How to evaluate the quality of a research paper published in a journal?
When we are working on our research idea, we are dependent upon the already existing research to pick up the threads. The previously done work constructs the foundation for our research and guides our further course. For the purpose of establishing a strong research base and to avoid the multiplication of wrong information, it is very crucial to have a critical evaluation of the existing scientific evidence. As an author, you must know which research paper can be considered worthy.
There is a criterion to confirm if the results of the research can be trusted. Errors invariably can emerge in any of the research phases and so the way the research has been conducted and the presentation of the results do matter.
When you are trying to evaluate or write an effective research paper, here is a reminder of a few criteria you must not miss:
Research Question: The research question must clearly state the aims of the research. As a reader with a critical perspective, you must pay specific attention towards logic, causation, association or relationship to know that the author had a clear picture of why he wanted to do the research.
Sample: The sample has to be representative as well as adequate. In addition, the technique for selection of the representation is also an important determinant of the quality of the research. Look for if there is any scope of bias in the sample and the adequacy of the sample size can be determined by employing power analysis.
Control of extraneous variation: Has the author ensured the control of relevant confounding variables? If not hen the findings can be affected and not be completely trustworthy.
Research Methodology: The research design should be suitable and should justify the research question raised priorly. The reader should thoroughly investigate the true experimental design and distinguish it from a random assignment or pre-experimental design.
Data Analysis: In synchronisation with the data and the objective of the study, appropriate statistical tests should be applied. In the case of multi comparisons, check if the researcher has taken up post hoc.
Discussion and Conclusions: Does the study permit generalisation and are there practical limitations of the study discussed? The results should be the base of the discussion and conclusion of any study. The conclusion shouldn’t be governed by what the researcher expected to achieve from the study.
References: Are the references structured and follow the APA guidelines? They must be relevant to the time of the study and not obsolete or redundant.