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

  • Distinguish between discussion points (stimulate conversation) and concluding thoughts (wrap up conversation)
  • Compare and contrast concluding thoughts and summarizing the paper
  • Explain the four main purposes of the Conclusions section
  • Describe the array of closing strategies available for writing concluding comments
  • Explain the three levels along which authors can direct their conclusions
  • Gain awareness of things to avoid in the Conclusions section
  • Appreciate the technical and grammatical conventions for preparing concluding comments


To conclude means to sum up an argument or a text (Anderson, 2014). The Discussion section of a research paper addresses the questions of “What do we know now that we did not know before, and why do we care?” Authors will have developed a “red thread” argument telling people why they think their study is important. ...

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