Journal of Urban Health, Article Critique Example

The article formally evaluates the performance of the Detroit Community-Academic Urban Research Center, a center composed of a local university and community health groups.  Overall, the article states the Center has accomplished many of its goals, including reaching funding goals, the construction of sound infrastructure, and building trust among the coalition’s partners and leaders.  The authors also state that the Center faces a number of challenges moving forward including balancing interests between the community and partner needs and the need for greater organization.

In order to evaluate the performance of the community partnership, the authors focused on the opinions of the URC board via a number of semistructured interviews with board members, former board members, and other key stakeholders.  The authors’ analysis of the Research Center’s performance is primarily based on the survey respondents’ assessments.  While board members clearly are important stakeholders in the management of the Center, they also might be biased in the assessment of the Center’s performance in that they are unwilling to bring up certain topics.  This is not to say that the conclusions of the article are completely wrong or do not try to anticipate different opinions, but the overall performance assessment might be different if they included a greater proportion of community members who do not have a direct stake in the Center’s success and were open to greater criticism.

Another potential issue largely unaddressed is the generalization of this model to other areas where it could be useful.  Indeed, while this unique model seems to be working for the Detroit area, a more extensive analysis of what factors are replicable in other areas would be highly useful.