Critiquing quantitative and qualitative articles

The report is well written. It is written is very simple language that is easy to read and comprehend even for lay people. The report is grammatically correct and there is a logical flow of ideas from introduction to conclusion of the report. In addition, the article is arranged under different titles with the title heads made bold to separate them from the main text. However, the authors have provided key words at the end of the abstract but have not given the meaning of these key words.

Author

The article Double-duty caregivers: healthcare professionals juggling employment and informal caregiving. A survey on personal health and work experiences is authored by Nicolle P.G. Boumans and Elisabeth Dorant.  Both Boumans and Dorant are Associate Professors in the Department of Social Medicine, Maastricht University, The Netherlands. This means that they are both PhD holders and are therefore qualified in this particular field of study.

Report title

Though the title of the paper is a little bit long, it is clear enough and clearly identifies the purpose of the study.

Abstract

Yes. The abstract provides an overview of the research. The abstract clearly defines the aims, the background, design, method, results and conclusion. The abstract can be easily identified because it is located on the front page of the article. However, it is not very easy to know the hypothesis and the hypothesis and the research question for the study.

Elements influencing the robustness of the research

Purpose/research problem

The purpose of the research is clearly stated at the end of the introduction.

Logical consistency

The research clearly follows the steps of the research process in a logical manner. As has been mentioned, there is transition from the introduction, background, the study, data analysis, results, discussion and conclusion. The titles of these sections have been made bold to separate them from the other sections of the study.

Literature review

            The study does not have a section for the literature review but has a background section that acts as a literature review. In this background section, the researchers have cited from many other authors. Most of the references used in the literature review are peer reviewed journal articles. Most of the articles used in the literature review are recent articles although there are some that are as late as 1964, 1978 and 1979. The studies in the sources are mainly empirical.

The literature review section has not identified the gaps in literature on the research topic. For example one of the gaps in this case is how to ensure the juggling between employment and informal care giving does not result in burn out of the care givers. The other gap is identification of ways in which the care giving can be made patient centred. The literature review offers a balanced critical analysis of the literature. This is because different opinions from different researchers on an issue are considered in the literature review.

 

Theoretical framework

The theoretical framework of the study has been clearly identified. The theoretical framework of the research assumes that combining paid work and informal care work may result in either negative or positive home work interface/work home interface. However the result depends on the effectiveness of the alignment. The theoretical framework for the article is not adequate. The authors just highlighted the importance to the special group of people who want to offer care giving in their personal and professional lives. This framework is appropriate because it is mainly related to the topic of the study.

Aims/objectives/research question/hypotheses

The aims and objectives of the research have been clearly identified. These aims and objectives have also been clearly stated. However, the research question and the hypothesis have not been clearly identified. The aims and objectives reflect information that is presented in the literature review.

Sample

The sample population has been clearly identified. The research data was gathered from 1579 employees working at a healthcare organisation in the Netherlands. The non-probability method was used in selection of participants. This is because only those working as caregivers were selected and included in the study. Apart from the criteria of working as caregivers, the other inclusion criteria have not been clearly stated in the paper. There are other inclusion criteria like age and the level of expertise of the professionals that was not clearly highlighted in the case. The sample is not adequate enough. This is because considering all the health care professionals doubling up as caregivers in their professional and personal lives, a sample of only 328 does not act as a true representation of the entire population.

Ethical considerations

            The researchers obtained permission from appropriate ethical committees of the concerned healthcare organisations. The participants were fully informed of the objectives to participate in the study and their informed consent was sought before participation the study. The confidentiality of the participants was guaranteed through anonymisation of data. The participants were protected from all harm including physical, emotional and psychological harm. This is based on the questions that were asked from the participants.

Operational definitions

All the terms, theories and concepts used in the research have not been defined. For example, the key words that were highlighted at the end of the abstract were not defined.

Methodology

            The research design has been clearly identified. The research design was a cross-sectional comparative approach that was used to collect data on outcome variables. The questionnaire is the data collection instrument that was considered for the study. This is an appropriate instrument because it helped in faster and more accurate collection of data for this study. The questionnaire was developed from structured scales that was used to measure different outcome variables in the field of work-, health- and work-home interference indicators. The reliability and validity testing was done and the results discussed. There was no pilot study conducted before the study. The instrumentation for assessing the subjects has been described. The subjects were assessed using different criteria including demographic characteristics of age, gender and educational level.

 

 

Procedures

            The different questions used to obtain data from the participants have been described. The limitations of the study have also been clearly described. The first limitation is that the data could not determine the causal relationship between double-duty caregivers and the burdening of health. The second limitation is that the low response rate could have had an effect on the internal and external validity.

Variables

            The outcome variables in the study have been clearly defined. The variables are job satisfaction, work motivation, preseentism and abseentism. There is a rationale provided for the use of these variables. The variables chosen are appropriate to answer the research question. This is because a causal relationship between the variables and the outcome can be obtained easily.

Data analysis/results

            Descriptive analyses (means, standard deviations and Cronbach’s alphas) were the first to be performed. The other analysis performed was log-transformation that was performed on absenteeism frequency and duration. The analysis was appropriate because they helped obtain relevant results. Three subgroups were formed based on the status of the informal caregiver. The tables were presented in a clear and understandable manner. The different elements within the tables were separated. The findings are significant because they highlight the experience of the double-duty caregiver.

