Critique Epidemiological Study Assignment | Homework Help Websites

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Article Critique

Purpose: The purpose of an article critique is to give you practice in evaluating the key characteristics of research articles. As epidemiologists we love to focus on concepts and methods to evaluate the soundness and rigor of scientific research. Critiquing an article is a fundamental and very useful skill in epidemiological literacy. A critique requires the basic understanding of epidemiological concepts and methods that you can then apply to evaluate the scientific quality of a journal article.



What is an analytical study?

In an analytical study you test a hypothesis by quantifying the association between an exposure and an outcome between two groups. Analytical studies may be observational (case-control, cohort) or experimental (RCT). Make sure to select a longitudinal study and NOT a cross-sectional study. Also make sure that you select a study that focuses on individuals as units of observation and NOT an ecologic study or a meta-analysis.


How do you read a journal article?

The following are some steps that will guide you in your article critique.

  • You always read the article more than once to familiarize yourself with the contents.
  • First, you read to understand the big picture and then you read to focus on the details. Taking notes on the major points made by the authors will help you develop a deeper understanding of the article. Try to answer in your own words the following questions:
  1. Introduction: Why was this study done?
  2. Method: How was it done?
  3. Results: What was found?
  4. Discussion: What does it mean?
  5. References: Do the references support the research?
  6. Tables/Figures: Do they stand on their own?
  • You look at the references because they are critical in assessing the quality of the study being conducted (How recent are they? From what journals?).
  • Last, you read the article to uncover irregularities, inconsistencies, and/or missing elements.


Article Critique Content: Overall you should describe the central concepts and methods by presenting a thorough summary and critique of the article. Note that the assignment is an article critique so focus on the thorough critique and specifically on the methods section. Please, use the same headings when writing your critique:


  1. Background and literature review on the topic (15 points):
    1. Summary: Brief summary of the current thinking on the topic
    2. Public Health Importance: Author’s statement of the public health importance of the health condition/event they are studying
    3. Objectives: Study objectives (what is the purpose or goal of the study?)
    4. Critique: Evaluation of this section including rationales in support of the article or highlights of the weaknesses in the study


  1. Methods (20 points):
    1. Study design: identify the following elements, describe or explain each element, and provide information from the article to support your statement
      1. Research design (type of study, dataset, study sample)
      2. Study population (inclusion/exclusion criteria, recruitment and data collection methods)
  • Key variables (i.e., outcome, exposure, confounders)
  1. Bias and Confounding: How are bias and confounding addressed?
  2. Analysis: Type of statistical analysis (e.g., linear regression, logistic regression)
  1. Critique: Evaluation of this section including rationales in support of the article or highlights of the weaknesses in the study


  1. Study results and findings (20 points):
    1. Study Findings: Clear summary of MAIN study findings including numbers and significance levels
    2. Interpretation: Interpretation of the results
    3. Conclusions and Significance: Explanation of conclusions and significance
    4. Critique: Evaluation of this section including rationales in support of the article or highlights of the weaknesses in the study

  2. Strengths and limitations of the study (20 points):
    1. Strengths: Explanation of the strengths
    2. Limitations: Explanation of the limitations
    3. Additional Strengths and imitations: Inclusion and thorough explanation of ONE strength or ONE limitation of the study not included by the authors
  3. Relevance to the field of epidemiology (10 points):
    1. Significance: Establish the significance of the study, the policy implications.


  1. Causality criteria (5 points): identify the causality criteria illustrated in the article (use examples)


Format and Organization of the Report (10 points):

  1. No title page. At the top of the first page each student includes his/her name and in parenthesis the members of the group. Include a correct and complete citation for the article in APA style
  2. No more than 3-4 pages of content, Calibri 12 or Arial 11 with 1” margins, and 1-1.5 line spacing, numbered pages
  3. Well written complete sentences, no bullet points
  4. Adherence to the organization of the report specified above (use the same headings)
  5. Spell checked and grammar checked
  6. Original voice: student turns in original work in their own voices. No cut and paste from the article you are critiquing without citing. Be aware of plagiarism!


A Note of Warning about Plagiarism

Plagiarizing is a serious breach of the student code of ethics. If you are going to use more than four words from a sentence in the article you are critiquing, please place the words in quotation marks and cite properly. Otherwise, I expect that you will express yourself in your own voice. If you plagiarize I will give you a zero for the assignment.


Additional Resources:

For further information about how to write an article critique consult:

I encourage you to research other credible websites for more information about how to critique an article if necessary.


Grading Rubric for Article Critique


Explanation of points: “Exceeded” means that you include all the elements listed for that section and that you include in the critique MORE than one rationale in support or more than one weakness.  “Exceeded” is equivalent to a score of 100% (for example: the Background section is 15 points and therefore you get 15 points).  “Adequately achieved” means that you did not include one element of the critique for that section or that one of the explanations was incomplete, unsatisfactory, or incorrect.  “Minimally achieved” means that you are missing at least two elements of the critique for that section or that two of the explanations were incomplete or unsatisfactory. Not achieved means that you are missing an entire section of the critique.


Sections Description Exceeded


Adequately Achieved


Minimally Achieved


Not Achieved


Score Comment

(15 pts.)

Summary (3 pts.), public health importance (3 pts.), study objectives (3 pts.), critique of the section (6 pts.)            

(20 pts.)

Key elements are correctly identified (10 pts.), critique of the section (10 pts.)            
Study Results and Findings

(20 pts.)

Clear summary of main results (3 pts.), interpretation (3 pts.), conclusions (5 pts.), critique of the section (9 pts.)            
Strengths and Limitations

(20 pts.)

Identify the strengths and limitations stated by the authors (10 pts.). Also include why each was a strength and limitation. Lastly, brainstorm ONE plausible additional strength or ONE plausible additional limitation that the authors have not mentioned and the reason why you think so (10 pts.)            
Relevance to the Field

(10 pts.)

Clear description of public health significance (5 pts.) and policy implications (5 pts.)            
Causality Criteria

(5 pts.)

Relevant list and explanation of four causality criteria, includes all possible criteria (5 pts.)            
Format and Organization

(10 pts.)

Complete and correct citation in APA style (1 pt.); adheres to page limits (1 pt.), spacing (1 pt.), format (1 pt.), and font size (1 pt.); no or minimal (1-3) grammatical errors, spelling errors, and typos (5 pts.)            



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