Guidelines For Evaluating A Research Article Using attached “Guidelines for Evaluating a Research Article” to answer the below questions in no less than fi

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Using attached “Guidelines for Evaluating a Research Article” to answer the below questions in no less than five (5) full written pages of content supported with academic research: 

  • What is an Information Technology Project?  
  • Identify & explain the major parts of a research paper.
  • Explain the difference(s) between qualitative vs quantitative research methods.
  • Why use Peer Reviewed journals?
  • Why are keywords used during the Literature Review process?
  • Why are project deliverables, limitations & deadlines an important aspect of project development?
  • Why use/apply APA Basic Citation Stiles in your writing assignments/research?
  • Why is Academic Integrity important (see syllabus)?
  • Explain the difference between plagiarism vs self-plagiarism?

Requirements:

  • Use at least three – five (3 – 5) quality resources in this assignment. Note: Wikipedia and similar Websites do not qualify as quality resources.

Topics to be covered

  • Discussed Information Technology Projects.
  • Identified and explained the major parts of a research paper.
  • Explained the difference(s) between qualitative vs quantitative research methods.
  • Discussed the importance of peer reviewed journals.
  • Discussed the importance of keywords used during the literature review process.
  • Discussed why project deliverables, limitations and deadlines are an important aspect of project development
  • Discussed the why to use/apply APA Basic Citation Stiles in your writing assignments/research
  • Discussed the importance of academic integrity
  • Discussed the difference between plagiarism vs self-plagiarism.
  • Content is in rich descriptive details supported with quality research (Minimum 3 Sources) and properly formatted to APA.

257

Speaking of research

Guidelines for evaluating research articles

Phillip Rumrill!, Shawn Fitzgerald and
Megen Ware
Kent State University, Department of Educational
Foundations and Special Services Center for
Disability Studies, 405 White Hall, P.O. Box 5190,
Kent, OH 44242-0001, USA

The article describes the components and composition of
journal articles that report empirical research findings in the
fieldofrehabilitation. Theauthorsdelineate technicalwriting
strategies and discuss the contents of research manuscripts,
including the Title, Abstract, Introduction, Method, Results,
Discussion, and References. The article concludes with a
scale that practitioners, manuscript reviewers, educators, and
students can use in critically analyzing the content and scien-
tific merits of published rehabilitation research.

Keywords: Evaluation, research articles, guidelines for cri-
tique

1. Introduction

The purpose of this article is to examine the com-
ponents of a research article and provide guidelines
for conducting critical analyses of published works.
Distilled from the American Psychological Associa-
tion’s [1] Publication Manual and related descriptions
in several research design texts [4,8,9,12,15], descrip-
tions of how authors in rehabilitation and disability
studies address each section of a research article are
featured. The article concludes with a framework that
rehabilitation educators, graduate students, practition-
ers, and other Work readers can use in critiquing re-
searcharticleson thebasisof their scientificmerits and
practical utility.

!Corresponding author: Tel.: +1 330 672 2294; Fax: +1 330 672
2512; E-mail: prumrill@educ.kent.edu.

2. Anatomy ofa researcharticle

Fornearly50years, theAmericanPsychologicalAs-
sociationhaspresentedguidelinesforauthors to follow
in composing manuscripts for publication in profes-
sional journals [1]. Most journals in disability studies
and rehabilitation adhere to those style and formatting
guidelines. In the paragraphs to follow, descriptions
of each section of a standard research article are pre-
sented: Title, Abstract, Introduction, Method, Results,
Discussion, and References.

2.1. Title

As with other kinds of literature, the title of a scien-
tific or scholarly journal article is a very important fea-
ture. Attheriskofcontraveningtheage-oldadage“You
can’t judgeabookbyits cover,”BelliniandRumrill [4]
speculated that most articles in rehabilitation journals
are either read or not read based upon the prospective
reader’s perusal of the title. Therefore, developing a
clear, concise title that conveys the article’s key con-
cepts, hypotheses, methods, and variables under study
iscritical for researcherswishingtoshare theirfindings
with a large, professional audience. A standard-length
title for a journal article in the social sciences is 12–15
words, includingasub-title if appropriate. Becauseso-
cial science and medical indexingsystems rely heavily
on titles in their codification schemes to track and cat-
egorize journal articles by topic, providing a title that
clearly delineates a general research domain or topic
area is of utmost importance. If the title is vague or
ambiguous,chancesare that theprospectivereaderwill
not continue to read through the document to establish
whereitmightfit in termsofaspecificresearchdomain
or topic area. Examples of clearly descriptive titles
that can be found in the contemporary rehabilitation
literature include:
“Rehabilitation Counselors’ Assessments of Appli-

cants’FunctionalLimitationsas Predictorsof Rehabil-
itation Services Provided” [3].

