Critical Appraisal of The Research Article


The critical appraisal is referred to the systematic process that is used for identifying the strength and weakness of the research article to examine the validity and usefulness of the findings of the research. This is required as the data retrieved from the critical appraisal of research article helps in making an informed decision in healthcare regarding the way evidence gathers are to be used in practice. The aim of this assignment is to critically appraise the research “Positive mental health and mental health stigma: A qualitative study assessing student attitudes”. The topic is significant for discussion as it would help the mental health professionals to promote awareness regarding mental health issues and stigma among the college students and increase the rate of college students to come out to seek treatment by incorporating the evidence developed from the study in framing health promotion programs regarding mental health.

Summarisation of Introduction

In the study, a clear introduction is mentioned where it is informed that mental health issues are a critical health problem in the public. It also mentions that 60.9% of college students reported feeling of anxiety, 39.3% reported past depression and 12.9% reported suicidal thoughts as found in 2017 (American College Health Association, 2018). These facts indicate that mental health issues are widely seen among college students which are hindering their psychological strength to cope with their emotion resulting them to experience deteriorating mental health condition. The study states that in case the mental health issues are not resolved at the earliest it interferes with the work productivity, building relationships and managing finances (Vidourek and Burbage, 2019). This is evident as deteriorating mental health makes the individuals become emotionally weak to manage their physical ability to work properly and manage finances. The study has also highlighted in the introduction that despite most of the college students has some nature of mental health issue yet many are not provided effective treatment. The reason behind such behaviour is reported as barrier in accessing treatment such as the thought of the students that they are not mentally-ill even though they are facing it is causing students to avoid seeking treatment (Vidourek and Burbage, 2019). The reason is evident because if the students who are ill do not wish to seek the treatment they cannot be forcefully made to

access healthcare as it would lead to violation of human rights. The other barriers highlighted in the introduction of the study are financial barriers, wishing to overcome the illness personally and others. Moreover, stigmatization regarding mental health is seen to act as a potential reason behind student not seeking mental health treatment. This is because the presence of stigma regarding mental health is causing student with mental health issues on exposure to face different nature of abuse and harm in the society. In the end, the introduction has perfectly highlighted the detailed purpose of the study along with research questions that are to be focused on (Vidourek and Burbage, 2019).

Summarisation of Methodology

The methodology section of the study informs that grounded theory is being used as research approach in the study. The participants who are the college students are selected from an urban university through email and class announcement. The way of selecting the participants randomly from a certain population of college students indicates that the researcher may have used simple random sampling method of probability sampling (Vidourek and Burbage, 2019). This is because in simple random sampling of probability sampling the participants are selected on random basis that represents the population as a whole (Chang et al. 2015). The data is gathered by using structured interview and it was estimated that 15-25 students are going to participate (Vidourek and Burbage, 2019). The structured interview is beneficial because it helps to collected effective amount of required data needed for the study as well as helps to each of the participants in a fair way (Khamaiseh and ALBashtawy, 2015). This may have led the researcher of this study to choose the nature of data collection process.


In the study, each of the interviews was seen to last for 25-30 minutes and informed consent from all the participants was taken as well as all are allowed to leave the interview any time to ensure ethical considerations (Vidourek and Burbage, 2019). The ethical consideration abided in the study is required for all the researches to avoid exploitation, revelation of personal date, forceful participation and ethical issues in collecting data for framing the article (Petrova et al. 2016). In order to execute structure interview, a set of 10 questions were framed on the basis of reviewed literature and past research information related to stigma regarding mental health. This is an effective step in the study as framing questions by analysing the previous and existing information helps to develop the queries in such a way so that the gap in the previous studies can be identified and fulfilled through the collection of data with the help of the questions in the present study (Holloway and Galvin, 2016). The data analysis is reported to be done in the study by using thematic analysis method.

Summarisation of Results

The results in the study inform that most of the student has clear concept regarding what positive mental health means. It is evident as some reported it means having emotional balance, lack of stress and ability to cope whereas some reported control of mood and emotions along with having self-esteem and self-confidence. The results also informed that staying in good mental health requires college students to stay active and remain occupied by positive people, being conscious of emotional health and develop coping skills, working out and have me time and remaining aware about personal mental health. The key mental health problems being faced by college students include anxiety, ADHD, OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), depression and others as stress was one of the key mental health issue being reported. Further, widespread negative stigma regarding mental health issues is being reported among college students (Vidourek and Burbage, 2019).

The results also informed that there is lack of education and awareness regarding mental health that is raising the stigma and so education to aware regarding mental illness is to be established in colleges. The students reported that there are multiple sources of mental health treatment available for individuals in the area. The stigma regarding mental illness includes reporting people with mental problems as crazy, not understanding one is suffering from mental issues, hindrance to talk about the illness and others acted to avoid individuals seeking proper mental treatment. The results also mentioned benefits of mental health treatment such as developing coping ability with mental issues normalise mental disorder making it culturally acceptable and improve everyday life. The barriers of accessing mental health treatment among students include negative stigma regarding mental illness, finance shortage, lack of cooperation from society and family and others. However, it is mentioned that effective social support along with compassion and understanding to accept the mentally-ill individuals has normal people would promote better seeking of health treatment by college students (Vidourek and Burbage, 2019).

