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Article Critique

Qualitative Study, Article Critique Example

Pages: 7

Words: 1918

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Qualitative Study, Article Critique Example

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An article by Rustoen (2009) evaluates the importance of effective pain management in patients facing hospitalization for cancer treatment and perceptions of these experiences. The article title provides a basic summary of the study that will be addressed and the potential impact of the study for nurses working with cancer patients experiencing pain (Rustoen, 2009). The title is relatively brief and is important because it supports the purpose and intent of the study and its potential impact on the desired population group (Rustoen, 2009). The background and credentials of the author are not addressed, other than to provide the affiliation of the lead author (Rustoen, 2009).The study does not appear to be associated with any form of external funding, although the location of the research project is disclosed.

The study abstract is a single lengthy paragraph which conveys the importance of the study objectives, including a description of pain and its impact on cancer patients, along with a basic description of the study population, the type of cancer diagnosis, and the study design (Rustoen, 2009). The abstract also describes a summary of the information gathered from the interviews and the necessity to increase pain management knowledge from a nursing-based perspective (Rustoen, 2009). This section also conveys the importance of developing pain management strategies and techniques that are important and relevant in the lives of patients to improve their ability to tolerate pain, to recognize the symptoms, and to gain support from their nurse caregivers in this process (Rustoen, 2009).

The introduction section is not marked as such but it provides a more detailed summary of the issues associated with pain management in patients with cancer (Rustoen, 2009). There is a discussion of prior population-based studies as a means of addressing the primary concerns related to cancer pain in patients, using prior literature sources (Rustoen, 2009). This section also provides the current weaknesses observed with existing pain management techniques and the necessity to better understand the role of nurses in this process (Rustoen, 2009). This section also serves as the primary literature review for the article and describes some of the past research that has been conducted in regards to cancer-related pain management in this patient population (Rustoen, 2009). The final part of this section also describes the purpose of the study and the necessity to recognize the experiences of cancer patients experiencing pain and the challenges that they face, as well as the type of nursing care that they have received, in addition to their needs and expectations associated with nursing care in this capacity (Rustoen, 2009).

The methods section of the article describes the process of qualitative description, a technique that was used to convey the importance of patient experiences associated with the management of their cancer-related pain (Rustoen, 2009). This section also describes the participant population, which was comprised of 18 cancer patients, including 11 females and 7 males (Rustoen, 2009). Study participants were either diagnosed with prostate cancer (males) or breast cancer (females) and had experienced pain as a result of this diagnosis (Rustoen, 2009). This description is important because it provides further evidence of the perspective sought through the patient interviews in order to achieve the desired objectives in an effective manner (Rustoen, 2009).This section is successful in identifying the problem and purpose to be considered using the chosen research method.

The study design is described as qualitative description to obtain factual information from participant interviews to identify cancer-related pain management needs from a nursing-based perspective (Rustoen, 2009). In addition, the data collection method that was chosen conveys the importance of selecting the appropriate participants and the utilization of interviewers with significant experience in cancer pain management (Rustoen, 2009). Each interview was conducted in a semistructured manner and took place over a period of 30-90 minutes (Rustoen, 2009). Patients were asked a number of questions, and the interviews were recorded and transcribed for detail (Rustoen, 2009). The data analysis section describes the technique known as systematic text condensation in order to establish a better understanding of the interviews and their content (Rustoen, 2009).

The study findings describe the demographics of the study population, along with descriptions of their pain and its level of intensity (Rustoen, 2009). This was important because it provided additional support in achieving the study purpose to determine the impact of nursing care on pain management (Rustoen, 2009). This section generated a number of different perspectives regarding the role of nurses in pain management in order to establish need for additional support and guidance for this patient population (Rustoen, 2009). The discussion section described the relevant directives that were identified during the interview process and the primary findings that were discovered, including the lack of understanding of nurse involvement in the treatment process (Rustoen, 2009).

The discussion section is rather lengthy and provides a summary of the different findings that were derived from the interviews (Rustoen, 2009). In addition, this section discusses some of the most important limitations in this process, including the lack of understanding of nursing roles in shaping outcomes for cancer patients experiencing pain (Rustoen, 2009). These findings suggest that additional steps must be taken to better understand and recognize nursing roles and responsibilities in the treatment of cancer-related pain management (Rustoen, 2009). The conclusion is effective in summarizing the article and the findings that were discovered through the qualitative method (Rustoen, 2009).

Systematic Review

An article by Naga (2013) considers the relevance of pain as an experience in order to capture a greater understanding of nursing and its role in pain management and related outcomes. The article title describes the study well and is brief and succinct, including the study purpose and the type of method that will be used (Naga, 2013). The study authors are listed on the first page of the article, along with their affiliations, and it does not appear that the researchers utilized any type of external funding in developing the study (Naga, 2013). The abstract is of the appropriate length and provides a summary of the different issues and challenges that the study seeks to identify and address. The abstract is divided into several sections, including the background, which summarizes the study in a single sentence, along with a purpose to identify the reasons why the study is important (Naga, 2013). In addition, the methods are briefly described to support the systematic review process, the results are conveyed briefly to address these findings, and the conclusion summarizes this section and addresses the potential for future studies (Naga, 2013). Key words are also provided to address the primary topics to be considered (Naga, 2013).

