Literature review research assignment. The area of practice for this assignment is the information requirements of people whose lives are affected by breast cancer.

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        This essay is about the evaluation of two research articles.  Throughout the essay the author will discuss and critically evaluate both articles following a self-adaptation of Cormack’s (2000) framework. This will include evaluation and comparison of research methods, sample selection processes, data collection methods and methods of data analysis, ethical considerations and future research and learning.  The author will not attempt to decide which particular article is best as they will both have strengths and weaknesses.           

Chosen area of research

The area of practice for this assignment is the information requirements of people whose lives are affected by breast cancer.  The author has a strong interest in this area of nursing and its effects upon sufferers’ lives.  It is vital for all health care professionals to remain aware of the extending affects of this disease.  A diagnosis of breast cancer does not just have medical effects but also emotional and psychological effects.  The diagnosis will affect every aspect of a patient’s life and the lives of their families, (Odling, Norberg, Danielson, 2002).

Literature search

The author carried out a literature search in order to select suitable research articles for this assignment.

        The search was carried out using the CINAHL database.  The keywords entered were: breast cancer, experiences and method.  These were each limited to the years 1998 – 2004 and limited to articles that had the full text available.  All three results were then combined giving a total of 265 hits.

        The two research articles to be reviewed were selected from these 265 articles.  

Articles selected

The first of the two articles that have been selected for review is from the Journal of Advanced Nursing and is entitled ‘The information concerns of spouses of women with breast cancer: patients’ and spouses’ perspectives’, (Rees, Bath and Lloyd-Williams, 1998), (Appendix 1).

        The Journal of Advanced Nursing is a quality peer reviewed journal.  This means that before an article is published it is reviewed by experts in the relevant field; they look at factors such as clarity, originality, relevance and the evidence base in order to improve the quality of the publications.  All articles published are double-blind reviewed; medical statisticians also review articles that include statistical content, (Journal of Advanced Nursing, 2003).

        The second of the two articles is entitled ‘Information needs of women with non invasive breast cancer’ it was written by Brown, Koch and Webb, (Brown, Koch and Webb, 2000), (Appendix 2).

        This article was published in the Journal of Clinical Nursing which is an international scientific journal that aims to promote the development and exchange of knowledge that is specific to all aspects of nursing practice.  They publish only high-quality papers significant to clinical nursing.  All articles submitted for publication are double-blind refereed, (Watson, 2004).

        Throughout this assignment the author will refer to the articles as article 1 or article 2 respectively in the order above.

Critical evaluation

The purpose of critical evaluation is mainly to ensure that if implementation of findings is proposed the patients will derive genuine benefits.  Therefore a critical review must identify the strengths and weaknesses in a piece of research and this should be carried out in a systematic manner, (Eachus, 2003).        


Article titles should be concise but they should also give a good indication of the content of the report, (Eachus, 2003).

Article 1’s title is fairly concise and to the point.  It draws the readers’ attention to the area of study and also makes reference to the population of people being studied.  It is not to long and therefore does not confuse the reader, (Parahoo, 1997).

  Article 2’s title is very short but does state the area of study (information needs and breast cancer) and the population being studied (women with non-invasive breast cancer).

There is no real right or wrong title, only a misleading or confusing one, (Parahoo, 1997).


The Cormack (2000) framework asks whether the authors have appropriate academic qualifications and whether they have appropriate professional qualifications and experience.

The authors of article 1 are: Charlotte Rees, BSc (Hons) and is a PhD student at the centre for Health Information Management Research, University of Sheffield.  Peter Bath, BSc (Hons) MSc PhD a lecturer at the School for Health and Related Research, University of Sheffield.  And Michael Lloyd-Williams, BSc (Hons) MBCS CEng a lecturer at the University of Sheffield in the Department of Information Studies, (Rees, Bath and Lloyd-Williams, 1998).  

The authors of article 2 are Marina Brown, BN, RN, a research assistant for The Royal District Nursing Service, South Australia.  Tina Koch, PhD, RN, who is The Royal District Nursing Services chair in Domiciliary Nursing, Flinders University of South Australia.  And Christine Webb, PhD, RN, a professor of Health Studies at the University of Plymouth.

Eachus (2003) tells us that the authors of a research article may or may not be well known in the field and that only experience will tell you this.  The institute to which they are attached may give an indication of the likely quality of the article, (Eachus, 2003).


An article abstract or summary should be a concise statement that gives the reader a clear idea of what the researchers were trying to achieve, how they were trying to achieve it and whether it was achieved, (Eachus, 2003).

        Article 1 has a short abstract in which the authors tell the reader what type of study was carried out and where and why it was carried out.

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        It briefly explains how the study was performed and how the data were gathered.  The reader is told how the findings produced several important issues, how the validity was established and what implications these findings may have.

        Likewise article 2 has a summary in which the aim is clearly identified.  The reader is told who the study participants were, how the data were gathered and analysed and that several key issues were identified from the data.  The summary briefly mentions the impact these findings may have on the role of the nurse and the contributions that can be made by ...

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