Research critique of Alun Woodhouse's 2006 article Pre-operative fasting for elective surgical patients

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  ADDAI THERESA AGYABENG   M00303828    NIP 2203


Various disciplined studies have increased in the nursing profession to benefit nurses, clients and patients, according to Polit and Beck (2010). A general research has been designed into the nursing field for the development of trustworthy, evidence of essential issues, improve health and quality of life including nursing practice, education, administration and informatics. The aim of nurses’ research is to understand and conduct professional practices using the best clinical evidence available in making patient care decisions. Alun Woodhouse (2006) published an article “Pre-operative fasting for elective surgical patients” wanting to explore the knowledge, past experience, perceptions and opinions of nurses working in surgical units at a local hospital with regard to pre-operative fasting times. The purpose of this assignment is to critique the above article.

Critiquing a research is to carefully and objectively evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a study. A critique is not only to condemn the weak points of a statement but to help to promote the skillful analyses and presentation by effecting some changes in the areas that has been criticized. When critiquing, it is important to understand and appreciate the process and the framework used. However, the complexity of theories into practice within the field of research can be challenging as the one critiquing should understand the connection between theory, research and practice.

Several frameworks are used to critique research, but the chosen one is by Caldwell, Henshaw and Taylor (2005).

Critiquing the research

The title of the research paper is one of the leading constituents. It should be developed with positive impression, instil curiosity and attract the reader’s attention and interest. It should be informative, narrowed and formatted correctly to an area of investigation, using current terminology of the field to indicate subject and scope with some accuracy which identifies key variables with substantive words limited from 15 to 20. However, the title of the chosen article is general and does not specify the type of surgery. Also the title does not reflect the content because it talks about elective surgical patients, whereas the content talks about nurse’s knowledge, past experience, perceptions and opinion of pre-operative fasting.  

The author has appropriate academic and professional qualification with an experience in medical and surgical nursing. As stated by Polit and Berk (2009) a research article should communicate the author’s integrity, attained speciality, should be a researcher having knowledge in the field of study. The said research was carried out by Woodhouse in 2006. The author’s work experience was not mentioned. The article was subject to double-blind review to enhance its quality, credibility and acceptability.

Abstract,  also known as summary according to Cargill and O’Connor (2011), should have the list of aim, main results, conclusion, using simple, factual, numbered statements, having the final point synthesised and emphasized with keywords of the main article and its general importance, should specify clearly how the chosen topic has highly

developed environmental understanding. In other to maximise the impact of the article on the reader, Cargill and O’Connor (2011), advised that, abstract should be widely interesting and explain the importance of the article.

However, Glasman-Deal (2010) stated that, abstract should not mainly encourage its readers, but should facilitate the continuity of reading by providing a brief preview. Abstract should not be an independent unit but should be referenced to the article itself. Newell and Burnard (2011), suggested that, abstract should be a descriptive of all aspects of the study, the sample, the data collection and analysis of methods used and the findings. Looking at the article in question, the researcher‘s abstract stated the aim for the chosen topic, methods used, findings and conclusion. However, according to Macnee and McCabe (2008), abstract should not be depended on for understanding a research study or making decisions about clinical care, but can be useful when trying to acquire the full report of a research study. Also, most abstracts briefly describe the subjects or participants especially when a qualitative research design method is used, however, the abstract of this research study have four components, namely aims, methods, findings, and conclusion. It gave brief summary of how it wanted to explore nurses’ perceptions and past experiences working on surgical wards, having identified the complications of not fasting pre-operatively. The abstract has the advantage of not letting people read the whole article. Nevertheless, it stated the use of qualitative research design, using grounded theory with semi-structured interviews but did not explore patients experience to pre-operative fasting as stated in the topic.

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Most research problems will be well developed if the researcher searched and read what has already been published about the problem (Thomas, Nelson and Silverman, 2010). This is because much research might have already been done which might be beneficial and of interest. Browsing in the library or electronically will confirm the existing information that can be used as source and referencing (Thomas, Nelson and Silverman, (2010). Literature reviews stimulate inductive reasoning and assist the researcher to locate and synthesize all relevant information on a chosen topic to develop a more general explanation or theory to explain certain phenomena. ...

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