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Process of critiquing an article
Any note regarding critical analysis of an article starts with a summary of the point of view discussed in that paper. This summary highlights the thesis or the problem statement of the article under analysis. In this section, the author’s viewpoint is explored, based on the arguments and explanations provided by the author, and described. Here, some points may be given regarding the author’s experience in the subject, any previous work or other supporting evidence.
The way article has been organized; which facts have been chosen by the author to describe or support his/her article. How much focused is the author bout his/her article? How the author provides his/her theoretical knowledgebase to support his own write up? Moreover, based on the presented theoretical explanation, what is the evidence utilized by the author for further supporting his/her work? Does the evidence provided is suitable for the current article?
Do all the contents of the article are coherent? How much continuity is there in the main body of the article? Does the language of the article and the thought process go in unison? Any point where contradictions exist in the article?
In the critical analysis of the whole article, addressing all the above mentioned issues is very important. This process is efficiently completed when all the sections of an article are thoroughly reviewed following the above mentioned guidelines. This can be achieved by taking all the sections as one article at the first instance and completing the whole process. Afterwards, the whole article is critiqued. This also needs to look at the linking process of all the sections contained in the article.
Importance of critique for a nurse
Nursing research has been defined by Hunt (1991) as a planned systematic search for information within or about nursing, for the purpose of increasing the body of knowledge of nursing. Nurses should be research aware and be able to apply it to practise and therefore have an influence on health care (Henderson, 1987). However, in order to fully appreciate and fully utilize research, the nurse needs to know that it is credible and reliable. Nurses can learn to distinguish between good and bad research and be critical of other individual research. Therefore, the aim of this assignment is to explore the strengths and weaknesses of a research study define the term critique as a judgment about the merits and/or value of a piece of research. He suggests that because research is never perfect all research may be critically evaluated.
Critiquing research is essential for developing and refining nursing knowledge. However the word critique is often linked with the word criticize, which is frequently viewed as negative. Research is critiqued to broaden understanding, improve practice and provide a background for conducting a study. All nurses, including students, practicing nurses, administrators and researchers need to critique research. (Burns & Grove, 1995) 0gier (1992) argues that nurses have a responsibility to themselves, colleagues and clients to maintain and update their knowledge in relation to care without the ability to critique research this would be difficult.
Burns and Grove (1997) suggest The root meaning of the word ‘research’ is to search again or examine carefully. Research is a diligent systematic inquiry or investigation to validate and refine existing knowledge and generate new knowledge.
The primary goal of nursing research is to improve the quality of care given to clients. Research plays a key role in providing evidence on the value and limitations of clinical interventions and on their cost-effectiveness. The Royal College of Nursings secretary, Christine Hanncock states Central to our endeavours is to work to promote the value of nursing and it goes without saying that efforts to demonstrate the value of nursing can only succeed if they are founded on a solid research base. Securing an adequate research base for nursing is fundamental to its future. (Hanncock 1993).
Critique of a published article
The authors of the article have tried to state their objectives very well. They have been able to prove testing their hypothesis and answered the research questions. In a comprehensive way, the whole of the article has been presented reviewing the existing body of evidence available. Through the review of literature, a strong rational is built on which helped in justifying this research activity. Study design and methodology have been described in detail to make things understandable. Presentation of results followed by discussion and conclusion further improved the organization of the article and strengthened the evidence.
Title of this article could have been further improved because it looked into the compliance beyond fluid intake; treatment regimen and other diets also, although fluid played an important role. The abstract of the article gave a comprehensive summary of the research carried out along with its findings and conclusions. To introduce and provide key information about a research article, a well written, brief and comprehensive abstract becomes an essential section. It also gave an idea about the detailed contents and the presentation of the material in the main body of the article.
Before reviewing the available evidence on the issue of hemodialysis, fluids, compliance and health education the authors briefly described the renal failure and its complication. This description helped in understanding the topic in a better way; it also linked the next section in a smooth pattern. Reader does not find any gap left in between. An appropriate collection of evidence has been placed in the background section. This body of existing information is very much helpful in moving towards building a strong rational for the research carried out and eventually this article. A strong rationale is always based on thorough review of literature. Either there is dearth of information or a lot of information but some new hypotheses are generated which require their testing. So a comprehensive and interrelated section on background strengthened this article.