Work 14 (2000) 257–263
ISSN 1051-9815 / $8.00 © 2000, IOS Press. All rights reserved

258 P. Rumrill et al. / Guidelines for evaluating research articles

“Employer Concerns About Hiring Persons with
Psychiatric Disabilities: Results of the Employer Atti-
tude Questionnaire” [6].
“Self-Perceived Reasons for Unemployment Cited

by Persons with Spinal Cord Injury: Relationship to
Gender, Race, Age, and Level of Injury” [13].
“Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors’ Attitudes

Toward Self-Employment Outcomes” [18].
“Surveying the Employment Concerns of People

with Multiple Sclerosis: A Participatory Action Re-
search Approach” [20].
“Effect of Graduate Research Instruction on Per-

ceived Research Anxiety, Research Utility, and Confi-
dence in Research Skills” [21].
Beforewe moveintodescriptionsof thecontent sec-

tions of a research article, we want to briefly address
theconceptof technicalwritingas it applies to thecom-
position of academic manuscripts. Journals adhering
to the American Psychological Association’s [1] pub-
lication guidelines favor manuscripts that are written
in direct, uncomplicated sentences. Editors prefer that
textbewritteninthe“activevoice”;wheneverpossible,
sentences should begin with their subjects and follow
withverbsandobjects (e.g.,“Theresearcherconducted
an experiment” rather than “An experiment was con-
ductedbytheresearcher”). Technicalwritingismarked
by the “less is more” maxim; extraneous phrases and
clauses that add words to the sentencewithout enhanc-
ing the overall statement should be avoided (e.g., “In
order to. . .”, “For purposes of. . .”, “As far as. . . is
concerned. . .”). Another element of sound technical
writing is the sparing use of adverbs (e.g., very, some-
what, strikingly)andadjectives thatdonotserve to fur-
ther defineor specify the terms that theyare modifying
(e.g., interesting, important, good, noteworthy).
In addition to the American Psychological Associa-

tion’s guidelines for technical writing, authors should
consider these six criteria for effective composition
provided by George Orwell (1946) in Politics and the
English Language:

1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of
speech which you are used to seeing in print.

2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it
out.

4. Never use the passive (voice) where you can use
the active.

5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or
jargon word if you can think of an everyday En-
glish equivalent.

6. Breakanyof these rules sooner thansayanything
outright barbarous (p. 170).

Organization is also key in preparing an effectively
composed journal manuscript, with multi-level head-
ings serving to guide the flow of text and keep the
reader on track. For authoritative information regard-
ing the style and formatting guidelines for submitting
manuscripts to most journals in social science fields,
readersshouldconsult theAmericanPsychologicalAs-
sociation’s [1] Publication Manual. For information
concerning the style and formatting requirements of
Work and other journals published by IOS Press, see
the Guidelines for Authors section included in the be-
ginning of this edition.

2.2. Abstract

Next to the title, the abstract is the most widely read
section of a journal article. In an empirical article, the
abstract should be a succinct, 100–150 word summary
of the investigation’s key features, including purpose,
objectives, researchquestions/hypotheses, sample, sci-
entific procedures, independent and dependent vari-
ables, and salient results. Results of the study should
be summarized in full in the abstract; authors should
describe both significant and non-significant findings,
notonly thosewhichupheld theirhypothesesorexpec-
tations. The abstract serves as an advance organizer
for the article, and it should include every important
premise, method, and result of the investigation. Like
thePrefacethatcommonlyorientsreaderstofull-length
textbooks, theabstractprovidesacomplete,albeit sum-
mary, preview of the article. Some journals, includ-
ing Work and the Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation,
ask authors to list key descriptors on the abstract page,
which are then used for purposes of indexing. In most
cases, the title is whatdetermineswhethera readerwill
read the abstract; the abstract determines whether the
reader will read the body of the article.

