Analyzing the importance of a research paper: Things to know

A great skill to have for any researcher is the ability to analyze text to decipher the meaning, significance and implications of a research paper. When we analyze a paper, it is vitally important to appreciate the skill that has gone into the writing. It’s also important to remember that there has never been a perfect research paper written, never has, never will. There will always be someone, somewhere that can analyze and pick a fault

  1. When analyzing you should ask yourself three very important questions. First you must ask yourself can I learn anything from this paper. What is the true value of the paper, does this paper add anything to our stock of knowledge. How do I summarize the Knowledge that is represented (often papers make knowledge claims, so this is quite often an easy question to answer. You should base your view on how much you agree with what the author is writing. Also, there will be big different levels of completing of statements of what you have learned from the paper.
  2. What are the limitations? How to make a perspective from the knowledge claims made in the paper, can I get any perspective out of the knowledge. These are all things that can be asked as well as, which aspects of the paper that may be ambiguous which is open to new interpretations. The author themselves should provide the reader with a starting point towards further research, by giving a critique of the weaknesses of the study. However, this opinion could be somewhat biased. They are however giving the critique themselves. Considering the limitations of the study, there are a lot of questions asked.
  3. There are key areas that any critical reader will always consider. Most of the studies base themselves on a sample of the whole population. Of course, there are going to be those that are a little bias involved so we must be somewhat careful.

You don't have to criticize in order to be critical. When you're critical of some text, remember you are there to evaluate and judge its worth overall. When we say evaluate, we mean an assessments and weaknesses of the text. This relates to particular criteria. You must remember the whole purpose is not to insult but to aid one's work. It can be very helpful to have a positive critique.


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