At times objectives are developed by the researcher but their presentation may not be appropriate. A good objective should be a SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound) one http://www.thepracticeofleadership.net/2006/03/11/setting-smart-objectives/). The authors of this article have not been able to describe the objectives properly and clearly. Although, aim of the article/study has been stated but there is difference between the two terms in real research terminology.
The aim and the design of the study have been described very well with further elaborating the quasi experimental design options. The authors have provided information on study setting. But they have not informed about the time period of study. Fluid intake and requirements vary in different weather conditions. It is always a quest of a reader to know such things to answer the questions which arise in his or her mind. Sample size calculation has also been provided but the reference is very old; published almost 20 years back. It would have been better if a recent reference or discussion on sample size calculation was used.
A detailed description of the study participants, their inclusion and exclusion characteristics have been stated. Ethical considerations are hallmark of any research; its importance increases even further when there is any external factor is introduced to human (Rothman & Greenland, 1998).The authors also mentioned about the ethical approval which was obtained for carrying out this research. This is an important component of any research which is carried out on human beings. This is the right of every human to know about the research and decide without any coercion to take part in any research study or not! Ethical review takes care of these rights and requirements.
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The authors have not only described the intervention in the text but also provided various tables to further improve the understanding of the intervention package. The study design has also been described diagrammatically. Utilizing different sets of presenting data helps gaining the attention of the reader. This also elaborates the whole process of activities conducted very well presentable. Description of education intervention which was implemented and the outcome measures looked for to assess any change or improvement in the compliance of the patients is an important opponent. In fact, this is the crux of the whole research activity because the assessment will be carried out and validated by estimating these indicators.
The process and the contents of data collection activity have been very well described. The authors shared the measurement and capturing of all the important variables at the time of data collection. The study has been divided in three phases: baseline, intervention and endline. Each phase continued for a period of two months. Assessment of knowledge and change of behavior after two months of health education seems to be a short interval. As patients of renal failure pass a life with chronic morbidity; this short interval assessment may not give any idea about the persistence of the behavior with good compliance. Therefore, either assessment should have been after a gap of sometime of health education activity or there should be a series of such assessment after intervention to look for persistence of complaint behavior.
Data management is a group of activities conducted right from the time of the data collection instruments are developed and it continues through the stages of data collection, validation, editing to entry and analysis. For any valid research study, the role of data management process is vital. If there is any breakage in this chain or disturbance of quality then whole of the study is out on stake. The authors of this study did not mention anything related to data management except information on analysis.
They have described analysis in some detail. Explanation for using a specific test is important and it also agrees to the requirement of this type of analysis (Machi, Campbell & Walters, 2007). The authors have mentioned applying various statistical tests at different situations to get the analysis which they wanted.
The results of the study have been elaborated in reasonable detail. Authors address all the main areas which required analysis. Various relationships have been explored as well as any level of significance testing has also been utilized. These analyses are important to make a point clear and defend or accept any hypothesis which has been tested. This section reflects a strong hold on the authors on the statistical issues. They have dealt this issue very efficiently. This is important quality of a researcher to convey or make the reader understand what he or she wants to present. However, with additional tables or graphs this section could have been made more understandable.
Discussion section of any scientific article makes the article acceptable or not! It is this section where results of the current study are compared to the previous ones and thus a detail debate is carried out. The authors try to bring their study in the line of existing evidence if the results are alike; at times the results are against what had been presented in earlier studies then a plausible explanation is required by the authors to state his or her view point. If the results take an absolutely new turn then the authors also suggest further research in the area. This article has been very well supported by a wealth of discussion points. The authors have argues to explain what they have found in this study.
Narrating the limitations of a research study explicitly reflect the hold and neutral position of the authors. It also suggest about the careful nature of the authors who could identify the shortcomings of their study. No study can be carried out with 100 percent accuracy and without any deficiency but sharing any limitations are very important and professional characteristics. The authors of this article have shared the limitations of this study.
Drawing some important conclusions is also a key task which should not be overlooked. It determines the accomplishment of the objectives set at the beginning of the research study. It also reflects the ability of the authors to extract what have been important findings other than the set objectives.
Machin D., Campbell MJ., & Walters SJ. (2007). Medical Statistics: A textbook for the health sciences. 4th edition, pp. 129-132. John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Rothman KJ., & Greenland S. (1998). Modern Epidemiology. 2nd edition, pp. 67-70. Lippincott – Raven, Philadelphia. The Practice of leadership,Web.