JOURNAL ARTICLE REVIEW There are two important parts to a journal article review: (1) a straightforward summary of the major points of the article, including a description of the research focus and key elements of the research design; and (2) your personal evaluation of the strengths of that research strategy and the appropriateness of the author's conclusions. The first part should be factual, simply summarizing the paper; you need to demonstrate your understanding of what the author did before you have the "right" to criticize the study. The second part of the review is where you offer your evaluation and critique that design. Make your comments specific, and offer a methodological justification for your criticism. A good reviewer is able to find strengths as well as weaknesses in a study. Praise that is not based on critical methodological discussion often appears as meaningless flattery; likewise, harsh criticism that does not acknowledge the imposition of real-life limitations might come across as too severe. A good critique finds a balance between these two extremes, reflecting the reviewer's knowledge of and respect for the research process. If you identify major flaws in a study, try to suggest an alternative research technique that would have been stronger. PART 1: Summary of the research Give the complete bibliographic reference for this article at the front of your paper. Begin with a few simple sentences that describe what this research was about. Identify the important variables and describe the research objective or hypotheses. Describe the general design, highlighting the sampling strategy and showing how important variables were measured. Summarize the most important findings and the conclusions the authors drew from the study. PART 2: Evaluation of the research Do not attempt to answer all of the following questions in a journal review. They are listed here only to illustrate the things to think about as you evaluate a research paper. The items which you choose to elaborate upon will depend, in part, on the strengths or weaknesses of a particular manuscript. 1. Title and introduction Does the title reflect what the paper was about? Does the introduction justify the relative importance of this research? 2. Statement of purpose Is the purpose of the study clearly identified? Are you left with a clear description of what the study is trying to accomplish? 3. Background literature review Do the authors show evidence that links this work to related research? Are the references from reputable journals and of recent publication? Does the literature review draw upon an appropriate diversity of sources? Note: for some studies like specific program evaluation a literature review might not be important. Journal Article Review (continued) 4. Measurement Do the authors clearly identify the important variables and explain how they were operationalized? Do they provide enough information for you to make your own decisions about the validity and reliability of these measures. In your own head, do these seem like good ways to measure the concepts they are talking about? 5. Sample Do the authors give a clear description of how the sample was selected? Does it appear to be representative of the larger population to whom they generalize? If not, what limitations are placed on generalizing from this study? Was there a high enough response rate for the sample to remain unbiased? 6. Research design Does the general research design seem appropriately matched to the research question? Is the study described in enough detail to give you confidence in the conclusions the authors make, or for you to repeat the study yourself if you desired? If causal interpretations are made at the end, was the study design strong enough to test that causal relationship? 7. Data analysis and presentation Does the discussion of data analysis appear to be logically ordered? Are appropriate statistic used given the level of measurement in their data? Do the analyses seem to be directly related to the research questions? Do the authors “make a big deal” over non-significant p-values? Don’t worry if you don't understand the statistical analysis, but still look to see if the conclusions appear tied to the statistics. 8. Discussion and conclusions Do the authors make appropriate conclusions based on their study? Are inferences of causality supported by the study design? Do they acknowledge limitations of the study? Are all recommendations based on data? 9. General Is the paper clearly written? Is the discussion logically ordered to take the reader through the study without confusion? Are grammar and composition strong? Overall As an assignment, an article review should be about five to six pages in length. Your grade on the review will be based on the thoroughness and degree of understanding reflected in your discussion. It will not be based on whether I agree with your opinion, but on the strength of the discussion that supports your comments. Use the terminology of research design but use it correctly. This is your chance to show what you know about research methods.