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Human Behavior in the Social Environment: Article Critique

Wayne Course

If you are taking this class at the Wayne Campus, please go to the following page of Wayne Campus LibGuides:

The guide below is to help students in the Human Behavior in the Social Environment class with their Article Critique assignment.


Article Critique Assignment:

Students are required to complete 2 article critiques.  An article critique is a written summary and evaluation of a scholarly publication.  Examples would include Social Work, Social Work Research, Child Development, Child Welfare, Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, etc.  The articles must be from a social work journal.  If you are unsure if the article is appropriate for the critique, please ask the instructor prior to completing the critique.  The article must focus on a biological, psychological, or social perspective of human behavior and the social environment. The article should focus on a specific stage of development (infancy/childhood, adolescence, young/middle adulthood, or later adulthood).  The focus of the assignment is to critically evaluate the contents of the article in order to better understand theories of human development and behavior. 

Critique must be 3-4 pages typed, double-spaced, standard margins, and in correct APA format. Please attach the article to the critique.  When completing the critique, please respond to the following questions:

  1. What is the purpose of the article? OR What is the research question?
  2. How does this article relate to HBSE I course material?
  3. Does the article focus on any at-risk or vulnerable populations? If so, which ones?
  4. What theories of human behavior and development are applicable to this topic?
  5. How did the authors arrive at their conclusions or findings? Were there any references to research, data collection, etc.?
  6. How would you be able to integrate the information from the article into generalist social work practice?
  7. Overall, how would you rate the quality of the information provided in the article?
  8. Why did you choose this article?

Looking for a Specific Social Work Journal

Start out at the University Libraries website and select E-Journals

Finding E-Journals Link on Library Homepage

Enter the title of the journal you're looking for.  For example, Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment.

Example E-Journals Result Page

Pay attention to the full text access listings for each entry.  Some databases will include shorter or older date ranges, and some will have an "embargo" or a period of time when the full text is not available. 

Select the database option that best meets your needs and follow that link to view the full text. 

Use the database's browse and search interfaces to navigate the electronic journal.

Searching Social Work Databases

A good place to start for your search is the Social Work Abstracts database.  Spend some time brainstorming your search terms and develop a search strategy before starting your search:

Example: Simple Search Performed in Social Work Abstracts

substance abuse AND adolescen*

Is it Scholarly?

When trying to determine if an article would be considered "scholarly," look at the following characteristics:

  • Length: The article is usually several pages long, and can, at times, be as long as 20 to 30 pages.
  • Author: There is always an author or group of authors listed. The author(s) usually have credentials or affiliations listed.
  • Audience: The intended audience is other experts, researchers, and students in the field.
  • Refereed: Articles may be “refereed,” or reviewed by peers prior to being accepted for publication.
  • Illustrations: The article may include maps, tables, and graphs that support the text. Colorful photographs are rarely used.
  • References: The article always includes citations to research discussed in the article in the form of footnotes, endnotes, or bibliographies.
  • Language: Look for vocabulary that would be used in the author’s field or discipline.
  • Format: The article follows a standardized format (APA, MLA, etc.).
  • Title: Keep in mind that not all scholarly journals have “Journal” in the title (although many do). Also, not every source that has “Journal” in the title is actually scholarly. (Example: Ladies Home Journal)

Browse Print Social Work Journals

The following are available in the Wayne College Library periodical collection:

  • Activities, Adaptation, and Aging
  • Counselor: The Magazine for Addiction Professionals
  • Group Work
  • Health & Social Work
  • Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
  • Journal of Applied Gerontology
  • Journal of Elder Abuse and Neglect
  • Journal of Gerontological Social Work
  • Social Service Review