Article Critique Assignment

Article Critique Assignment (Weighting percentage – 20%)

The purpose of this assignment is to be able to critique a research article including critically examining its strengths and weaknesses, internal and external validity, and where appropriate, reliability and validity of measures.

The article for critiquing:
Critically review the following journal article:

Nicolini, D., Tomkins, C., Holti, R., Oldman, A. and Smalley, M. (2000), “Can target costing and whole life costing be applied in the construction industry?: Evidence from two case studies”, British Journal of Management, Vol. 11, pp. 303-324.

The British Journal of Management is available electronically via University of Canberra’s journal database.

Word limit – 1400 words maximum (excluding bibliography) or approximately two A4 pages single spaced. Strict penalty will apply for exceeding the word limit.

Relevant chapters/sections in your textbook:
Pages 265-269 (target costing) and 273-275 (life-cycle costing) of Chapter 7 and pages 348-350 of Chapter 9 (lecture topic for Week 7). Please note that although Chapter 7 is not included as one of the lecture topics, target costing and life cycle costing will be discussed elaborately in Week 7 incorporating ideas from Chapter 7.

(For the details of other assignment submission related issues and requirements please see the relevant sections of the unit outline.)

Marking criteria:
The broad marking criteria provided in the unit outline are as follows:
• Critical analyses of the article’s strengths, weaknesses, validity and significance with evidence from the article that will allow the reader of the article to make value judgement about the article.
• Effective communication.

While we will be emphasising effective communication in marking your critique, our main marking criterion is the point one above. Nevertheless, poor communications style will still be penalised up to 30% of the total mark.

Organising the body of your review:
Article critiques typically adhere to the following structure:

Introduction: Provide an overview of the article’s main purpose and main argument. Basically, in this section you respond to the following question,
What is the article’s background and purpose?

Summary paragraph: Briefly reviews the article’s key points. Basically, in this section you respond to the following question,
What is/are the main idea/s (the main argument) that the article is communicating?

Assessment paragraphs: Evaluate the articles strengths and weakness. Basically, in this section you will be responding to the following questions,
How convincing or persuasive is/are the research findings provided in the article?
Whether the research findings are supported through explication of evidence.
Avoid composing a critique that solely addresses the article’s strengths.

Conclusion: Presents a commentary on the article’s overall usefulness. You should address the extent to which the findings of the article help the academics including the management accounting students and practitioners to understand the applicability of the management accounting techniques and concepts presented in the article.

To learn more about how to critique a journal article please check the following URL of the Massey University:

You should also be able to access more helps concerning preparing your article critique assignment from the Academic Skills Program of the University of Canberra and/or the Research Help Desk of the University of Canberra library.

(Although it is expected from postgraduate students, from my experience I know that many of you have no idea about research journal articles and academic research journals etc. The following information may be useful to you for learning more about articles and journals etc. Source: Anne Foley, Librarian for Social work, London Metropolitan University Library Services, October 2011.)

Why read journal articles?
• They contain up-to-date information and debate on current topics in your subject area
• They contain specialised information that may not be available elsewhere
• They describe research by experts in your subject area.
• Most academic journal articles are peer-reviewed before publication. This means that the articles have a guarantee of quality.

What is a journal?
• A journal (sometimes also referred to as a periodical or serial) is a publication produced on a continuing basis; weekly or monthly or quarterly (every 4 months) or annually.
• The titles of journals (i.e. New Media and Society or Journal of Communication) usually give a good indication of the general focus of the subject matter to be found in them.

As they are published on a regular basis, journals have volume & issue numbers to identify them. A Volume number usually covers a specific year – i.e. 2008 may be volume 45, and an Issue number refers to a specific instalment of the journal within that volume – i.e. Issue 1 or 2 or 3 etc. depending on how many times per year the journal is published. Sometimes, the month of publication is used instead of an issue number. This information is crucial to finding specific articles within journals. See example, below, of a journal article reference.

There are 2 main types of Journals:
• Academic (also called Scholarly) journals: often contain research articles written by subject experts; scholarly commentary and critical evaluation of issues by experts etc. articles written in academic style. Example: Media, Culture and Society
• Trade or Professional Journals: these usually contain news articles and commentary on current issues; articles are written in everyday language; they have practical information & often a ‘Jobs’ section etc. Example: Broadcast

What is a journal article?
Journals contain several articles, written by subject experts or researchers or practitioners within the subject area. Some journals contain articles covering a diverse set of topics related to the subject area. The title Media, Culture and Society, for example, indicates that this journal contains articles relating to all aspects of media and culture. Not all journals, as you can see from the example above, have the word JOURNAL in their titles.

How to recognise a journal article on a reading list, bibliography etc.?
Say for example, a reading list or bibliography presents the following journal article information:

Bethany, K. (2011) Entertaining ideas: social issues in entertainment television. Media, Culture and Society, 33(6), 905-921.

Bethany, K. – The author whose last/surname is ‘Bethany and first name initial is K.

(2011) – The year of publication

Entertaining ideas: social issues in entertainment television. – The title of article

Media, Culture and Society, – The title of the journal (always in Italics)

33(6) – The volume and issue numbers. In some formats it is written as Vol. 33, No. 3.

905-921 – The page numbers of the article in journal. In some formats the page numbers information is presented as pp. 905-921.

How many types of journal articles are there?
There are two main types of journal article:
• Empirical (also called primary) research: the author/s have carried out first-hand research, and are presenting, describing, evaluating and drawing conclusions from their research.
• Secondary research (also called desk research): author/s summarise, synthesize and draw conclusions on the published works of other authors.

The usual layout and content of an academic/scholarly journal article:
This is an indication of how a journal article is usually laid out; not all are laid out in this exact way.
Title: indicating/describing the subject of the article.
Author/s: Name/s and, often, their credentials/qualifications and place of work/affiliation.
Abstract: a summary of the article describing the article’s purpose, method, results and conclusions.
Keywords: words used to describe the main topics within the article. These are used for various reasons, i.e. when scanning for relevance of the article to your own studies, to help retrieve the article from an online database.
Introduction: sets the scene; describes what the article is about, what the issue is being addressed in the article etc.
Section heading: detailed statement of the issue being addressed. The title of the heading should indicate the specific sub-topic being described in that section.
Literature Review: this section details other literature related to the issue being addressed and how it informs the current work. Not found in every article, mainly in research articles.
Methodology/method: if the article is describing research, this explains the method used to collect data.
Other Section headings & section content: variously describe, in depth, either the literature review, analysis of research carried out (if a research article), or giving an indication of the contents of the section.
Findings: if the article is describing research, the Findings detail the results of the research.
Conclusion/discussion/ recommendations: this sections summarises the conclusions drawn from the research (if a research article), discusses the implications of the research findings.
References: an alphabetical list, by author, of the sources (books, journal articles, reports, statistics etc.) referred to (cited) in the article.

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