2.3. Introduction

Immediatelyfollowing the abstract, the introductory
section of the article sets the stage for the study upon
which the article was based. It orients the reader to the
problem or issue being addressed, develops the logic
and rationale for conducting the investigation, and al-
most always expresses the empirical hypotheses or re-
search questions. Heppner et al. [9] suggested that
the introduction should answer questions such as why
the topic is an important one to study, what previous

P. Rumrill et al. / Guidelines for evaluating research articles 259

work bears on the topic, how existing work logically
connects to the author’s research questions and/or hy-
potheses,howthequestionwillberesearched,andwhat
predictions can be made.
To answer these questions, authors typically address

three major elements in the introductory section of an
article: (1)TheResearch Problem, (2)TheFramework
for the Study, and (3) The Research Questionsand Hy-
potheses [8,15]. We will describe each of these intro-
ductoryelements in linear fashion,but we do not mean
to imply an order in terms of how they should be ad-
dressed. Many (if not most) authors blend these con-
siderations to fit the flow and logic of their respective
manuscripts.
The research problem. Usually in the very first sen-

tences of an empirical journal article, the author draws
the reader’s attention to the scope, impact, and current
status of the problem or issue being investigated. This
orientationismosteffectivelyachievedbyapplyingthe
broadest-possible perspective to the concern. A study
of success rates among participants in a stress inocula-
tionprogramforpeoplewithdiabetesmellitusmightbe
introduced by citing national statistics concerning the
incidenceandprevalenceof this verycommondisease.
An article describing the effects of a model job place-
ment programfor women with breast cancer might be-
gin with a review of existing literature concerning em-
ployment and breast cancer, with a particular focus on
the difficulties that women have in re-entering the la-
bor force following diagnosis and treatment. Authors
reporting a longitudinal study of the post- school em-
ployment outcomes of secondary students with devel-
opmental disabilities would likely introduce their arti-
cle with a review of the disappointing adult outcomes
which that populationhas experiencedsince the incep-
tionofformalizedtransitionservices in themid–1980s.
The framework for the study. The specific theoret-

ical and empirical framework for the particular inves-
tigation is another important part of the Introduction.
Authors summarize existing literature related to the
identified problem, then build a logical rationale for a
study that addresses gaps or inconsistencies in the lit-
erature. The author should present the theoretical or
conceptualmodel that informsthe inquiryandprovides
enough background to enable the reader to appreciate
the rationale of the current study. This framework elu-
cidates the purpose of the current study (e.g., to eval-
uate the effectiveness of a job placement program for
women with breast cancer), which is then operational-
ized in the research questions or hypotheses. Social
scientific theories which have figured pominently in

the frameworks of recent rehabilitation investigations
include Hershenson’s [10] model of work adjustment,
Bandura’s [2] concept of situational self-efficacy, and
BoltonandBrookings’[5] integratedmodelofempow-
erment.
The research questions and hypotheses. The Intro-

duction section of a research article typically includes
a statement of the research questions and/or hypothe-
ses that served to guide the study. A more specula-
tive research question tends to be used in descriptive
research designs (e.g., surveys, program evaluations,
empirical literature reviews) or in qualitative studies.
Examples of research questions could include: “What
concerns do college students with disabilities have re-
garding their future career prospects?”; “What themes
areevident in thepsycholinguisticdevelopmentofdeaf
women?”; and “What steps are Fortune 500 employ-
ers taking to provide on-the-job accommodations for
workers with disabilities?”.
The hypothesis, on the other hand, is predictive by

design. Its specificity is dependentupon the theoryun-
derlying it or previous, relevant research, but it should
include the direction of the expected results when-
ever possible. Independent and dependent variables
neednotbeoperationalizedin theory-basedhypotheses
(because this is done in the Method section), but the
expected relationship among study variables must be
clearlyarticulated. Examplesofdirectionalhypotheses
could include: “Participation in a cognitive-behavioral
stress inoculation program will decrease symptom on-
set and magnification”; “Anxiety, depression, and low
self-esteem will be collectively, positively, and signif-
icantly related to work interference”; and “Rehabilita-
tion counselors will rate people with severe disabili-
ties as less favorable candidates for employment than
similarlyqualified peoplewith mild or nodisabilities”.

2.4. Method

The Method section delineates how the research
questions were addressed and/or how the hypotheses
were tested. It shouldprovidethe readerwithsufficient
information so that one could replicate the investiga-
tion, and it should leave no question as to what was
“done”to theparticipants. Because theMethodsection
is theprimarysourcefordeterminingthevalidityof the
study[4], thequalityandclarityof this sectionaregen-
erallyregardedasthestrongestdeterminantsofwhether
an empirically-based manuscript will be accepted for
publication [9,16].

