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Critical Appraisal of Qualitative Research, Coursework Example

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Article (Reference):  Jackson, K., Ternestedt, B-M., & Schollin, J. (2003). From alienation to familiarity: Experiences of mothers and fathers of preterm infants. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 43(2): 120-129.

Research Question addressed by this study using PS:

Value: / 1 P. Mothers and fathers of preterm infants.

Describe their experiences of parenthood during the first 18 months          

Research Question addressed by this study:

Value:  / 1   what are the experiences of parenthood over time of seven sets of mothers and fathers of preterm infants?

 

 

 

Value

Critical Appraisal Questions
Section I: Are the Findings Valid?
 

 

 

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3. What is the study’s purpose? Is the research question/purpose clear and adequately substantiated? Explain why or why not.

The study’s purpose is to find out how both parents react and respond to preterm births during the first 18 months. No, this purpose is not clear or well substantiated since the background of the problem and the objective differs slightly. The long-term aim is to find out the experiences of parents of preterm infants within the initial 18 months. The actual study’s aim, however, suggests that the objective is limited to the experiences of seven couples, and the period of those experiences is not specified. It is therefore not accurate in relation to the problem in question, and less reflective of the hypothetical findings.

 

 

  

 / 1.5

4(a). Is a qualitative research methodology (versus quantitative methodology) appropriate for this question? Explain why or why not.

Yes, the qualitative approach will be appropriate for this study. I would like first to disqualify a quantitative methodology. This approach takes into consideration numerical statistics that reflect the prevalence or seriousness of a phenomenon. In other words, it draws conclusions from numbers. If it were to be used for this research, the aim of the study would have been to find out the prevalence of preterm births in a given area. I purposely add ‘in a given area’ since occurrences of phenomena, unlike their characteristics, are limited to the geographical area covered by the study. For instance, a study on the prevalence of crime in California will not be stretched to reflect the reality in Chicago. Thus, a quantitative approach would have been limited to addressing a situation in the specific region in Sweden where it took place. The qualitative approach is effective since the statement of the problem refers to qualitative (infinite) aspects, i.e., unquantifiable variable. It answers the “How” aspect of research, characteristics to which it is not possible to assign numerical figures. Consequently, a qualitative methodology is appropriate for it describes aspects of behaviour that portray values, beliefs etc.

 

 

 

  

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4(b). Identify the research approach used in this study. Is the approach described and rationale given for its use? Is the approach appropriate for the research question? Explain why or why not.

The research approach of this study is a qualitative methodology. Yes, it is appropriate as it addresses the research question. The aim of the study is to describe experiences, and not find out their prevalence. It seeks to examine how parents respond to preterm births, rather than how many preterm births occur. Similarly, as noted above, the implications of the study transcends the geographical area within which it was carried out as it attempts to create a wider picture of universal human experience

 

 

 

 

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5(a). What was the method of sampling and was it appropriate for the research question and design? Explain why or why not. Identify the key strengths and/or limitations of the sampling strategies used.

Sampling strategy was systematic/not random in terms of time and space. The authors say that they picked cases consecutively in one county.  The strength of the sampling method used is that it allows for findings to be generalised because there was no biasness in selection of subjects.

Limitations of the sampling are that the method was not appropriate because the cases could have been related and associated to a single factor since they occurred at the same time and place. For instance, if a research was to be carried out on the effects of radioactive rays on inborn babies, conducting that study in Hiroshima in 1946 would not have had any significant findings since they would be tied to the bombing, and not other several sources of radiation such as radio waves. Thus, this sampling method lacks variety!

There was also another shortcoming in the sample population used. In 79 cases of preterm births, they chose only 7 cases, and at that in a consecutive manner. I think that given the fact the preterm births were in the same locality, a bigger sample- say double what they used, could have captured the situation more clearly. At the same time, the sample should have been taken randomly to make it more representative in terms of spatial-temporal factors. Findings from a research study are meant to reflect a universal reality.

 

 

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5(b).Were participants (and other data sources, if applicable) described in detail? Describe information provided and areas of missing information, if applicable.

No, the participants were not described in detail, especially in ways that could have linked the problem to other factors not covered by the study. Information provided includes the gender of births and ages of parents. The study did not provide useful information like the medical history of parents or any previous similar or related cases.

 

     

 

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5(c). Explain why or why not the sample size was adequate for the research approach selected.

The sample size was not adequate because it is a tiny fraction of the total cases (7 out of 79). Of the remaining 72, there is a high possibility that another set of seven couples would have given a different perspective. Nonetheless, its being representative of the whole is tied down to the fact that the cases occurred at the same time and so are more or less similar.

 

 

  

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6(a). What sources of information were used to collect the data? Were the sources of information used adequate for the selected research design? Explain why or why not.

The selected sources for the study were previous researches on the same subject.Yes, the sources were adequate in that they address qualitative aspects similar to the ones the present research aimed to study, such as anxiety and adjustment (McCain 1990) and stress (May 1997). However, I cannot categorically credit the sources since the present researchers did not identify the methodologies e.g. sample and data collection techniques used by previous studies.

 

   

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6(b). Was data collection comprehensive? Explain why or why not.

No, the data collection method was not comprehensive. Given the fact that they were researching on aspects that examine one’s character and values, it is possible that the respondents adjusted their responses accordingly.

