Journal Articles

This article describes a systematic review of the literature about a specific topic (professional identity construction in social media) and elucidates the process of such a systematic analysis of the literature. It can be taken as an orientation for reviewing the literature in other fields.

 Kasperiuniene, J., and Zydziunaite, V. (2019) ‘A systematic literature review on professional identity construction in social media,’ SAGE Open.

Critical Thinking Questions:

  • Is this review convincing in the way the literature was selected, analyzed and systematically reviewed?
  • Can you see the principles behind this approach to literature?
  • Can you transfer it to your area of research?
  • If it is over-complex in its approach, can you nail that down to principles of analysing the literature in your field of research?
  • Is the outcome of the review presented in a way that it can stimulate (your?) new research in this field?


In this article, a problem is identified, which is relevant both on the individual level of aging people as on the societal level of aging societies. In a survey with 2,282 New Zealanders aged between 54 and 70, the effect of social network engagement and social support on health is studied. For the study, three hypotheses are developed from the literature and empirically tested at two study times. The article gives detailed insights as to how the quantitative study was planned, designed and what results could be obtained. Even if the methodological details may be challenging at this point, the overall approach of the article is interesting for seeing how a relevant problem was studied and lead to conclusions.

Stephens C., Noone J., and Alpass, F. (2014) ‘Upstream and downstream correlates of older people's engagement in social networks: what are their effects on health over time,’ International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 78(2): 149–69. doi:

Critical Thinking Questions:

  • Did the authors draw plausible conclusions from their study?
  • Which limitations of the study did they discuss?
  • Did they take into account whether their approach and findings could be transferred to other contexts and cultures?


This article aims at a clarification of the term ‘research design’ by comparing the concepts of three prominent authors in the field (Babbie, O’Sullivan and Creswell). The approach is comparative in nature and clarifying the authors’ concepts of research design and the role of research methods. A number of students’ questions are presented and suggestions for how to answer them in a research design as understood as a research proposal.

Abutabenjeh, S., and Jaradat, R. (2018) ‘Clarification of research design, research methods, and research methodology: A guide for public administration researchers and practitioners,’ Teaching Public Administration, 36(3), 237–258.

Critical Thinking Questions:

  • Does the article cover the complexity of research designs?
  • How far is it appropriate to focus on the issue of design on the contents of a research proposal?
  • Which areas are missing in the discussion in the article?
  • Does it help (you) to construct a research design for a study?