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Critical Appraisal of Research Methods and Findings

  • 10 Pages
  • Published On: 27-10-2023

A critical analysis is a process of analysing the trustworthiness, reliability, authenticity and validity of a research paper by using the relevant pieces of evidence. In this study, the given research article will be critically analysed to evaluate the validity and authenticity of its findings. Here the study will use the relevant evidences in term of presenting a critical discussion on the research method, data collection and the data analysis process that is used in the given research article. First, the study will appraise the research paper by using the relevant evidences. Then the trustworthiness and the rigour of the research article will be analysed in this study. Then the study will present a critical discussion on the research methodology used in the research articles. Finally, the study will discuss the ethical issues of the research article. Then, the study is going to present a suitable conclusion which will summarise the underlying aspects of the entire content.

Rigour and trustworthiness:

Qualitative research is based on collecting the non-numeric and descriptive data in the form of words, documentation and direct observation in terms of gathering the trustworthy and valid data. As mentioned by Accardi et al. (2016.), while it comes to critically analyse any qualitative research paper, research professionals must consider the level of trustworthiness as well as rigour that have been maintained the research articles by the researchers. Trustworthiness is one of the most crucial aspects in carrying out any qualitative research study, which ensures the reliability, authenticity and the validity of the collected database. As mentioned by Datta et al (2018), four major aspects are needed to be considered by the critics while analysing any research paper. These aspects are credibility, dependability, transferability and confirmability. Credibility is the level of valid and truthfulness have been maintained in the data collection process in terms of using the authentic as well as the reliable database. On the other hand, transferability is the ability of the research findings of any research paper to the other context while there is no generalisation of the target population. Confirmability is the level of neutrality and transparency have been maintained throughout the data collection process by researchers. Dependability is the ability of research findings to be replicated if the research is again carried out in similar circumstances by using similar participants. As stated by Downes et al. (2016), while critiquing any qualitative research pepper, critics need to consider these four aspects to analyse that whether researchers of the qualitative research paper have maintained a high level of transparency, authenticity add neutrality throughout the research methods. In addition to this, the trustworthiness is also crucial to be analysed by the critics while appraising any qualitative research paper to analyse that whether the data collection process is valid and reliable without any influence of any types of bias or maleficence.

Rigour is the level of competence and integrity of research, which ensures that whether the research is justified as well as relevant to the current context. Critics can analyse that whether the research paper is able to maintain the proper rigour throughout research by analysing the level of transparency and trustworthiness that researchers maintain during the selection of participants, observation, data collection and the data analysis process (Accardi et al. 2016). There are different types of research methods in case of carrying out qualitative research proves such as phenomenology, ethnographic research and observational methods. In terms of maintaining proper rigour in the research, researchers need to maintaining level of trustworthiness and transparency in the application of the relevant research method and collection of data from participants by using systematic and fair processes.

In the given qualitative research paper, it has been seen that researchers have used the qualitative perspective study design in which semi-structured interview of 16 participants has been carried out in terms of collecting the database from the participants. Here researcher have used the fair and bias less source to conduct the interview in which the database that a collected will be highly relevant and valid. In the qualitative research articles, interviews arc inducted by the two female high skill psychologists which have skills in qualitative research and palliative care. Through analysing the overall research process and the data collection and the participants' selection process in the research study is found out that, researchers are able to maintain the trustworthiness and rigour in this research paper, they have maintained a fair and systematic as well as transparent research methods, data collection and sample selection process. In the research design section, it is clear that researchers have followed the step-by-step process in terms of applying all the research philosophies design and the research approaches in systematically that enhance the level of validity and trustworthiness of the entire research process. In addition to this, in the sample section, the level of fairness, transparency and non-maleficence has been maintained throughout the process by researchers which present the trustworthiness of data collection and validity of the research process. From the overall data collection, it is seen that audio recording is used in a flexible and comfortable environment for the participants to ensure that they will share their personal experiences which enhances t level of truth and validity of the data findings.

