When writing a research paper, researchers follow set guidelines and formats. Qualitative research is the process of collecting data from a targeted group and converting the data into a numerical form for statistical analysis (Denzin & Lincoln, 2000). The researcher should have a problem that he or she wants to investigate. Study instruments are the other common features in quantitative research, and a plan for the research is usually prepared in advance. This research critique reviews the article by Rebecca Schroeder, which is a qualitative research conducted to investigate the perception of the older groups of patients with mental illness on the relationship between them and their care providers. The research was founded on the gap that existed in research since most researches on the subject ignored the experience of the old groups with the condition. The critique will use questions prepared in advance to assess the article.
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Target population and participants
The target population for the study is clearly identified in the study. The study aimed at investigating the experiences of old persons living with mental disorders (Schroeder, 2013). This population is the most vulnerable to mental abnormalities, and thus, age was an important factor to consider when selecting the participants. The researcher interviewed a sample of old patients with the condition with a view of determining the actual feelings and attitudes of the patients towards their health care providers. It aimed at establishing the patients’ experiences, and it supported the implementation of Peplau’s theories in the treatment of the condition (Munhall, 2007). The sample was representative of the population since the subjects were selected randomly, and the results of the study were generalized. Even though taken to represent the population, the sample size was not adequate, and thus future research should aim at using a larger sample in a bid to realize more accurate and reliable results as compared to the ones in this research paper.
Sample biases were identified since people below 55 years of age were excluded from the study (Schroeder, 2013). The issue of withdrawals and dropouts from the study was discussed, and the author revealed that only four (4) out of the original eight (8) participants made it to the second round of the interview, thus meaning that four (4) of the participant withdrew from the study after the first round. A simple random sampling method was used in this study. In this sampling method, “persons to participate in the research are selected randomly with each participant having equal chances of being selected” (Munhall, 2007, p.83). The description of the aforementioned sampling method was not offered, even though its use was evident from the description offered by the author on how the sample was selected.
The sampling method used in this study is not appropriate since random selection may lead to non-representation of some groups. Simple random sampling can lead to samples, which are not representative of the groups in the population. It is entirely random, and thus, it can lead to the selection of inappropriate samples (Munhall, 2007). In other circumstances, petite groups of people, which compose the targeted population, may not be represented. A stratified sampling method would have been better than the simple random sampling method since it helps the researcher to control the participants (Munhall, 2007). The participants were drawn from a single clubhouse, and thus, the demographical distribution of the population was not considered. The researcher came up with a sample size composed of eight (8) participants. Gender equality was considered when selecting the sample, and thus, it was composed of four (4) participants from both genders.
Data collection methods and instruments
The author was directly involved in the process of data collection. Nurses were recruited to assist in the process of data collection since they had a better understanding of the patients (Schroeder, 2013). Data collection took place in a single clubhouse in the United States of America. In addition, data collection was done through interviews and questionnaires. A clear description of data collection through the two methods is offered in the report. The used data collection methods were appropriate for the study, as they helped in gathering accurate information in an attempt to answer the research questions. Both self-report and psychological reports were invoked interchangeably, and each was used appropriately to provide the best results in different scenarios.
The research variables were determined prior to the commencement of the research, and appropriate measures were put in place to test the research variables. The report only identifies the instruments used in the collection of data, but it fails to offer a comprehensive description of each instrument. The instruments used in this research are the common instruments used in medical researches, and thus, it can be concluded that they had been used previously in similar researches. The instruments used in the study were never tested for validity, and their use was based on the assumption that they were valid since they had proved to be valid in previous studies by different researchers (Williams & Mfoafo-M’Carthy, 2006). No pilot study was conducted using the instruments to test their validity or reliability.
