5 Useful Tips on How to Critique a Research Paper

Last Updated on August 6, 2021 by Chrisantus Oden

How to Critique a Research Paper

Writing a research paper critique is an analytical skill that prepares you for writing your own research paper. Reading and critiquing research papers furnishes you with information and resources that may immensely benefit your own research as well as help simplify the research paper writing technique.

Careful attention to all the elements that make up the research paper, the form as well as the content are vital when critiquing a research paper. Therefore, pay utmost attention to the points below as it will guide you on standards to follow for an objective critiquing of a research paper.

1. Examine the Introduction

The Introduction interject specific problem that the research paper addresses. The presentation should convince the reader that the problem is important and deserves the research and analysis that forms the substance of the research paper. Contemplate whether the problem is presented in a clear and persuasive manner and if the thesis statement is strong enough.

2. Evaluate the methodology

The methodology depends largely on the discipline. The methodology and research design of a scientific research paper differs from that of theology or literary criticism. Each discipline has specific rules that sets the standard for academic research. In the case of scientific research, it involves forming a hypothesis, developing an experiment to test the hypothesis, and a system of collecting data. A research paper in theology or literary criticism usually relies on some type of elucidative, rather than empirical methodology.

3. Consult relevant literature

Readers search and read related literature when conducting research design, paper writing, and scientific research in this field. It is pertinent to consult other literatures and analyze it, then after having a full understanding of the papers with similar research content and similar framework results, can they be analyzed and compared. Therefore, a full understanding of the modern research status is the basis for evaluating the level of papers.

Review the characteristics of the thesis. A good academic paper should be scientific, innovative, standardized, academic, practical, and accurate. The most important of these is innovation. That is, whether there are new discoveries or progress in the paper, which is also the basic starting point for evaluating the value of the paper is to consider submitting it to a high-level journal. If the paper is less innovative, you should consider submitting it to a general-level journal.

Researchers should objectively and truthfully evaluate the scientific significance and practical value of their papers based on the actual situation of their papers.

4. Recognize the shortfalls and defects

it is impracticable for any paper to be perfect, because research have certain limitations. Consequently, when evaluating your thesis, you should summarize the pitfalls and defects of the research, and objectively analyze the scientific value of the research and the level of thesis writing.

5. Summarize the type of article

When choosing a journal, you should fully consider this issue of dirge of journals readily available to publish and finally check the reader’s notes of the journal you plan to submit to and the publication of various types of articles in the recent past. Please remember that the purpose of the review is to provide strict but fair feedback to assist the author in subsequent revisions of the paper, and to provide a reference for the journal editor to make decisions.

The first approach is to carefully read the full text from a critical point of view. Don’t be all out to detect the mistakes; it is said that the author has the responsibility to convince readers that the research described in the article is logically complete, interesting, and important. When reading, you should be reserved but open-minded and ready to accept persuasion, and read carefully, because the reviewer is likely to be the only reader who will read it line by line.

In addition, questions can be raised from any part of the research paper. Whether it is the awareness of the problem, the correctness and completeness of the research background described in the introduction, or the importance of the research pointed out in the discussion paragraph, these can be publicly critiqued. Don’t just focus on reading the research methods and paragraphs of research results and ignore other aspects of the paper.

Elements of a good critique

  • Write a review for editorial reference only and keep it confidential to the author
  • Write another one to give back to the author, but this one can also be seen by the editor.
  • Advice to the author

The best practice is to complete the advice to the author first. Because in the comments for the editor’s reference, the content of this part must be reviewed.

Then select a paragraph to unify the entire article: what research has been done in the article, what are the results of the research, and what are the main inspirations. The purpose of this paragraph is to inform the author and editor that we have fully read and understood this paper.

Furthermore, sort out the main advantages of the article. Even if the article is too bad, you must squeeze out some advantages. Of course, if you think the paper is excellent, you can also be open and honest with the author. Basically, when the author reads your comment, he must clearly understand your actual overall perception of this article, and then integrate the main criticisms and make suggestions for revision.

The next thing to do is to list these comments in detail. It is best to number them in order, because if the journal requires the author to revise the article, the author needs to report to the journal editor.

In the comments, as much as possible, indicate the corresponding number of pages and lines of the paper. It usually divides opinions into Major Comments and Minor Comments. The more detailed the description of the opinion, the better, the more detailed, the more it can indicate that the reviewer has read it with absolute concentration and the higher the chance that the editor and author will take this review seriously.

Good comments can never be vague, bland, and unexplained, such as “the article is nothing new” or “the length of the article should be reduced by one-fifth.” Be sure to explain why there is nothing new and which article fragments can be deleted. If there are any specific suggestions for dealing with the problems, such should be outlined point blank to enable the author to affect the necessary correction.

Sometimes some opinions have an inference. Currently, the best approach is to point them out directly. A common blind spot in journal reviews is to criticize the author for not doing the research in the way the reviewer wants, or the so-called “best” way. Always keep this in mind when composing your review. There are many ways to complete the research. Please be sure to review the critical articles objectively.

If the author commits a very basic or serious miscalculation can’t believe that there is such a problem in the article. Cautiously employ the use this rhetoric: “Apologies if I’ve totally misunderstood, but the claim online A has no reasonable standpoint”. After explaining the fallacy, the author is asked to correct it, or change the way of writing to make the text clearer.