Research design:

As mentioned by Elwood (2017), while presenting a critical analysis of any research paper, critics need to consider the relevance of the research design that has been selected by the researchers. The authors further stated that any good qualitative research paper will have a clear discussion of its research design and the systematic process in which it has applied the research design into the study. Here in the given qualitative research article, it has been mentioned that researchers have used the qualitative perspective study design in terms of carrying out entire study. However, there is specific study design section in which it is mentioned that why the researchers have chosen the mentioned study design and how the design is relevant to the research objectives. By analysing the qualitative perspective study design, it can be stated that the research paper has applied phenomenology research design. As mentioned by Esteve-Pasto et al. (2019) phenomenology research design is associated with discussing the particular phenomenon or particular life experiences of the selected population. Here in the research paper, use of phenomenology research design is highly relevant to its research objectives as this design assisted the researcher to collect the perception of 16 patients suffering from cancer about t usefulness of psychopath treatment therapy alongside the cancer treatment. Additionally, it is also seen in the research paper that phenomenology is highly applicable in this research paper as it assisted the researchers to analyse the issues related to the particular phenomena, the perception of patents with cancer about the benefits of osteopath therapy. On this positive note, it can be stated that the research paper has successfully applied the phenomenology research design into practice.

Sample selection:

Here in the research paper, it has been shown that researchers have used purposive sampling to select 16 participants from palliative care unt in Lyon, France. Here the research article a mentioned the sample selection criteria based on which participants are collected. Here all the participants who are selected are for the palliative care unit and suffer from cancer. As mentioned by Gibney et al. (2017), good research will discuss the type and process of sampling through which the suitable sample has been selected for carrying out the study. Qualitative research generally uses the purposive sampling process in which the best-stated sample or element is chosen from the whole population based on the particular purpose of the study. Here the research study mentioned the detailed description of the sample selection process which shows that first 44 patients have been screened for this study, among which 23 patients could not meet the inclusion criteria. After then only 20 patients it of 23 patents are included to carried out the interview. Finally, four patients did not attend the interview therefore only 16 patients are interviewed by the psychologists. As stated by Hong and Pluye (2019) a good research paper always makes a clear description of the participants, their recruitment and the criteria based in which participants are selected by the researcher. Here in the qualitative research article, it mentions the detailed recruitment process of the participants which shows that patient from the PCU (palliative care unit) are invited for carrying out purposive sampling. Additionality, the research article also described the criteria based on which they are selected, for example patients who are unable to make clear communication, or patients who are cured from cancer or considered for remission will not be included into the study. On this note, the research paper has successfully discussed the overall process and purpose of carrying out the purposive sampling and selection of participants. On the contrary, Marcus (2018) argued that a good research paper will also highlight the gaps and limitations that are faced during the sample selection. The given research article does not present any kind of gaps or difficulties that have been experienced by the researchers while carrying out the sample selection and recruitments. As mentioned by Pauliuk (2018), in a good research paper, researchers need to highlight the inclusion and exclusion and criteria for selecting the participants. On this note, the research paper clearly mentions the inclusion and exclusion criteria in the sample selection and recruitment section, that maintains its reliability as well as the validity of the criteria that have been used by researchers to choose the entire sample.

Data collection:

Data collection is a crucial process for any research in which researchers collect valid and authentic data from participants and analyse them as well to meet research objectives. As mentioned by Porrini et al. (2019), a good research paper will discuss the overall data collection process comprehensively in which researchers will discuss the process of interaction with participants. Here the research paper has presented a clear and comprehensive discussion on the data collection process, in which researchers have discussed that here data is collected from participants through conducting a semi structured process. Here after the informed consent is signed, patients are included in the study in which after the clinical data of patients are assessed and their medical data are collected, they undertake the osteopath session for two weeks. After the osteopath session has been completed the psychologists interviewed them between the day 11 ad 14. As mentioned by Quigley et al. (2019), a good research paper must discuss the duration, purpose and process of the data collection process. Here the research article has mentioned the systematic process through which data are collected from participants. Here researchers have approached the selected participants suffering from cancer who are admitted in the PCU, in terms of collecting their responses on their perception and experience regarding osteopath in reducing and manging symptoms that are associated with cancer. On the positive note, the research paper has successfully presented the data collection process in which it has mentioned all the important aspects associated with the data collection such as the type and process of data collection, data collection venue, time and duration of data collection and inclusion ad exclusion criteria of data collection. As argued by Roberts et al. (2018), a good research paper needs to discuss that in which environment or setting the participants are interviewed and whether they are provided with a proper fair and relaxing environment. Here the research paper has mentioned the participants are interviewed in the hospital setting in PCU, but the research paper does not mention that how the participants are treated throughout the interview process. Despite different criticism and positives aspect of this research paper, it can be stated that the research paper has successfully presented a valid as well as reliable data collection process.

Data analysis:

As mentioned by Shea et al. (2017), a good research paper must have a clear discussion on the overall, data analysis process. Here the research study has a clear discussion on the data analysis process in which it is mentioned that the audio recording of participants is analysed in terms of evaluating the response of each participant. This research article has a clear discussion on the data findings which highlights that osteopath therapy when delivered alongside the existing medical treatments is associated with several health benefits in case patients suffering from critical health condition such as cancer. This research paper has finally inferred from the finding that, emergency admission can be avoided by providing systematic and high-quality primary care.

