CRITIQUING A QUALITATIVE RESEARCH STUDY

CRITIQUING A QUALITATIVE RESEARCH STUDY

Adapted from Gall, Borg, & Gall and Beverly Hardcastle Stanford, Ph.D.

As researchers, we cannot avoid orienting our studies with our beliefs about what knowledge is.  As a consequence, all research is biased.  What is important is that the bias or perspective be recognized and incorporated into our evaluations.  We need also to be aware of how our theoretical biases are influencing how we evaluate others.

Gall, Borg & Gall appear to subscribe to the positivist orientation toward research.  As a consequence, some of their evaluation questions (pp. 609-612) are biased in that direction.  While there are positivist qualitative researchers, they are in the minority.  Most who engage in qualitative research are interpretive or critical theorists. I am a researcher who subscribes to the latter two perspectives.—Dr. Stanford

Gathering resources on a topic is challenging enough, yet it is only the beginning.  One must ask whether the research was well designed and properly executed.  Then one must consider whether the reported conclusions are supported by the study.  The form on the following pages has been designed for that purpose. 

Suggested procedure: 

(1) Read the research article.  Then complete the NUMBERED items in the SUMMARY column.  This gives an overview of the entire study.

Note: If the study is complex, involving several research questions, you may find it easier to complete a separate form for each question, or for each group of closely related questions.

(2) Next, complete the rest of the SUMMARY column.  Keep in mind that not all boxes will be applicable to all studies.

(3)  Now fill in the CRITIQUE column.  Do not just answer “yes” or “no,” but explain and justify your opinion.

(4) Next, review the critique column; then fill in the EVALUATION box at the end of the form.

(5) Finally, write a brief SUMMARY, as described.

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