Guidelines for Critiquing Research Articles
From Polit, Beck and Hungler: Essentials of Nursing Research (5th Edition). Use these as they relate to the article you wish to critique. Refer to the appropriate chapters in this text for further information. Print this page and keep it handy as you critique your research article.
The Ethical Aspects of a Study
1. Were the study participants subjected to any physical harm, discomfort, or psychological distress? Did the researchers take appropriate steps to remove or prevent the harm?
2. Did the benefits to participants outweigh any potential risks or actual discomfort they experienced? Did the benefits to society outweigh the costs to participants?
3. Was any type of coercion or undue influence used in recruiting participants? Were vulnerable subjects used?
4. Were participants deceived in any way? Were they fully aware of participating in a study, and did they understand the purpose of the research? Were appropriate consent procedures implemented?
5. Were appropriate steps taken to safeguard the privacy of participants?
6. Was the research approved and monitored by an Institutional Review Board or other similar ethics review committee?
Research Problems, Research Questions, and Hypotheses
1. What is the research problem? Has the researcher appropriately delimited the scope of the problem?
2. Does the problem have significance for the nursing profession? How will the research contribute to nursing practice, nursing administration, or nursing education?
3. Is there a good match between the research problem and the paradigm within which the research was conducted?
4. Is the problem to be addressed formally stated as a statement of purpose, research question, or hypothesis to be tested? Is this information communicated clearly and concisely?
5. Are the purpose statements and research questions worded appropriately (e.g., are key concepts or variables identified and the study group or population of...
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