Ethical issues:
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This paper has only mentioned that it has taken the ethical approval from Ethics committees. The research paper mentioned that researchers have followed all the qualitative research (COREQ) guidelines over here to conduct the overall research study in authentic and valid way. However, there is no mentioned about any kind of ethical issues that have been faced by researchers while carrying out the research study. On this note, it can pose questions on the validity and authenticity of the research paper


From the overall study, it can be concluded that critical analysis of any research paper means to evaluate and analyses its trustworthiness, authenticity and validity. Through analyzing research methods, data collection, data findings and the ethical issues of a research paper that critics can present a critical appraisal of the research article.

Reference list:

Accardi, A., Alekhin, S., Blümlein, J., Garzelli, M.V., Lipka, K., Melnitchouk, W., Moch, S., Owens, J.F., Plačakytė, R., Reya, E. and Sato, N., 2016. A critical appraisal and evaluation of modern PDFs. The European Physical Journal C, 76(8), p.471.

Steel, A., Tricou, C., Monsarrat, T., Ruer, M., Deslandes, C., Sisoix, C. and Filbet, M., 2018. The perceptions and experiences of osteopathic treatment among cancer patients in palliative care: a qualitative study. Supportive Care in Cancer, 26(10), pp.3627-3633.

Datta, P., Mohi, G.K. and Chander, J., 2018. Biomedical waste management in India: Critical appraisal. Journal of laboratory physicians, 10(1), p.6.

Downes, M.J., Brennan, M.L., Williams, H.C. and Dean, R.S., 2016. Development of a critical appraisal tool to assess the quality of cross-sectional studies (AXIS). BMJ open, 6(12), p.e011458.

Elwood, M., 2017. Critical appraisal of epidemiological studies and clinical trials. Oxford University Press.

Esteve-Pastor, M.A., Roldan, V., Rivera-Caravaca, J.M., Ramirez-Macias, I., Lip, G.Y. and Marin, F., 2019. The use of biomarkers in clinical management guidelines: a critical appraisal. Thrombosis and haemostasis, 119(12), pp.1901-1919.

Gibney, M.J., Forde, C.G., Mullally, D. and Gibney, E.R., 2017. Ultra-processed foods in human health: a critical appraisal. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 106(3), pp.717-724.

Hong, Q.N. and Pluye, P., 2019. A conceptual framework for critical appraisal in systematic mixed studies reviews. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 13(4), pp.446-460.

Marcus, G., 2018. Deep learning: A critical appraisal. arXiv preprint arXiv:1801.00631.

Miller, J.D., Vize, C., Crowe, M.L. and Lynam, D.R., 2019. A critical appraisal of the dark-triad literature and suggestions for moving forward. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 28(4), pp.353-360.

Pauliuk, S., 2018. Critical appraisal of the circular economy standard BS 8001: 2017 and a dashboard of quantitative system indicators for its implementation in organizations. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 129, pp.81-92.

Porrini, E., Ruggenenti, P., Luis-Lima, S., Carrara, F., Jiménez, A., de Vries, A.P., Torres, A., Gaspari, F. and Remuzzi, G., 2019. Estimated GFR: time for a critical appraisal. Nature Reviews Nephrology, 15(3), pp.177-190.

Quigley, J.M., Thompson, J.C., Halfpenny, N.J. and Scott, D.A., 2019. Critical appraisal of nonrandomized studies—A review of recommended and commonly used tools. Journal of evaluation in clinical practice, 25(1), pp.44-52.

Roberts, A.P., Tauxe, L., Heslop, D., Zhao, X. and Jiang, Z., 2018. A critical appraisal of the “Day” diagram. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 123(4), pp.2618-2644.

Shea, B.J., Reeves, B.C., Wells, G., Thuku, M., Hamel, C., Moran, J., Moher, D., Tugwell, P., Welch, V., Kristjansson, E. and Henry, D.A., 2017. AMSTAR 2: a critical appraisal tool for systematic reviews that include randomised or non-randomised studies of healthcare interventions, or both. bmj, 358, p.j4008.

Wynants, L., Van Calster, B., Collins, G.S., Riley, R.D., Heinze, G., Schuit, E., Bonten, M.M., Dahly, D.L., Damen, J.A., Debray, T.P. and de Jong, V.M., 2020. Prediction models for diagnosis and prognosis of covid-19: systematic review and critical appraisal. bmj, 369.

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