Critics of Empirical Research Article
After being assigned an article, read it thoroughly, and work as a group to respond to the questions provided with no more than 4 pages.
Overall Topic: What is the overall topic of the research? Is this something that could be helpful to social work practice and policy? In what ways?
Research Questions: What is the primary research question? Are there any secondary research questions? Based on this, what â€œtypeâ€ of research is this (exploratory, descriptive, comparative, evaluative)? Are there hypotheses stated? What are they?
Literature Review: In your opinion, was the literature easy to understand and did it adequately explain the purpose of the research? Were the assumptions and theories of the research clearly articulated? Does the literature review seem to support the hypothesis(es)?
Methodology: 1. Sampling – What was the sampling technique used? Is it a probability or non-probability technique? Was it clear how the researchers recruited and screened the research participants? Was there a sampling frame? How was it obtained? What biases were stated in the article? What are some unstated biases (if any)? Were diversity issues addressed in terms of sampling? Based on the sampling technique and the stated and unstated biases, what would you say about the generalizability of the study results?
2. Design – Was the design clearly articulated? What design was used? Provide a diagram of the design. Is this design a good choice given the purpose of the research? If the purpose is to look at causation, discuss how robust the design is in terms of internal validity. Discuss each potential threat and its impact based on the design. If the purpose is exploratory or descriptive, assess the strengths and weaknesses of the design with regard to that purpose.
3. Measurement â€“ What are the independent and dependent variables? What are the possible values of the variables? Describe how each variable was operationalized. What information did the article provide about the reliability and validity of the data collection technique
4. Ethical Issues – Were there any ethical issues discussed? Were there any that you observed that might be of concern?
5. Statistics – What statistical tests were used? Why do you think the researchers chose that statistical method?
Results and Discussion Section: There is no need to describe all of the results of the study, but describe at least one key finding. Were the results and conclusions clearly stated? What are some “next steps” in terms of furthering knowledge in this area? Was the summary of the study helpful?
Main Message(s) from Discussion – What did you take away from this article? Discuss how this article might be used to help inform practice or policy and in what ways.