Critical Analysis

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Critical analysis of a journal article During your time at university, it is likely that you will be asked to critique or analyse a journal article. But what does this actually mean? In order to write a critical analysis of an article, you need to take several things into consideration. Firstly, you will need to describe the article briefly, explaining what it is about. You’ll then need to look in more detail at the information contained within the article. For example, let’s say the article is about a study conducted by the author. The purpose of the study was to determine whether people preferred reading The Guardian or The Sun newspapers. The author (let’s call her Sally Smith) did this research by asking people on the street which newspaper they preferred to read. In your analysis, you need to not only explain her research methods, but also question whether they were suitable. In this case, you might want to think about the following kinds of questions: • How many people did Smith ask? Was it enough? • Does Smith show that she asked a cross-section of people, and if not, what effect could this have? (For example, would the age of the respondents have an effect on the result? What about whether they were male or female?) • Where did she do this research? Could her choice of location have affected the responses of those asked? (For example, if she asked The Sun staff members outside The Sun’s offices, it is highly likely that most respondents would say that they preferred The Sun! • What questions did she actually ask? Did she use a verbal or written questionnaire? Could this have made a difference? Were there any ‘leading questions’? • Would there have been a more suitable method? Why / why not? You’ll then need to think about Smith’s results, and how she has presented them. For example: • Has Smith used any graphs? Are they clear and easy to understand? •

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