Case Studies / Activities


The following is based on an activity contained within a SCIE online resource. SCIE (Social Care Institute for Excellence) (2012) Research mindedness. London: SCIE. Available at:

In this exercise you are being asked to critically appraise research. The purpose of critical appraisal is to engage with what is being presented, rather than just accept it.

  1. Find two pieces of research, one that uses quantitative methods and one that uses qualitative methods.
  2. Using your understanding of quantitative and qualitative methodologies critically consider the pieces of research. The following questions should act as a guide:
    1. What was the research trying to show?
    2. What methods were used to gather the data?
    3. Do you think the research was successful?
    4. Are there other ways the research could have been carried out?
    5. Do you think a single-method approach held any disadvantages? Could a mixed-method approach have been helpful?
  3. After you have looked at different types of research reflect on what you have learnt from this exercise, in particular why you think critical appraisal is important and your views about the strengths and limitations of qualitative and quantitative approaches. Write a short reflective account to summarise your learning.
  4. You may also be interested in looking at structured tools for critically assessing research. One such tool is CASP and you can read about this on the following website:  Have a look at the ‘CASP Qualitative Checklist’ under the Tools and Checklists tab.