Evaluating Use of Literature and Problem Statement



a critique of the research study in which you:

  • Evaluate the authors’ use of literature using the

    Use of Literature Checklist

    as a guide
  • Evaluate the research problem using the

    Problem Statement Checklist

    as a guide
  • Explain what it means for a research study to be




    in the literature; then, explain what it means for a problem to be


    using the Litmus Test as a guide

Be sure to support your Main Issue Post and Response Post with reference to the week’s Learning Resources and other scholarly evidence in APA Style.

Research Theory, Design, and Methods
Walden University
Use of Literature Checklist
Use the following criteria to evaluate an author’s use of literature.
Look for indications of the following ways the author used literature:
Introduce a problem
Introduce a theory
Provide direction to the research questions and/or hypotheses
Compare results with existing literature or predictions
Did the author mention the problem addressed by the study?
Is the purpose of the study stated?
Are key variables in the study defined?
Is information about the sample, population, or participants provided?
Are the key results of the study summarized?
Does the author provide a critique of the literature?
Are sources cited to support points?
Are the citations to recent literature (within the past 5 years with the exception
of seminal works)?
Does the literature justify the importance of the topic studied?
© 2016 Laureate Education, Inc.
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Research Theory, Design, and Methods
Walden University
Problem Statement Checklist
Use the following criteria to evaluate an author’s problem statement:
Is a problem identified that leads to the need for this study?
Is a rationale or justification for the problem clearly stated?
Is the problem framed in a way that is consistent with the research approach?
Does the statement convey how the study will address the problem?
Are the citations to literature current (i.e., within the past 5 years with the
exception of seminal works)?
© 2016 Laureate Education, Inc.
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Litmus Test for a Doctoral-Level Research Problem
Background on these “litmus test” questions
• The distinguishing characteristic of doctoral-level research (as opposed to masters level) is that it must
make an original contribution to the field. However, students may struggle to identify what will
authentically contribute to their field or discipline.
• The most critical step in making such a contribution is to first identify a research problem with the 4
doctoral hallmarks below. Identifying a doctoral-level research problem is “necessary, but not
sufficient,” to produce doctoral-level capstone.
In Walden’s scholar-practitioner model, a research problem shows
promise of contributing meaningfully to the field ONLY if the answer
to ALL of the following questions is “yes.”
Is there evidence that this problem is significant to the professional field?
There must be relevant statistics (expressing an unjust inequality,
financial impact, lost efficiency, etc.), documentable discrepancies (e.g.,
two models that are difficult to reconcile), and/or other scholarly facts
that point to the significance and urgency of the problem. The problem
must be an authentic “puzzle” that needs solving, not merely a topic that
the researcher finds interesting.
Can the problem be framed in a way that will enable the researcher to
either build upon or counter the previously published findings on the topic?
For most fields, this involves articulating the problem within the context
of a theoretical or conceptual framework. Although there are multiple
ways to ground a study in the scientific literature, the essential
requirement is that the problem is framed in such a way that the new
findings will have implications for the previous findings.
For research doctorates (Ph.D.):
Does the problem reflect a meaningful gap in the research literature?
For the professional doctorates (Ed.D. and D.B.A.):
Does the problem describe a meaningful gap in practice?
Can a scholarly, systematic method of inquiry be applied to address the
The framing of the problem should not reveal bias or present a foregone
conclusion. Even if the researcher has a strong opinion on the expected
findings, scholarly objectivity must be maximized by framing the problem
in the context of a systematic inquiry that permits multiple possible

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