Evaluate Your Study

This step-by-step guide will help you critically analyze your experiment. Use the Critical Analysis Form to record your answer to the Questions below. Your form will automatically be saved in your Google Drive.

NB. You will need to create a Google account if you do not already have one.

The “Evaluation” of your experiment will be the last section of your Internal Assessment report, where you will have to:

  • Discuss your findings with reference to your background theory or model.
  • Explain relevant strengths and limitations of your design, sample and procedures.
  • Propose modifications addressing said limitations.
Discussion of Findings (Click)

Discussing your findings means answering the following questions:

  • What answer do they give to the research question? Is this answer in line with the background theory / model?

Your findings should not be compared to the particular study you are replicating, but to the general theory/model from which your research hypothesis is derived. Do your findings corroborate or challenge this theory / model?

  • To what extent are these findings conclusive?
    • If your findings support the background theory/model:
      • In what direction was the effect? (If your hypothesis is non-directional)
      • Was the observed effect large or small?
      • How statistically significant were the results?
      • How can the background theory/model explain these results?
      • Is the background theory/model the only possible explanation of this effect, or is there a risk of a “type 1 error” (asserting a claim as true when it is false)? What could be an alternative explanation?
    • If your findings do not support the background theory/model
      • Was there an effect in the direction opposite to the one you predicted? (if your hypothesis was directional)
      • How statistically insignificant were the results?
      • How can this absence of influence be explained? Does it contradict all aspects of the background theory? Is it in line with an alternative theory?
      • Is there a risk of a “type 2 error” (asserting a claim as false when it is true)?

Question 32:
Discuss your findings with reference to your background theory / model.

Explanation of Strengths and Limitations (Click)

To critically evaluate your experiment, you should:

  • Look at both its strengths and limitations 
  • Be systematic and cover all of the following dimensions:
    • Research design
    • Sampling technique and participants
    • Procedures
  • Make sure to only mention relevant strengths and limitations, and to explain this relevance.
    • Strengths and limitations should be specific to your research question and hypothesis
    • You must explain this relevance by indicating how these strengths and limitations might have affected your results
    • Limitations are not relevant if they could and should have been anticipated and avoided

Ideas from this section can come from but should not be limited to your answers to Questions 10-14 in the Research Proposal Form. Examples include but are not limited to the following:

Table 1. Examples of Strengths and Limitations of Design, Sample and Procedures

NB. Every strength and limitation must be fully explained. For instance, it would not be enough to say that your participants were “not representative of the entire target population”. Instead, you should explain the particular characteristics that set them apart and how these might have affected their behavior and the results of your experiment.

Question 33:
Explain relevant strengths and limitations of your design, sample and procedures.

Proposed Modifications (Click)

Having identified limitations of design, sample and procedures, you must propose modifications addressing these limitations. 

These proposed modifications must be described in detail. In addition, you must be able to justify them by explaining how they might affect the results of the experiment. 

Once again, these proposed modifications must be specific and relevant. They cannot be obvious steps that you should have taken while creating your experiment. While they have to be ethical, they do not have to be “realistic” in the sense of something other students could do. They can be recommendations for future researchers with more ample resources to modify your experiment.

Examples include but are not limited to the following:

Table 2. Examples of Proposed Modifications Addressing Identified Limitations

Question 34:
Propose and justify relevant modifications addressing previously identified limitations.