Journal Article review Guidelines
1. Summary of background and contents of paper (50% of marks)
Write two to three pages on the background and contents of the paper, this should cover the background of the study, and a summary of the study and its outcomes.
You should write a short review of the background of the article to make its context in medical microbiology clear, this should include a short discussion of the other relevant published studies in the area. This is likely to include the studies referenced in the article you are reading, but should also include other studies they don?t mention. In the case of a very novel technique there may be few other published studies, in which case you should focus your discussion of the background of the paper on the problem that it is addressing and its significance.
Your summary of the work done in the paper should cover the introduction, materials and methods, results and discussion sections. You may either write a section under each of these sections or write an overall ?summary? of the contents of the paper, provided all sections are mentioned in your report. Don?t forget to read any supplementary information that is linked to the paper.
As this paper is written primarily for microbiologists working in medical microbiology, there may be some sections that are not explained in the detail that you need for your own understanding. In that case, go to the literature and fill in the gaps. Additional references used should be cited using the Vancouver referencing system.
Critical Review. 50% of marks
The aim of this section is to show the examiner that you have understood the purpose, need for and content of the paper- particularly in relation to other published work in the field.
Present a critical review of the article. The following points will be helpful in the review: It is not essential that you answer all of these questions (not all will be directly relevant to the article you have chosen): or even that you write your review in the order set out below, but use these points as a guide and check list.
The major focus of the critical review should be the findings of the study, or the experimental approach in relation to other published work in the field.
You can point out typographic and grammatical errors, or state whether you think some parts of the paper are too long, or difficult to understand, but do not devote a large part of your review to these issues.
Questions to consider when critically reviewing an article:
? How original is this paper? For example, is it simply applying the methods used in another study to a new situation or is the idea completely novel?
? Are there any published studies on the same topic?
? What is unique about this study?
? How important is this study to medical microbiology?
? Are there any sections of the paper that are too long and could be shortened?
? Is the writing clear, simple and concise?
? Does the abstract outline the aims of the study, main methods, results and conclusions?
? Does the introduction state the research question to be addressed?
? Is sufficient background information provided for readers to understand the question?
Materials and methods
? Are the methods appropriate to the research question/s being addressed?
? Are the methods described in sufficient detail to be repeated by another microbiologist? Is any important information missing?
? Have references been provided for all the methods, except new ones developed by the authors?
? Are there any results in the text that would be better presented in a table or figure?
? Is there any material presented in a table or figure that would be better presented in the text? Is there any repetition of results in text AND a table or figure?
? Do you agree with the author?s interpretation of results? And the significance of the study? (You are free to agree or disagree- you need to justify your statements with explanations and or reference to relevant scientific literature)
? Have the authors clearly distinguished between their own results and the results of others?
? Are there any negative findings in the results that could be important but have not been discussed?
? Have the authors adequately discussed their results and conclusions in relation to the results of other investigators?
? Are the author?s conclusions acceptable and is there sufficient evidence for the conclusions they have drawn?
? Do the findings of the study agree with, or contradict other studies? Has this been discussed?
? Are there any relevant studies on this topic that have not been referred to or discussed by the authors?
? Check that all statements in the text that require a reference are properly referenced.
Tables and figures
? Do all tables and figures have complete legends so that they can be understood without reference to the text?
? Could any of the tables and figures be omitted or simplified?
Ethics and Conflicts of interest:
If relevant- Were all studies approved by the relevant animal or human ethics committees?
Do you think there could be any conflict of interest regarding the results of the study? Are any conflicts declared? Are there commercial interests in the study?
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