The aim of this assignment is to critically appraise two research articles, demonstrating a quantitative and qualitative approach. “Research is the systematic and rigorous process of enquiry which aims to describe phenomena and to develop and test explanatory concepts and theories” (Bowling, 2002, p. 1).
The quantitative study is titled, ‘One year outcomes of a randomised controlled trial of an educational-behavioural joint protection programme for people with rheumatoid arthritis’ and is written by A. Hammond and K. Freeman. According to Parahoo (1997) there is no right or wrong title only a misleading or confusing one. The research title is unclear, unnecessary information is included. ‘A study of an educational-behavioural joint protection programme for people with rheumatoid arthritis,’ would be more comprehensive.
The research was funded by the Arthritis Research Campaign. Hammond and Freeman’s backgrounds include rheumatology rehabilitation and physiotherapy, therefore appropriate to studying the effects of arthritis.
The aim of the study was to evaluate whether joint protection can reduce pain and improve function after attending an educational –behavioural joint protection programme (Hammond and Freeman, 2001). The aim is clear and complies with the Hek et al (2003) theory in that it should not be specific although it should identify the purpose of research and suggest goals and outcomes in general terms. Hypotheses are specific questions suggested by previous research or theory (Bowers et al, 2006), the article does not state any questions, however proposed outcomes for attending the one year educational-behavioural joint protection programme can be recognised.
The abstract informs the research topic and explains how the research was carried out, using a randomised, controlled, assessor-blinded trial. The findings are adequately reflected, giving an overview of the results, low and high scores.
Justification for the study is evident in the literature review, previous research has reported successful short-term effects of joint protection, however long term effects are not apparent, therefore this would be beneficial to investigate. Bowling (2002) suggests that the most frequently cited reason for studying a particular area, which in this case is educational-behavioural joint protection, is due to a lack of information in research. Nordenskiold’s study reports how educational-behavioural programmes improve pain and function, however this was a retrospective study with no control group, therefore further research needs to be conducted so more conclusive outcomes can be achieved.
The references cited in the literature appear to be relevant to the previous studies, the authors have recognised in the five previous decades of literature used that joint protection is an important issue which needs to be further addressed. Denscombe (2003) believes current research should build on existing knowledge not reinvent the wheel, the literature should demonstrate how the research reported relates to previous studies.
Applying a quantitative approach is appropriate to the research topic. Values and numbers are central to understanding (Parahoo, 1997), using measures such as a Jamar dynamometer provides accurate data when comparing dependant variables, this is fundamental in a randomly controlled trial.
Participants were sent invitations, these included a checklist which determined if they met the fixed criteria. Inviting participants could make the outcomes difficult too generalise, as the article mentions the sample population has been self-selected, those who chose to attend were obviously more motivated individuals. However, there is the other argument that this would be the case in reality. Participants were randomly allocated to attend the control or experimental group. Randomisation underpins all types of probability sampling, it ensures no human bias affects the