Qualitative Research Appraisal

Trustworthiness and Rigour

In most of the qualitative researches, key two areas that researchers should focus on include trustworthiness and rigour. Each has a separate meaning and would sometimes call for separate applications depending on the nature of the research. Trustworthiness can be defined as the quintessential framework meant for evaluating the qualitative research. Under most circumstances, researchers would confuse it with the principles of generalizability, reliability, and validity, which are common across most of the qualitative designs (Hadi and Closs 2016).

Four components are used in describing trustworthiness in any qualitative research. The first component is credibility, which measures the confidence of the researcher as noticed in the study’s findings. The findings should appear truthful as well as capture the holistic representation of the entire phenomenon. This also means that the researcher should spend substantial time in understanding the participant perspectives. Secondly, transferability demonstrates applicability of the findings to other contexts (Anney 2014). Contexts prevail in the sense that they reflect same phenomena, populations and situations. The third component is confirmability that weighs the degree of neutrality across the study findings. Findings should be based on the response from participants and should not be based on the personal motivations or bias. Lastly, trustworthiness relies on dependability, which fosters repeatability of the study where findings should be consistent.

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Apart from trustworthiness, rigor is also considered in most of the qualitative researches and takes the definition of an opposite set of criteria attached to openness to data. Rigour is more connected to the philosophical perspective as well as thoroughness in terms of data collections. It is quite confusing to establish the components of rigour in a research especially in qualitative based study because it is sometimes described by the framework of trustworthiness (Hadi, and Closs, 2016). However, rigour would appear in most studies as a way of expressing attributes connected or associated to the defined qualitative research process. Rigour showcase the appropriateness of the research method and research design as tailored towards answering the research questions. In a qualitative enquiry, research would define rigour through validity and reliability (Anney 2014). Validity and reliability are mostly analogous and their application would be based on the criteria of merit or worthiness. Reliability would largely foster repeated measures of particular phenomena while establishing truth across the findings. Validity is grounded on meaningful, relevant, justifiable, logical, and confirmatory principles associated to quality.

Both the rigour and trustworthiness are important in any qualitative research. First, trustworthiness allows most researchers to have requisite knowledge in describing the virtues behind qualitative terms that are beyond the parameters commonly felt in the quantitative research (Rodham et al. 2015). Secondly, demonstration of rigour in the qualitative research is essential in the sense that it looks at the integrity of the research findings while influencing the practice as well as the policy. Both trustworthiness and rigour help in proper planning as far as the research process is put into consideration. Proper planning would lead to justifiable findings that are free of bias (O’brien et al. 2014). This means that most of the findings form viable referral points for other researches that are covered in line with the research topic in question.

Appraisal of the Qualitative Research Article
Part b Sample Selection

In an article “Patients’ perceptions of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in head and neck cancer: A qualitative, pilot study with clinical implications” by Hendershot et al. (2014), the researchers purposed to describe the perceptions of patients suffering from head and neck cancer as far as the Complementary and Alternative Medicine is put into consideration. While reading the article, it was easy to identify the sampling method applied in the research process. Perhaps, one did not have to guess the method because it was conspicuously placed in the abstract before it was implemented in the “method” section (Hendershot et al. 2014). The chosen method is convenience sampling, which is described as the type of non-random or nonprobability sampling where the members of a given target population meet a practical criteria put in play. The criteria look at the availability, geographical proximity and willingness of the participants to participate in the research process (O’brien et al. 2014).

While using the sampling technique, the research considered interviewing a sample of the HNC patients through the help of the structured interview tool. The access to the sample was negotiated through appointments made at the HNC Clinic. Participants were allowed to submit their informed consent, which means they had the information regarding the research even before the eve of the study (O’brien et al. 2014). The research has also explained how the participants were selected. First, the research focused on a convenience sample of the HNC patients identified in the private settings. Secondly, the research never considered the status of the disease and went ahead to allow the HNC patients to be part of the research process. The researchers further explained why participants selected were more appropriate in availing the necessary knowledge targeted in the study (Malterud et al. 2016). The research was focusing on HNC patients who might have used CAM or any additional therapy in the healing process.

