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PSYC 312 Research Methods in Psychology II: Evaluation

Journal Article

Purpose of the Article:  Why was the article written?

  • To persuade
  • To inform
  • To prove something

Type of Journal

  • Scholarly Journal: high quality research reviewed by experts in the field. (Peer-review)
  • Trade Magazine: topics in business or economic data

Organization & Content

  • Is material iorganized and focused?
  • Is argument or presentation understandable?
  • Is this original research, a review of previous research


  • Left/Liberal?   OR Right/Conservative? Center?
  • An alternative press?  OR Political action (PAC) group?

Date of Article

  • Up‐to‐date, Out‐of‐date, Timeless


  • Identifies resources consulted appropriate for the content.  
  • Is it selective or comprehensive,
  • Primary sources and/or secondary sources only
  • Is the citation style clear and consistent?


  • Is the article relevant to the current research project?  
  • Support an argument ‐Refute an argument
  • Includes survey results, primary research finding, case studies


  • Author(s) and/or publisher(s) credentials verifiable.  
  • Expert in this field? Where employed? Other writings?


  • Comprehensively, partially, or provide an overview?


  • Specialists. Researchers or scholars Students


  • Charts, graphs, maps, photographs used to illustrate concepts
  • Relevant, clear and professional‐looking?




  • Is the information reliable? 
  • .Is the author an expert in the field? Check credentials/affiliation
  • Does the resource have a reputable organization
  • Are the sources of information stated and verifiable
  • Can the author be contacted for clarification? 
  • Check for organizational or author biases.


  • Is material unique, accurate or is it derivative, repetitious, or doubtful?
  • Is the information available in other formats? 
  • Is the purpose of the resource clearly stated?
  • What subjects, time period, formats or types are covered? 
  • Is the information factual or opinion? 
  • Does the site contain original information or simply links? 
  • How frequently is the resource updated? 
  • Does the site have clear and obvious pointers to new content?

Format and Presentation

  • How many links does it take to get to something useful? 
  • Do images enhance the resource or distract from the content? 
  • Is the target audience or intended users clearly indicated? 
  • Is the arrangement of links uncluttered
  • Does the site have its own search engine? 
  • Is the site easily browsable or searchable?


  • Is response time fast? 
  • Does the site have a text-based alternative? 
  • How many links lead to a dead-end? 
  • Is this a fee-based site? Can non-members still have access to part of the site? 
  • Must you register a name and password before using the site

Literature Review

Evaluating a Literature Review

Selection of Literature

  • Are parameters of the review reasonable?
    • Why Is certain literature included and others excluded?
    • Which years are included?
  • Are primary sources emphasized over secondary sources?
  • Is the literature is relevant to the problem?

Criticism of the Literature

  • How is the review organized?
  • By  topics or ideas
  • By author
  • Is the review organized logically?
  • Are major studies or theories discussed in detail?
  • Are minor studies discussed as a group?
  • Is there criticism of the design and methodology of the studies?
  • Are studies compared and contrasted and conflicting results noted?

Summary Interpretation

  • Does the summary provide an overall interpretation of the problem?
  • Does the summary conclude that the research is necessary?
  • Do the implications provide theoretical or empirical justification for the research questions or hypothesis that follows?
  • Does the methodology provide a rationale for the design to follow?