Methods of Qualitative Research in Education
|Guidelines for Critical Review Assignment|
For this assignment you will select an article that reports on a qualitative study and write a review of that article. You will also lead an informal roundtable discussion in class in which you will discuss the article and your review of it. The primary purpose of this assignment is to help you develop a sophisticated understanding of qualitative research so that you can read published research reports with a critical and informed eye.
This assignment has three main parts:
Each of these requirements is discussed in detail on this page.
A sign-up sheet will be distributed during the second week of the semester.
Selecting an Appropriate Article. The article you select for this assignment should be related to the research question or problem that you are exploring in this course. Ideally, this same article will be part of the literature review you write for your final project in the course. In addition, the article you select should be an example of qualitative research that meets the following specifications:
In selecting your article, please be sure it is a report of a qualitative study and not a philosophical or theoretical discussion of an issue related to your chosen topic or to qualitative research in general. That means that the article you select for this assignment should describe a qualitative study and should include, in some form, a discussion of the research problem or question and the methods of data collection and analysis. Obviously, in order to meet these specifications, you should become familiar with some of the major journals and with some of the most important studies and researchers in the area you are exploring.
Writing the Review. Your review of your selected article should be a concise, thoughtful discussion of the main features of the study described in the article and of important questions that the study might raise for qualitative researchers. Your review should have four main parts:
Keep in mind that the primary goal of your review is not to judge whether the study was good or bad but to examine it carefully in order to understand better the complexities of educational research.
Leading the Roundtable Discussion. On the assigned day, you will lead a roundtable discussion involving approximately four classmates in which you discuss the article you have selected for your review. The purpose of this discussion is to raise significant questions about your specific article and about qualitative research in general. In other words, you are not simply presenting your review; rather, you are posing questions you encountered in reviewing your article for your classmates to consider and discuss. You should expect the roundtable discussions to take approximately 45-60 minutes.
Your written review should be approximately 1000-1200 words. Your writing need not be strictly technical or overly formal, but keep in mind that this is an academic assignment that should follow the general conventions of academic writing. Moreover, your writing should be clear, accurate, and relatively error-free.
Please submit your review as a Microsoft Word file. Generally, you should expect to submit your assignment via email.
This assignment is worth a total of twenty points.
Twenty points will be earned for a critical review that satisfactorily meets the guidelines for the assignment as described above. That is, your review should
In addition, you must submit copies of your article on the scheduled days, as described above; the assignment will not be considered complete (and no points will be earned) if you do not lead your roundtable on the scheduled day.
A Final Note. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns about this assignment. Don't hesitate to contact me if you are not sure about the article you have selected (or the journal it is taken from), or if you want to discuss other aspects of the assignment, including the writing of the review and the class presentation.