Tips of the critical reader

Checklist for the Critical Reader

An approach suggested by Elmes, Kantowitz, Roediger III, (2003) to generate some ideas.  As you read the empirical study, start asking


  • What is the author’s goal; Identify theory? Is there a competing theory?
  • What are the hypothesis to be tested?  How would I test these hypothesis?


  • How would I do the study? Is my proposed method better that the author’s
  • Does the author’s method actually test the hypothesis?
  • What are the independent, dependent and control variables?  How would I measure these variables?  Is there a better way?
  • Using the participants, apparatus, materials, and procedures described by the author, what results would I predict for this experiment?


  • Did the author get unexpected results?
  • How would I interpret these result? (e.g., applications, implications and/or alternative explanations)


  • Does my interpretation or the author’s best represent the data?  If I have a better interpretation, how would I test my interpretation?
  • What questions are left unanswered?
  • What additional studies are left unanswered?


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