Components of a Research Article

COUN 6626: Research Methodology and Program Evaluation

© 2019 Walden University 1

Week 4 Scholarly Article Content Analysis Preparation Guide

Please review the following information to help you prepare for the Week 4 Assignment

Components of a Research Article

Title and Author Information: The title of the article is important as it is a critical element for identifying the article when searching data bases. In professional counseling journals, the author who most substantially worked on the draft article and the underlying research becomes the first author. The others are ranked in descending order of contribution. However, in many disciplines, such as the life sciences, the last author in a group is the principle investigator—the person who supervised the work. Abstract: a brief (approximately 120 words) summary of the entire article. It should include

• the problem under investigation or the hypothesis • pertinent information on the participants • brief review of methodology • statistical analyses • results of the study/implications of the study.

Introduction: begins with a broad statement of the problem under investigation and then proceeds to narrow the focus to the specific hypothesis(es) of the study. The purpose of this section is to introduce the reader to the overall issue/problem that is being investigated and to provide a rationale for the research. In order to accomplish these tasks, the author needs to review past research on the same topic and present previous results. Methods: provides a detailed description of how the current study was conducted. This section outlines the procedures that the researchers followed to recruit participants, collect, and analyze data. An overarching goal of empirical studies is the replication of research. It is in the Method section that authors need to specify their participants and procedures to allow others to duplicate the study. Think of this section as being an overview of the procedures that tell you the who, what, when, where and how of the research. Results: reporting of the data. Also known as outcomes, the purpose is to describe what was found analyzing the data. In quantitative studies, it includes a description of the statistical analysis and tables and figures are often used to convey important information in an organized manner. In quantitative studies, the themes or explanations are described along with the processes used to determine these findings such as coding. Discussion: reviews, interprets, and evaluates the results of the study in a narrative form . Discussion sections typically begin by listing the hypotheses and then stating if the results supported or contradicted the hypotheses. Next, writers usually discuss similarities and differences between the current findings and findings of previous research. Any strengths or weaknesses of the current study are also reviewed, and suggestions are made on improving the research design. Also called “findings”, the discussion can include implications of the research and how the results are connected to counseling practice. Finally, a discussion section usually ends with the writer providing suggestions for future research. References: A list of all sources used during the development or completion of the research or the interpretation of the results. It is critical to document all sources of information and all research that was referenced or used to guide the study.

COUN 6626: Research Methodology and Program Evaluation

© 2019 Walden University 2

Week 4 Article Analysis

The following information is a step by step guide for completing the worksheet. Assignment Questions Tips

1. Peer Review

Is the article above a peer- reviewed, scholarly source

Peer review is part of the editorial process an article goes through before it is published in a peer-reviewed journal. Once an article is submitted to a peer-reviewed journal, the journal editors send that article to “peers” or scholars in the field to evaluate the article. To determine if a journal is peer reviewed (also sometimes called refereed journals), try one or both of these steps:

• Look up the journal in the (available on the A-Z Database List) and determine whether it is identified as peer reviewed.

• Examine the journal’s website and review the submission and editorial process for evidence of peer review.

2. Problem Statement and

Research Question(s).

What is the (a) problem the researchers were investigating/purpose of the research and (b) research question the researchers were trying to answer?

All studies have a research question that drives the investigation (what the researchers are trying to learn). Sometimes this is formally stated while other times the reader must discover this information which can usually be found in the Abstract or the Introduction section. The Results section or the Discussion section will provide the answer(s) to the research question. Research studies can use either quantitative, qualitative or mixed methods to investigate the question. Sometimes researchers are investigating more than one intervention and so research questions may include multiple parts. Be sure to review all parts of the inquiry or use multiple questions to explain.

3. Sample/Participants Describe the sample/participants in the study (including how many participants were in the study).

Participants are also known as the sample. Quantitative studies generally have larger samples sizes than qualitative studies. Case studies may have one main “case” which may include a single person, a family, a group, or community. You want to describe who (e.g., demographics) and how many persons participated in the study.

COUN 6626: Research Methodology and Program Evaluation

© 2019 Walden University 3

4. Procedures: Did the researchers secure permission to conduct the study and/or secure informed consent from the participants?

Were there any cultural concerns noted?

Informed consent is a critical part of ethical research. The procedures for informed consent are usually described in a methods section, however, not all authors specifically state the informed consent process. Cultural considerations are related to research procedures. Consider whether there were cultural elements that may have changed the way the study took place such as language barriers, the need for an interpreter, and whether the sample matches the population that the researchers say they are studying. The key is to consider what cultural factors are pertinent to the research question. If you say you are studying an intervention for depression, the sample needs to include persons with depression. If a study is not specific to race or gender, for example, that does not make it culturally insensitive if the researches didn’t set out to learn about that intervention specifically applied to race or gender.

5. Data:

Identify exactly what data was collected by the researchers within the study.

Is the data quantitative (numeric data such as scores on assessments like the Iowa Basic Skills Test (IBST) or the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI)? Is the data qualitative (for example, clinical intake interviews or a narrative behavioral observation?

The variables or phenomenon being investigated is usually found in the introduction and method sections (and sometimes the abstract). For example: if a researcher is investigating an intervention for the treatment of depression. The variable may be “level of depression” and the data collected could be scores on the Beck Depression Scale. All data points represent something the researcher is trying to investigate. Data can be quantitative (like a measurement, frequency, or score that is represented by a numeral) or qualitative (data captured using written or spoken words, observations or photos). This includes things like student academic or behavioral records, historical documents, records, or artifacts like diaries, journals or case notes.

6. Analysis:

What was the outcome/the general findings of the study?

What is the answer to the research question?

The authors identify if the results of the investigation support their hypothesis and present the major findings. The Results present the answer to the question the researchers were trying to learn. Keep in mind that when you are investigating an intervention, the findings could be mixed. In other words, the intervention might be successful, not successful, or partially successful.

COUN 6626: Research Methodology and Program Evaluation

© 2019 Walden University 4

7. Results/Discussion

Based on your understanding of the findings, discuss how the outcomes can be generally applied to counseling practice.

The discussion is where what the authors present how the results can be applied when working with clients or students. The authors will articulate their greatest take away is from the study outcomes and what they view as most important to know to meet the needs of clients or students with similar needs.

8. Application

How does this research apply to the case study?

While there are similarities and differences between the article and the case study on the worksheet, describe how the general outcomes from the article relate to the case study. Explain your insights into how the information from the article could be useful to meet the needs of the case study. NOTE: As a counselor, what did you learn from the outcomes of the research study in the article that you could use in developing treatment goals or action plans for the child in the case study on the worksheet?

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