Did the abstract clearly and concisely summarize the main features of the report (problem, methods, results, conclusion)?

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Below is Box 5.2 of the textbook (pp. 106-109), Chapter 5. Use the frame to critique qualitative research articles.

Aspect of the Report Critiquing Questions Answer


Title ·         Is the title a good one, succinctly suggesting key variables and the study population?    
Abstract ·         Did the abstract clearly and concisely summarize the main features of the report (problem, methods, results, conclusion)?    

Statement of the Problem

·         Was the problem stated unambiguously, and was it easy to identify?

·         Is the problem significant for nursing?

·         Did the problem statement build a persuasive argument for the new study?

·         Was there a good match between the research problem and the methods used – that is, was a quantitative approach appropriate?

Research Questions ·         Were research questions explicitly stated? If not, was their absence justified?

·         Were the questions consistent with the study’s philosophical basis, underlying tradition, or ideological orientation?

Literature Review ·         Did the report adequately summarize the existing body of knowledge related to the problem or phenomenon of interest?

·         Did the literature review provide a strong basis for the new study?

Conceptual Underpinnings ·         Were key concepts defined conceptually?

·         Was the philosophical basis, underlying tradition, conceptual framework, or ideologic orientation made explicit and was it appropriate for the problem?


Protection of Human Rights

·         Were appropriate procedures used to safeguard the rights of study participants?

·         Was the study subject to external review by an IRB/ethics review board?

·         Was the study designed to minimize risks and maximize benefits to participants?

Research Design and Research Tradition ·         Was the identified research tradition (if any) congruent with the methods used to collect and analyze data?

·         Was an adequate amount of time spent with study participants?

·         Did the design unfold during data collection, giving researchers opportunities to capitalize on early understandings?

·         Was there an adequate number of contacts with study participants?

Sample and Setting ·         Was the group or population of interest adequately described? Were the setting and sample described in sufficient detail?

·         Was the approach used to recruit participants or gain access to the site productive and appropriate?

·         Was the best possible method of sampling used to enhance information richness and address the needs of the study?

·         Was the sample size adequate? Was saturation achieved?

Data Collection ·         Were the methods of gathering data appropriate? Were data gathered through two or more methods to achieve triangulation?

·         Did the researcher ask the right questions or make the right observations, and were they recorded in an appropriate fashion?

·         Was a sufficient amount of data gathered? Were the data of sufficient depth and richness?

Procedures ·         Were data collection and recording procedures adequately described and do they appropriately trained?    
Enhancement of Trustworthiness ·         Did the researchers use effective strategies to enhance the trustworthiness/integrity of the study, and was there a good description of those strategies?

·         Were the methods used to enhance trustworthiness adequate?

·         Did the researcher document research procedures and decision processes sufficiently that findings and auditable and confirmable?

·         Was there evidence of researcher reflexivity?

·         Was there “thick description” of the context, participants, and findings, and was it at a sufficient level to support transferability?


Data Analysis

·         Were the data management and data analysis methods adequately described?

·         Was the data analysis strategy compatible with the research tradition and with the nature and type of data gathered?

·         Did the analysis yield an appropriate “product” (e.g. a theory, taxonomy, thematic pattern)?

·         Did the analytic procedures suggest the possibility of biases?

Findings ·         Were the findings effectively summarized, with good use of excerpts and supporting arguments?

·         Did the themes adequately capture the meaning of the data? Does it appear that the researcher satisfactorily conceptualized the themes or patterns in the data?

·         Did the analysis yield an insightful, provocative, authentic, and meaningful picture of the phenomenon under investigation?

Theoretical Integration ·         Were the themes or patterns logically connected to each other to form a convincing and integrated whole?

·         Were figures, maps, or models used effectively to summarize conceptualizations?

·         If a conceptual framework or ideologic orientation guided the study, were the themes or patterns linked to it in a cogent manner?


Interpretation of

the Findings

·         Were the findings interpreted within an appropriate social or cultural context?

·         Were major findings interpreted and discussed within the context of prior studies?

·         Were the interpretations consistent with the study’s limitations?



·         Did the researchers discuss the implication of the study for clinical practice or further research – and were those implications reasonable and complete?    
General Issues


·         Was the report well-written, organized, and sufficiently detailed for critical analysis?

·         Was the description of the methods, findings, and interpretations sufficiently rich and vivid?

Researcher Credibility ·         Do the researchers’ clinical, substantive, or methodologic qualifications and experience enhance confidence in the findings and their interpretation?    
Summary Assessment ·         Do the study findings appear to be trustworthy – do you have confidence in the truth value of the results?

·         Does the study contribute any meaningful evidence that can be used in nursing practice or that is useful to the nursing discipline?


Note. Adapted from “Guide to an Overall Critique of a Qualitative Research Report,” by D. F. Polit and C. T. Beck, 2017, Nursing Research: Generating and Assessing Evidence for Nursing Practice (10th ed.), pp. 106-109.

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