Writing a research paper is one thing, writing an analysis of a published research paper is another, and it can be overwhelming at times. The fact that a research paper is composed of a lot of seemingly complicated sections such as conceptual and theoretical frameworks, methodology, and results discussion can intimidate someone especially when the topic is alien to the person trying to analyze the study. What we all forget is that, more often than not, research papers are written in such a way that all types of readers can understand it. If you cannot understand it, it is probably not your fault, however, as a reader, you are also responsible for ensuring that you are well-equipped especially if the task is to evaluate a research paper. To avoid cluelessness, the following steps may be helpful:
It is essential to first identify the specific topic of the research paper you are to evaluate. For example, as you skimmed through the study, you figured that the topic is “Human Behavior”, but knowing that is not enough. Readers tend to forget or even purposefully ignore the title of a study. The thing is a research paper speaks every significant variables of its content through its title. As you rummage for the title, you then realized that the study you are about to read is narrowed down to “Behavioral Study of Obedience”.
Now, if you found yourself still unfamiliar about the topic, the answer is simple: read and read more. First and foremost, make sure that you know the definition of the terms and how each term was used in the study. Then, find online articles that feature the same topic but covers the basics. If possible, read other published research studies as this can confirm if you are on the right track. Also, do not forget to jot down the key details as well the bibliographical information of that study. If you feel like the topic is not an unknown ground anymore, read through your chosen study. If you are still uncertain of where the paper could be going, continue researching about the topic. After all, you cannot evaluate a paper if you know nothing about it.
At first, you are intimidated but upon reading, you became confident of your understanding of the topic - way too confident that you chose to not take notes. As a result, you had to go back and forth through the research paper as you hunt for the key information you wish to commend or inquire upon, and since you need to look for something, it disrupted the flow of your ideas. Consequently, you got frustrated. This is why you need to keep your thoughts organized and you can do so by taking notes.
Analyzing a research paper is not as simple as agreeing to the researchers and commending how well they presented their results. Yes, it is inevitable to agree to certain thoughts mentioned in the study, but, remember your notes on other studies? These studies are either leaning on a similar direction or not. Your evaluation then should lie on the differences of the studies you read because you cannot rely on your own thoughts. Always remember that you are only imposing inquiries as a reader.
Note the different approaches utilized by all the studies you read and present what you think is the best approach utilized for the topic. Justify why you think so and clarify the issues you found in other research methods. For example, the quantity of respondents is too low, making invalid figures for generalizations on a certain locale. Aside from this, you also need to cite the best points of the studies you compared against your chosen study.
Once you have covered both the best points and issues of your chosen research, proceed to offering solutions to those issues. Hint: Read through the sections “Research Gap” and/or “Future Studies” thoroughly because this is where you can confirm if your evaluation of the paper is valid or not. You can also find here the future studies that the researchers themselves persuade other researchers to focus on. P.S. DO NOT FORGET TO CITE YOUR SOURCES. Also, do not hesitate to get help.