Understanding and Evaluating Research: A Critical Guide shows students how to be critical consumers of research and to appreciate the power of methodology as it shapes the research question, the use of theory in the study, the methods used, and how the outcomes are reported. The book starts with what it means to be a critical and uncritical reader of research, followed by a detailed chapter on methodology, and then proceeds to a discussion of each component of a research article as it is informed by the methodology. The book encourages readers to select an article from their discipline, learning along the way how to assess each component of the article and come to a judgment of its rigor or quality as a scholarly report.

Peer-Reviewed Journals

Learning Objectives

  • Appreciate the influential role played by journal editors, editorial boards, and facilitating editors
  • Understand and critique the peer review process
  • Interpret the role of acceptance rates as indicators of research quality
  • Critique the use of journal impact factors as evidence of research quality
  • Examine the use of journal title, journal volume, issue, pagination, year of publication, and paper placement in the issue as indicators of research quality
  • Discuss the use of special topics or special issues as an indicator of research quality
  • Describe the e-journal publishing model, especially open access journals, and the threats that predatory journals pose to research quality

Introduction

Most scholars eventually publish some aspect of their research in peer-reviewed journals (in addition to conference proceedings, books, chapters, and other scholarly venues). This chapter provides a ...

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