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Researching Postnatal Depression Essay

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Updated: May 9th, 2022


This research paper focuses on postnatal depression. Postnatal depression refers to a health condition that causes depression in women. It describes the change in women’s moods after delivery. The patient might experience postnatal depression either for a short time or within a long duration of time (Dudley 2001). Health professionals suggest that the fluctuations in the level of hormones cause changes in the chemical composition of the brain (Gerrard 2000). The change, in the chemical composition, results in symptoms of depression. This research paper addresses disclosure of the depression. It researches women’s disclosure of depression symptoms. In this light, this paper aims to critique the research paper with an aim to identify whether the research was satisfactory (Zinsser 2006). It will focus on the sampling process, choosing of participants, collection of data, characteristics of the participants chosen, data analysis and the level consistency.

Qualitative Method Clarity

Though the method of research is not stated, it is clear that the researchers have used phenomenology. It involves the study of the natural phenomena through experimentation (Green & Thorogood 2004). It is a phenomenology method since the researcher is dealing with a natural occurrence in human beings. Like the phenomenological method, the research aims at collecting data that help researchers to make a comparison between data sets.

Clarity of Sample Selection

The criteria for sample selection are described satisfactorily. The target population consists of general practitioners, health visitors and women with postnatal depression. The researcher proceeds to give the size of samples across the three groups. In this case, the researcher involved nineteen general practitioners and four health visitors. In the same research, they interviewed twenty-eight women. The researcher has stated that the sample was selected from the general practitioners and health visitors who participated in the RESPOND trial. However, they have not explained the meaning of RESPOND. The research has not described the role of RESPOND. This makes the term RESPOND lack relevance in terms of sample selection. It is, also, clear that they carried out random sampling when choosing women’s samples. The researcher states that they interviewed women whom they had randomized from various arms of treatment. They, also, considered their locations. In this case, they chose the sample group from different cities.

Participants Recruitment

The method of recruiting participants is clear. The participants comprised of general practitioners, health visitors and women who experience postnatal depression. In addition, there were about nine primary care trusts. They participated as a result of taking part in the RESPOND trial in Bristol, Manchester, and London. In this case, they ensured that participants came from the inner cities as well as the urban areas. Method of recruitment considered people who came from deprived areas like Manchester. The researchers determined the women participants based on a scale. In this case, the administrative staff gave out packs that contained EPDS. EPDS refers to Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. Any woman who gave out their screening EPDS scoring eleven and above participated in the research. Before participation, the researchers visited the health care centers. They had to confirm that the practitioners had diagnosed them with postnatal depression using the Clinical Interview Schedule. Women who participated in RESPOND and attained a result after forty-four weeks participated in the study.

Sampling Method

The sample was randomly purposeful. The researcher specifies that the sampling for women, general practitioners, and health visitors was purposeful. In this sampling, the researcher gets a population of concern. They adopt a systematic process helping them to identify and choose cases which do not have the basis on prerequisite knowledge of what they expect (Hektner & Csikszentmihalyi 2007). This implies that the researchers do not have advanced knowledge about the appearance of the outcomes. In the case of general practitioners, the researcher chooses this sampling in a bid to attain the highest variation in terms of the span of time used in general practices, age, deprivation level, level of practice, and gender. The researcher, also, carried out random purposive sampling for health visitors. In this case, it was to ensure that they achieved variation of the time that elapsed since they completed their health training. They, also, aimed at varying the length that they had served in the health department. Consequently, they ensured variation in the length of experience to allow varying perspectives and views. In addition, they carried out random purposeful sampling for women who would participate in the research. The researchers aimed at ensuring that they carried out interviews which were distributed randomly. The random distribution ensured variation in relation to treatment arms and locations. This increased the credibility of the results that they expected to get from the study.

Sample Characteristic

The sample characteristics varied across women, health visitors and general practitioners. The researchers chose the characteristics according to the role of each group. The researchers based the characteristics of general practitioners on age, gender and experience they had gathered. In the case of health visitors, they based the sample on the period that elapsed since the health visitors completed their training. In other words, they focused on the experience they had attained over time. They based the main characteristics of the women sample on location. They divided the aspect of location into locations of treatment areas and their residence. Although the samples were different, they united to make up one bigger sample aiming at collecting data about the same subject. The various characteristics gave out sufficient variation in the view that the researchers collected from the field.

Sample Appropriateness

The sample was appropriate. This can be attributed to various crucial factors that the researchers considered during sample selection. One of these factors is the use of random purposeful sampling. The earlier explanation shows that the random purposeful sampling does not base sampling on the expected outcome. The researchers did not base the research on prerequisite knowledge about the subject hence making the sample reliable and credible. Another crucial factor they considered in sampling was the variation of characteristics. The people involved in research varied in characteristics such as gender, age, experience, level of experience, and locations. This, further, ensured the credibility of their views about the subject. In this case, the sample would represent the population wholesomely. Consequently, the findings they made about the sample applied to the whole population. The sample is, therefore, appropriate and sufficient.

