General Analytical Questions
Here are some questions to use to help you analyze the readings.
Critical analysis of a theoretical paper in achievement motivation
- How is motivation defined by the author(s)?
- What are the main arguments? (e.g., What are the predictions and explanations for motivation?)
- What evidence is provided?
-- What counts as evidence?
- What definition of achievement is used? (What does "success" mean?)
- How does this theory relate to others, past and present, in and out of motivation? Complementary? Contradictory?
- What are the assumptions underlying the theory as presented in the paper? (What is/are the author(s) taking for granted?)
- What challenges do you have for this explanation of motivation?
- What questions arise for you as you think about this theory? How useful
Critical analysis of a research report
- What is the theoretical framework for this study?
- What problem(s) does this research address?
- What are the research question(s)?
- What are the hypotheses or guiding questions?
- What support is provided for hypotheses & questions?
- What methods are used?
- Data sources (who participates, in what context)
- Definition of achievement used:
- Are they measuring/documenting motivation or a related variable?
- Design (experimental, correlational, ethnographic, case study...)
- If this was a test of hypotheses, were they supported?
- If qualitative, was the evidence sufficient to warrant the interpretation?
-- What are the answers to the research questions, according to the authors?
-- Does the evidence support the authors' conclusions? Is it consistent with
the theoretical frame? What's new -does it contribute to what we know (does
it test, challenge, expand a theory?)
- -- Are there plausible alternative explanations for the results?
- -- Limitations of study (what are the holes, flaws, ambiguities?)
- How did the theoretical framework shape the research questions, evidence gathered, & interpretation? Are there other ways to approach the problem that might shed more light?