Three (3) methods were invoked in the data collection process. The three methods were dependent on each other. The approach adopted by the researchers in collecting data is unquestionably appropriate and recommendable in such research. The aim of the research was to determine the personal feelings and attitudes of the patients towards the health care providers. This important goal could only be achieved through a one on one interview with the patients. Recording each patient’s statement was important as it provided a good way in which the researcher would later revisit the statements, conduct peer reviews, and subsequent analysis of the data to provide useful information. The interviews were videotaped to enable an easy assessment of the information given in the later stages. Information regarding the patients’ experience with healthcare providers was collected and recorded.
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All the participants were informed of the importance of the research, coupled with what to expect in the questionnaires prior to the commencement of the study. However, no information was given regarding the exact number of questions that a participant was expected to tackle in the questionnaire or the length of time that one would take to fill his or her details. The participants were guaranteed of confidentiality of information provided, and their names were never disclosed. Each participant was provided with his or her own questionnaire to fill in the required parts without writing his or her name in the paper. After filing the required details, each participant would drop his or her questionnaire in a dropbox. All the questionnaires were placed in a single dropbox before thorough mixing. This way, the giver of the information would remain anonymous. The sampling biases were identified, and those who could not read or write were excluded from the study.
Every participant was informed of the purpose of the study, coupled with what to expect during the session. However, the participants were not provided with information regarding the length of the interviews. In a bid to ensure the confidentiality of information provided by the participants, the interview was conducted in a private room, and only the researcher and the individual participant would be present. In addition, the participants were guaranteed that the information provided would only be used for purposes of the study, and they could only be accessible to the researcher, and thus, no leakages would be allowed.
Other methods of data collection
In addition to questionnaires and interviews, tape recorders were also invoked in the collection of data. However, the study did not offer descriptive information regarding the instrument. The audio recorder was only used to record information provided by the participants during the interview. The recording was to ensure the reliability of the data collected during the analysis stage.
Descriptive statistical approaches used
The first statistical approach used in the study was the thematic analysis. Thematic analysis is a method used in the analyses of the collected data in the view of extracting the major themes in research (Munhall, 2007). It involves identifying the major themes and analyzing the patterns thereon. In this study, the application of thematic analysis was conducted in a process made up of six steps. The process involved reading and re-reading the transcribed data in order to extract the major themes. The other statistical approach evident in the study was the selective reading approach. This approach is defined as a statistical method that involves the extraction of major points in the collected data (Munhall, 2007). It is done by identifying the important points and leaving the rest, which is regarded as less important. In this study, the approach took the form of going through identifying the key statements in the texts. The key points identified were underlined, and notes related to the points were taken in the margins.
A qualitative hermeneutic phenomenological procedure is also evident in the study. It entails the collection of data from interviews and recording it before analyzing it. The approach was used in data collection, whereby the participants were engaged in an interview to provide their experiences with the nurses. The report does not clearly present the descriptive statistics used since no graphs or tables are included in the report. The small sample size used in the study does limit the use of measures of central tendency and variability, and thus, they are not used in the research. The descriptive statistics clearly present the demographic characteristics of the subjects.
Use of inferential statistics
Inferential statistics are used in making conclusions about a larger population from the results obtained in research from the used samples. It involves statistical procedures aimed at facilitating generalization of results. It seeks to answer the question “what should be done next” (Asadoorian & Kantarelis, 2005). From the report of the study, there are no clear indicators that inferential statistics were used. Therefore, one can conclude that inferential statistics were never used in this research.
Asadoorian, M., & Kantarelis, D. (2005). Essentials of Inferential Statistics. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.
Denzin, K., & Lincoln, S. (2000). Introduction: The Discipline and Practice of Qualitative Research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Munhall, P. (2007). Nursing research: A qualitative perspective. Boston, MA: Jones & Bartlett.
Schroeder, R. (2013). The seriously mentally ill older adult: perceptions of the patient–provider relationship. Perspectives in psychiatric care, 49(1), 30-40.
Williams, C., & Mfoafo-M’Carthy, M. (2006). Care: Giving, receiving, and meaning in the context of mental illness. Psychiatry, 69, 26–46.