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find and read a current peer-reviewed article, from a social science journal, related to your project topic. (It can be one you’ve already mentioned or a new one.) Summarize the article, including main idea, methods used, and findings. Then, critique the article. For example:

Is the topic relevant? Do the authors explain the study well? Are the methods and findings clear? Could the study be repeated? Are there any holes in the research?

Peer 1:

The title of the article I have chosen is Categorical Inequality: Schools As Sorting Machines (Domina et al., 2017).  I chose this article because it relates to my topic regarding racial disparities in the public education system.  The article’s primary focus is the theory of categorical inequality in the education system, which holds that social categories create boundaries and influence the distribution of valuable resources across those boundaries.  The current educational theory focuses on individual achievement by students in a vacuum, rather than exploring the ways in which racialized categorical inequality has affected generations of African Americans across a variety of settings and institutions.  The researchers of this study and article address this idea thoroughly.  Despite the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling outlawing separate but equal schools more than a half-century ago, public schools in America are still far from equal.  Although modern-day rhetoric calls for race-blind or color-blind policies, the history of African Americans is filled with overwhelming examples of racism, prejudice, discrimination, and segregation.  In many American cities, schools are still deeply segregated by race, neighborhood, income, and wealth.  The researchers show that many public-school students essentially receive education of different quality depending on local school district funding, location, and resources.  The researchers discuss how the disparities of African American students versus students of other racial or ethnic backgrounds in public education is an underspecified and understudied topic.  While social class and its influence on neighborhoods remain an important area of study when exploring reasons for distinctions in public schools, race and racism sit at the core of American institutions and are the primary driving factors in the lives of generations of African Americans.  The researchers cited a total of 136 sources relating to the topic.  When reviewing the sources the researchers used, it is evident that each source used is peer-reviewed and associated with the issue of racial inequality in the education system.  The researchers were able to build upon previous studies while contributing new ideas and solutions for the research topic.  The researchers did an excellent job of explaining in great detail what categorical inequality is and how it affects the education system.  They even break down each category into separate sections throughout the article.  My only critique would be for the section covering the improvement of educational categorical inequality.  They went into great detail explaining how each category affects the education system, but they only offered a few short paragraphs regarding improving these categories.  I think that other researchers could easily replicate their study and findings.  If you were to build upon their research, you could probably create and offer new solutions to improve the education system.

Peer 2:

I chose to use an article I have previously cited for my assignments, “The Impacts of Nature Experience on Human Cognitive Function and Mental Health”. This topic is relevant to my study as it researches the effects of nature on mental health and cognitive functioning. It is also highly relevant to my study as it also focuses on urban views and views from windows, as my IV Natviews is of views of nature from home. To do this, the researchers are reviewing work of major studies and compiling the findings. The authors explain the study and research well going into detail of definitions of nature and environment, highlighting duration of time in nature, as well as differentiating between being in nature and window views, and defining key terms. The methods and findings are both clear in this study; the approach, methods, and theories are clearly described and examined through the article. Findings are examined and met with implications for future use. This study could be repeated, however, the focus in this research was on positive influences in mental health and cognition rather than negative. Studies that also involve negative result on mental health and cognition have the possibility in changing the results.

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