Critical Appraisal

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The purpose of this report is to conduct a critical appraisal of a published article.

Carnwell (1997) describes a critical appraisal as an unbiased and balanced

scrutiny of the research paper so that both its strengths and weaknesses are

highlighted. The focus of the appraisal with be on “Promoting the health of

people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; patients and their carer’s

views” (Caress et al, 2010). The format of the appraisal will be formed around a

set of criteria (see appendix 1).

The journal looks at the views of patients and their carer’s experiences with living

the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), its causes, how they manage

with the symptoms, its progression and what role they adopt in maximising their

health potential. Through-out the journal there is a clear emphasise on smoking

being the main cause of COPD, however there is no mention of its significance in

the journal title. Carnwell (1997) clearly states that the title should accurately

reflect on the content of the study.

The journal has three authors, their suitability seems to be quite adequate as

they all have PhD’s, which indicates that they are all educated to a high level and

that they have conducted previous research prior to this article. All the authors

professions lye within nursing which also indicates good clinical knowledge.

However it could be argued that there is no clear emphasis on what topics of

research they were previously involved in nor does it highlight their clinical

expertise in relation to COPD. They have however given a clear indication of being supported by a professor of respiratory medicine, which is very suitable

and credible for the study. Coughlan et al (2007) believes that a research study

should also be evaluated on its own merit and not just on the education of its

authors.

The abstract within a research paper is of great importance as it gives the reader

an essential components of the article, it will allow the reader to form an opinion

on the article and decide whether it will be beneficial for them to read on. A

typical abstract should include aims of the paper, data sources, review methods,

dates of literature, results, conclusions and implications for future practice

(Fowler, 2011). Caress et al (2010) have clearly achieved these objectives as

they have given a brief out-line of the study, a short summery of the main

findings and their conclusions.

The authors have adopted an exploratory descriptive design which is a

combination of both qualitative and quantitative methods. The quantitative

material within the paper looks at the demographics of people living with COPD

and what the papers objective, which is to get an indication of this populations

experiences and that of their carers on living with COPD and how they try to

promote their own health to obtain a better quality of life. The qualitative material

looks to explore the participant’s feelings and experiences on COPD. Caress et

al (2010) have used a phenomenological approach which is particularly

interested in finding out participants see the world around them, it focuses on the

participants own understanding of the topic (COPD).

The literature reviewed by the authors gives readers an indication of the

theoretical framework they have used. It should also demonstrate an appropriate

depth and breadth of reading around the topic (Coughlan et al, 2007). Caress et

al (2010) seem to have been quite superficial with their literature and have not

used an abundance of literature to support their paper. It’s apparent that there

has been previous research carried out on the topic, but no mention of health

promotion programmes such as smoking sensation, to support this population.

The literature used by Caress et al (2010) seems to be quite appropriate in

content for their topic...
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