It is important that you learn how to critically review research. In our society today, we are exposed to so much information and so many studies. Some of this information is excellent, some is useful, and some is very, very bad.
How can you determine what information is useful and what is dangerous? One way is to take a course like Critical Thinking; however, the facts that I give you will be outdated all too soon.
The most important thing you will learn from this course—and from your college education—is how to critically evaluate information presented to you. Critical thinking involves asking five questions: who, what, when, where, how.
You will write a one-page critical review of the article. The review should answer each of the five questions. You must cite your source. If it is a website, please make sure you put the entire web address. Remember you are evaluating critically, not just summarising. See the examples below the grading rubric:
|Week 4: Critical Review||Point Value|
|Adequately covers and answers the 5 questions, plus the summary section (10 points per section)||60 points|
|Chooses a scholarly/re-searchable topic||10 points|
|Uses the recommended number of scholarly resources correctly cited in APA format (at least four)||10 points|
|Meets the required word minimum (150 words) and posts word count||10 points|
|Follows APA formatting with parenthetical citations and referencing||10 points|
Critical Thinking Review Example:
Critical thinking involves asking five questions – who, when, what, where, how.
You should organise your paper in the following manner:
Your Name Critical Review
Author, I. (date of publication). Title of article. Name of Publication, volume #, page #-#.
Author, I. (date of publication if available). Title of article. Retrieved [date accessed] from the World Wide Web: [Web site address]
Where: Where did this article/Web page appear? Is this reasonable? Is the publishing entity respectable/responsible?
Who: Who wrote/published the article/Web page? What are their credentials? Are the credentials appropriate for their argument?
When: Is this current information? If yes, do you think it will stand the “test of time”? If no, is it outdated or is it classic?
What: What argument is/are the author(s) making? Is it logical? Based on what you know, is it reasonable? What evidence is given to support the argument? Can you think of evidence to refute it?
How: How was the supporting/refuting evidence collected? Is this credible? What kind of evidence do you think needs to be gathered to test the argument? Did the author(s) do this?
Summarise the quality of the article (it does not have to be a “good” article in your opinion), and whether you consider this to be a worthwhile and trustworthy article. Did you think it was biased? Could the author have underlying motives? What do you think? Is it valid?
Note: Do not simply answer yes or no to the questions above. Write a thoughtful response to each section.
Sample Critical Review:
Virginia Norris Critical Review
Eggenberger, T. Sentinel node biopsy. Retrieved August 30, 2001, from the World Wide Web: http://www.intellihealth.com/IH/ihtIH/WSIHW000/910…
Where: The Intelli health Web site is a general information health Web site. It draws information from “trusted sources” (e.g., Harvard Medical School, University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine); however, it sells health products and is financed by an insurance company.
They do not endorse specific products. In general, the information on this site should be viewed with caution but may be an appropriate first step.
Who: Ty Eggenberger, a correspondent for Intelli health? No evidence is given for the author’s credentials, but the Web site indicates that the editors are experts and use trusted sources.
When: Although the site was last updated 8/27/01, there is no indication when the article was written. It appears to be current, but this cannot be evaluated.
What: This article reviews a new diagnostic procedure, sentinel node biopsy, for breast cancer. They suggest that women investigate this option, but caution that the surgeon’s experience level is associated with diagnostic accuracy.
The information is supported with quotations from a surgeon at a prestigious hospital. The argument appears reasonable and is appropriately cautious. If I were looking for advice on this issue, I would search in more clinically oriented databases to look for data on hits and misses for this diagnostic tool.
How: I was disappointed that no source was cited. This makes it difficult for me to evaluate how the evidence was collected.
In summary, this is a good first-step article that presents a new diagnostic tool; however, before insisting on this type of biopsy over an axillary dissection, I would look for further information.