All research articles contain these 5 elements, in this order, generally:
- Research Question/Problem—and, generally, the author’s Purpose for writing the article
- Literature Review and/or a Theoretical/Conceptual Foundation
- Methodology—data collection and data analysis section
- Results or Findings
- Discussion or Implications.
Download the assigned article. Look for the elements and mark them, if that is helpful, reflect on what you read, thinking of how you would analyze each part’s strengths and weaknesses. What is unclear? What is unanswered? What more would you have liked to know?
Because reading and analyzing journal articles may be new territory for you, a few points about this article might be helpful:
- The Research Question and Purpose are located early in the Introduction. [note: while all articles have an introduction, it is not usually labeled, as such];
- While not called Conceptual Framework, the section titled ‘The Concept of Reflection in Learning’ actually is that, while the Literature Review is called ‘The Uses of Learning Journals.’
- What is usually called ‘Methodology’ is called ‘Research Methods’, while
- the Results or Findings in this article are quite long and contains a number of sub headings;
- the Discussion/Implications is broken into 2 parts in this article called ‘Implications and Conclusions,’ though you could put them in a single, heading.
Submit a double-spaced, three-four-page paper in Microsoft Word with the following parts:
- An Introductory paragraph that states the author’s last name, date, and the central focus of the article. Then in this same paragraph: write a purpose or thesis statement—that is yourpurpose or intent in writing this critique [WHAT] and a brief ‘map’ or ‘preview’ statement of the 5 elements you intend to develop in the body, to support your purpose. Do not title the section as the Introduction.
- A Body that breaks the 5 elements of a research article into Level Two headers, starting the first sentence of each paragraph with a topic sentence that focuses on the strengths and/or weaknesses of that element. Be sure to support each point with evidence from the article—quotes, paraphrases [See Citations, APA, Ch 6 to check how to do this].
- A Conclusion that restates your purpose and summarizes the article’s overall strengths and weaknesses. You might also discuss briefly what you learned from this article and in what ways you found it interesting or useful to do this first article critique.
- Include a Title page that contains your critique’s title and related information [See APA, p. 41]. Page 2, at the top, should contain the centered paper title again centered.
- Include a Reference page, fully citing the article, using APA Guidelines [References, Ch. 7] and other chapters as needed for editorial style, expression of ideas and format of text.
- Then, finally, consider these points:
- Use direct quotes sparingly—cite accurately, with quotation marks, etc.
- For any paraphrases, be sure to give credit to the author.
- Use correct grammar, spellcheck and proofread your paper.
Use this article:
Reflecting on Practice: using learning journals in higher and continuing education ARTHUR M. LANGER Teachers College, Columbia University in the City of New York, 203 Lewisohn Hall, Mail Code 4114, 2970 Broadway, New York, NY 10027, USA