The researchers described the process of data collection adequately. In relation to data collection, the researcher described the interviews in detail. In this case, they described the interviewers, the period of the interview, the way of interviewing and the questions. They state that the non-clinical associates who included the EC and LF carried out the interviews for general practitioners. On the other side, LF carried out the interview for women participants. The researchers describe the questions that they posed to the participants. They used both open and closed questions. They, also, described why they chose to use the open and closed questions to suit various situations. Open questions ensured that the participants had enough freedom to give free responses. Most expectedly, the open questions ensured that the participants open up and give information on a wider scope. They used closed questions that focused on some areas enabling the researcher to collect focused information. It is, also, clear that the questions involved various topics. These topics included diagnosis, post-natal depression management, relationships between patients and professionals and the relationships which exist between professionals and other professionals.

In their description, they included the time limit for the interviews. They state that the interviews involving general practitioners and health visitors took place for one year. The period started from January 2006 up to February 2007. The time limit was about twenty-five to sixty-seven minutes. In the case of women participants, the interview time ranged from forty minutes to two hours. However, they have not specified why they chose the time range. They have not shown the clear importance of timing and restricting the time used in the interview. In respect to data collection, the researchers show their effort of ensuring credibility. They show this through the efforts they made in updating their question guides. To achieve this, they carried out data collection and analysis simultaneously. It allowed them to modify the interview guides in relation to emerging issues.

The researchers have described the way of collecting data. They interviewed some participants through telephone calls. These comprised of two women participants. They interviewed the rest of the participants face to face. However, they did not indicate clearly why they chose to use the two different methodologies. Although they interviewed the remaining women at their home, they did not show the clear locality of the two women who had their interviews through the telephone.

Another crucial description involves the recording of data during data collection. In this case, it is clear that they used audio recorders to store their data for analysis. They, also, transcribe the data for broadcasting facilitating easier analysis. This description shows an in-depth data collection procedure in terms of time used, people involved, ways of interviewing and the data recording among others. However, the little omissions should be considered in the description.

Systematic Data Collection

In my perspective, the researcher has adopted a systematic approach in the collection of data. A systematic approach to data collection requires enough evidence to support the conclusions and final results (Hamer & Collinson 1999). It encourages the collection of data in a manner that treats all facts equally. It asserts that the data collection should treat the facts we like and those we do not like in the same way (Weller & Romney 1988). In this approach, data storage should not rely on the researcher’s memory. It eliminates the possibility of the researcher remembering the facts they like and abandoning those they do not like. In this research paper, the researchers have used a systematic approach.

Firstly, they recorded the original information from the participants. This ensures that the information is authentic and remains unchanged. It, also, ensures that the analyzers get the expression of the respondent’s feelings. In this case, the researchers do not rely on their memory. This is an assurance that the analysis is based entirely on the information by the respondents but not the researcher’s perspective. The use of audio recorders, also, facilitates the acquisition of compact evidence. The researchers use this evidence as to the basis of making a conclusion. Since evidence is a crucial component in the systematic approach, it reinforces the use of this approach. In the findings, the researcher quotes the original word that the respondents said continuously. This, also, intensify the use of evidence.

Another factor that supports the use of a systematic approach is the use of open questions. Open questions ensured that the respondents gave free information about the subject. It eliminates the possibility of the researcher manipulating the respondents so that they give biased information. It is, also, clear that the researchers modified the interview guides in relation to the emerging themes. This required them to do analysis as they carry out data collection. Modifications of the interview guides allowed them to cover a wider scope of information. The wider scope of information reinforces the use of a systematic approach. In addition, a systematic approach encourages the selection of participants in a way that eliminates biases. In this research paper, the researchers used random purposeful sampling. This sampling takes participants that are not based on any expected outcomes. Through the above reasons, it is clear that the research follows a systematic approach to data collection.

Data Analysis and Interpretation

Analysis and interpretation of data is a crucial step in providing statistical evidence (Hildebrand & Rosenthal 1977). In this research paper, the researchers analyzed their findings and made a conclusion from the results. They carried out an analysis that was parallel to data collection. This implies that data was analyzed soon after collection. This analysis ensured that the researchers added additional queries in their interview guides. They carried out the thematic and inductive analysis. The analysis involved professionals from various backgrounds. These backgrounds included nursing, primary care and psychology. Groups from each background read the transcripts and discussed deeply them. They accumulated the data while carrying out thematic analysis. A thematic classification that the researchers identified during the analysis allowed them to explore them in the subsequent interviews. The involved authors coded and interpreted data independently. The authors analyzed data from all data sets allowing them to compare the views of the different sets.

