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.



Learning Objectives

  • Appreciate the distinction between discussions and conclusions, and discussions and results and findings
  • Compare and contrast the three main functions of a Discussion section, and describe the role of hedging and speculation when interpreting results and findings
  • Identify the many dimensions of research significance that can inform discussions, and relate discussing results and findings to the multidimensional concept of significance
  • Explain the three main questions that can be addressed in a Discussion section
  • Explain how and why the different methodologies link the literature review to the Discussion section
  • Explain the concept of study limitations and its relation to the study’s validity or trustworthiness
  • Compare and contrast five key approaches to organizing a Discussion section, including issues related to reporting results using hypotheses, especially statistically correct language
  • Outline several strategies ...
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