Interviewing as a method of data collection responds to the question on how parents felt about their experiences was therefore inadequate. The research question was: What are the experiences of parenthood over time of seven sets of mothers and fathers of preterm

infants? But then, the shortcomings created by this approach could have been avoided if a different method was integrated into the stud. In the literature review, most of the previous studies were based on the same method, so the similarities of the findings are not necessarily a confirmation of the actual situation, but most likely a realization of what was expected. We do literature reviews so as to create an overall picture of the situation, but most importantly to avoid past mistakes and give a different perspective. In this regard, my contention is that the credibility of research findings should not rest entirely on confirming previous studies, but on the authenticity, reliability and accuracy of research techniques. My opinion, therefore, is that the researchers would have substantiated their findings better if they had considered observed behaviours of the parents, especially right after birth and during subsequent visits to the hospital. Body language, facial expression and other non-verbal cues could have revealed a lot about their reaction to their experiences.

 

 

 

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6(c). Was there a systematic process for the collection and management of data? Explain why or why not.

Yes, there was a systematic collection of data. The authors describe how parents were interviewed together and separately, for how long and some of the questions frequently asked. This indicates that there was a formulated design they were following.

 

 

 

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7(a). What data analysis strategies were used?  Were these strategies congruent with the qualitative approach used? Explain why or why not.

The data analysis method use was phenomenological, that is, describing situations as they are experienced by human subjects (Chiorgi, 2000 p 13). Yes, the approach was in tandem with the qualitative approach used, since it explained the effects that preterm births have on parents who experience them.

 

 

 

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7(b). Is there evidence of a rigorous process for data analysis (i.e. are the steps the researcher used to move from the raw data to the findings clear)? Explain why or why not.

No, there was no rigorous process for data analysis. For instance, did they interpret the

Fathers’ un-preparedness for a preterm birth as “alienation” (see Karin, Britt-Marie and Jens, 2003, 123) and not “shock.”? The father reported it as an unexpected reality, and so it is sufficiently logical to conclude that they were jolted by what they did not expect. If shock in turn led to alienation, as one might argue, then the researchers made generalized interpretations for which another person could pin a different meaning.

At the same time, the fathers’ show of concern immediately after birth is not necessarily a show of responsibility, but could also be possible that they wanted to support and encourage their devastated wives. An analysis should be comprehensive.

 

 

 

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8(a). Was relevant information about the researcher given (i.e., think about the   researcher’s credibility)?   

Yes, the information given about the researchers is relevant. It reveals their field of specialization, which I think is relevant to this study. Karin is a lecturer in the department of Caring Sciences, Britt-Marie department of Health Care Sciences and Jens a professor in paediatrics.

 

 

     

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8(b). Do the researchers discuss how previous experiences (i.e., their perspectives) and their relationships with participants may affect the study? Why is this important?

They did not discuss their previous experience. This is important since it makes the study impersonal and unbiased. It is therefore important for researchers to declare previous relationships or acknowledge it for their data to be valid.

   
  Section II: What Are the Findings?

 

 

 

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9. What were the key findings of the study (give a brief summary)? Is the description of the findings thorough? Explain why or why not. Are the findings clear and easy to understand? Explain why or why not.

The key findings were that the process of internalizing the effects of preterm births took time to establish. With time, parents became more confident and familiar with their experiences. The findings are very clear and thorough and the researchers do this by connecting the data collected to their discussion.  they are also easy and clear to understand because of the use of illustrations of the views of parents and clear articulation of key points raised in the interview

 

    

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10. Were the researchers’ conclusions appropriate and consistent with the data? Explain why or why not.

Yes, the conclusions are appropriate and consistent with the data. This is because the researchers point out the differences of adaptation by mothers and fathers. They also note that parental responsibility facilitated their internalization of the experiences.

  Section III: How Can I Apply the Findings to Patient Care?
 

 

    

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11. How do the study findings help me understand my relationship with clients (and their families) and how to provide care?

The study shows that parents get alienated and experience anxiety and stress during the initial months after a preterm birth. Thus, it is necessary to offer emotional support to the affected parents.

 

 

     

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12(a). Summarize the methodological strengths and limitations of this study. (May use table format)

The methodology used is appropriate in the following ways: the consecutive picking of sample is representative as the cases took place at the same period. The qualitative approach addresses the unquantifiable aspects such as alienation and responsibility under investigation. And the use of interview to collect data captures the feelings and experiences of the parents themselves.

However, it has weaknesses in several areas. The sample used was too small, and may not reflect the experiences of the other 72 parents. At the same time, it was limited to a homogenous geographical area (in terms of health care access, economic status etc) and as such might not reflect the situation in other area like rural and poverty stricken regions. And lastly, the analysis is based on general interpretation of terms which leads to different assumptions.

 

 

 

    

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12(b). Based on your summary of strengths and limitations, rate the study methodologically as ‘strong,’ ‘moderate’ or ‘weak’; and conclude whether you would use the findings in clinical practice. Provide rationale for your conclusion.

The study is methodologically ‘moderate.’ I cannot use this methodology for a clinical research, because its findings are influenced by a variety of socio-economical and political factors that are not universal. The Swedish economy and government policy may have helped parents to adjust quickly to their circumstances.

Total: /50 = ______ %  

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