Validity and Reliability

The validity and reliability of the data is crucial factors in statistics. The researchers attempted to make the findings as much reliable and valid as possible. In a bid to achieve credibility, they adopted purposeful random sampling. Unlike another sampling method, like the convenient method, the random purposeful method does the sampling independent to the expected outcomes. The researchers base their results on the original information they obtained from the respondents. This ensured that the findings were credible, valid, and reliable.

To achieve validity and reliability, the researchers collected views across three data sets. The data sets included the women, General Practitioners and Health Visitors. This ensured that there was a wider scope of information available to researchers. They presented information that allowed comparison. The comparison shows the differences and similarities that occur when giving the views. This comparison, also, gave a proper basis for making a conclusion.

The characteristics of the samples were varied across the groups. The variations were in terms of age, gender, experience, and gender among many others. For example, a woman from a certain race might refuse to disclose their problems to the general practitioner. She might not refuse to disclose just because of the race but because the General Practitioners cannot handle her problems. Open and focused questions increase the validity and reliability of the findings. The open questions enable the respondents to express themselves widely. On the other hand, focused questions seek direct answers to the question. This allows the researcher to obtain relevant information rather than having a lot of irreverent information. In addition, the researchers modified the interview guides in a bid to include emerging issues. This modification increases the scope of study and data collection.

Another attempt that the researchers made to increase credibility and reliability is by recording the exact information given by the respondents. Recording ensures that researchers can not alter the information to favor a certain outcome. Use of verbal records enables the analyzers to read the feelings and emotions of the respondents. This makes the process more reliable than recording the information on the questionnaires which can be easily altered. The above reasons show that the researchers had attempted to make the findings reliable and valid.

Phenomena Reflection

In their findings, there are similarities across the views that the three data sets give. The main causes are the emergence of new roles, childbirth failing to meet the expectations, and remembering the past eventualities. In the real sense, health professionals suggest that the 3 aspects play a crucial role in causing postnatal depression (Fisanick 2009). For example, many women who deliver for the first time find it difficult to adjust to the new responsibility that arises after birth. Child birth affects and destructs their day-to-day lives. They reduce the freedom of actions and thoughts. As a result, they end up having postnatal depression. It is, also, true that a woman undergoes a lot of social eventualities in their life before birth. As a result of childbirth, these eventualities come back in their mind afresh. For example, a woman who gives birth might be tempted to remember a sexual partner who divorced them in the past (Schwiebert & Kirk 1985). They feel inferior and unworthy in front of them. In this case, the findings describe theoretical phenomena accurately. The findings, also, attribute the lack of disclosure to both patients and the health attendants. This can be described as an accurate finding since disclosure of symptoms must be facilitated by the two parties. The patients must understand that the psychological diagnosis of postnatal depression is the best. They, therefore, should disclose the symptoms at will. On the other hand, general practitioners have a bigger role to play. They should make it convenient for patients to disclose their problems to them. Corporate attendance rather than personal attendance cannot achieve disclosure. Individualized consideration makes the patients feel free and open up to the practitioners. In this case, the findings provide an accurate description of the phenomena.


The findings show similarities that attribute the lack of disclosure to various social factors affecting women during the period of childbirth. Though the researchers differ, the findings are compatible with the previous ones.


The research paper has discussed its components sufficiently. These components include the nature of participants, the sampling method, collection of data and data analysis. However, it has some deficiencies that this critique identified. In subsequent research, the researcher should include them.


Dudley, W 2001, Pregnancy, Greenhaven Press, San Diego.

Fisanick, C 2009, Childbirth, Greenhaven Press, Detroit.

Gerrard, J 2000, Postnatal depression, NT Books, London.

Green, J & Thorogood, N 2004, Qualitative methods for health research, Sage Publications, London.

Hamer, S & Collinson, G 1999, Achieving evidence-based practice: a handbook for practitioners, B. Tindall, Edinburgh.

Hektner, J & Csikszentmihalyi, M 2007, Experience sampling method: measuring the quality of everyday life, Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks.

Hildebrand, D & Rosenthal, H 1977, Analysis of ordinal data, Sage Publications, Beverly Hills.

Schwiebert, P & Kirk, P 1985, When hello means goodbye: a guide for parents whose child dies before birth, at birth or shortly after birth, Perinatal Loss, Portland.

Weller, S & Romney, K 1988, Systematic data collection, Sage Publications, Newbury Park.

Zinsser, W 2006, On writing well: the classic guide to writing nonfiction, HarperCollins, New York.

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