When analyzing research material in journals or other publications, it is crucial to acknowledge that all credible research contributes to the overall body of knowledge to a field. Often, research begins as a project of interest based upon the personal experience of the researcher and then leads to a broader objective than the original. Weakness in the original research is addressed through a follow-up study. In discussing strengths and weaknesses, it is equally important to caution the person providing the critical review to remain objective and keep in mind that as a researcher, we do not have insight in the decision-making process. We are not there. The decisions made concerning methodology and subject underlying the research were made for a reason. In this case, we have no insight or input as to why the researchers chose the methods. If we were there at the time, we made have suggested a very different methodology or agreed with the majority as to the direction of the research.
Weakness: The first weakness is the size of the research project. The research is limited to one school. There are no descriptive statistics, such as demographic material (age, sex, socioeconomic status, total population of the school, number of students identified as at risk, etc.) in a narrative section of the research. The researchers do say the school is affluent, but affluent is a word with subjective meaning. The selection criterion for students is vague, and from the reading, it appears if the researchers include students that do not fit the profile of the student as described in their research. Within the methodology, it is curious that the types of questions asked by researchers are not presented in detail. The study is interpretive. It is essential to ask the same item in as close to the same approximate style as possible to the students if the research interpretation is to be an accurate representation of the response. Although acknowledged in the research, some items are instructional practices (seating plans and shouting or voice) while others are a perception of emotions (loneliness and unfairness). Mixing variables is problematic, as one has little to do with the other.
Strength: The research does an excellent job of citing the material and relating to other credible research in the field. In the discussion section, the researchers do connect the instructional practice with the perceptions of students regarding loneliness and fairness. Within the body of the document in each section are portions of the transcripts. The reflections of the students make the most persuasive case for the conclusion by the researchers. The research suggests that if educators pay more attention to what is considered by most in the field to be nominal details of the typical day in a functioning classroom, the perception of inclusiveness by children is enhanced. There is a significant body of educational and social research that confirms the notion the instructional environment is more critical to the success of academic success than teacher efficacy in the early years. "However, paying attention to issues of detail, as the ones highlighted above, enables us to further understand inclusion, as this is experienced by children themselves" (Adderly, Hope, Hughes, et. al., 2014).