Research Skills required by PhD students A5: Critical reviewing.
Cloud created by:
3 March 2010
A5: The ability to critically analyse and evaluate one's findings and those of others
Check this skill
By the time students complete a PhD, they should be able to answer ‘Yes’ to most of these questions.
- Given a report of some research, can you think of other ways in which the research question might have been addressed?
- Given a set of evidence, can you think of alternative ways of interpreting it? Given a set of research papers, can you summarise their work in a table, comparing their methods, findings, and distinctions? Given two accounts of research results, can you give reasoned argument as to which account is more likely to apply?
- Can you specify what further work would be needed to choose between the accounts?
- If you identify a limitation in someone else's research, can you explain how that limitation might be addressed in future studies?
- Can you identify assumptions in your own studies and reasoning?
- Can you discuss objectively weaknesses in your own findings?
- Can you identify when further work is needed to substantiate your findings?
- Do you contribute to seminar discussions with constructive criticism and with informed questions?
Evidence of this skill
These are examples of documents you can collect. Each implies a piece or work, which may be a good way for you to develop this skill.
- The literature review component of your probation assessment.
- A table critically comparing a set of studies in your area.
- A published review of research in some aspect of your field.
- A record of presenting and critically discussing a paper in a reading group, journal club, or equivalent.
- A record of presenting your own findings and your interpretation/analysis of them, and of defending them in response to questions.
- A record of raising pertinent questions at research seminars.
- A written 'gap analysis' of a research paper or group of papers.
- Examples of data analysis carried out and critically interpreted.
This page is based upon material produced by The Open University’s research school to support doctoral students.