Critical summary

Assignment: Critical summary on a specific research paper (950-1050 words)




In the critical summary assignment, you are required to read, understand, summarize, analyze and evaluate a primary research paper. You may need to read other related texts to understand the topic and its importance more deeply, and to place the work in the context of what is already known. The critical summary requires you to question the information, interpretation and conclusions of the text and present your evaluation of the text.

In the critical summary, you are required to:

  1. provide background information and place the research into context (Introduction)
  • identify the research question or hypothesis that is addressed in the research paper
  • why is the research question important
  • what work has been done in this area previously


  1. provide a summary of the main findings in the paper and try to come up with lightly labelled summary diagram (Separate page), using a graphics program, e.g. powerpoint or photoshop, that conveys the results/conclusions of the article (Summary)


  • comment on the strengths, weaknesses and notable features of the paper (Critique)
  • is the methodology appropriate
  • are the data presented clearly and are they of good quality
  • could the data be interpreted differently
  • have the authors accounted for all the data or have they ignored something that may be important
  • are the conclusions reasonable and supported by the data
  • can you raise questions not already discussed in the paper
  • can you discuss the findings in a new way


Approximately 30% of the critical summary should be devoted to part (i), 30% to part (ii) and 40% to part (iii). This is a guideline only. A simple summary of the research paper is not sufficient. You may include a short description of how the experiments were performed (methods) if this is pertinent (for example a new technique was developed by the authors; or you have concerns with the methodology).


Your paper should be well organized and written in an engaging style that is readily accessible to your peers. Please separate your thoughts and ideas into separate paragraphs. Your writing should be clear and concise and free of spelling and grammatical errors.


Length and format

1000 words; references and figure legend are not included in the word count. Please stay within the range of 950-1050 words. Text, left justification, double-spaced with 1.0” (2.54 cm) margin all around. Use a 12 point font: Times New Roman, Arial or Calibri. Pages must be numbered. Include your name, date and word count on the header at the top of the page.



Please provide a one sentence, 40-word abstract that makes reference to the paper under review.


References :


Please do not exceed 10 references; include citations in the text and list all references cited in the References section at the end. References should include only articles (primary or secondary) that are published or in press. For citations, use Author last name and year (e.g. Lau and Cheung, 2011; Sykes et al., 2006). For references, please use the following style:


Lau, P.N., and Cheung, P. (2011). Histone code pathway involving H3 S28 phosphorylation and K27 acetylation activates transcription and antagonizes polycomb silencing. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 108, 2801-2806.


Sykes, S.M., Mellert, H.S., Holbert, M.A., Li, K., Marmorstein, R., Lane, W.S., and McMahon, S.B. (2006). Acetylation of the p53 DNA-binding domain regulates apoptosis induction. Mol. Cell 24, 841–851.


Figures and Table

You may include 1 Figure or 1 Table in the article if this will enhance the reader’s understanding of the article. The figure or table legend must be written in your own words.


Note: Need to provide a draft as well.


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