260 P. Rumrill et al. / Guidelines for evaluating research articles

Although the type and order of sub-sections found
in the Method section of a research article vary de-
pending upon the design of the study and the author’s
judgement related to the flow of text, most articles in-
clude descriptions of the study’s subjects/participants,
instruments/measures/variables,materials, design, and
procedures.
Subjects/participants. According to Heppner et

al. [8,9], theMethodsectionshould include(a) the total
number of subjects and numbers assigned to groups, if
applicable; (b) how subjects were selected and/or as-
signed; and (c) demographic and other characteristics
of thesamplerelevant to thestudy’spurpose. Someau-
thors also include a description of the population from
which thestudysamplewas drawn,adescriptionof the
specificsamplingprocedureused(e.g., simple random,
stratified, cluster; [4]), an indication of the represen-
tativeness of the sample vis a vis the broader popula-
tion, the circumstances under which subjects partici-
pated(e.g.,whether theywerecompensated,what risks
theyassumed),statisticalpoweranalyses,andresponse
rates (if applicable).
Instruments/measures/variables. The Method sec-

tionmust includeadetaileddescriptionofhowallstudy
variables were operationalized, measured, scored, and
interpreted. All instrumentsormeasuresthatwereused
in sampling, conducting the study, and evaluating re-
sults must be specified in terms of content (e.g., num-
ber of items, response sets), how measures were ad-
ministered, scoring procedures, relationship to study
variables, and psychometric properties (e.g., standard-
ization, reliability, validity). Authors should also in-
clude a rationale for selecting each instrument, that is,
why that instrument was the best choice for measuring
a particular construct.
Materials. Researchers should also include a de-

scription of any materials that were used to carry out
the investigation. Written guides for participants, in-
structional manuals, media or technology, and scien-
tific apparatusor equipment shouldbe described in de-
tail. Some authors include a description of the setting
inwhichthestudywasexecutedordatawerecollected.
Design. One of the most important features of the

Method section is a clear description of the design of
thestudy. This is essentialbecause thedesignservesas
the link between (a) the research questions/hypotheses
and the scientific procedures used in carrying out the
study and (b) the findings of the study and how these
are interpreted. Authors typically label their designs
in terms of how variables were manipulated,observed,
andanalyzed. Thereby, thedesign is theunifyingforce

inconnectingtheresearchobjectives toboth the results
and the knowledgeclaim that is made. To every extent
possible, a direct reference to the hypotheses should
be made when authors identify the design of a particu-
lar investigation. For example, Rumrill, Roessler, and
Denny[19] described their design as follows: “The re-
searchers selected a three-group, posttest-only (exper-
imental) design to assess the intervention’s univariate
and multivariate effects on (a) self-reported attitudes
(situational self-efficacy and acceptance of disability)
and(b)participationintheaccommodationrequestpro-
cess.”
Procedures. The most important component of the

Method section is the easiest to describe. In chrono-
logical order, authors simply list every step they took
in developing, administering, and evaluating the study.
Beginningwith the recruitmentofparticipants, follow-
ing the study through collection of the last datum, and
includingeverything in-between – the Procedures sub-
section should provide the reader with a step-by-step
protocol that could serve as a guide for replicating the
study. Descriptionsofany interventionsshouldbepro-
vided in detail, along with summaries of the qualifi-
cations of project personnel who were instrumental in
executing the investigation. Procedures should also in-
clude how the investigation ended, along with a state-
ment of any debriefing or follow-up services provided
to participants.

2.5. Results

The Results section of a research article should in-
clude a complete inventory of all relevant findings ob-
tainedby the investigators. In articles that reportquan-
titative studies, results are typically presented in two
parts – (a) summary, or descriptive, statistics related
to participants’performanceon the measures that were
taken (e.g., means, standard deviations, frequencies,
percentages) and (b) statistical analyses related to the
specific hypotheses of the study (e.g., analysis of vari-
ance, multiple regression, factor analysis). We believe
that all analyses conducted as part of the investigation
shouldbereportedin full,notonly thosewhichyielded
statistically significant results. The Publication Man-
ualof theAmericanPsychologicalAssociation[1]pro-
vides considerable guidance related to how statistics
should be presented in the Results section, but it does
notalways provideadequateguidelines regardingwhat
statistical information should be included. Heppner et
al. [9] identified a pattern in recent social science lit-
erature whereby researchers tend to err on the side of

