Research Critique

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Protection of Human Participants

  • Identify the benefits and risks of participation addressed by the authors. Were there benefits or risks the authors do not identify?
  • Was informed consent obtained from the subjects or participants?
  • Did it seem that the subjects participated voluntarily in the study?
  • Was institutional review board approval obtained from the agency in which the study was conducted?


Data Collection

  • Are the major variables (independent and dependent variables) identified and defined? What were these variables?
  • How were data collected in this study?
  • What rationale did the author provide for using this data collection method?
  • Identify the time period for data collection of the study.
  • Describe the sequence of data collection events for a participant.


Data Management and Analysis

  • Describe the data management and analysis methods used in the study.
  • Did the author discuss how the rigor of the process was assured? For example, does the author describe maintaining a paper trail of critical decisions that were made during the analysis of the data? Was statistical software used to ensure accuracy of the analysis?
  • What measures were used to minimize the effects of researcher bias (their experiences and perspectives)? For example, did two researchers independently analyze the data and compare their analyses?


Findings / Interpretation of Findings

  • What is the researcher’s interpretation of findings?
  • Are the findings valid or an accurate reflection of reality? Do you have confidence in the findings?
  • What limitations of the study were identified by researchers?
  • Was there a coherent logic to the presentation of findings?
  • What implications do the findings have for nursing practice? For example, can the study findings be applied to general nursing practice, to a specific population, to a specific area of nursing?
  • What suggestions are made for further studies?


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