example of a critical review

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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
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The accuracy, reliability and comprehensive nature of transcripts is therefore called into question, potentially compromising analysable data.
Carroll’s semi-structured questioning may encourage reciprocal communication and perhaps formulated in-depth data. However, she also offers leading questions: “was that the best thing about it?” (p.180); “do you think it was helpful playing like that?” (p.184). Such ‘closed’ questions could elicit yes or no responses, or suggest a preferred response. Due to the lack of full transcripts, the reader cannot ascertain whether other leading questions were used and the impact these had on data gathered. Carroll, as interviewer and data analyst, does not consider this risk.
As grounded theory was employed by Carroll, data analysis and findings were based on the categorisation of themes. Although Carroll’s data analysis methodology has been deemed appropriate to qualitative research (Strauss, 1997, p. 180), the reader questions whether majority perspectives were favoured over individual for analysis, potentially distorting eventual findings.
Carroll outlines categories as a result of her data analysis, providing numerous excerpts from interview transcripts to support her interpretation and analysis of children’s perspectives and to add credibility to her assertions and categorisation. However, the excerpts chosen are mainly positive
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