The article by Curry and Stasio (2009, pp. 473-481) acts as a literary source of information when a clinician intends to gather data on a clinical trial. However, a critical review of this article reveals that there are several issues that the authors fail to adhere to. The evaluation carried out in the current paper seeks to point out these areas. According to Brody (2012), a research article is expected to provide adequate and reliable information on its subject matter.
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That notwithstanding, the evaluation conducted in this paper highlights the relevant issues addressed by Curry and Stasio in this article. The article is titled The Effects of Energy Drinks alone and Alcohol on Neuropsychological Functioning (Curry & Stasio, 2009, pp. 473-481). It is published in the Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical Experiment journal. The clinical trial is reviewed against the CONSORT criteria.
CONSORT Evaluation of the Article
The Title of the Article
Curry and Stasio (2009) are evidently reporting about a randomised control trial. According to the title of the report, the aim of Curry and Stasio is to identify the effects of energy drinks and alcohol on neuropsychological functioning.
According to the CONSORT criteria, researchers are required to indicate the methodology adopted in the study in the topic of their report. To this end, Curry and Stasio should have mentioned that their study is a randomised trial. The article can effectively capture the attention of the reader if the word ‘randomised’ is included in the title.
An example of an effective title article is found in the report detailing the findings of a study carried out by Bolliger et al. (2000, pp. 329-333). Bolliger et al. (2000) make it clear that their study is a randomised clinical trial. They inform the reader that the aim of the study is to determine the efficacy and safety of oral nicotine inhalers in smoking reduction.
In the case of Curry and Stasio (2009), an appropriate title should read like this, “Neurological Functioning: A Randomised Clinical Trial on the Effects of Energy Drinks with Alcohol and Alone”. An elaborate title helps one to locate the article easily from online and other databases. For example, typing the search terms “randomised clinical trials” in the search engine should direct one to the article by Curry and Stasio.
Analysing the Abstract of the Article
In some cases, a researcher may find it hard to access journal articles from libraries. In such instances, an abstract becomes useful as it outlines four fundamental issues about the study.
The issues highlighted in this section include the names of the authors, the objectives of the research, and the methods used in data collection. The abstract also provides information on the major findings made in the study. Curry and Stasio (2009) have clearly highlighted all these issues in the abstract section of their article.
According to Hackshaw (2009), a clinical research should meet a number of criteria. For example, the research undertaking is expected to be clear, thorough, and accurate. A review of the study by Curry and Stasio (2009) reveals that they make use of a structured abstract in reporting their findings.
The headings of the important areas covered in the study are clearly outlined. When a research undertaking is reported in such a manner, an interested party can obtain almost all the information that they require from the abstract without having to read the whole report.
Analysing the Introduction Section of the Article
Any given research undertaking is expected to provide a background with regards to the problem addressed (Hackshaw, 2009). The introduction section of a particular article should contain a scientific background, a rationale of the study, and a general structure. Curry and Stasio (2009) make use of the free flowing style in their introduction.
The style is necessary as it enhances coherence, which is quite commendable on their part. Unfortunately, Curry and Stasio fail to highlight the structure of the research paper in the introduction section. The failure makes it difficult for the reader to understand the steps taken in conducting the research.
Reviewing the Design of the Article
According to Hackshaw (2009), there are several research designs that can be used to conduct randomised control trials. They include, among others, the parallel research design. In this design, the researchers make use of two groups of participants. The number of participants in each group may be equal, but their characteristics with regards to sex and such other issues may vary.
A review of the article by Curry and Stasio (2009) makes it obvious that the researchers fail to highlight the exact type of design used in the study. However, they justify this shortcoming in the report. They indicate that as a result of the 3:1 ratio of females to males, it was unrealistic to apply the said research design. In spite of this, the article outlines the two parallel groups of participants as ‘males’ and ‘females’ (Curry & Stasio, 2009).
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Curry and Stasio (2009) illustrate that theirs is not an equal type of randomisation. The illustration is one of the interesting elements of their study. In the said form of randomisation, the ratio of participants is usually 1:1. However, in cases where the equal randomisation is not employed, an explicit allocation ratio is expected. In the methodology section of the article, Curry and Stasio (2009) outline the allocations in terms of age and race.
Reviewing the Results
Participants in a randomised clinical trial are expected to be clustered into groups. Hackshaw (2009) points out that results and findings made in the study should be summarised on the basis of the clusters or groups used. Curry and Stasio (2009) address this issue in analysing their results. The brevity of the analysis section provides the reader with a picture of the findings made, making it easy to understand the whole study.
The results obtained in a research have various implications on the paper’s objectives (Hackshaw, 2009). Consequently, the researcher should provide a discussion section in order to elaborate on the findings made. The section acts as a response to the research questions posed.
The clinical trial by Curry and Stasio (2009) illustrates the effects of each of the beverages on the participants take part in the study. As a result, Curry and Stasio effectively respond to the study objectives.
Research articles should effectively pass information touching on the study conducted to the target audience. In their article, Curry and Stasio (2009) fail to address all the key issues related to clinical trial studies. For example, the title of the report and the interventions has various shortcomings. The failure of these scholars reduces the credibility of their article.
Bolliger, T., Zellweger, P., Danielsson, T., Bilion, A., Robidou, A., Westin, A.,…Sawe, U. (2000). Smoking reduction with oral nicotine inhalers: Double blind, randomised clinical trial of efficacy and safety. British Medical Journal, 321, 329-333.
Brody, T. (2012). Clinical trials: Study design, endpoints and biomarkers, drug safety, and FDA and ICH guidelines. New York: Academic Press.
Curry, K., & Stasio, J. (2009). The effects of energy drinks alone and with alcohol on neuropsychological functioning. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical Experiments, 24, 473-481.
Hackshaw, A. (2009). A concise guide to clinical trials. London: Wiley-Blackwell.