262 P. Rumrill et al. / Guidelines for evaluating research articles

providing too little statistical information: “The trend
has been to report less; for example, one rarely sees
analysis of variance source tables anymore. More dis-
turbingis the tendencynot to report important informa-
tion (suchas size of test statistic andprobability levels)
whenresults arenon-significant. Thisminimalistpoint
ofviewputstheemphasisonstatisticalsignificanceand
ignores concepts such as effect size, estimation, and
power.”
In recent years, the “minimalist” perspective (in

terms of reporting statisitical findings) has been chal-
lenged by numerous researchers and statisticians [11,
14,22]. The most serious argument against this per-
spective relates to the influence that sample size has
in determining the significance of any statistical test.
Hayes [7], for example, pointed out that virtually any
study can be made to yield statistically significant re-
sults if the researcher includes enough subjects. To
avoidthepossibilityofmisleadingresearchconsumers,
thelatesteditionofthePublicationManual[1]suggests
thatall authorsprovideestimatesofpracticalorclinical
significance along with all statistical significance tests
reported in the Results section.
A quantitative Results section should be limited to

the findings obtained by the researcher(s) in the cur-
rent investigation. Speculation concerning what those
findings mean in a larger context is reserved for the
Discussion section.
TheResults sectionsofqualitativelyorientedarticles

displaymuchmorevarietyin thecontentandmannerof
presentation than is found in quantitative studies. Be-
cause the researcher’ssubjective interpretationshelp to
shape the processes and outcomes of qualitative inves-
tigations, results areoftenframedinbroad, interpretive
contexts. In that regard, the lines between the Results
and Discussion sections are often blurred in qualitative
research.
Researchers(qualitativeandquantitative)commonly

use tables and figures to summarize and/or graphically
present their results. There is wide variability in the
content and presentation of tables and figures, with
the most important universal requirement being easy
interpretability for the reader.

2.6. Discussion

TheDiscussionsectionservesas the researcher’s fo-
rum to go beyond the current investigationand discuss
the contributions of study findings to existing litera-
ture, theory, and professional practices. The first part
of a thoughtful Discussion is often an analysis of the

study’s results vis a vis the research questions and hy-
potheses. Researchers should begin with a discussion
of whether the hypotheses were upheld, posit possible
explanationsfor thoseoutcomes,anddrawimplications
fromthefindingsbackto the researchproblemthatwas
identified in the Introduction. If the results provide
a warrant for modifying or re-testing the conceptual
frameworkuponwhichthe investigationwasbased, the
Discussion section is the place to suggest a reformula-
tion of the underlying theory. Researchers should also
include a statement of the scientific limitations of the
currentstudy,alongwith specificrecommendationsfor
future research. Finally, the researcher ends the arti-
cle with a cogent summary of the conclusions, in the
mostgeneralsense, thatcanbedrawnfromthemethods
and findings of the current study. Some authors use a
separate Conclusion section for this purpose.

2.7. References

The final section of a research article is always a
listing of the references that were cited in the body of
the text. References are listed in alphabetical order,
according to authors’ last names. Most rehabilitation
journals requireadherenceto theAmericanPsycholog-
ical Association’s [1] guidelines regarding the compo-
sition of the References section.

3. A scale for critiquing research manuscript and
articles

Understanding the components, organization, and
composition of a research article will help make Work
subscribersbetterinformedconsumersas theyreadem-
piricallybasedpublications. As readersdigest thecon-
tents of research articles and apply them to their prac-
tices, the “anatomy” of research reports can serve as a
useful rubric for critically analyzing the quality, con-
tent, and practical significance of published articles.
Table 1 presents specific questions for conducting a
section-by-section critique of a rehabilitation research
article.

4. Conclusion

This article examined the components of a research
articleandprovidedguidelinesforconductingacritical
analysis of published research. Although the descrip-
tions of the components of a research article provide

P. Rumrill et al. / Guidelines for evaluating research articles 263

only a skeletal summary of what should be included
in a published research article, they should provide the
readerenoughinformationtobothpreparemanuscripts
forpublicationandevaluate the empirical research that
appears in Work and other rehabilitation journals.

References

[1] Washington,D.C.,AmericanPsychological Association, Pub-
lication manual of the American Psychological Association,
(Fourth Edition), 1994.

[2] Bandura, A., Social foundations of thought and action: A
social cognitive theory, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall,
1986.

[3] Bellini, J., Bolton, B. and Neath, J., Rehabilitation counselors
assessments of applicants functional limitations as predictors
of rehabilitation services provided, Rehabilitation Counseling
Bulletin 41(4) (1998), 242–258.

[4] Bellini, J. and Rumrill, P., Research in rehabilitation counsel-
ing: A guide to design, methodology, and utilization, Spring-
field, IL: Charles C. Thomas Publishers, 1999.

