Skip to main content

About this free course

Become an OU student

Download this course

Share this free course

Succeeding in postgraduate study
Succeeding in postgraduate study

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

4.4 Applying critical and reflective thinking in academic and professional contexts: science perspective

Introduction

This section will focus on three key areas:

  1. important points to consider when critically evaluating (or ‘appraising’) published scientific research papers
  2. practical and professional applications: critical appraisal and the peer-review process for scientific publication
  3. parallels between critical reflective practice and the scientific method.

But first, what do we mean by ‘critical appraisal’ in a scientific context? In the broader sense, ‘critical appraisal’ is a systematic process used to identify the strengths and weaknesses of a research paper. It involves evaluating the quality of a reported study, and there are several aspects to the process. This includes taking a look at the primary aims and methodology, the analysis and presentation of the results, and can be extended to the interpretation and discussion of the findings as well.