Outline Each paragraph is a different header for the paragraphs of the paper.
Does the title accurately portray the study? Does the title lend itself to an appropriate key word search in a library database? Where is this evidence situated on the evidence hierarchy? (you will use the study design to make this determination)
Is the problem presented with enough background information to acquaint the reader with the importance of the study? Is the scope of the problem identified? Are there knowledge gaps and what is the proposed solution? Include a brief statement of the researcher’s purpose in conducting the study (this is sometimes listed as the “specific aims” of the study. This statement(s) can be quoted rather than paraphrased) If presented, include the research question/hypothesis, and note whether a relationship has been predicted.
Is it current and relevant to the purpose of the research? Does the review provide enough background information to help the reader understand the purpose of this study? Did the review support the current research problem at hand? Was the review mostly based on primary sources? Does the review conclude with a supporting summary of the literature and implications for the current study?
Was the study approved by an institutional review or ethics review board? Did the risks of the study outweigh the benefits? Were appropriate informed consent procedures used with all participants? Were the participants’ rights protected (were participants subjected to physical harm, were participants deceived, was coercion used to recruit subjects, was a stipend provided, was it appropriate?) Was a vulnerable group the subject of this research? Was confidentiality or anonymity a factor in this research?
This section is often the most difficult to summarize, but is the “heart” of the critique. In general, it includes a description of the subjects, instruments/measures, procedures and the design. Normally, you should include the following sections: Design: Overall plan or design of the study (descriptive, correlational, survey, quasi-experimental, true experiment). Remember that research designs may use several terms to describe the study at hand. Subjects/Participants: The number, characteristics and how the sample was obtained including resulting sample characteristics. Sample characteristics are crucial when we are considering internal validity and generalizability. These need to be included. Measures: Does the author provide any information about how “good” the measures are? Is there a discussion about reliability and validity of the measuring tools or instruments employed to operationally define the variables.
Procedure: How was the study conducted? What was done to subjects and how/where was data collected? Ethics: Were measures taken to ensure the protection of human subjects?
Report the findings of the study. This includes a summary of the data for the major findings and the method of statistical analysis as well as the probability levels.
What conclusions do the authors draw? Are they realistic about the implications of the findings? Were the conclusions clearly stated? Did the data presented support the conclusions?
This section is your analysis of the study, not a personal opinion. 1. Was the study soundly designed? Any major problems with the sampling, design, or interpretation of the results? 2. What are the strengths and limitations with the design, population and sampling, data collection and measurement, procedure, data analysis and findings? 3. Support your ideas with information from Polit and Beck (2018). 4. Does the researcher identify limitations to the study? 5. Does this study make a significant contribution (why/why not)? What are the implications for nursing practice?