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Qualitative Research Guide

Online and collection-based resources to aid in conducting, finding, using, synthesizing, and teaching qualitative research in the health sciences.

Evaluating Resources

This guide from the Public Health Resource Unit, England, provides 10 questions for evaluating research. Although produced by the health sector, these questions are useful for any field.

Evaluating Resources

Empirical or Researched Articles describe a study that was completed by the researchers.  These articles usually contain specific sections that allow you to easily identify these articles and evalute them. The following questions are good starting points when evaluating research articles. 

  1. Does this article have an Abstract which briefly states the hypothesis or purpose of the study, method, and results or findings? 
  2. The article contains an introduction which may be entitled Literature Review which highlights previous research and study in this area.  Does the author cite current research?  Does the author define key terms and concepts?
  3. Find the section entitled Method which describes the research study including information on the participants, type of instruments used, and variables.  What type of research method is used?  What instrument or method of data collection is used?  Who are the participants and how were they selected (i.e. random or purposive sampling)?  What variables were considered?
  4. The Results section states the results of the study.  Keep in mind quantitative methods report results using numbers and statistics.  Results may be reported using charts, graphs, or tables. Can you briefly summarize the results? 
  5. A Discussion  examines the Results in light of the hypothesis, interpreting their meaning and noting interesting or surprising findings.  Does the author relate the results to the initial hypothesis or purpose? 
  6. Limitations may be a sub-heading or included within the Discussion.  What Limitations were present in the Method?
  7. The Conclusion or Implications of a study may be a heading or included within the Discussion.  What Conclusion did this article make?  How should this conclusion inform or change behavior, ideology, or practice?
  8. How does this article concur or differ from other articles you found?  Items to consider include similarities or differences in Method (particularly participants and instruments), Results, and Conclusion.  Do the findings of various articles substantiate each other or do the findings cancel each other?