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Answered By: Christine Andresen
Last Updated: May 11, 2023     Views: 247

See the attached PDF file!

First: Scan for relevance to your topic! First, read the abstract (if available). This will provide a summary of the research question, the methods used, and any results. If the abstract is well-written, it lets you know if the article is likely to fit your topic area. Next, you'll want to scan the introduction and the conclusion sections of the full article—if the text in those sections doesn’t match your topic, you can assume the article isn’t relevant and move on. If the text does match your topic, then you should take the time to read and critique the other sections. For guidance with the process of reading a book or article, see Edwards (2014).


Evaluating a research article* requires more careful attention to the methodology used to answer a research question. That information should be clearly labeled in a section titled 'methods.' There are many things to think about in evaluating the methods, namely how the population was sampled, if that sample is representative of the actual population, if the study design helps prevent bias from influencing results, and if there are factors that the authors didn't take into consideration that may be important. The process can be complex, but the attached PDF file provides some questions to consider as you read the article.


* Keep in mind that not all articles published in scholarly journals are 'research articles.' Generally speaking, research articles have a clearly stated hypothesis, a means of testing that hypothesis, and results that help answer the research question being posed. Scholarly articles that do not test a hypothesis may still involve consulting the literature and making an argument, but do not involve research using the scientific method. Evaluating a non-research article requires a different set of critical thinking principles and practices.