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EDFO U397 Minor in Education: Searching & Analyzing

Analytic Reading

Analytic reading is when a skilled researcher evaluates their sources and evidence very carefully by asking questions of the readings.

For example, they ask such questions as:

  • What is the journal-title and is it related to the topic?
    • For example, finding articles about crime in a Shakespearian Journal would not necessarily offer valid research for a criminal justice paper.
  • Who is the Author(s)? What do you know about them?
  • What is the purpose of the article?
    • For example, is it reporting on an experiment? a new theory? reviewing previous research? a literature review?
  • What is already know about this topic? Is it pointed on in the article?
  • Are there known gaps in research?
  • When and where were the studies carried out? Timeliness can be a consideration with research.
  • Who funded the research studies? Might I question the credibility of the work?
    • For example, what credence can be given to a study on African American IQs funded by the Ku Klux Klan?  Is this the ONLY study showing these results?
  • Who actually performed the research?
  • Is there any reason to suspect that the methodology or the interpretation of the results was restrained by some authority?
    • For example, what should a researcher conclude about medical experiments performed in Nazi Germany?
  • Has the researcher overlooked any possible confounds or extraneous variables that could affect interpretations of the findings?
  • What were the political, socio-economic, religious, etc. conditions at the time of the research?
    • For example, a study correlating education levels and employment attained by African Americans during the 1930s
  • What specific problem does this research address? Why is it important? How will it relate to my research?
  • Is the method used a good one? The best one? How does it compare with the other research I have found?
  • What are the specific findings?
  • Are the findings supported by persuasive evidence?
  • Is there an alternative interpretation of the data that the author did not address?
  • What specific problem does this research address? Why is it important?
  • How are the findings unique/new/unusual or supportive of other work in the field?
  • How do these results relate to the work I’m interested in? To other work I’ve read about?