This assessment item requires you to write a critical review about the research design adopted for three empirical studies that relate to your proposed research topic. This assignment is designed to give you insights into methodological approaches that may be suitable for your own proposed research project. This assignment may also benefit you by learning about mistakes previous researchers may have made. You will also gain experience in searching for and retrieving academic literature that relates to your intended research project.
You are required to search for and retrieve three pieces of empirical research relating to your intended research topic that have been published in peer-reviewed academic journals. You are then to write a critical review about each piece of research in isolation regarding the appropriateness of each study’s research design. Specific instructions are located below.
Be clear that you must review empirical research published as articles in peer-reviewed academic journals. Empirical studies are where the author(s) have collected and analysed data. Typically, such articles will exhibit a distinct methodology/methods section (though the actual heading will vary between articles), and a section presenting analysis of data. Empirical research articles contrast with the other main form of articles published in peer-reviewed journals – conceptual articles. Conceptual articles typically review the literature on a certain subject, or may develop theoretical ideas without analysing data. Conceptual articles are not suitable for this assignment. There is no date limit on the articles you review. Ask your lecturer if unsure.
Peer-reviewed academic journals are those held by university libraries. Students can search for relevant research articles by searching scholarly databases such as Google Scholar or Proquest (see the “Databases” section of the SCU Library website). Full-text articles may then be retrieved by searching in the SCU Library catalogue, or in some cases scholarly databases may provide a direct link through to the full-text. Contact the Library if you are unsure how to search for, or retrieve articles – it is not within your lecturer’s duties to teach you how to search for such information. Note that trade/industry practitioner publications are not a suitable source of research for this assignment.
Your methodological review should be structured as follows:
Research aim and objectives: Insert your research aim and objectives (or questions/hypotheses if applicable). You may use the aim and objectives from Assignment 1, or if you have refined your aim and objectives since then, you may insert the newer version. This is to assist the marker in understanding the context in which the empirical studies have been reviewed.
Methodological review of empirical studies: Address each empirical study you have retrieved separately (use a sub-heading for each, and identify the title, author[s], and year of publication for each piece). Be sure to afford reasonably equal length coverage to each study. Give a very brief overview of each study so that the reader understands what each study did and in what context (do not go into great detail here, remember that the emphasis is on critically reviewing each study’s research design).
In undertaking your methodological review for each study, comment specifically on each of the following issues (addressed in Topic 4):
Nature of the research
When reviewing these considerations for each empirical study, bear in mind that the author(s) may or may not state explicitly whether (for example) the study was exploratory in nature, or adopted a case study strategy. You may need to do some interpretation.
Remember that you need to critically review each piece of research. Reviews that merely describe what was done will attract only elementary marks. Argue as to why or why not you believe that the researcher(s) made prudent choices in formulating their research design. It is insufficient to simply state that “I believe that … ,” your argument must be logical and complete.
Conclusion and implications for your research: Round off your methodological review with 1–2 solid paragraphs discussing the implications of what you have read for your own proposed project. Aspects you might consider discussing here include what is the current methodological state of play in your intended area of research? What lessons have you learned? What research design do you believe might be appropriate for your own study, and why?
Reference list: Each empirical study that you have reviewed must appear in the reference list. Any other references cited within your methodological review must appear in the list of references. Reference list entries should adhere to the prescribed style guide. There should be a single reference list (i.e., not separate ones for journal articles and websites etc.), with citations listed in alphabetical order.
Your methodological review should be in Times New Roman font size 12, with 1.5 spacing and 3 cm left and right margins. Pages should be numbered and your name and student number should appear in the header or footer of each page. Headings in the text should be in 14 point, while all other text should be in 12 point.
Pages must be numbered consecutively.