- Have the authors explained why they chose a particular design (for example, survey, ethnography, phenomenology, experimental)? Not sure about the definitions of these words - our research glossary will explain.
- How have they justified their choice?
- Do you feel that their choice was appropriate?
- Give a description of the research approach and design backed up by a reference. We have a more in-depth explanation of research design.
Population and sample
- Give a summary of the sample information provided by the author. If the research is to be applicable and relevant to other populations the study sample (the group selected to be observed) must be representative of the group from which the sample is drawn (study population). This should be typical of the wider population to whom the research might apply (target population).
- For both qualitative and quantitative approaches, does the author:
- state the study population?
- identify how the sample group was recruited?
- give the sample size?
- is the sample size appropriate for the research approach?
- identify the response rate. In most studies, some of the study population don't respond; some refuse and other don’t know the answer. A poor response rate can bias the results of a study if not acknowledged. The study should compare responders and non-responders to acknowledge any impact of this potential bias.
- is the control group (if applicable) adequate? Was the definition of controls adequate? Are the control group, in all other respects, the same as the subjects?
- specific critiquing issues for qualitative and quantitative approaches are available.
For a handy checklist, look in The research process in nursing, edited by Kate Gerrish. You will find it at call number 610.73072 RES on the second floor of the library.
SMILE - How to assess a research article by GCU School of Health and Life Sciences modified by Marion Kelt, Glasgow Caledonian University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.