In the contemporary world, where research has become the basis for the development, critiquing research that has already been conducted is imperative to improve living standards all round (socially, economically, healthwise and environmentally). Hence, the reason why this paper aims to give insight into the means to effectively and efficiently diagnose primary progressive aphasia by critiquing the article “Apraxia of Speech and Phonological Errors in the Diagnosis of Nonfluent/Agrammatic and Logopenic Variants of Primary Progressive Aphasia” by Croot, Ballard, Leyton and Hodges (2012, p. S1562-S1572).
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Title And Abstract
Is the title clear and concise?
The title is not clear and concise. It does not qualify to be a research article title. It describes indicators that will be used for the diagnosis of language disorders.
Does the title identify the target population and/or variables understudy?
No. There is no indication of study variables and study population.
Does the title reflect the research question or type of study?
RQ: It is very difficult to come up with the research question from the title because the title looks like a mere topic about the use of apraxia of speech and phonological errors in the diagnosis of nonfluent/agrammatic and logopenic variants of PPA.
Type: Not clearly stated, but it sounds like an investigation; hence, it is exploratory.
The abstract clearly and concisely summarized the purpose, procedures, important findings, and implications.
The abstract is a good summary of the research study because it contains the purpose of the research study, methods used, results obtained and conclusion.
The abstract concentrates on how the study will be collected and the variables under study, and it has left out a clear description of the study population.
Was there a logical and convincing rationale?
The rationale of the study is based on “difficulty in distinguishing between nonfluent/agrammatic and logopenic PPA” (Croot et al., 2012, p. 1563: column 1, sentences 3-10).
Have the subjects, participants, or specimens been adequately described?
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The study population has not been adequately described in terms of sampling and recruitment procedures. Also, little is known about the study population in terms of sociodemographic characteristics, for example, ethnicity and education level. Nonetheless, these characteristics were not utilized in the interpretation of results.
Was the selection criteria adequate and clearly defined?
Clear inclusion and exclusion criteria have been adequately and clearly described as diagnosis with apraxia of speech and possession of high-quality audio and video speech based on the recording (Croot et al., 2012. p. S1564: column 2, sentences 30-49).
What is the evidence of adequate protection of subjects and participants?
The study was ethically approved; hence, the protection of study subjects was assured.
Were instrumentation and/or behavioral instruments appropriate?
Phonetic distortions, phonemic errors and prosodic disruption were rated for presence/severity using a scoring system previously used by Leyton (Croot et al., 2012, p. S1566: column 1, sentences 12-14). Standardized values for the PiB scans obtained from Leyton were also used.
What evidence is presented on the reliability and validity of instrumentation and/or behavioral instruments?
Some of the instruments used, for example, the consensus criteria is valid because it is deemed a gold standard. Other instruments, such as the scoring system for phonological errors and PiB-PET scans, have been previously used, but their validity and reliability are not indicated. Also, the validity and reliability of scoring systems used in the current study were not been determined.
The international consensus criteria, which is deemed the gold standard for diagnosis of the different classes of primary progressive aphasia is not well understood. An articulate description of the consensus criteria used in the current study would have been insightful because the reader is confused about whether all the procedures used are what count as the consensus criteria or it is something else.
Were the tasks and research protocol (design) adequately outlined?
The nature of the research design used is not clear because nothing about it has been mentioned.
How were experimenters and human observer bias controlled?
Experts were used to diagnosing the patients based on the international consensus criteria.
The reader has to figure out the research design used from the nature of the results given. This article, to some extent, does not qualify to be considered as a research article due to the nature of the methodology. The researchers should have considered comparing different instruments to check for their sensitivity and specificity concerning logopenic and agrammatic PPA.
Were the results related to the research problem?
The results are related to the rationale or purpose for conducting the research, which is to obtain the actual symptoms useful in creating a distinction between nonfluent/agrammatic PPA and logopenic PPA.
Were tables and figures integrated with text?
Tables were integrated into the text, but based on the nature of the study, inferential statistics have not been used.
Were limitations of the method discussed?
The authors admit that the study did not give distinctive results.
Were implications for clinical practice fairly and objectively stated?
Not quite, but according to this study, accurate diagnosis of either logopenic or agrammatic PPA should not be limited to the consensus criteria because Leyton achieved greater distinctions while applying a different diagnostic tool (cited in Croot et al., 2012, p. S1570: column 1, sentences 1-6).
Croot, K., Ballard, K., Leyton, C., & Hodges, J. (2012). Apraxia of Speech and Phonological Errors in the Diagnosis of Nonfluent/Agrammatic and Logopenic Variants of Primary Progressive Aphasia. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 55, S1562-S1572.