How to Critique a Nursing Research Study Introduction Section

Written by patricia hunt
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How to Critique a Nursing Research Study Introduction Section
As nursing research increases, so does the need for evaluation of that research. (Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Over the last 30 years, nursing research has dramatically increased, yet all research does not have equal insight or clarity, which suggests a powerful need exists for critique of this research. The introduction section of a nursing research study should consist of: an abstract (sometimes optional), title, a literature review, the overview of the paper's subsections and the thesis statement. The introduction of a nursing research study contains much to critique.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    State the name, degrees and job title of the nursing study's author. Find this information at either the very start or end of the research study. Is the author a nurse or other medical professional? Assess whether the researcher has credibility in the world of nursing.

  2. 2

    Comment on the article's title. Does it adequately and accurately characterise the research? Long (more than 15 words) and short (three words or less) titles obscure meaning.

  3. 3

    Judge the abstract, if given. Some research will not have an abstract that provides an overview of the study's purpose, methodology, findings and recommendations in a paragraph on a separate page at the start. Evaluate the abstract's sufficiency. However, do not denigrate the study for the absence of an abstract because some journals do not demand it.

  4. 4

    Analyse the study's introduction by judging these elements: historical background about the subject (reasons for, or context of, the study); gaps in past research; research purpose or problem statement; preview of the study's subsections; thesis statement. First, look at the study as a whole and evaluate the presence of these elements, and then determine their effectiveness.

  5. 5

    Evaluate the literature review if one substitutes for an introduction. All literature reviews should: identify the research problem; identify research methodology; identify keywords; provide the paper's subsections; present thesis. Address the same questions for an introduction: Does the literature review provide these elements and how well does the study articulate them?

Tips and warnings

  • Follow the advice on the assignment sheet before the advice of unknown tutors.
  • Do not use any personal pronouns in the critique. Scientific critique emphasises the strengths and limitations of research devoid of personal observation.

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