Most of the HNC patients shared their attitudes towards CAM, as well as interactions with the physician. However, the research developed rare issues around the recruitment given the fact that the research itself was accidental. For instance, CAM discussions saw varying results as no survey studies and never or rarely touched on the scope or the framework of CAM. As much as the recruitment process had no issues discussed in the research, the assumption that HNC patients have knowledge on CAM usage is evident (Souto et al. 2015). Apparently, the research also described characteristics of the participants included in the convenient sample. Such characteristics appear in the demographic profile that incorporated the age, gender, race or ethnicity, education, family income as well as employment (Leung 2015). The sample size appears adequate for the research methodology described in the research. While a structured interview would call for face to face interaction, it is still time consuming, a factor that limits the number of participants to be interviewed. At the same time, ethical standards were observed by ensuring that every participant delivers an informed consent (Malterud et al. 2016). This means

that the research considered permission from the participants and their willingness in participating in the research process. Therefore, the sampling process showed a good performance in general.

Part c Data Collection

The research process is clear on how data was collected and recorded. The researchers indicated that a structured interview was developed based on the literature as well as expert review. It mentioned that interviews were simply conducted by a single person as open-ended questions attracted answers from the HNC patients. Interviews were linked to the code types of the CAM, interaction with physician and attitudes towards CAM and other therapy. However, researchers never justified data collection methods apart from the confirmation drawn from the literature review (Souto et al. 2015). Despite lack of justification, the choice of the data collection technique is more appropriate and suits the size of the sample considered in this case. Moreover, the researchers appended enough details against the main data collection method identified in the research process. This has been tailored in terms of how the interview process was conducted; the person who conducted the interview and influences it has on the participants (Berger 2015).

The structured interview is said to have been developed based on the expert review. It involved HNC patients who were interviewed by one person (Souto et al. 2015). The interview is said to have been conducted within the private settings that involved a HNC Clinic at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University. The research went head indicating the dates that scheduled the research from August to October 2012. While an interview provides an avenue of interacting with the HNC patients, it still offered a platform that allowed the patients to share attitudes and experiences while encountering or using either the CAM or additional therapies (Hendershot et al. 2014). As much as patients may not be open to issues disturbing them, they end up opening up on details regarding their health issues and the method that most of them would prefer. With attention paid to possible alternatives in case of any changes, the researchers never indicated any modifications and therefore no reasons were availed (Bryman 2017).

The collections of methods used, in the research, were more reliable and verifiable. The methods range from the use of the structured interview tool to quantitative and qualitative analysis (Baillie 2015). The structured interview has been developed through the literature support, the person to conduct the interview, participants and submission of their willingness through informed consent, and the type of information to be obtained (Bryman 2017). The latter mainly informs on the attitude the HNC patients had towards CAM use. On the other hand, the researchers remained relevant in terms of discussing the saturation of data. They indicated that the saturation was arrived at when no more novel details were availed through additional interviews. A sample size of 12 participants, in the qualitative research, was seen to be enough in investigating the experiences and perceptions. Across the research, the researchers did not clearly examine their own roles, influence or bias. The same goes to confidentiality and anonymity, which are not clearly explored (Souto et al. 2015). While the informed consent only informs on the willingness of the participants in taking part in the research process, the researchers did not clearly indicate the details of neither the consent form nor any leads towards protection of participants.

Part d Data Analysis and Presentation of Results

Data analysis and presentation of results forms one critical area that the research has to consider in the course of addressing the research purpose. In this case, two methods are seen to be applied in data analysis. First, the quantitative analysis fostered the frequencies of CAM applied in the probes and direct question on usage (Baillie 2015). The analysis of the participant discussion, participant comfort, and the relationship between HNC patients and their physicians form part of the details realized through the quantitative analysis. Secondly, qualitative analysis was applied with the help of a codebook in regards to the open-ended questions linked to the attitude behind participant comfort and CAM use (Lewin et al. 2015). The use of codebook allowed MD and KH to code all interviews with disputes being resolved by RP. Qualitative analysis also paved way for combination of the codes into three themes where every theme narrated the attitude of the CAM group. However, the research never gave a systematic process for both the qualitative and quantitative analysis (Lockwood et al. 2015).