The introduction section describes the problem and purpose in greater detail, including a brief literature review to address cancer-related pain in the chosen population (Naga, 2013). A concept known as the “cancer pain experience” is introduced in this section in order to demonstrate the potential impact of nursing care on quality of life and improved pain management for this population group (Naga, 2013). The theoretical framework follows and describes the theory upon which the study will be conducted, also known as the Roy Adaptation Model (Naga, 2013). This model is relevant because it supports the different concepts associated with cancer pain management and the needs of patients (Naga, 2013).

The methodology section describes the manner in which the study was conducted by using a variety of databases to perform a systematic review, including CINAHL and EBSECO, amongst others (Naga, 2013). Several key words were used to perform the systematic review, such as cancer pain and pain management (Naga, 2013). The systematic review was comprised of 14 studies that evaluated a large number of cancer patients over a period of time (Naga, 2013). This was imperative in order to establish a precedent for the role of cancer-related pain in this patient population (Naga, 2013). Across these studies, a variety of research instruments were used to draw conclusions regarding cancer pain and effective management of this condition (Naga, 2013).

The study findings section represents a means of exploring the different dimensions of the systematic review and the issues that were raised (Naga, 2013). Some of the primary issues that were derived included pain location, the ability to respond to treatment, patient perceptions of pain, and other factors that played a role in the experiences of pain within the chosen studies (Naga, 2013). Various types of pain analysis were used to draw conclusions regarding pain and how it impacts quality of life (Naga, 2013). For example, sensory and physical variables must be considered by nurses when treating patients with cancer-related pain in order to accomplish the desired objectives (Naga, 2013). In addition, this section describes the social and cultural indicators associated with cancer pain due to the potential severity of this condition (Naga, 2013). The study findings also support the belief that communication by patients to their nurses and other outsiders is based upon effective communication; however, this is not always the case and therefore, some patients are unable to effectively express themselves in regards to their pain and its impact on their lives (Naga, 2013). Therefore, nurses must work cooperatively with patients and allow them to express themselves regarding this type of pain so that nurses are able to treat them more effectively (Naga, 2013).

The section entitled “implications for nursing” addresses the importance of specific factors associated with cancer-related pain in order to accommodate the needs of patients in an effective manner (Naga, 2013). It is important to note that this section also conveys the necessity for nurses to utilize existing frameworks and guidelines in order to accomplish the desired objectives in an effective manner (Naga, 2013). Many patients experience a number of different negative outcomes as a result of cancer-related pain that are difficult to overcome, including low mood and possible depression as a result of this experience (Naga, 2013). Therefore, it is important to identify different factors from a nursing-based perspective that will ultimately support patient outcomes and effectiveness in a manner that is consistent with improved patient outcomes (Naga, 2013). This includes an understanding of the different dimensions that will support and improve patient care and treatment with respect to cancer-related pain, such as physiological, behavioral, and sociocultural needs (Naga, 2013).

The conclusion provides a simple yet concise summary of the study and its findings for future consideration (Naga, 2013). It is imperative that nurses recognize the importance of different factors that are associated with nursing roles and responsibilities in treating patients experience cancer-related pain (Naga, 2013). This population group is unique and requires its own level of support and guidance that is different from other types of pain management methods, due to the serious nature of cancer and its impact on patient wellbeing (Naga, 2013). Therefore, it is important to identify specific factors that will be influential in enabling nurses to achieve effective treatment goals and objectives for this population group over time (Naga, 2013).

Naga, BSHB, Al-atiyyat, NMH, and Kassab, M.I. (2013). Pain experience among patients receiving cancer treatment: a review. Journal of Palliative Care & Medicine, 3(3), 1-4.

Rustoen, T., Gaardsrud, T., Leegaard, M., and Wahl, A.K. (2009). Nursing pain management – a qualitative interview study of patients with pain, hospitalized for cancer treatment. Pain Management Nursing, 10(1), 48-55.

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Critique of A Qualitative Research

Critique of A Qualitative Research

Article: The Experience of Acupuncture for Treatment of Substantial Dependence, by Kunsook Song Bernstein

The study has a clear title and abstract statements. The purpose of the study, the research design and methods used and the findings and conclusions were briefly but adequately explained in the abstract. However, literature synthesis is not provided. Nonetheless, the abstract is able to distinguish the specific purpose identified for the research and how the actual procedures and findings matched the problem.

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While the author recognizes the dearth of materials on the subject matter, she comes to this study from a number of conceptual perspectives, most prominent of which are concepts of traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture treatment of substance abuse. A cursory study of related materials that were available at the time of the research reveals that the author has made an exhaustive presentation of theories and findings of previous researches. The author presents an integrative literature review and gives a critical analysis of the significance, methods, and inadequacies of previous researches on the use of acupuncture as an alternative treatment mode to substance abuse. Discussing concepts of traditional Chinese medicine and the Chinese medical theory of substance abuse helped to broaden the focus. Overall, the literature review is written from an interpretive definitive voice (e.g. they reported, they claimed) as a dimensional analysis.

