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

  • Relate recommendations to discussions and conclusions
  • Describe the array of generic future actions that can be recommended (main purposes)
  • Elaborate on the characteristics of effective recommendations
  • Distinguish among actionable, imperative, and modal verbs
  • Compare and contrast the three modal forces
  • Elaborate on how modal force affects the strength of the recommendation
  • Identify the principles of crafting and organizing effective recommendations


In review, the Results or Findings section profiles “What was found?” The Discussion section focuses on “So what does this mean, and why do we care?” The Conclusions section deals with “What are the implications?” (Labaree, 2016). These elements of a research report inform the development of recommendations, which deal with “Where to next? What are the next steps people should consider taking, given what was found and what ...

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