What does it mean to critique research?
It DOESN'T mean that you're finding flaws and describing what was 'bad' about it. These are certainly things to look for, but more importantly, you're writing about HOW the research was done.
A few questions you might want to consider:
Does the problem or topic indicate a particular focus of study?
Is the problem “researchable,” that is, can it be investigated through data collection and analysis?
Do the researchers provide background to the problem?
Is the significance of the problem discussed?
Is the researcher qualified to carry out the proposed research?
Are all references cited relevant to the problem?
Does it educate the reader about the problem or topic?
Are references cited completely and accurately?
Methods / Methodology-
Do the researchers describe the size and characteristics of their study population?
How did the researchers select their sample?
Are there any biases or limitations in the sample?
Do instruments and their administration meet guidelines for protecting human subjects?
Did the researchers receive approval from a governing body or IRB (Institutional Review Board)?
If an instrument was developed specifically for the study, are the procedures involved in its development and validation described?
Are appropriate descriptive statistics presented?
Was every hypothesis tested?
Are the tests of significance described appropriate, given the hypotheses and design of the study?
Are the results clearly described?
Are the tables and figures (if any) well organized and easy to understand?
Are the data in each table and figure described in the text?
Discussion / Conclusion / Recommendations-
Is each result discussed in terms of the original hypothesis or topic to which it relates?
Are generalizations consistent with the results?
Are the possible effects of uncontrolled variables on the results discussed?
Are theoretical and practical implications of the findings discussed?
Are recommendations for future action made?
Have the authors avoided confusing practical and statistical significance?
Here are some more sites that might be useful in learning how to critique research:
Reading & Critiquing a Research Article from American Nurse Today
Framework for How to Read and Critique a Research Study from American Nurses Association
Step-by-step guide to Critiquing Research from British Journal of Nursing
Article Critique Checklist from University of Nevada, Las Vegas nursing research course syllabus