Critical Appraisal


The writing style of the paper is academic in nature and detailed information regarding the authors is presented (Vidourek and Burbage, 2019). This is strength of the study it can be understood that the researchers are qualified enough to execute the study in a scientific manner. A proper title of the study is required so that the extent of study area being explored in the paper can be identified (Cathala and Moorely, 2018). In this study, a well-defined title is mentioned. A well-developed abstract helps the reader to easily identify whether or not the article is relevant to their area of research (LoBiondo-Wood and Haber, 2017). This paper has mentioned a detailed abstract with keywords being used in the study which acts as its strength as readers can easily identify the relevance of the paper with their study topic. The study has mentioned a well-structured introduction with clarified aim and purpose of executing the research (Vidourek and Burbage, 2019). This is the strength of the study as clarified aim and introduction helps the reader to effectively understand the overview of the topic assisting them in making better critical review of the facts. The research questions are also mentioned in a clarified manner. This act as strength of the study as clarified research questions informs clearly to the reader about the specific queries and concerns the study is going to highlight making the ability to understand what information they can be able to gather from the study (Cathala and Moorely, 2018). An effective background and literature review information help the readers to develop better concept about the research problem and gaps in the study as well as regarding the topic (Al-Ghareeb and Cooper, 2016). In this paper, proper background of the topic is presented by providing reviewed literature of different authors making it beneficial for the study as reason of execution of the study can be properly understood by the readers (Vidourek and Burbage, 2019).


The methodology section informs that the research is qualitative research study which is evident as grounded theory approach, interview methods and thematic analysis methods are used in qualitative researches that are being used in this study. It is evident as the researcher has mentioned using grounded theory approach in executing the study (Vidourek and Burbage, 2019). The benefit of using grounded theory is that it offers ability to better conceptualise the facts to be presented in the study along with foster creativity apart from providing ability to the researcher to systematically analyse data in the study (Leung, 2015). Thus, this approach acts as strength for this paper as it helps to developed enriched results in a systematic way for better execution of the study. However, the limitation that may have been faced by the paper by using ground theory approach is that the results presented may be biased in nature and increased amount of time may have been taken by the study to be executed (Foley and Timonen, 2015). The proper mentioning of approach acts as strength for this study as it helps to inform the plan and procedure being followed by the researcher to assume the nature of data collection and analysis to be used in the study.

The study has used simple random sampling of probability sampling method is selecting participants (Vidourek and Burbage, 2019). The advantage of using simple random sampling is that it reduces biases in selecting participants and it is a less complicated method (Kumar, 2019). Thus, it acts as strength for this study as the method allowed gathering of participants in an easier and balanced way without bias. However, the limitation that may have been experienced by the study while using simple random sampling is that biases in collecting sample may have occurred as the selected participants are representative but not inclusive of all individuals in the population in this case college students (Purpora and Blegen, 2015). In this respect, stratified random sampling could have been used which offers increased accurateness in collecting data compared to simple random sampling. The clear mentioning of sampling method act as strength for the study as it helps to inform the way participants are selected. A total of 23 participants are selected in the study which is quite a small population (Vidourek and Burbage, 2019). The limitation of using small sample size is that it leads to higher variability, in turn, increasing the probability of biases in collecting information for presenting findings (Malterud et al. 2016). Thus, use of smaller sample act as limitation for this study by lowering the scope to generalise results. However, small sample size helps to execute the study in quicker manner lowering time constraints issues which mention the sample size may have acted in favour of executing this study (Boddy, 2016). In this study, a structured interview is used as the data collection method (Vidourek and Burbage, 2019). The benefit of using a structured interview is that it leads to fairly collect data, maintain consistency and ensure effectiveness of the study (Mitchell, 2015). This act as strength for the study as it ensures to offer better accuracy to identify the way positive mental health among college students are to be maintained and the negative mental health stigma being faced by them. However, the disadvantage experienced by the study while using structured interview is that proper limited information may have been collected as the

In this study, a structured interview is used as the data collection method (Vidourek and Burbage, 2019). The benefit of using a structured interview is that it leads to fairly collect data, maintain consistency and ensure effectiveness of the study (Mitchell, 2015). This act as strength for the study as it ensures to offer better accuracy to identify the way positive mental health among college students are to be maintained and the negative mental health stigma being faced by them. However, the disadvantage experienced by the study while using structured interview is that proper limited information may have been collected as the participants were not offered the freedom to inform added information related to study topic due to already set questionnaire (Casey et al. 2016). This limitation could have been avoided by using semi-structured or open interviews as it offers opportunity to participants to report wide information regarding the research topic, in turn, enriching the collection of data. The limitation of using any interview method in research is biased identification and transcription of facts (Tay et al. 2016). However, in this study, two researchers who are experienced in mental health and one researcher who is expert in managing health of college students are included to ensure content validity and reduce error (Vidourek and Burbage, 2019).

