Critical Evaluation Portfolio Task

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Assessment Type


Word Count

900 words




2 Days

Assignment Criteria

Portfolio Task- Critical Evaluation (approx. 900 words)

Students are expected to write a Critical Evaluation of a journal article: 

From language classroom to clinical context: The role of language and culture in communication for nurses using English as a second language. A thematic analysis, by Fiona O'Neill.

An evaluation is similar to analysis, except that one extends the analysis with greater emphasis on the evaluation component. Write this task as if it were an essay with carefully planned paragraphs. Remember that the introductory (orientation) paragraph sets the scene and provides the thesis statement. Each of the subsequent paragraphs should focus on one point (topic) only. The critical analysis and evaluation should address each of the following sub-questions or tasks:

Provide a suitable title for this task, and include a correctly set out reference for this article (using the Harvard or APA referencing convention).

Introduction – Orientation: (75-100 words)

  1. What is the context of this issue? (Where and when?)
  2. What is the main point or thesis of the article?
  3. What is your purpose in writing this essay (your thesis statement – different from the article's thesis statement)?

Summary: (100-125 words – formative assessment only)

  1. Write a brief summary of this article in another language that you know best (not English).

Analysis: (325-350 words)

  1. What evidence or argument is used to support the main point (thesis) that the author is trying to make? How reliable or valid is this evidence (how can you assess this)?
  2. Who is making this assertion? What interests does this view represent? Are there gaps or silences – how are contrasting views represented, if at all? 
  3. How is this writer presenting this view or experience: in what terms, from what perspective? With what sort of language – persuasive, argumentative, authoritative? 
  4. Why is this point of view being put forward?

Evaluation: (325-350 words)

  1. How useful or valuable is the research included in this article (for whom, where, when, why)? 
  2. To what extent does this research have relevance for professionals or the workplace?
  3. Try to reflect on the possible implications of this study not only in this profession but elsewhere?
  4. Identify any overall weaknesses or gaps your find, providing a motivation/evidence for your judgement. (Is there anything else you might need to know before you are able to give a final judgement?)

Conclusion: (50-75 words)

  1. Present your overall judgement/evaluation and indicate what should happen next (e.g. Should there be further research on this? Who should pay attention to this? Who should read it? Why?)


The purpose of a Critical Evaluation is to inform others of the usefulness/value of the resource through careful analysis, evaluation and possible reflection of the significance of the resource.

To evaluate consider these questions and give your reasons

  • How valuable, how relevant, how important, how reliable, how useful, how authoritative is the content/ author/site? For whom?
  • Make positive and negative judgments.
  • Conclude with the main judgment.

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Assignment Solution


The essay focuses on the problems of nurses educated in English as a foreign language who have been recruited by Australian hospitals as they struggle between language proficiency and clinical efficiency. The gap between the linguistic training they receive and the requirements of their workplace has been explored through the essay. These nurses face a number of cultural and linguistic challenges at their job which is often misconstrued as incompetency. Based on the testimony of a few nurses, the essay illustrates the ways in which the English language is vital in constructing a new professional and cultural identity in Australia. The themes of integration and adaptation recur throughout the essay to prove that learning a language is as much cultural and social accumulation as it is communication. Thus, questions of cultural identity and problems of migration are discussed in this essay. 

The essay must, however, be viewed in the larger context of hundreds of student nurses, mostly from India, who faced deportation from Australia for lack of proficiency in English in 2010 (Times of India World Aug 9, 2010). The need for English language training during this time becomes an issue of safety and security in a strange culture. English language proficiency thus became crucial in order to avoid deportation and victimization.


The purpose of the study is envisioned to be the 'means of initiating a social change'. (O'Neill 2011) This study is relevant in the background of globalisation and interculturalism where people leave the comfort of their homes to look for lucrative jobs across the world. Referring to the work of J.K Hall (cited in O'Neill 2011) the author notes that 'in an increasingly globalised world, a communicative, intercultural orientation to language teaching, learning and assessment is seen as vital. Hence raising the question of what 'linguistic, intercultural and social preparation do nurses for whom English is a second language need…' (O'Neill 2011).

 As evidence of the argument made, the author provides the testimony of participants who have been a part of the English language training program. Through the qualitative method, these personal accounts are analysed to observe the alienation and estrangement that foreign nurses face at their workplace due to communication gap. The research methodology in this study as the author explains is a process of thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews. Adding to an existing body of literature, the study aims at 'identifying the nature of the language support needed by such nurses to facilitate their adaptation and integration' (O'Neill 2011).  The author argues that the lack of intercultural understanding could impact the quality of care provided to patients. Hence stating that the benefits of training nurses in English language are twofold- integrating nurses and better health care system. 

The position of the author as both a nurse as well as an ESL trainer gives an insider’s perspective into the issues of nurses. However, being a native locates him outside the focus group of the study. The author remains sensitive to the issues of marginalisation as he draws on the study of Deegan and Simkin, 2010; Hawthorne, 2001; Omeri and Atkins, 2002 to state that, “This effort involves overcoming the perception that they are somehow an inferior resource to native-born Australian nurses, a perception that may lead to stereotypes and marginalisation” (O'Neill 2011). This study is significant because it could lead to the assimilation of immigrant nurses in a time of discrimination. The author presents his arguments in a straightforward manner through various examples. Such a direct approach gives the study an authentic tone.

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