differently?

18.        Does the study contribute anything to our knowledge? How?

19.        You will be asked questions about the interpretation of the results – for example, you will have to explain the interpretation of study’s tables, figures and numbers shown. Ex. What is correlation?

20.        How would you suggest to expand this research study?

General description of problem and area of research - Research Study

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