to critique a research article you need to know what the elements of and process of research are. it is helpful to have a nursing research textbook to help you do this. if you don't have one, you might check your school library for any textbooks or information on nursing research, scientific research or critiquing a research article. the librarian, if you're lucky a research librarian, should be able to help you with this.
the steps of research as they should appear in the official research report or an article (which is an abridged version) are as follows:
- introduction: introduction of research problem introduction of objectives introduction of how objectives will be achieved (methodology), optional introduction of main findings and conclusions
- literature review: review of previous work relating to research problem (to define, explain, justify) review of previous work relating to methodology (to define, explain, justify) review of previous work relating to results (particularly reliability, etc.)
- method (how the results were achieved): explanation of how data was collected/generated, explanation of how data was analyzed explanation of methodological problems and their solutions or effects
- results and discussion: presentation of results interpretation of results discussion of results (e.g. comparison with results in previous research, effects of methods used on the data obtained)
- conclusions: has the research problem been "solved"? to what extent have the objectives been achieved? what has been learned from the results? how can this knowledge be used? what are the shortcomings of the research, or the research methodology? etc.
basically, in a critique, you are going to either agree or disagree with steps #2 to #5 and explain why you feel that way.