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Final Project: Critical Review

Project Version #2: Critical Review 

Clearly state a hypothesis, and support it using explicit and implicit interpretations of data from a variety of empirical studies. “Empirical” can be defined broadly to include data collected by musicologists in field or archive studies; the hypothesis, however, must be original, and not inherent in the theses of any of the supportive papers.

No standard outline defines this type of paper, and at least a couple of subcategories are worth considering.

(1) A meta-study (like Anna Tirovolas & Daniel Levitin (2011) “Music Perception and Cognition Research from 1983 to 2010: A Categorical and Bibliometric Analysis of Empirical Articles in Music Perception”) … analyzes data already collected in a number of other papers, superimposing compatable metrics to produce claims of greater statistical strength, and suggest directions for further research.

(2) A literature review (like John Bispham (2006), Rhythm in music: What is it? Who has it? And why? Music Perception 24/2:135-142) examines a range of academic work in an area in order to make a larger, original claim or dispute a broad assumption evident in the discipline as a whole.

The crucial feature of this paper is the thoroughness of its survey of a field—critical reviews are of little use of they omit or misinterpret part of what is known. This isn’t just a critical perspective on existing work, but a demonstration of competency in the field. 


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