Critical Evaluation of a Research Study Sample Paper
Nursing research studies are geared towards informing evidence-based practice. Research studies form the basis of evidence-based practice, and improved health outcomes can be highly attributed to research study findings. Critical evaluation of a study aims at utilizing and also refuting research methods or findings in a study. Critical evaluation reviews the professionalism of a study, objectives, methods used, and their credibility. It also evaluates the credibility and reliability of results and applicability in future practice. This paper critically evaluates a study done to evaluate the health-related quality of life for older women after vertebral or hip fractures.
The study evaluated, that of Hallberg et al. (2019), is a qualitative study that examined the quality of life of women after vertebral or hip fractures. The authors utilized short semi-structured interviews with 10 Spanish women. The qualitative inductive content analysis method was used to analyze the data collected. The data collection approach ensures that data collected is first-hand and not categorized or influenced by theoretical perspectives (Nieswiadomy & Bailey, 2018). The advantage of the approach is that it allows the participants to express themselves, give perspectives about life freely, and explain their lives and experiences. The study employs purposive sampling to achieve the selection of a varied sample. Of the 3030, only 51 women who had completed a seven-year follow-up after vertebral hip fracture met the inclusion criteria.
The results revealed three prominent themes, namely, “A threatened independence, Strategies for maintaining independence, and the importance of maintaining independence,” (Hallberg et al., 2010). The themes all pointed towards ‘a strive to independence.’ However, the sample size was too small to generalize the findings to the initial number of participants, 303 patients. The findings can also not be generalized to all populations (Hallberg et al., 2010). However, they can only be used for inference and to inform further research using more extensive group studies to ensure the sample is more inclusive, making generalizations more reliable.
The study utilizes the IEEE referencing style. The in-text citations are arranged in a numerical sequence and not alphabetically like in other referencing styles (Bryan, 2017). The in-text citations are numbers in square brackets that correspond to the citation in the reference list (Smith et al., 2019). The references format is as follows; bracketed number, first name and last name initials of authors, paper title and sub-title, name of the journal, volume number and issue number, and the year of publication (Smith et al., 2019). The citations in this article follow all the formats of the IEEE referencing style. The citation format is professional and easy to use as the number referred directly to the article listed in the reference section (Brian, 2017; Hallberg et al., 2019).
The research design informs data collection, measurement, and analysis logically and coherently (Nieswiadomy & Bailey, 2018). The research study applies a typical phenomenological research design. The design dramatically resembles other qualitative research approaches such as ethnography, symbolic interactionism, and hermeneutics (Nieswiadomy & Bailey, 2018). As seen earlier, the research approach allows the patients to explain their own experiences using semi-structured questionnaires without the influence of theoretical perspectives. The questions responses provide the generic and disease-specific health-related quality of life. The similarity of questions used gives a foundation for analyzing the different responses offered by the participants.
The phenomenological research design in data collection aims at correcting raw data, as seen in this study (Nieswiadomy & Bailey, 2018). The design analyses discussions and reflections of direct sense perception and individual experiences on the researched phenomena. The researchers then analyze this basic information without the influence of external forces such as theories. The data, in this case, were analyzed using an inductive content analysis method. The inductive content analysis seeks to identify words, themes, or concepts similar in a qualitative data set (Nieswiadomy & Bailey, 2018). Using the findings, researchers can quantify, analyze and comment on the presence of various themes, concepts and words just like it is in this case. The above reflects a fundamental aspect of a phenomenological research design. Thus, the research design used in this article meets the requirements of a professional qualitative article.
The procedures in a research article are clearly indicated. The foundation is well laid in the introduction, where the reader is prepared on what the paper entails. A purposive sampling method was utilized (Hallberg et al., 2010). After sampling, data collection was a rather hectic, semi-structured generic and disease-specific health-related quality of life questionnaire, but manageable due to the small number of participants. The inductive content analysis method was used in data analysis to identify common themes and draw conclusions on the population (Nieswiadomy & Bailey, 2018). Ideally, each author had the opportunity to critically review the paper independently before its presentation for review and publishing. The article was peer-reviewed, and the information it entails was approved. It is a professional paper following procedures outlined for a research article. However, inductive content analysis is a limitation in itself. It is virtually impossible to accurately draw theoretical perspectives and conceptual frameworks from any study utilizing this data analysis method.
The primary objective of any research study is to improve the quality of life and individuals’ health outcomes by providing plausible evidence regarding an intervention. The study by Hallberg et al. (2010) was not an exception. Hallberg et al. (2010) aimed at determining the impact of vertebral and hip fractures on the generic and health-related quality of life several years after diagnosis and management. Several conclusions can be made from the study. Threatened independence was the first central theme. It results from back pain, anxiety, a negative impact on self-image, and consequences in daily life (Hallberg et al., 2010). Strategies for maintaining independence such as coping, support, and self-care are other concerns. The third was the importance of maintaining independence through the ability to perform daily living activities, social support, and a meaningful occupation. The three themes and associated findings from the study shall form the basis for future practice.
The results from the study show significant impact/ effects of vertebral/hip fractures among women of older ages. The condition imposes severe psychological effects years after diagnosis and management. It indicates that these women require psychological support besides curative treatment (Hallberg et al., 2010). An intervention to improve the quality of life would be to integrate self-management strategies teaching women after vertebral and hip fractures to enhance self-care and positively impact their health-related quality of life. As seen from the study, these women suffer significantly from psychological trauma. The trauma begins after the injury and lasts years after the incidence and healing (Hallberg e al., 2010). Psychological trauma can thus be a chronic problem requiring attention. Counseling them on ways to manage anxiety, have a positive self-image, cope with new changes, seek social support, and adjust in performing daily living activities would be helpful (Hallberg, 2020).
The study had several limitations. The sample chosen was through purposive sampling and could thus lack proper representation of the population. The study does not reflect a theoretical framework due to the chosen research design. Thus, it is difficult to generalize on the entire population of women of older ages who suffer who have suffered vertebral or hip fractures. Patients’ illnesses experiences vary significantly from one patient to another. Thus, to have more representative samples, studies utilizing random sampling techniques and larger study samples to validate the results therein and give more generalizable results to the population are ideal. Nonetheless, the article thus serves to lay a foundation for future researchers to improve the quality of patient care.
The critical evaluation above helped identify the reliability of the information provided, professionalism in developing the article, and reliability and credibility of the generated information. The findings from the study can be used to inform future practice through implementing suggested interventions to inform future research. As seen earlier, research studies are the foundation of evidence-based practice. The results obtained from a study can be used to form interventions that inform future care. Scholars should utilize research studies to keep their practice up to date. Evidence-based practice is associated with improved health outcomes and should thus be advocated for by the nurses and other healthcare providers.
- Bryan, S. (2017). Library Guides: IEEE Style Guide: IEEE Referencing-the basics. https://libguides.jcu.edu.au/IEEE
- Hallberg, I., Ek, A. C., Toss, G., & Bachrach-Lindström, M. (2010). A striving for independence: a qualitative study of women living with vertebral fracture. BMC nursing, 9(1), 1-10. DOI: 10.1186/1472-6955-9-7
- Nieswiadomy, R. M. & Bailey, C. (2018). Foundations of nursing research (7th). Pearson.
- Smith, J., Ashman, M., Dunphy, B., & Stracuzzi, A. (2019). 3.5: Documenting Sources in APA, MLA, or IEEE Styles. Professional Communications. Retrieved 1st August from https://ecampusontario.pressbooks.pub/llscomm/chapter/3-5-documenting-sources-in-apa-mla-or-ieee-styles/