Introducing research in law and beyond
Introducing research in law and beyond

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Introducing research in law and beyond

3.5.1 Critically evaluating documents: the PROMPT system

An excellent way to critically analyse a document is to use the PROMPT system. The PROMPT system indicates what factors you should consider when evaluating a document. PROMPT stands for:

  1. Presentation – is the publication easy to read?
  2. Relevance – how will the publication help address your research aim?
  3. Objectivity – what is the balance between evidence and opinion? Does the evidence seem balanced? How was the research funded?
  4. Method – was the research in the publication carried out appropriately?
  5. Provenance – who is the author and how was the document published?
  6. Timeliness – is the publication still relevant, or has it been superseded?

By thinking about each of these factors when you read a publication in depth, you will be able to provide a deeper, more critical analysis of each publication. A final tip for critical reading is to note down your overall impressions and any questions you still have at the end. Keeping a list of such open questions can help you identify the gaps in the literature by noticing which questions were raised, but not answered, by the publication; this in turn will guide your research.

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