[5] Bolton, B. and Brookings, J., Development of a multifaceted
definition of empowerment, Rehabilitation Counseling Bul-
letin 39(4) (1996), 256–264.

[6] Diksa,E.andRogers,E.,Employer concernsabout hiringper-
sons with psychiatric disability: Results of the employer atti-
tude questionnaire, Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin 40(1)
(1996), 31–44.

[7] Hayes,W.,Statistics for psychologists, NewYork: Holt,Rine-
hart, and Winston, 1981.

[8] Heppner, P.,Kivlighan, D. and Wampold, B., Research design
in counseling, Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole, 1992.

[9] Heppner, P.,Kivlighan, D. and Wampold, B., Research design
in counseling, (2ndEdition), Pacific Grove, CA:Brooks/Cole,
1999.

[10] Hershenson, D., A systems reformulation of a developmental
modelofworkadjustment, Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin

40(1) (1996), 2–10.
[11] Hunter, J.,Needed: Aban on the significance test, Psycholog-

ical Science 8 (1997), 3–7.
[12] Kazdin, A., Research design in clinical psychology, (2nd Edi-

tion), Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon, 1998.
[13] Krause, J. and Anson, C., Self-perceived reasons for unem-

ployment cited by persons with spinal cord injury: Relation-
ship to gender, race, age, and level of injury, Rehabilitation
Counseling Bulletin 39(3) (1996), 217–227.

[14] McClure, P., Determining the significance of significance: P-
values, effect size, and clinical judgement, Journal of Hand
Therapy 12 (1999), 40–41.

[15] McMillan, J. and Schumacher, S., Research in education: A
conceptual introduction, (Fourth Edition), New York: Long-
man, 1997.

[16] Munley, P., Sharkin, B. and Gelso, C., Reviewer ratings
and agreement on manuscripts reviewed for the Journal of
Counseling Psychology, Journal of Counseling Psychology 35
(1988), 198–202.

[17] Orwell, G.,Politics and the English language, in: A collection
of essays, G. Orwell ed., San Diego: Harcourt, Brace, and
Jovanovich, 1946, pp. 156–171.

[18] Ravesloot, C. and Seekins, T., Vocational rehabilitation coun-
selors’ attitudes toward self-employment outcomes, Rehabili-
tation Counseling Bulletin 39(3) (1996), 189–201.

[19] Rumrill, P.,Roessler, R.andDenny, G., Increasing confidence
in the accommodation request process among persons with
multiple sclerosis: A career maintenance self-efficacy inter-
vention, Journal of Job Placement 13(1) (1997), 5–9.

[20] Rumrill, P.,Roessler, R. and Koch, L.,Surveying the employ-
ment concerns of people with multiple sclerosis: A participa-
tory action research approach, Journal of Vocational Rehabil-
itation 12(2) (1999), 75–82.

[21] Schaller, J. and Parker, R., Effect of graduate research in-
struction on perceived research anxiety, research utility, and
confidence in research skills, Rehabilitation Education 11(4)
(1997), 273–287.

[22] Thompson, B., AERA editorial policies regarding statistical
significance testing: Three suggested reforms, Educational
Researcher 25(2) (1996), 26–30.

P. Rumrill et al. / Guidelines for evaluating research articles 261

Table 1
A scale for critiquing research articles

Instructions: Answer the following questions regarding the article, “ ”. Use examples
from the article to support your analyses.

A. Title
1. Does the title describe the study?
2. Do the key words of the title serve as key elements of the article?
3. Is the title concise, i.e., free of distracting or extraneous phrases?

B. Abstract
4. Does the abstract summarize the study’s purpose, methods, and findings?
5. Does the abstract reveal the independent and dependent variables under study?
6. Are there any major premises or findings presented in the article that are not mentioned in the abstract?
7. Does the abstract provide you with sufficient information to determine whether you would be interested in reading
the entire article?

C. Introduction
8. Is the research problem clearly identified?
9. Is the problem significant enough to warrant the study that was conducted?
10. Do the authors present a theoretical rationale for the study?
11. Is the conceptual framework of the study appropriate in light of the research problem?
12. Do the author’s hypotheses and/or research questions seem logical in light of the conceptual framework and research

problem?
13. Are hypotheses and research questions clearly stated? Are they directional?
14. Overall, does the literature review lead logically into the Method section?

D. Method
15. Is the sample clearly described, in terms of size, relevant characteristics, selection and assignment procedures, and

whether any inducements were used to solicit subjects?
16. Do the instruments described seem a

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