MBA 501 Article Analysis Instructions
Research article analysis will help you to develop your critical thinking skills and your ability to
express yourself in the written form. Here are some practical hints on how to identify, read,
summarize, and analyze a research article. A research article is written to get across a lot of
information quickly to a reader. Reading such articles can be tedious and sometimes frustrating
unless you are familiar with scientific writing and the reasons for this style. Research articles are
highly structured to make information easy to find. Unlike literary writing, scientific writing
emphasizes scientific inquiry or a process. The writing is very lean and extra words are avoided.
Use the Saint Leo University library databases to search for your peer-reviewed journal articles.
You will need to use your SLU ID and password to gain access. From the list of databases, select
either EBSCO Host or ProQuest. Both include an option to limit a search to
scholarly/peerreviewed journals. You can also limit your search to full text; however, the SLU
Library has an inter-library loan service that helps you acquire articles that may not be included
in the University’s collection. Make sure your article is no more than five years old.
Research articles may be qualitative or quantitative. Qualitative articles typically include sections
such as Review of the Literature, Sample Description, Data Collection Methods, Data Analysis
Methods, Findings, Discussion, and a Conclusion. A quantitative research article has the
following major sections: Title Page, Abstract, Introductions, Review of the Literature, Method,
Results, Discussion, References, Tables and Figures. An article analysis highlights the
information in the Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion. Before you can write such a
document, you need to read and understand the article.
Reading the Article
Allow enough time. Plan to spend at least one half of the time you devote to this assignment to
reading and understanding the article. Before you can write about research, you must evaluate it.
Before you can evaluate it, you must understand it. Before you can understand it, you must
digest it. Before you can digest, you must read it, thoroughly. This takes more time than most
Scan the article first. You will get bogged down in detail if you try to read a new article from
start to finish. Initially you should briefly look at each section to identify:
general information about the study (stated in the Abstract and Introduction)
the hypothesis (-es) or research questions (in the Introduction)
the test of the hypothesis, including the sample, variables and operational definitions, and
the procedures used (in the Methods)
the findings (in the Results, including tables and figures)
how the findings were interpreted (in the Discussion).
Underline key sentences or write the key point (hypothesis, design, etc.) of each paragraph in the
margin. It may also be helpful to write down these key points on a summary sheet as you come
Read for depth. After you have highlighted the question, hypothesis, findings, and
interpretations, go back to the article to read about each area in more detail. Now you should
expect to read each section more than once. Expect not to fully understand the article the first
time. You will have to read it more than twice before you can talk about it in your own words.
Plagiarism and taking notes. Plagiarism is presenting someone else's work as your own. Most
plagiarism is unintentional, from faulty note-taking and poor understanding of what is being
reported. To avoid it:
Take notes in your own words.
Remember that you are digesting information, not swallowing it whole. If an idea is
relevant to your topic, you should be able to summarize it in your own words. If you
cannot, you probably do not understand it.
Avoid writing complete sentences when note-taking.
When note-taking, distinguish between what the author wrote and your comments about
it (e.g., use different inks or put a star next to quoted sections).
Writing the Article Analysis
Like an abstract in a published research article, the purpose of an article summary is giving the
reader a brief, structured overview of the study that was done. It is important that you understand
that writing an article summary is a low-stress activity. By using these tips, the task becomes
very easy. To write a good analysis, you must know (a) what is important to say and (b) how to
condense important information. The better you understand a subject, the easier it is to write both
knowledgeably and briefly about it (this is the rationale for essay exams).
Getting started. Put down your pen and read all your notes to get an overview. Eliminate
irrelevant notes. Drop anything that does not connect with something else in your notes (the
earliest-taken notes are the most likely ones to be dropped).
Write a first draft. Use the same order as the article itself used, but should look something like
the below guideline for analysis:
• Paragraph One: Include an introduction to the paper by describing indicating what the
research is about. Tell the reader what the focus of the research is and state the
hypotheses or research questions.
• Paragraph Two: Identify the subjects and the procedures used in the study.
• Paragraph Three (and possibly Paragraph Four): Present the variables and how each was
measured. Be specific. Identify the name of the measurement and a brief description of
• Paragraph Five: Discuss the results of the study. Did the data support the stated
hypotheses? Use the results and discussion section for this.
• Paragraph Six through Eight: Critique the study. Specify what was done well and what
could have been improved. Some other questions to answer include:
o Was the research valuable?
o Was the study practical/helpful? To whom?
o Was the study done ethically?
o Should more research be done in this area?
o To whom do the results of this study affect?
o What should be the next step to be in this line of research?
• Paragraph Nine: Conclusion
Edit for completeness and accuracy. Add information for completeness where necessary. More
commonly, if you understand the article, you will need to cut redundant or less important
information. Stay focused on the research question; get rid of glittering generalities.
Edit for style. Write as though explaining something to 'an intelligent, interested, naive, and
slightly lazy listener' (e.g., yourself, your classmates, your parents). That is, expect your reader to
be interested, but do not make them have to struggle to understand you.
• Eliminate wordiness, including most adverbs ("very", "clearly"). Why say "The results
clearly showed that there was no difference between the groups"? You lose no meaning if
you just say, "There was no difference between the groups".
• Use specific, concrete language. Use precise language and cite specific examples to
support assertions. Avoid vague references, e.g., "this" ("this illustrates" should be "this
result illustrates"). Sentences that start with "I feel" often signal unsupported statements.
• Use scientifically accurate language. For example, you never "prove" theories in science,
you "support" or "fail to find support for" them.
• Rely primarily on paraphrasing, not direct quotes. In scientific writing, paraphrasing an
author's ideas is more common than using direct quotes. You must cite your paraphrases.
In this assignment, you are only allowed 3 sentences to be quoted directly. If you use a
direct quote, use quotation marks and proper citation.
• Check for spelling and typographical errors.
• Re-read what you have written. Ask other people to read it; they will catch things that
• Pay attention to presentation. It has your name on it. Your paper should look as though
you are proud of it.
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