Use a bulleted-list format.
What is the problem being studied? Is the researcher clear about what s/he is studying? Is the problem clearly identifiable? Is it researchable? Is it significant to nursing practice? To theory development? What is the theoretical framework for a quantitative study, if any? What is the philosophical underpinning for a qualitative study, if any?
Does the report clearly state the purpose of the study? Is the purpose related to the problem? What is the research question? Are there research variables being studied? If so, are they clearly delineated? What are they? Is there a hypothesis? Should there be one? What is it or what are they?
Are sources noted and is the relationship of the problem to previous research clear? Do the references reflect a careful, comprehensive review of the literature? Are they current? Is the literature review relevant and well organized? Does it build a logical argument for doing the study? (In other words, what points does the author make to support the need for the study, and in what order does s/he make them?)
Is the research design/method clearly described? Can you really understand what was done and why? What is the research design (e.g., experimental, descriptive, historical)? Describe the design. Is the research design appropriate to the research question/the solution to the problem? How was the sample selected (e.g., random, representative, convenience, volunteer)? What is the sample including size? What is the setting of the study? Was the study reviewed by an Institutional Review Board (IRB)? Was informed consent obtained prior to the start of the study? What measures are in place for anonymity/confidentiality/informed consent? What are the instruments/tools that were used? Are observation or interview techniques appropriate? Was reliability, validity, and/or rigor discussed?
Do the findings answer the research question? What are the findings? Are tables/graphs understandable? Does the content of the findings/discussion merely restate the content of the tables or does it interpret and point out significant relationships? Do the results in the tables/graphs agree with the written analysis? Do selected statistical methods seem appropriate? Discuss the methods used.
Are the limitations clearly stated? What other limitations do you see? Conclusions: Was the research question answered? Do the conclusions seem logical? If so, in what way(s)? Do the findings suggest need for further research? Do the authors discuss generalizability?
Given the answers to these questions, would you and how might you incorporate these findings into nursing practice? Will the study benefit practice directly or indirectly? What are the implications for future research? If you were asked to replicate this study, could you/would you/should you follow the same process?
Use a bulleted-list format.