Example: Critical Review of a Journal Article
Article: Carroll, J. (2002). Play Therapy: the children’s views, Child and Family Social Work, 7, pg 177-187
This article is recent, published within a peer-reviewed journal. The author-conducted research is empirical, qualitative and phenomenologically designed, uniquely enabling children to describe their play therapy experiences and identify factors that influence these experiences.
The article’s title clarifies the project’s purpose of eliciting the child’s view. However, although Carroll clearly describes how children’s experiences should take “centre stage” (p.178), she hears the opinions of the children’s therapists first, potentially influencing her questioning of the children afterwards. The therapists’ views were considered “invaluable” (p.179), their contribution acknowledged within the findings. Perhaps the title should therefore also acknowledge the therapists’ roles.
The abstract outlines the research purpose, briefly reviewing the main findings and areas eliciting discussion. Carroll states there were “methodological challenges” (p.177), but does not identify limitations here. She highlights only positive aspects as expressed by the children without acknowledging unhelpful or uncomfortable aspects, biasing the reader’s perspective towards positive outcomes from the start.
Carroll’s literature review highlights how children’s experiences of play therapy remained largely unexamined. Referring to previous research, Carroll highlights methodological failings or adult interference where children’s perspectives were eluded. Referencing legislation pertaining to children’s rights to have their opinions considered (p. 177), Carroll establishes the need for fresh research.
The method is presented in detailed sub-sections, clarifying Carroll’s procedures in population sampled, interviews, play materials utilised and data analysis methodology, supporting project replication.
Carroll considers the need for
References: Strauss, A.C.J (1997). Grounded Theory in Practice. Sage, London