The study uses thematic analysis method for analysing the data (Vidourek and Burbage, 2019). The benefit of using thematic analysis is that it allows contribution to present data from multiple researchers as well as allows the researchers to expand range of the study over passing individual experience (Braun et al. 2019). Thus, this method act as strength for this study, because multiple researchers are involved in the study and implication of the method, offers flexibility in presenting results in a categorised format. However, the limitation may be experienced by the study while using thematic analysis is that reliability of the study may be hindered as wide nature of interpretation of the data are made by multiple researchers (Nowell et al. 2017). This limitation would not be faced by the study because it is been previously mentioned that though multiple researchers are involved they are expert in the field regarding which the topic is being explored to ensure content validity and reliability. In this study, the informed consent from participants is received as well as their personal data are being protected and they are offered freedom to participant as well as withdraw from the study any time avoiding any forceful participation. This act as strength for the study as it helped to allow the researcher to conduct the study in an ethical way.


The results in the paper are clearly mentioned and categorised according to the themes developed (Vidourek and Burbage, 2019). The categorisation of the results according to themes is strength of the study as it helps the reader to systematically identify all the data in an appropriate manner as present in the study. The results have clearly mentioned the demographic characteristics of all the individuals who have participated in the study (Crowe et al. 2015). This nature of presentation is strength of the study as the demographic data helped to understand the nature, age, health status and other aspects of participants. The results were developed and presented by transcribing the responses of participants in the interview and under most themes; direct quotations from the interview are mentioned (Vidourek and Burbage, 2019). This acts as strength of the study as it helps the researchers to mention with evidence that the data informed by them are not manipulated through their perception but direct thoughts and responses of the participants are shared and interpreted. The results mentioned in details about the concept of positive mental health along with the way college students think of staying mentally healthy (Vidourek and Burbage, 2019). This information helps the readers to understand concept of positive mental health and mental illness among the college students. The results also highlighted the nature of awareness and education regarding mental health present among students and stigma related to mental illness (Vidourek and Burbage, 2019). The information helped to identify the negative aspects that are creating hindrance in promoting mental health among students and extent of contribution in awareness to be required in relation to it. Moreover, the results also highlighted the barrier regarding mental health and social situation that is causing issues among students to avoid seeking mental health treatment (Vidourek and Burbage, 2019). The information is useful to understand present social condition that is making hard for college students to accept mental health treatment.


In this article, discussion has clearly mentioned all the gathered data by linking or coinciding it with findings retrieved from other studies (Vidourek and Burbage, 2019). This is evident as the discussion has mentioned that in the present study it is found that benefits of mental health treatment include ability to cope stress, reduce mental illness and others whereas previous studies found that benefit of mental health treatment is solving mental problems, relieving stress and others. It is also evident from another instance where the researcher mentions that in the present study students are found to be supportive and show compassion to mentally-ill students after removal of stigmatisation (Vidourek and Burbage, 2019). This is similar to previous study where it is reported that college students with low-level stigma have attitude to accept and help mentally-ill college students. The discussion section has mentioned in a separate table the representative quotes of each of the main themes. This helps the researchers to allow readers have evidence that the discussed data are not interpreted in biased nature based on the perception of the researcher but on the basis of the reported account and feeling of the participants. A logical flow of information is being maintained by the researchers in presenting data in the discussion section (Vidourek and Burbage, 2019). It is significant for the readers to gradually understand each aspect of the data without facing hindrance that may have been caused if improper flow of information is maintained. This is because the haphazard presentation of data in the discussion section confuses the readers to understand the proper debate presented by the researcher.

Limitation, Conclusion and Implication of the study

The limitation experienced in the study is vividly mentioned under the limitation section (Vidourek and Burbage, 2019). The limitation of the study is important to understand so that the constraints faced in the study can be identified (Crowe et al. 2015). In this study, the limitations include the inability to determine causal relationships, lack of generalisation of results as all the participants were selected from a single university and inability to adapt questions in response to the participants as structured interview method was used. Thus, this indicates that the study setting and data collection method were key limitations of the study. The study has highlighted while explaining the data in the discussion section how this study can be used in future to explore different aspects related to positive mental health stigma of mental health among college students. This information is significant as the readers can understand the way the paper can be used in the future to develop better studies. At the end of the study, a clear conclusion where all the facts are properly concluded in an effective manner is mentioned (Vidourek and Burbage, 2019). This is significant for the readers to understand and conclude what they have learnt from the article. However, the study lacks proper information about recommendations that are to be implemented to resolve identified problems in the study. This is going to act as limitation as the reader would be unable to know regarding the way identified issues in the study can be resolved.

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