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Transcript of Evaluating Research
Please click on the picture below to watch a short introductory video
Key issues in
What is the study about?
Did the authors know the subject well enough to study it?
Did the literature review logically lead to the study question/ aim?
How was the study undertaken (methodology and methods)?
Were appropriate data analysis processes used?
Do the conclusions and recommendations match the findings?
Was the study process rigorous and systematic?
Being systematic and rigorous are two of the things that set research apart from other forms of evidence.
For a study to be good quality research, regardless of the paradigm or methodology underpinning it, it should be systematic and rigorous.
What is the study about?
The title and abstract should indicate whether or not to the study will be useful to you.
Does the title relate to the content?
Does the title relate to the abstract?
Who carried out the study?
Does the literature review:
Identify what is and is not known about the subject.
Present current evidence.
Present both sides of the argument.
Appraise the quality of the sources used.
Logically lead to the study question/ aim.
Paradigm and methodology
The research paradigm and methodology
should be appropriate for the study question/ aim.
The methods used should match the methodology and enable the right type of data to be gathered.
The methods should also enable the specific data required to be gathered.
Do the authors have sufficient, relevant experience?
If they have experience, is this a strength or a limitation (expertise or bias)?
Is the source where the study is published reputable? Is it peer-reviewed? (How much does this matter?)
The way in which the sample was selected and the sample size should be appropriate for the study question/ aim, methodology and method.
Data analysis processes should be appropriate for the study aim, methodology, and method.
Any statistical tests used should be the right ones for the type of data gathered and the purpose of the analysis.
The findings should relate directly to the study aim or question.
They should be logically presented, and the claims made should be clear.
The conclusions and recommendations should answer the question/ address the study aim.
They may identify new areas for enquiry.
They should be limited to what the study has shown, as reported in the findings.
Conclusions and recommendations
Do the title, abstract and main text all match?
Does the literature review logically lead to the study aims and question?
Do the methodology and methods match the question/ aim and seem to be a sensible way of exploring this issue?
Do the methods used address the aim?
Is the way of analysing data right for the other study elements?
Do the findings answer the question?
Do the conclusions and recommendations answer the question?
Is there a logical link between all the study elements?
Are there any unexplained gaps in information about the study and how it was conducted?
Is the study rigorous and systematic?
Critical Appraisal Tools
Enable you to adopt a structured approach to appraisal.
Allow consistency in appraisal of different studies.
Promote consistency between different appraisers.
Maximise rigor and system (everything is considered, nothing is missed).
To be effective, a framework needs to be appropriate for the type of study.
Common errors in evaluating studies
Using the wrong tool.
Using quantitative concepts to evaluate qualitative work (or vice versa).
Looking at each section separately and not thinking about the whole.