Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Critical Review
Academic Year
Semester 1
Exclusive (Any Acad Year)
Reading List
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Written report  (4000 words maximum)  100%
Supplementary Assessment Written report  Students must take elements of assessment equivalent to those that led to failure of the module.  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Assess and evaluate information from a range of sources.

2. Interpret the results of data analyses in academic literature.

3. Draw out conclusions and discuss these in relation to existing knowledge.

4. Highlight unanswered questions and areas of controversy in their research area and formulate suggestions for future research.

5. Use appropriate writing and IT skills to present the context, research questions and conclusions in written report.

Brief description

The student will be required to write a critique of popular writing, extension literature, or the “grey” literature, that deals with an academic subject relating to their degree scheme. The student will be asked to identify the important questions that the article addresses, and the nature of the answers that it gives. A body of scientific / appropriate literature that relates to these questions should then be identified, and a structured review written to discuss the extent to which the chosen article is supported by the relevant literature, the reasons for this, and future directions for the research area. All projects will require students to work independently under the guidance of a supervisor.
The intellectual tasks involved in preparing report will include:
1. Writing a structured review that indicates a systematic approach to problem solving
2. Evaluating written comments in popular and peer reviewed literature
3. Investigating and evaluating data analyses in the academic literature. Some reports may extend to more formal statistical analysis, but this will not be obligatory.
4. Considering conflicting evidence, and identifying aspects of experimental design and research methodologies that give rise to this conflict.
5. Identification of gaps in research and future directions for the research area.


The nature of the review will reflect the interests of individual students and while there will be variation in the emphasis of the work, all reports are governed by the same regulations and must aim to achieve the same learning objectives. Students are expected to maintain regular contact with their supervisor (at least once every two weeks during the semester) to discuss progress.
An introductory lecture will provide guidance on how to approach the research. Optional fortnightly drop-in clinics will be held to provide advice on specific aspects of the preparation of the report.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Students will interpret data analyses. Some mathematical treatment of the data in the literature may be present.
Communication Students undertaking the project will develop effective listening skills during supervisory meetings – this will be assessed through the interpretation of these in the final work. Written literacy will also be developed through production of the research dissertation.
Improving own Learning and Performance This module will help students develop and apply realistic learning and self-management strategies. Students will devise personal action plans to include goals, and to review and monitor progress, revising action plans as appropriate to improve overall performance.
Information Technology Literature searches, analysis of data, presentation of data, and preparation of the final report will require the use of IT. Some students may do some statistical manipulation of the data using statistical software packages.
Personal Development and Career planning Will develop transferable skills in the evaluation and application of research findings.
Problem solving Students will be encouraged to critically evaluate primary literature and apply creative thinking to identify gaps in research.
Research skills The module requires students to understand and evaluate a range of research methods and produce a report.
Subject Specific Skills Subject-specific skills developed will depend on the nature of the topic chosen.
Team work Not a specific element of this module.


This module is at CQFW Level 6