The quality of a research article depends on several factors. It is important to critically evaluate the research article to know the truth behind the claims before using it as a reference in your research paper. Critical evaluation of the research article helps you identify the strength and weaknesses of the research. You can determine whether the article is useful and authentic or not. You need to know all this because you should not use a biased, unauthentic research as a source in your research.
A research article that is published in a reputed journal is a lot more credible and authentic than any other research article. But this however does not mean that you can use it as a reference without knowing its quality and authenticity. So, how can you make sure that it is a quality research article? There are many ways but the best one is to start from checking the title and then move on to study design and methods etc. Here is a guideline you can use to check the quality of the research article.
The topic of the research article tells about what you expect from a research. Therefore, research topic and the research question should make a clear idea about the research. It is not a good idea to use a vague research as a reference in your research. This can lead to poor credibility of your own research. Read the title is it clear, concise, objective, and directly points to the theme of the research? It should! As it tells about the objectivity and specificity of the research.
Next check whether the study design is appropriate for the research topic. The study design should help fulfill the goals of the research. In case the study design is inappropriate the resultant results and conclusions are not worth sharing in your research. Clearly, a sound study design helps the researcher reach to the right conclusions while inappropriate study design can lead to invalid results and conclusions.
Sample and study population
There are many types of studies and each study is unique in its own. Therefore, every study requires different sample size and other population parameters. So, check that the sample size that the researcher used in the research is adequate to find the answers of the research question or not. Also see whether the target population is the right choice to study this specific research question. This will help you know the validity of the research.
How the researcher carried on the methods in the research? And what choice did he make about the research methods and tools? This will help you determine whether the research is appropriate or not. It is also important that the researcher provides detail about how the methods were carried out in the research, for example, training of the data collectors and examiners. The more accurate account the researcher has provided about the methods and tools and their administration the more accurate and valid is the research.
What are the statistical analysis techniques that the author of the research employed to analyze the results? Also check whether the researcher correctly applied the statistical techniques or not.
Interpretation of results and conclusions
The interpretation and analysis of results should be free of biases and provider accurate statistical results. The conclusions should match the findings of the result. No distortion or misrepresentation of data is present in the analysis. Also the findings sufficiently fulfill the aims of the research.
Consistency and reliability
Throughout each step of the research you can check for the reliability and consistency. Especially, check the tables and figures and how the researcher analyzed those tables and figures and deduced conclusions. It should all represent a whole not some mismatched unorganized information.
The references and in-text bibliography is accurate and provides complete information about the sources used in the research. This provides a god idea that the research is authentic and meets the quality standards.
You can use the above mentioned ideas about the quality check of the research articles. This can help you find out the authenticity of the research article and will give you confidence to incorporate the research as a source in your research.