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Older Spousal Caregivers: Practitioners’ Perspectives Essay

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Updated: May 16th, 2021

An evaluation of the sources of literature the study uses to establish purpose/gap in knowledge of the study

When it comes to the use of sources of literature to support the study, Cash, Hodgkin, and Warburton (2016) approached the issue practically and selected a wide scope of the supporting literature. The selected sources are used as the basis for statements and definitions, as well as for the discussion of the previous findings regarding the topic under discussion. Additionally, the supporting sources of information were used when the authors reported statistical data and tendencies.

The greatest variety of sources is cited in the introduction and background sections that inform the reader about the purpose and aim of the study, as well as make a clear and detailed statement of the problem. Moreover, the authors also referred to their previous work that had been published several years before the current study under discussion; this was done to expand the readers’ knowledge about the research on the subject carried out by the present team of authors.

Most of the sources chosen as supporting literature are recent and were published within the last decade. A few sources come from 2000 and 2005 and present information about the theory and practice of research, as well as some background knowledge on caregiving for elders; the latter sources do not seem to present outdated information. In that way, a conclusion can be made that the literature supporting the study is relevant and reliable.

A description of the research paradigm/design utilized in the research and an analysis of whether this is appropriate given the purpose and topic of the study

The research question of this study focused on the exploration of the practitioners’ perspectives of the obligations of spousal caregiving in older adults living in rural communities and the impact such obligations had on choice (Cash et al., 2016). The participants of the study were the healthcare practitioners working in the area of rural north-east of Victoria, Australia. The study locations were selected based on the convenience principle as the ones with the largest populations of older adults.

Also, the health services practitioners targeted as respondents represented a wide range of organizations and specialties; this was done for the purpose of diversifying the results and generating a set of more reliable, valid, and generalizable findings (Neeson, Rijn, & Mandelik, 2013).

Also, the design of this research is of qualitative nature which helped the authors address the selected research question with a higher level of precision. Basically, the qualitative design is the most suitable for the studies where the researchers’ purpose is to detect patterns, search for tendencies, indicate phenomena, and explore their depth and complexity (“Qualitative research designs,” n.d.). In qualitative research, the obtained data is processed for coding and finding themes (Creswell, 2013). This was exactly the goal of the study under review – to gather a group of practitioners and engage them in discussions to identify common topics and issues they could share from their practice regarding care for older adults.

A description of the research methods and findings

The data collection in this study was based on the division of the total of 42 respondents into several focus groups each of which would then be engaged in discussions on the topics of choice and normative assumptions prevalent among the older adult clients regarding caregiving and caretaking. The major goals of the discussions each of which ran for one hour were to identify patterns present in the observations of the diverse practitioners simultaneously and thus reflecting the steady tendencies in the communities under research.

The authors of the study were the major facilitators of the discussions, and their roles were to drive and guide the discussions using specifically selected questions. During the discussions, the participants identified two factors impacting the caregiver choices of older adults – the practical limitations of their environments and the social norms and attitudes. These factors were the major findings of the study.

An outline of the main ethical principles that informed each of the papers in undertaking this research

The principles of privacy, confidentiality, and consent comprised the basis of this research study. At the very beginning of the study, the authors mentioned that before putting the research into practice they made sure that it was approved as ethical and permitted. The agency involved in the review and approval of the research was the Ethics Committee of the Faculty of Health Sciences Human at La Trobe University. Further, the identities of the healthcare practitioners were also treated as confidential information. The authors did not include a separate section explaining the ethical concerns and considerations in the study. The ethics issue was mentioned briefly at the beginning of the methodology section.

Even though the issue is extremely serious, the authors’ choice of research design and approach did not involve work with any kind of sensitive or personal information that had to be kept confidential. The only information that had to be protected throughout the research was the personal information of the 42 participants involved in the focus groups carrying out the discussions.

A critique of the research which includes the limitations and any unexplored aspects useful for further research

As for the study limitations, they also were not discussed in a separate section; however, the authors made sure to discuss them alongside the results and findings. In particular, Cash et al. (2016) specified that the nature, scope, and population size of the study presented the major sources of limitations to the generalization of the findings to a broader population.

Moreover, the opinions included in the study belonged solely to the healthcare practitioners involved in caregiving; however, the perspectives of the older adults receiving or providing informal care were not included. In that way, since the major goal of the study was to expand the professional understanding of the impacts on the choice of spousal caregivers among the older adults, further research could target specifically the receivers and providers of informal care as they are the carriers of valuable first-hand qualitative knowledge on this subject.


Cash, B., Hodgkin, S., & Warburton, J. (2016). Practitioners’ perspectives on choice for older spousal caregivers in rural areas. Australian Social Work, 69(3), 283-296. Web.

Creswell, J. W. (2013). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Neeson, T. M., Rijn, I., & mandelik, Y. (2013). How taxonomic diversity, community structure, and sample size determine the reliability of higher taxon surrogates. Ecological Applications, 23(5), 1216–1225.

. (n.d.). Web.

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"Older Spousal Caregivers: Practitioners’ Perspectives." IvyPanda, 16 May 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/older-spousal-caregivers-practitioners-perspectives/.

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IvyPanda. "Older Spousal Caregivers: Practitioners’ Perspectives." May 16, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/older-spousal-caregivers-practitioners-perspectives/.


IvyPanda. 2021. "Older Spousal Caregivers: Practitioners’ Perspectives." May 16, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/older-spousal-caregivers-practitioners-perspectives/.


IvyPanda. (2021) 'Older Spousal Caregivers: Practitioners’ Perspectives'. 16 May.

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