Research Article Analysis
In an essay of 1,000 words, evaluate the article by Linda Darling-Hammond against the four-step educational research evaluation process outlined in chapter 6 of the text. Complete the comparison by following the steps:
- Identify the research question;
- Confirm that the research design matches the research question;
- Examine how the study was conducted; and
- Select dual explanations for the study.
Prepare this assignment according to the APA guidelines found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center. An abstract is/is not required. This assignment uses a rubric. Please review the rubric prior to beginning the assignment to become familiar with the expectations for successful completion.
Research Article Analysis
Linda Darling-Hammond’s article is a survey article that is aimed at analyzing studies conducted on how academic improvement can be achieved through professional development programs. In the article, Hammond groups the different studies according to the nature, importance and the kind of professional development supported. For instance, studies that support student centered leaning and training of teachers on instructional skills for teaching some content are grouped together. Those that support collaborative professional development and those that propose linking professional development programs to school reforms and curricula are also grouped together. Hammond aims at analyzing the different professional learning methods that have been proposed to suit the current world where sophisticated thinking is required. To attain this, the research question, “What does research say about the kind of professional learning opportunities that improve instruction and student achievement?” is used. This explicitly stated research question is descriptive in nature. That is, the researcher only needed to identify different articles or studies that discuss professional learning approaches that have been proposed by other researchers and then analyze what has been said about them. This shows that Hammond’s article is more of a survey paper.
Just as other survey papers, Hammond’s research question is only required analysis of existing literature. Many survey papers omit methodology section which is so important. Descriptive research does not require experimentation and therefore there are no independent and dependent variables whose effects are examined (Grimes 2002). In fact, Hammond’s study was not primary research. All that was required was for her to select specific research materials related to her area of survey and try to analyze their content. Though Hammond did not explicitly state the research design used, it can be still concluded that the research design used was descriptive basing on the contents of the article. According to the contents of study, Hammond identified several research materials related to professional development programs then grouped them according to what they address. She then gave a brief description of each research and the findings. This shows that the research was descriptive in nature.
Though the research did not require any data collection, the descriptive research design was supposed to be clearly defined. Researchers writing survey papers need to explicitly state the criterion used in identifying the papers used in the survey. This is one aspect that is lacking in Hammond’s work. Hammond was to describe the types of articles used in the survey and the criterion used in choosing them. For instance, she should have explicitly stated that the articles used were mainly primary researches that are related to professional development programs. The criterion used could be only selecting researches that were conducted not more than five years ago and those that show the effects of professional development programs on student achievement. The factors against which her analysis is conducted should have been also stated. For instance, if she based the analysis on the type of professional learning described then it should be explicitly stated. Consequently, the limitations of the study are supposed to be stated. Any aspects of the resources used that could affect the conclusion drawn from the survey should also be explicitly stated. This is important in ensuring the validity and authenticity of the concluding remarks. Hammond’s article therefore required a section that describes how the survey was conducted to guide those reading the article.
Lastly, Hammond’s document is not well structured or does not contain all the parts that a survey study should have. This can be seen in the lack of methodology and conclusion sections. Though it seems Hammond’s conclusion and findings are summed up in what the chosen studies support and what they do not, the analysis can be assumed to be shoddy. The two sections that contain what the studies support and what they do not support are simply a summary of what she had earlier written about the studies. There is more that can be said about the results of her survey other than just summary. For instance, a good survey paper should critique the articles used and propose future considerations or amendments (Rowley, 2004). This aspect was not portrayed in Hammond’s paper. Secondly, a person reading a research article should be able to clearly answer the research question from the discussion and conclusion section. Hammond’s concluding statements can be assumed not to fully answer the research question. They do not state what existing researches say about professional development programs that improve student achievement. For instance, she concludes that previous studies support collaborative and active but does not state what each of the studies say about the professional development programs discussed. There could also be some level of biasness. Hammond’s article did not consider researches that do not find professional programs effective. All the studies included in the survey find professional development programs very effective in improving student achievement. When trying to find out what other researchers or people think about a specific aspect, it is good to look at both the negative and the positive sides of the responses. For instance, identify the negative effects of professional development programs based on previous studies.
The main purpose of this article was to evaluate
Hammond’s article on professional development programs. Hammond’s article was
meant to discuss the thoughts of other researchers on professional learning
opportunities that are aimed at improving student achievement. The article
typically described a review of previous studies conducted in the area of
professional development programs and their effects on student achievements. This
makes Hammond’s study descriptive in nature – no experiments were required to
achieve the objective of the study or answer the research question. What was
only needed was a comparison of the different studies that had been conducted
in the area and then give what other researchers think about professional
programs. Though Hammond clearly stated the research question, lack of clearly
stating research design seemed to have affected her findings. The article does
not clearly state her findings. What seems to be the conclusion of the survey
is just a summary and does not answer the research question. Research is also
not just about summarizing findings but being able to analyze the findings and come
up with conclusions that answer the stated research question or hypothesis. Analysis
involves both summarizing findings and critiquing the findings to come up with
conclusions. Lack of clear research design and shallow conclusion makes the
validity of the article questionable.
Grimes, D. A & Schulz, K. F. (2002). Descriptive studies: what they can and cannot do. The Lancet, 359(9301), 145-149.
Rowley, J., & Slack, F. (2004). Conducting a literature review. Management Research News, 27(6), 31-39.