Critical evaluation checklist
When you read you must adopt a critical perspective. How much attention you pay to a particular study will depend on its relevance to your research. The following list of questions can help you to be critical and to evaluate a research article. Note that not all articles will require such detailed analysis. Note too that not all the following sections will be found in every article: the structure of articles varies considerably from discipline to discipline.
- Is the abstract intelligible?
- Does the abstract clearly describe the objectives and results obtained/conclusions reached?
- Is there a clear reason for doing the study? Has a ‘gap’ in the field been identified?
- What research questions are asked?
- What are the article’s aims and objectives?
- Has the author reviewed relevant literature, including conflicting or alternative viewpoints?
- If standard methods are used, are adequate references given?
- Have any methods been modified? Were the modifications described fully?
- Are new methods described in sufficient detail for you to repeat or extend the study?
- Are reasons given for using specific methods?
- Are potential problems/limitations with the methods highlighted?
- Are the methods used appropriate with respect to the objectives of the study?
- Are any controls used?