Experimental Research


To evaluate the quality of a research article published in a nutrition-related peer-

reviewed scientific journal. Determine if the published conclusions are supported by

appropriate data correctly collected and interpreted.


Read a nutrition research article. Prepare detailed, accurate responses to the

following questions. Ideally, you will choose an article you will use in your team

research project.

(75 possible points for journal critique)


1.Identify the article by writing the full citation. Use the AMA format shown here

. (2 points)

2. Identify the

research category. This link describes the difference between analytical and

descriptive research.


a.State if the research is primarily analytical or descriptive (1 point).

b.State if the research is experimental or nonexperimental (1 point). (

Experimental research

involves an active intervention compared to a nonexperimental trial which does not

involve an active intervention.)

If nonexperimental, state and briefly explain the type of research. (2 points)

If experimental, name and describe the research design. (2 points)

3.If the study is

a.Experimental research, list the author’s

hypothesis [experimental research requires

statement of a research question AND a hypothesis (null hypothesis). EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH IS WHEN THE RESEARCHER MANIPULATES THE INDEPENDENT VARIABLE.

b.If the study is nonexperimental, write the research question



c. If the hypothesis or research question are not clearly stated in the article, then construct

one. (2 points)

4. List the author’s

research objective(s). (2 points)

5.Identify variables

. (Watch this video to understand variables. Cut and paste this link into your

browser to view the video. )

a.If your article describes experimental research, identify, by listing and categorizing, the

measured dependent and independent research variables. For nonexperimental research, list all outcome measured variables. Be specific. (5 points)

b.Identify confounding variables. List the confounding variables the authors needed to

control. Did authors identify and control for all confounding variables? (2 points)

c.If the author did not describe confounding variables, list those you identify. (4 points)

6.Discuss the research participants/units/groups of study.

(The unit of analysis is the major entity analyzed in a study. It is the ‘what’ or ‘who’ that is being studied.)

a. Describe in detail the units and procedures:

1.Describe the units/subjects that were studied as they relate to the research article. (3 points)

2. Describe the sample selection procedures. (3 points) (This is a helpful internet

page describing sample selection.


b. Explain why it is important to consider the research units when critiquing a research study. (2


c. Describe why it would be problematic if the sample selection process was not random.

(2 points)

7. Is the research methodology employed clearly stated in such a way that other researchers could

repeat this study? Answer yes or no. If not, which description(s) was (were) missing? For either

response – explain, using examples from the research study, to justify your position.

Thoroughly discuss to justify your answer. (6 points)

8.Describe the study length

a. Identify, in weeks, months, or years, the exact time frame of each treatment in the research study. (1 point)

b. Was the time allotted sufficient to warrant meaningful conclusions? Explain your response

based on logical, scientific rationales and provide “proof” for your response. (2 points)

9. Discuss the statistical analysis of the results. I recommend that you visit statistics web sites and

related textbooks for assistance with this section.

a.List all of the statistical analyses methods utilized in this study. Describe the purpose of each of these statistical tests. (5 points)

b. Was the statistical treatment of the data clearly defined and the statistics presented in a

straightforward manner? Explain your response using ( at least 3 examples

) of statistical findings discussed by the researchers. (3 points)

10.By whom was the research sponsored? Could the results be influenced in any way by the source

of funding? Explain your response. (2 points)

11.Discuss the conclusions

a.How well were the conclusions drawn relate to the hypothesis (es) or research question.

Explain your response based on logical, scientific rationales and provide “proof” for your

response. (2 points)

b.Was the hypothesis or research question supported or rejected? (1 point)

c.Did the researcher compare the conclusions to any previous research conclusions/literature?

Explain your response, using (at least 2) examples. (2 points)

d.Was the conclusion convincing? That is, are the conclusions that the researcher presented

justified by the facts uncovered by the study? Explain your response using at least (

4examples). (4 points)

12. Are the methods, data, and conclusions presented sufficiently strong to generalize

the results beyond the scope of the study participants? Thoroughly and logically justify your answer. (5


13.Discuss areas of future research

a.List(at least 2) potential applications and recommendations for future research applications

that were included by the researcher. (2 points)

b.Suggest (at least 3) areas of further research, relevant to this research, that were not

suggested by the researcher. (3 points)

14.How would you, as a researcher, improve this study? Provide

(at least 4)

specific ideas for

improvement. (4 points)

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