Guidelines for Paper Analysis
2. Title, Journal, year
Background of the author, values, intellectual heritage, source of discipline
Purpose: Why did the author write the article/book? What is he/she trying to accomplish? Did the author fulfill his/her purpose?
Audience: To whom is the article/book intended?
a. Basic argument/framework/theoretical argument
What is the basic argument of the article/book? Can you state in its “bare bones”? What is the research question?
What is the central notion of feature of the author‟s approach?
What are the key concepts and relationships? How does the author organize these concepts?
With what topic(s) does the work deal? To what problems, issues is it directed?
Definitions: What terms does the author use? Are the author‟s terms and concepts clearly defined? What do they mean?
What are the author‟s critical assumptions? Are they realistic? Useful? What are his/her assumptions about the nature of individuals and their motivations? What assumptions are made about organizations and their management as well as their role in the economy?
What is the theoretical argument of the reading, its basic assumptions, its major propositions?
How does this reading fit in with the broader stream of research that we are studying?
b. Research design and methodology
What is the author‟s basic research strategy? How has the research been designed and what methodology(ies) are used (i.e., clinical, experimentation, survey questionnaire, secondary database, hypothesis testing, regression, modeling, etc) to test the concepts?
What data does the author provide? What is the role of the data?
In what area does the author do his/her research? What type of organization, activities, processes or phenomena are studied?
What is the date of the study and the time period studied? Is the work relevant today (does it stand the “test of time”?)
To what extent is the article normative or descriptive? Content versus process oriented? Attentive to strategy formulation versus strategy implantation? Internally versus externally focused?
c. Findings and conclusions
What are the authors‟ principal findings?
What conclusions does the author(s) draw?
What contributions has the author made in terms of concepts or findings? Are these concepts or findings operationally useful?
What are the implications for these findings and conclusions for:
Researchers? Managers? Teachers?
What is your overall evaluation of the work?
Does is make sense? Are the assumptions reasonable? Is the research design and methodology appropriate for the question that the author asked?
How does it compare with other arguments that we have discussed?
What kind of evidence does the author use to support his/her argument? Can the evidence be tested? Are the results interpreted in an appropriate manner?
What are the limits of generalization that can be made from the data?
6. Relationship to other work we have studied
How does this author‟s approach relate to that of other authors we have studied?
In what ways is this article similar/different from preceding books/articles?
Does the argument support, modify or contradict other authors?
7. Directions for future research
What research questions are raised by this work?
How would you go about answering them? How would you design a study that addresses some of the limitations of the current work?
Guidelines for Paper Analysis