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Instruction for Research Article Appraisal
The criteria for the paper are drawn from the guidelines for identification of the steps of the quantitative research process and for determining study strengths and weaknesses as outlined in Chapter 18 of Gray, Grove, and Sutherland (2017). Use full sentences to answer the questions within the criteria, and provide rationales for your decisions (citing sources).
Introduction (no heading). Give the reader a sense of what to expect in this paper (identify the article being appraised [cited appropriately] and state what parts of the appraisal will be included in this paper). Discuss author(s) qualifications to conduct the study (did educational preparation and clinical experience of author[s] support qualification to conduct study?). Discuss the clarity of the article title (were type of study, variables, and population identified?). Discuss the quality of the abstract (were purpose, design, sample, intervention, and key results presented?).
Literature Review (ROL). Briefly describe the clinical problem that prompted the study. Discuss the evidence provided for the significance (magnitude and impact) of the clinical problem (were magnitude and impact supported?). Discuss significance of the clinical problem to nursing? Identify the major topics discussed in the background in the ROL. Briefly explain whether the ROL section included sources current at the time of the study. Discuss whether the ROL included primary or secondary sources. Discuss whether the studies in the ROL were described, critically appraised, and synthesized to provide a clear summary of the current knowledge about the problem of interest. Explain how the ROL provided support for the current research study (were gaps in research knowledge discussed?).
Research Problem, Purpose, Research Questions/Hypotheses. Identify the research problem of the study. Identify the study purpose. Does the purpose clearly address a gap in nursing knowledge (research problem) identified in and supported by the ROL? If there are research questions and/or hypotheses, identify them and discuss whether they follow from the research problem and purpose? State whether each of these were implied or explicitly stated.
Theoretical Framework. Identify the theory/framework that supported the study. Was the framework explicitly identified by the researcher(s) or was it implied? Discuss the clarity of the presentation of the framework. List the important concepts of the theory/framework. Was there a model (diagram) of the theory/framework presented? Discuss whether the study variables were linked to the theory/framework concepts. Were relationships among concepts explained and linked to the study purpose /hypothesis? Was a theoretical proposition (relational statement) stated and linked to the study purpose/hypothesis?
Variables. List the major study variables and categorize them as research variables or independent and dependent variables. What were the conceptual and operational definitions of the major study variables? Discuss whether the variable definitions were reflective of concepts from the theory/framework. Discuss whether the conceptual definitions were consistent with the operational definitions. List the demographic variables measured in the study. Briefly describe any extraneous variables identified by the authors.
Research Design. Identify the specific study design. Explain whether the design was appropriate to use to answer the study’s research questions/ hypotheses. Explain whether the design provided a means to answer research questions/examine hypotheses. Briefly describe the study procedures (including recruitment, screening for eligibility, consent, timing & method of measurement of demographic & key study variables, and intervention if applicable). Discuss the clarity of description of study procedures (could another researcher replicate the study using the procedure described in the article?). If more than one group was included in the study, explain how participants were assigned to groups. Were extraneous variables identified and controlled? Did the authors identify any threats to design validity? What are the limits to generalizability in terms of external validity?
Writing Style & Format. The paper will be a 6-8 pages of text, double-spaced, excluding title page and reference list. Pages in excess of 10 will not be graded. Use professional and orderly presentation of ideas (full sentences, precision, clarity, format, grammar, spelling, & punctuation) with appropriate citation of sources. It is expected that the use of quotations will be limited, no more than two quotations per paper (1 point will be deducted for each quote over the limit). Use the APA guidelines and the General Guidelines 7th edition for throughout this paper. Up to 0.5 points will be deducted for each grammar, spelling, punctuation, or format error. Content errors will be greater point deduction.
Chapter 18 of Gray, Grove, and Sutherland (2017).
Sample of research Article Appraisal
The Article: Situational Awareness in Acute Patient Deterioration