Quantitative Methods Portfolio Task 3: Critical Reading of a Quantitative Research Article

You are to write a 1200-word report (±10%, so anything between 1080 and 1320 words) critically reviewing one of the following research papers:

  • Jarvis, T., & Pell, A. (2005). Factors influencing elementary school children’s attitudes toward science before, during, and after a visit to the UK National Space Centre. Journal of Research in Science Teaching42(1), 53-83.
  • Kazakoff, E. R., Sullivan, A. & Bers, M. U. (2013). The Effect of a Classroom-Based Intensive Robotics and Programming Workshop on Sequencing Ability in Early Childhood. Early Childhood Education Journal. 41(4), 245-255.
  • Stipek, D. J., & Byler, P. (1997). Early childhood education teachers: Do they practice what they preach? Early Childhood Research Quarterly12(3), 305-325.

Alternatively, you may select a different study to review but you must agree this with Jamal before beginning your assignment. The source must be from a peer reviewed journal, at least fifteen pages in length and contain quantitative elements, including hypothesis testing of some sort.

Assessment Criteria

  • Your report must include a brief description of the aims of the article you are reviewing
  • You should critically examine the authors’ choice of methods (you may use the questions we adapted from Greenhalgh & Taylor in session 6 – see overleaf)
  • You must review some* of the statistics or graphs which have been used in relation to the context and the type of data which has been recorded. Have the authors justified their approach?
  • You should cite at least three methods texts and/or other studies that have been conducted in education to support your views. (E.g. if you feel that the author used an inappropriate test or didn’t do the right “checking tests” – use your lecture notes and other sources to explain why.).
  • You can include some reflective commentary – do you find the results interesting, convincing, well-justified? You might also consider what you have learned from the authors’ report which might have implications for your future quantitative research.

Suggested structure

The aim of this task is for you to critically explore at least some elements of the authors’ quantitative approach. It is recommended that you briefly summarise how the authors’ methods might complement or support each other.

You can use these questions as sub-headings if you wish. Explain that you are doing so when introducing the report (cite the EDU202 Powerpoint slides or explain how these are adapted from Greenhalgh & Taylor).

PLEASE NOTE: You are not required to address all of these questions or all of the methods used in the paper.

  • Question 1: Did the paper describe an important educational issue addressed via a clearly formulated question?
  • Question 2: Was a quantitative approach appropriate?
  • Question 3: How were the setting and the subjects selected?
  • Question 4: What was the researcher’s perspective, and has this been taken into account?
    (How have the authors’ positionality or epistemological beliefs around quantitative methods been declared or implied?)
  • Question 5: What methods did the researcher use for collecting data and are these described in enough detail?
  • Question 6: What methods did the researcher use to analyse the data and what quality control measures were implemented? (Assumption checks like Shapiro-Wilk etc.)
  • Question 7: Are the results credible, and if so, are they educationally important?
  • Question 8: What conclusions were drawn, and are they justified by the results?
  • Question 9: Are the findings of the study transferable to other educational settings?
  • Question 10: Has anything in this paper made me change how I will approach reading or reporting quantitative research in future?

Notes on referencing

Include the full reference for the paper you are reviewing at the end of the task. You don’t need to keep referencing it within the text itself, instead just use page numbers (p. 4) to indicate where you are referring to parts of the paper.

When you use other sources like methods texts or other research, reference them as usual with a citation in the text (Connolly, 2001, p. 43) and an entry in the reference list at the end of the task.

Notes on advanced methods

Some of the papers may involve statistical techniques that you have not yet covered, or fall outside the scope of EDU202. You can still review these papers using the questions above! You can comment on how clearly the author has explained the purpose and appropriateness of their chosen method. You can also consider how clearly the author has reported their results.

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