How to Critique and Analyze a Quantitative Research Report


Author: EMS Village Staff

To perform a true objective critique of a quantitative research report the entire study must be read and the following types of questions considered.

Theoretical/Conceptual Framework:

1. Is a conceptual framework described? If not, does
the absence detract from the significance of the research?

2. Are the concepts to be studied identified and defined?

3. Are measures for each of the concepts identified and described?

4. Does the research problem flow naturally from the conceptual
framework?

Protection of Human Rights:

1. Is there evidence of an independent ethics review by a board or a committee?

2. Has the study been designed to minimize risk and maximize
benefits to participants?

3. Is there an indication that participants gave voluntary, informed consent?

4. Is there evidence in the study that individuals can be identified?

The Research Problem

1. Was problem statement introduced promptly?

2. Is the problem significant to nursing and is the
significance described?

3. Has the purpose for conducting the research been explained?

4. What are the research variables and are research variables
explained?

5. Will an answer to the problem provide insight into clinical applicability of the problem?

Research Questions/Hypotheses

1. Are research questions or hypotheses formally stated?
If no, should they be included?

2. Do the research questions and hypotheses naturally flow from the research problem and theoretical framework?

3. Does each research questions or hypothesis contain at least two variables?

4. Are the research questions or hypotheses worded clearly and objectively? Is a prediction evident?

Review of the Literature

1. Is the review comprehensive, logical and relevant
to the problem?

2. Is the relationship to the research purpose evident?

3. Does it include recent research and theoretical work?

4. Can a case be made for conducting this study based on the review?

Research Design

1. What design has been used for the study?

2. Is the design appropriate for the research question
and purpose of research?

3. Has enough information been given to permit replication?

Sampling

1. Is the target population carefully described?

2. Are sample selection procedures clearly defined?

3. Does the sampling method fit the research design?

4. Are potential sample biases described?

5. Is the sample sufficiently large? How has size been justified?

6. To whom can study results be generalized?

Data Collection

1. Describe the instruments used for data collection.

2. Has rationale been given for the selection of instruments?

3. Are instruments congruent with the research question?

4. Are instruments suitable for use with the study sample?

5. Have procedures for testing the reliability and validity
of instruments been described? Are results sufficient to indicate their
use?

Quantitative Analysis

1. Does the research design and the study questions
fit with the analysis methods used?

2. Does the level of measurement of the data fit with the type of statistics used?

3. Is the link between the analysis and the findings logical
and clear?

4. Is the statistical result presented clearly both in
the text as well as in numerical presentation?

5. Are graphic displays clear, simple, and accurate?

Conclusions and Recommendations

1. What are the assumptions and limitations of the study?
Are they listed or do you have to infer what they are?

2. Are results of data analysis clearly explained in reference
to research questions, hypotheses and theoretical framework?

3. Has there been appropriate generalization of significant
findings beyond the study sample to the population?

4. What recommendations for nursing practice and future
research studies have been made? Are these recommendations supported by
the data?