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Friday, 28 December 2012

Critiquing Use of Theory in Research Articles

Critiquing Use of Theory in Research Articles

Article read: On Doctoral Student Development: Exploring Faculty Mentoring in the Shaping of African American Doctoral Student Success

Author: Pamela Felder
Columbia University, New York, USA
I have identified Felder’s research article as qualitative.

First, Creswell (1998) states that qualitative research is used to explore a social problem. Felder’s article perfectly aligns itself to this, because it looks into a social problem, namely completion of doctoral degrees by African American students. The research concerns itself with problems or obstacles students find in their search for doctoral degrees. It also looks at the prevailing relationships between the African American Scholars and the college faculties.

Another injunction mentioned by Creswell is that qualitative research creates holistic pictures of the situation on consideration. This one can as well see this in Felder’s research. All through the research report, Felder communicates to the reader about the circumstances surrounding the African American Scholar. The study looks at various sample cases and presents them clearly.

One assumption taken by Felder in this research is the use of distinct methodological traditions. Felder’s research uses the case study method. She has been careful to state this, define the methodology and support its use in the study. The usage of such a methodological tradition creates a complex report, having to state for instance the sampling method, data analysis method, as well as the methods used to optimize research quality. 


Creswell, J. W. (1998). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five designs. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Felder, P. (2010). On doctoral student development: Exploring faculty mentoring in the shaping of African American doctoral student success. The Qualitative Report, 15(2), 455-474. Retrieved from

Robert Russell (2011). How to Critique a Theoretical Framework Retrieved from

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