Critical Review of a Research Paper

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Assignment 1 – Critical Review of a Research Paper


This essay is aimed to critically discuss the research paper titled ‘Screw Blackboard… do it on Facebook!’: an investigation of students’ educational use of Facebook. This critique will focus mainly on the benefits and shortfalls of the research design and suggest an alternate research design to back up the limitations identified.


Firstly, the appropriateness in the selection of sample size to represent the overall student population of the United Kingdom’s (UK). According to Higher Education Statistic Agency (HESA), the total number of undergraduate students in the Academic Year 2006/07 is 1,803,425. Having selecting 909 students from Coalsville University, School of Social Sciences is equivalent to having confidence level of 95% and margin of error of 3.25%. However, it was later stated in the research paper that, actual number of students studied was 612, who actively managed their Facebook account. With this smaller sample size, it still achieved a 3.96% margin of error and confidence level remained status quo.

In addition to the appropriate sample size, the time frame of the data collection period is wisely chosen to encompass the life cycle of a typical undergraduate. This included times where students attend lectures and seminars, prepare and submitting assignments, preparing for and taking part in examinations plus receiving results.

The researchers adopted a bystander, residing in the community role in order to remotely collect the naturally occurring data without interfering with the students’ exchanges. In this manner, the data (Facebook exchanges) collected will not be bias or skew towards projecting a good image for being an undergraduate. It reflects what students will ‘talk’ about among their peers on a normal basis. Other than being bias-free, the data collected will also provide better insights to study the...
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