However, the “result” section only gave account of the nature of the response that was given to some of the research questions engaged during the research process. On such sections like “”attitudes towards CAM”, the researchers treated a collection of responses to themes that reflected positive experiences with CAM (Hendershot et al. 2014). It is notable that researchers filtered the findings into categories and they also how showed how they derived such categories from the information collected during the interview process. They achieved this by first mentioning the number of participants involved in a particular category, the similarity of their responses, the nature of interactions they had and how such interactions convinced certain lines or dimensions of conclusions (Leung 2015). While conducting the analysis, more than one researcher performed the task with regards to the scope of either quantitative or qualitative analysis. For instance, Margie Dixon and Kristopher Hendershot were engaged in coding all the interviews while Rebecca Penz mainly handled disputes. However, it is not clear enough how the researchers managed or negotiated the differences in their interpretations, which leads to the assumption that the differences were negligible and did not affect the outcomes.

Furthermore, the researchers showed effort in supporting the findings with more relevant data. This was witnessed in the discussion section that tried to integrate the findings with those realized through literature. The “Discussion” part further gave the position of the research in the face of mixed emotions from the participants. This means that more efforts were put on addressing the main aim of the research with attracting prejudice, prejudgments, or bias (Cope 2014). For example, the research never denied the fact that some of patients never felt it more convenient to meet the physician as they set their preference on the CAM usage. It is also true that the researchers had an explanation for every finding, which was plausible and more coherent. They did this by borrowing ideas from other researchers that covered almost the same area of research (Hendershot et al. 2014). Therefore, data analysis met almost every aspect of the research requirements.

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References

  • Anney, V.N., 2014. Ensuring the quality of the findings of qualitative research: Looking at trustworthiness criteria.
  • Baillie, L., 2015. Promoting and evaluating scientific rigour in qualitative research. Nursing Standard (2014+), 29(46), p.36.
  • Berger, R., 2015. Now I see it, now I don’t: Researcher’s position and reflexivity in qualitative research. Qualitative research, 15(2), pp.219-234.
  • Bryman, A., 2017. Quantitative and qualitative research: further reflections on their integration. In Mixing methods: Qualitative and quantitative research (pp. 57-78). Routledge.
  • Cope, D.G., 2014, January. Methods and meanings: credibility and trustworthiness of qualitative research. In Oncology nursing forum (Vol. 41, No. 1).
  • Hadi, M.A. and Closs, S.J., 2016. Ensuring rigour and trustworthiness of qualitative research in clinical pharmacy. International journal of clinical pharmacy, 38(3), pp.641-646.
  • Hendershot, K.A., Dixon, M., Kono, S.A., Shin, D.M. and Pentz, R.D., 2014. Patients' perceptions of complementary and alternative medicine in head and neck cancer: a qualitative, pilot study with clinical implications. Complementary therapies in clinical practice, 20(4), pp.213-218.
  • Leung, L., 2015. Validity, reliability, and generalizability in qualitative research. Journal of family medicine and primary care, 4(3), p.324.
  • Lewin, S., Glenton, C., Munthe-Kaas, H., Carlsen, B., Colvin, C.J., Gülmezoglu, M., Noyes, J., Booth, A., Garside, R. and Rashidian, A., 2015. Using qualitative evidence in decision making for health and social interventions: an approach to assess confidence in findings from qualitative evidence syntheses (GRADE-CERQual). PLoS Medicine, 12(10), p.e1001895.
  • Lockwood, C., Munn, Z. and Porritt, K., 2015. Qualitative research synthesis: methodological guidance for systematic reviewers utilizing meta-aggregation. International journal of evidence-based healthcare, 13(3), pp.179-187.
  • Malterud, K., Siersma, V.D. and Guassora, A.D., 2016. Sample size in qualitative interview studies: guided by information power. Qualitative health research, 26(13), pp.1753-1760.
  • O’brien, B.C., Harris, I.B., Beckman, T.J., Reed, D.A. and Cook, D.A., 2014. Standards for reporting qualitative research: a synthesis of recommendations. Academic Medicine, 89(9), pp.1245-1251.
  • Rodham, K., Fox, F. and Doran, N., 2015. Exploring analytical trustworthiness and the process of reaching consensus in interpretative phenomenological analysis: Lost in transcription. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 18(1), pp.59-71.
  • Souto, R.Q., Khanassov, V., Hong, Q.N., Bush, P.L., Vedel, I. and Pluye, P., 2015. Systematic mixed studies reviews: updating results on the reliability and efficiency of the mixed methods appraisal tool. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 52(1), pp.500-501.

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