Data analysis, finding, and your analysis

The student is expected to select a research study from a professional journal. These can be found in various Databases in the library. Articles should be empirically based, containing sections on methodology (sampling, measurement, design, and findings). In paragraph form, students are to utilize the rubric as a guide on how to critique an article. The article review should include a discussion of how the Saint Leo University core value of integrity is demonstrated in the research.

The article can be one of those you will use in your research proposal

The journal article review must conform to American Psychological Association (APA) format.


You may write this critique using headings and paragraphs under each heading. For example:

Statement of the Problem

The problem being addressed in this study is one of retention of students enrolled in online coursework, specifically retention in online courses in the associate’s degree granting institution

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this quantitative study is to present and summarize empirical data in the exploration of student retention in online education at the XYZ Community College. This research will serve to add to the body of knowledge of student retention in online education at the associate’s degree granting institution and aid in decision-making practices regarding online education at the XYZ Community College. Additionally, analysis of the data collected could serve to determine the applicability of Rovai’s composite persistence model to student retention in online education at XYZ Community College.

Please follow the exact format for the journal article critique below

  1. State the problem.
  2. State the purpose.

a. Usually found in introduction or problem statement.

b. Might be stated as a main research question or hypothesis for the study.

c. Main focus may not be clearly labeled requiring reader to synthesize the purpose from this section.

  1. Is this a quantitative or qualitative study?
  2. Describe the study design – Exploratory, Descriptive, Explanatory, Evaluation
  3. Examine the literature review

a. Are the previous studies identified and described?

b. Are the studies critiqued by the researcher?

c. Is the current knowledge of the research problem described?

  1. List the research objectives, questions or hypotheses. Label variables: independent and dependent. The research question hypothesizes relationships between variables. It is necessary to clarify expected variable relationships using independent and dependent variables.

a. Dependent variable – Response, behavior, or outcome the researcher wants to explain.

b. Independent variable – The treatment or experimental variable manipulated by the researcher to create an effect on the dependent variable.

NOTE: One easy way of differentiating between these variables is to remember that independent means standing alone, and dependent means relying on something. Don’t let statistics scare you! If you are a novice at article critique, work on being able to find the sample adequately represented in an included table, chart or graph. Take small steps!

  1. Describe the sample.

a. sampling criteria

b. sample size – The sample size should be as large as possible. Sampling error decreases as sample size increases (general rule).

c. characteristics of sample

d. sample mortality (drop out)

e. method used to obtain the sample – Random vs. non-random sample. Bias in sampling selection means those chosen to participate may differ from those not chosen. A randomized sample reduces bias in sampling selection.

f. Look for representativeness of sample.

i. Representativeness – Subjects are randomly selected from the target population.

ii. Target population – Population from which the sample is chosen and study findings are generalized to. Example: All women ages 65 to 90 with an annual income < $10,000

  1. Describe measurement methods – Data collection – Procedure should be clearly defined (based upon problem and sample) – description of data collection time frames, where data collected, participant’s permission procedure, and confidentiality/anonymity assurance (informed consent?) – how questionnaires, scales and/or interviews were utilized in the study.
  2. Measurements/Instruments

a. Description of the data collection instruments, scales, questionnaires. Example: # questions, scoring range, etc.

b. Inclusion of reliability and validity of instruments:

i. Reliability-Measurement of how consistently similar results are obtained every time the scale/instrument is used.

ii. Validity-Measurement of how accurately the instrument reflects some of the variables in the study (characteristics under study).

Reliability and validity are important because the study’s results should never be influenced by instrument/scale error.

  1. Data Analysis: Summarizes and describes the data in a logical, understandable format from research variables capable of being quantified (converted to numbers).

a. Descriptive statistics-Clearly and understandably describes the sample mostly using frequency distribution, mean, median, mode, range, % and others.

b. Inferential statistics-Tests the research questions or hypothesis using T-Tests, ANOVA, multiple regressions, etc.

  1. Describe the researcher’s interpretation of the findings.

a. Are the results related back to the study framework?

b. Which findings are in keeping with those expected?

c. Which findings were not expected?

d. Are serendipitous findings described?

  1. Describe the researcher’s generalization of the findings.
  2. Identify the implications of the findings.
  3. List the researcher’s suggestions for further studies.
  4. Identify the missing elements of the study.
  5. Is the description of the study sufficiently clear to allow replication?

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