RSCH 8250 Journal article critique

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Journal article critique




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Drop rates are at an all-time high though researchers do not have consensus on the method to use to calculate the drop out but what is clear is that in agreement is that approximately every nine seconds a student decides to permanently leave high school prior to graduation (Children’s Defense Fund, 2002). Lots of efforts have been expended in identifying the segment of high school that is in greater danger of dropping out of school But lots of research in this field has been limited to high school dropout rates not knowing that factors that contribute are bigger than what is seen on the surface but most of these efforts have failed to lower dropout rates (Hickman, 2006).

This failure could be brought by a narrow-minded approach that tends to focus on the high school rate without recognizing that children who are likely to drop out of school begin displaying some tell-tell signs from early age. This has prompted Hickman et al. (2008) to look at the developmental pathway that seeks to go deeper and unearth factors that contribute to high rates of high schools drop out. The research also narrowed in on the marked differences of students who graduate and those who drop out along the way. The study found that children who drop put out of school begin to show during the first year of school but third grade is like a culmination of it all (Lerh et al.,2004).The lack of academic mastery, absenteeism and failure to blend in at school exacerbate the rate at which as student drops out of school

The study involved 119 students randomly selected (one was released from the research because of lack of academic records. Of the sample selected 49.2% were female students while50.8% was made of male students. The ethnic composition of the students was as follows: Caucasian (77.8%), Hispanic (15.7%) and Asian American (6.5%).The sample was collected from a school district in East Central Arizona.

Critique of the literature review

The research problem has been aptly described by the research in the introduction of the study. Relevant evidence has been used to corroborate the findings of the research but the only concern that I had was that I felt that quantity was preferred when it came to sources .A staggering 22 sources have been used in page one alone. That is way too much and what that means is that as much as the research had good and spot on sources he didn’t put in as much effort in the report as it expected and this made the report difficult to read. Just to elaborate much on the citations. Most of the sources were written as far back as 1993 even though the study is a pretty recent one but having said that majority of the citations are within ten years of the study’s publication.

The literature review section is poorly arranged and this makes reading a tedious exercise that is because a separate section was snot created for the literature review but rather it has been scattered throughout the report with substantial number of citations. As it is the practice with quantitative studies a literature should have been made to separate coming immediately after the introduction (Creswell, 2009).

The literature review is clear and it unbiased in the articulation of the research problem and the issues that have been covered well to help a reader to form an opinion. The research study is also an issue to the body of knowledge as issues of high school dropout is related because the researcher has gone beyond what other researcher have done and tried to look at the issue from another perspective bringing hidden ideas to the fore.

The research questions developed for the study are relevant and they have come from the literature that has come before but they may not sufficiently address the research topic. In the literature review so many issues have been raised and perhaps more topic narrowing questions might have helped to get to the root of the problem.

Critique of the methodology

The study’s participants were adequately described and a total of 119 students were interviewed. They were initially 120 but one student was released from the study because they were no academic records to prove that she had been to school. That is why the population of the females in the sample was 49.2% while that of males was 52.8%.The type of sampling used was simple random sampling.

What is surprising about the sample is that the African-American segment of student was not represented in the study. I find that incompressible because students from minority groups such as African-Americans tend to struggle in school and the dropout rate is higher compared to Caucasian-American students (Huber, 1991). What this means is that the sample is not very representative and the findings may be biased.

The researchers did not disclose if consent was obtained from the study participants. There’s no document indicating that institutional Review Board (IRB approved the stud. No procedures for protecting participant rights were included in the study. The study does not indicate what the research design of the study was and that might make it impossible for other researchers and scientists to replicate the study. We are not told about the role of the researcher in collection of data and what the data collection was.

Critique of the result section

The important charactistics of the sample are described. This involves ethnicity, their score in school for both those who graduated and the dropouts. Descriptive statistics have used to describe all variables when sample size (n < 30) limited generalization and inferential statistics were used to examine mean differences when sample size (n > 30) enabled generalization.

Tables were used to show demographic characteristics of study participants to simplify the complexity of the data, odd ratios, and frequencies have also been extensively used. Tables were also used to show the performance records of dropouts and graduates, the family background and absenteeism; factors that have a great influence whether a student graduates of drops out of high school. There were difference in academic performance between drop outs and those who graduated from as an early as kindergarten.

Differences also existed in the ethnicity of students who graduated and those who dropout. It was found out that most of the student who dropped out and are more likely to be of non-Caucasian origin. The research results have answered the research questions by highlighting possible differences between drop outs and graduates. The tables have been used to address each hypothesis question.

Critique on the discussion

The research study had set out to find out difference in developmental pathways between drop outs and graduates right from kindergarten. The study found that difference existed between the two groups. Dropouts had relatively lower grades, had many non-academic problems and the rate of absenteeism was higher than in graduates. There is no indication in the discussion section that some of the methodical limitations have been highlighted and the researcher doesn’t give implications for further research. The study clearly has added information to the body of knowledge as far high school dropout is concerned. Information that may not have been clear .The developmental path differences that exist and set apart children who are likely to graduate from high school and those who drop out.

Critique on the overall evaluation

The study had a good introduction that captured well the research problem, highlighted previous studies and their shortcoming. The significance of the study and the goals of the study were highlighted and the need for this study. Overall, the study was well written and easy to understand. It included all of the components of a quantitative study However, the research design want so clear. Statement was not explicit. The study design, measures, and statistical analyses were discussed. The results and discussion sections used tables to simplify the complexity of the findings, and the discussion section listed the strengths and limitations of the study and the need for further research investigation. The use of a small meant the sample may not have been as representative as it is supposed to be.


Children’s Defense Fund (2002). Moments in the lives of ’s children. Available at

Creswell, J.W. (2009). Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed methods

approaches (Laureate Education, Inc., custom ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications

Hickman, G. P., & Garvey, (2006). Analyses of academic achievement and school behavior

problems as indices of program effectiveness among at-risk adolescents enrolled in a youth-

based mentoring program. Journal of At-Risk Issues, 12(1), 1-15.

Hickman, G., Bartholomew, M., Mathwig, J., & Heinrich, R. (2008). Differential Developmental

Pathways of High School Dropouts and Graduates. The Journal of Educational Research, 3-


Huber, T. (1991). Restructuring to reclaim youth at risk: Culturally responsible pedagogy. Paper

presented at the 13th annual meeting of the Mid-Western Educational Research

Association, Chicago, IL, October 16-19. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED


Lehr, C. A., Sinclair, M. F., & Christenson, S. L. (2004). Addressing student engagement and

truancy prevention during the elementary school years: A replication study of the check

and connect model. Journal of Education for Students Placed At Risk, 9(3), 279-301.

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