Discussion

            The findings are related to the literature review. The hypothesis of the study was not clearly defined. A recommendation for future studies was done. This was based on the limitations of the present study.

References

            The study is accurately references and all books and journals used for the study cited at the end of the study.

 

Guidelines for a quantitative research study

Elements influencing believability of the research

Writing style

            The article is well written. It is concise, grammatically correct and written in a simple language that is easy to comprehend and understand. The article is well laid out and organised in different titles.

Author

            The article is written by Yuch-Tao Chiang who was by then a doctoral student at the Global Institute of Clinical Medicine, Chi-Wen Chen an Associate Professor, School of Nursing, Wen-Jen Su Associate Professor, Department of Paediatrics, Jou-Kou, Professor Department o Paediatrics, Chun-Wei Lu, Instructor Department of Pediatrics and Yun-Fen Li, Head Nurse, Department of Nursing. From the above, it can be seen that most authors are authorities in the respective fields of study.

Report title

The title of the report Between invisible defects and visible impact: the life experiences of adolescents and young adults with congenital heart disease is very clear and identifies the purpose of the study.

Abstract

The abstract offers an overview of the research. The abstract clearly identifies the aim, background, design, methods, findings and conclusion of the study.

Elements influencing robustness of the research

Phenomenon to be studied

The phenomenon to be studied has been clearly identified. The phenomenon of interest and the research question are consistent. The phenomenon of interest is the life experience of adolescents and young adults with congenital heart disease.

Purpose

            The purpose of the study has been clearly identified. The purpose is to describe the life experiences of adolescents and young adults with congenital heart disease.

Logical consistency

The research follows the steps from abstract to introduction to background to the study to results to discussion to conclusion and then references. The steps flow naturally and there are signposts that link the steps.

Literature review

            There is no literature review. However, the background of the study acts as the literature review. The review is logically organised and offers a balanced critical analysis of the literature. The literature review meets the philosophical underpinnings of the study because it provides a link between the aims of the study and the relevant literature on the study. Through this, the review of literature achieves the objective of providing a background of the study. Majority of the literature is recent. However, they review quite few literature in this study. The review is mainly from primary sources.

Theoretical framework

The theoretical framework of the study is to examine the life experiences of individual adolescent and young adult patients so as to develop measures that can help these patients to adapt easily to diseases so as to increase the quality of care offered. This theoretical framework has been adequately described by relating it to other studies. The framework is appropriate because it is related to the philosophical underpinning of the study.

Method and philosophical underpinnings

            The philosophical approach is to analyse the life experiences that adolescents and young adults face during their transition from childhood to adulthood. This method was chosen because of the complex problems that the adolescents and young adults face during their transition. The authors do not reflect on their roles or positionality. The philosophical underpinning of the study has been explained in the background of the study.

Research setting

            The setting of the study has been described. The interviews took place in a quiet meeting room with minimal interruptions. The circumstances under which the data was collected have also been described.

Sample

            The sampling method and the sampling size have been described. Purposive sampling was used for this study. The sample size was 35 adolescents and young adults. This sampling method was appropriate for the study. This is because it allowed the researchers to determine and include only individuals who would provide data that was most relevant for the study. The participants were completely and clearly described. There was information about their age, BMI, height and weight. These participants were suitable for forming the research purpose.

Ethical consideration

            The proposal of the study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of the participating medical centres in Taiwan. Information was provided to participants so that an informed consent of participating could be received. The procedures done to the participants protected them from both physical and psychological harm and respected the rights of the participants.

Data collection/data analysis

The data was collected using a semi-structured questionnaire. Questionnaire was used because of its ease of collection of data for such kind. The strategies for data analysis were described. The researchers used the descriptive phenomenological method. The researcher used the steps of data analysis method identified. Complete data saturation could not be achieved in the study. This is because of differences in outpatient visits, hospitalisation and repeated surgeries between patients.

Rigor

The researchers discuss how the rigor of the study was assured. The reason for this was to help assure that the tools used for the study could meet the stated objectives of the study. The credibility, reliability and transferability of the results were described. Purposive sampling was used to improve the transferability of the results. Credibility of data was assured by confirming the contents of the tape recordings at least twice.

Findings/discussion

            The findings are appropriately presented. Sufficient descriptive information was provided for all the thematic areas in the findings. This allows the reader to conclude author’s interpretation. The internal validity is addressed through “triangulation”. The contents of the tape recordings were confirmed with the content of the field notes. This helped in validation of the data that was to be used in analysis.

The researchers acknowledge the lack of generalizability of the study findings. This is because by sampling only 35 participants from two medical centres in Taiwan could not adequately address the different issues like different care policies, and age and gender issues. These are factors that determine the life experience of patients. The researchers therefore propose a replication of the study to interview more patients with experiences in different contexts. The original purpose of the study has been addressed as the question of the life experience of adolescents and young adults has been discussed. The report has placed in context the already available literature. This is based on the fact that the discussion of the findings was related to the already known literature.

Conclusion, implication and recommendation

The implications of the findings have been identified. The findings have indicated that the life experiences are dynamic processes that integrate the partial understanding of the disease and the gradual existence with the disease. The recommendation for the study is for the results to be used to improve care delivery and develop localised interventions that can improve the transition from adolescents to adulthood.

References

All the books and journals used for the study were adequately referenced.