02 Mar 2010

Sample Essay: Article Critique


According to Melissa and Jessica, this is a study carried to provide a picture on gender differences in mate poaching. The study had various questions all aimed at getting the feelings of different people (of different age and liking) on interests that may affect their pursuant to relationships. The study was conducted on participants from Oklahoma State University. In writing the report findings, the researchers review different authors on the subject to ensure that it has the required scientific rigor. Further, adequate literature review enables readers to have confidence in the findings and also it allows others to reference the materials without doubt.

Independent Variable(s) used in the Study

The independent variable is like the explanatory variable(s) in any research study and its outcomes does not depend on any other variable(s). In this research study, the independent variable is gender (Females and Males). In this case, the relationship status will be compared for both women and men. The comparison is done using graphs, Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) and measures of dispersion (e.g. standard deviation).

Dependent variable(s) used in the study ‘relationship status-single or attached) and qualities of the ideal romantic partner. The relationship status and the qualities of the romantic partner depend depends on the gender of the respondent. This can further be ascertained by the literature review. The dependent variables show the comparisons of men and women. Further, one variable, like relationship status, is controlled for the other variable, qualities of ideal romantic partner, and vice versa. The differences in both men and women are then determined using one explanatory variable holding the other constant.

Sampling used to gather Subject

Sampling is one of the areas the research work has faltered. In this research study, there is no indication of any sampling done prior to the research work. In this case, a sample of 184 participants was used and was made up of 97 women and 87 men. For an ideal research study in which the results are meet the expectations of a research study, the sample needs to be representative of the entire population. A quality scientific research work has no room for biasness. In such a case, the population needs to be stratified (subdivided into non-overlapping subgroups-strata), for example, by departments (or faculties) since the population is not homogenous where a simple random sample will be carried out as is the case. Stratification involves putting together elements with same (almost) traits together and then picking a simple random sample from each stratum.

Further, there is no indication of the total population in Oklahoma State University as this would have guided in the calculation of the sample size using the formula; n = N / (1+N (e2)). Where ‘n’ is the sample size, ‘N’ is the population size and ‘e’ is the expected error (error on the bound of estimation) which in is 5% in most cases. Once the sample size is determined, then a sample for each stratum is calculated using the formula shown; nk = (Nk / N ) * n; where ‘nk’ is the  sample size for stratum ‘K’, ‘Nk’ is the population size for stratum ‘K’, ‘N’ is total population size, and n is total sample size using the first formula. These formulas would have resulted into the sample size which will mostly represent the entire population without bias.

In any research study, there is need to carryout what is called an understanding of the sample size by administering free consent forms to the participants. This ensures that all participants are aware of the benefits involved and also the understanding that participation is by free consent. This is done mainly to ensure that there is no subject loss which is expensive to the researcher in addition to affecting the precision. In this research study, this is not available.

Reliability of Study

There are quite a number of aspects which makes a research study un-reliable and they include. Withholding some results from the research report findings, reporting findings as though they represent the true feelings on the ground, paying participants to receive positive research results and getting funding from an organization to carry out a research on their behalf with some biasness.

Withholding research findings is all about only reporting the positive ones is shelving the negative ones. Further, generalizing research findings as though to represent the entire population using a smaller sample is not ethical as the findings may be far much different if a larger sample is used. In addition, to pay participants to respond in such a way is against research ethics teachings of free consent and protection of vulnerable groups. Further, for any research to have the required reliability, there is need for a deeper understanding of who did it, why it was done and may be who paid for it to be conducted, may be he/she did it for money.

In this case, the research findings may not be reliable since it was conducted without a mention of the total population in the University which would affect the final sample size. A sample size of 184, although large, may not be large if the total population is taken into consideration. All the other aspects have been taken care of.

Validity of Study

For a research work to be valid, the participants need to be selected at random. Randomness reduces incidences of serial correlation which affects precision and the final research results. Further, randomness minimizes biasness which leads to skewed results. In this case, there is no indication of randomness. Further, there is need to understand whether the research work is double blind in that, the researcher and the participants do not understand what is under study. In this research study, it is evident that the researcher is aware of what is required. Again, a research is valid if it compares its findings and literature with other research works in the same field (topic). There also the need to study interaction effect between the explanatory variables and it significance to the overall research findings.


Melissa, B and Jessica, P (2009). Who’s Chasing Whom? The Impact of Gender and Relationship Status on Mate Poaching. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, No. (45) pp. 1016-1019

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