While the portion on literature review in the introduction is well organized, it does not, however, effectively establish the framework for the way in which the researcher proposes to achieve the purpose of the study. The proposed research method, i.e. phenomenological investigation, and the theoretical foundations of phenomenological tradition as a paradigm in qualitative studies are not explained.

The purpose of the research is to “explore the meaning of substance abuser’s experience while receiving acupuncture as a part of the treatment for substance dependence” (Bernstein, 2000). The study hinges on the importance of studying the facets of substance abuse and of finding ways to improve efforts for prevention and control. She claims that although there were studies already conducted to study the effectiveness of acupuncture as a treatment mode to substance abuse, research has yet to address acupuncture as a treatment for substance abuse through the exploration of a substance abuser’s experiences with acupuncture (Bernstein, 2000). Thus, the author succinctly establishes the significance of her investigation.

While the report does not have any explanation on the philosophical background or assumptions of phenomenological theory as a research method, the author explicitly identified the source of the theoretical framework, enumerated the steps entailed in this method and justified its use as being appropriate to the purpose of the study.

Typical of qualitative studies, the participants of the study were chosen from among a group of individuals who match the criteria and who can contribute to the purposes of the investigation.   The researcher claims that redundancy was used as the primary criterion in sample selection which implies that homogeneity was achieved. Twelve patients of a detoxification and rehabilitation unit for substance and gambling addictions were recommended by a volunteer informant. The final sample size was eight subjects who were chosen after having been interviewed by the researcher. Choosing only those patients who have not tried acupuncture as a treatment mode is commendable as it contributed to the reliability of the results. Nonetheless, the small sample size is acceptable for a pioneering study such as this.

Interviewing is a central method in phenomenological studies. This was used by the researcher to explore the experiences of the participants during acupuncture treatment. How the interview was conducted was sufficiently explained by the author but she does not elaborate on the specific questions asked during the interview. The author mentioned she used Giorgi modification method for data analysis and enumerated the steps in accordance to this method but does not explicitly describe the approaches to coding the data and condensing the data in meaningful form. The phenomenological method was very appropriate for the study because this particular qualitative method is often used in situations with a strong emotional element, since it emphasizes experience above thought (Giorgi, 1985). Although the outcome of Giorgi’s method is usually a descriptive statement rather than a list of categories, the researcher was able to come up with a list of themes to give a more substantive presentation of findings.

Overall, the aspects of the research design, data collection and analysis remain true to the rules and assumptions of qualitative research.

At this juncture, it should be pointed out that other design elements could have been incorporated to strengthen the study. For example, a longitudinal perspective could produce more solid evidences on the effectiveness of acupuncture as a treatment to substance abuse, although this was properly acknowledged by the researcher at the end of the report.

Bernstein was successful in integrating theories and findings of previous researches in her discussion of results. She underscores that her findings indicate that acupuncture can be viewed as a complex phenomenon and further studies should be conducted. Although her study was limited in sample size and one-time interview, her preliminary findings are consistent with the related literature and buttress the use of acupuncture as a treatment to substance abuse.

Although validity and reliability are concepts which do not translate well to a qualitative paradigm, the researcher strived to address validity and reliability issues through a number of steps. In sampling, she availed of the expertise of a psychiatrist who determined the diagnosis based on DSM-IV criteria and validated the diagnosis of substance dependence. The researcher sought to ensure credibility of the volunteer informant by choosing someone who has more than 10 years experience in the field of substance abuse and independence. In data collection and analysis, the researcher followed Giorgi’s phenomenological method to ensure reliability of the procedure of identifying and documenting recurrent themes of experiences reported by the participants. She used an external auditors, i.e. other mental health clinicians (but as to how many is not indicated), for critique of the synthesized insights and results.

Basing from the intrinsic limitations of the study, Bernstein lists a number of recommendations to follow up her research among which is the conduct of related studies that either strengthen data collection techniques or broaden the time and setting of the study.

The significance of this study as implied by the researcher in her concluding statements lies in its contribution to knowledge the dimensions of substance abuse and on acupuncture as a treatment modality in order to aid health care providers in incorporating alternative approaches to their practices.

Overall, the research reflects consistency between procedure, data and interpretation. The author was able to make reasonable and founded interpretations from her findings. The researcher adequately applied the principles of qualitative research to come out with a valid and reliable study.


Bersntein, K.S (2000). The experience of acupuncture for treatment of substance dependence. Journal of Nursing Scholarship . Fall 2000 v32 i3 p267.

Giorgi, A. “Sketch of a psychological phenomenological method”. In: Giorgi A (ed). Phenomenology and Psychological Research. Pittsburgh, PA: Duquesne Press, 1985.

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