Critique a Quantitative Nursing Research

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Critique a Quantitative Nursing Research

The purpose of this paper is to critique a nursing research article so as to be able to identify the merits and the flaws in that particular research. By critiquing the research article, nursing students will better understand the requirements in carrying out a nursing research; they will be better equipped to undertake successful studies in their career. This paper critiques the article titled "A Randomized Trial of a Bereavement Intervention for Pregnancy Loss," by Olinda Pruitt Johnson and Rae W. Lanford. The article was published in JOGNN issue number forty-four.


The title of the research article manages to explain well the type of study being done; it indicates that it is a randomized trial. It also captures the significant variables of the research; the bereavement intervention and that the intervention for this study is that due to pregnancy loss (Olinda Pruitt & Rae W, 2015). The title has not indicated the population was being used in the study. The reader is left to assume that pregnancy loss is about mothers. Additionally, it does not explain the location of the study and the specifics of a particular population, for example, mothers aged 20 to 30 years.



The abstract of the research has briefly summarized the main features of the report. By reading the abstract, any reader would understand what the research is about, how it was carried out, its participants, how data was collected and analyzed, and the findings of the research. Some of the issues that needed to appear in the title are evident in the abstract. They achieved it by indicating the objectives, design, setting, participants, methods of research and a conclusion. However, the authors lose it at the setting, they were not specific about the place of research; they have indicated that the research was done in a county hospital in a large city (Balnaves, 2001). Such detail is vague.

Statement of the Problem and Introduction

The problem of the study has been introduced early enough in the article that women who experience pregnancy loss are left grieving and feeling helpless. To add weight to the problem, the authors have added background information by refereeing to the situation in the United States. The authors have justified the problem by stating the magnitude of the problem; that 15% to 25% of all the pregnancies end up with pregnancy loss (Olinda Pruitt & Rae W, 2015). They have also stated that the grief that comes with the pregnancy loss brings about psychological trauma. To justify the problem, they have indicated that after the loss, women's psychological and emotional needs are never addressed. The problem is related to nursing because it portrays a decline in the nursing profession for failing to offer total care. The problem is researchable as data about a number of women given psychological care can be collected, their grief and desperation can be measured.

Literature Review

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In my view, the literature cited in the research article was not reviewed critically. The researchers took many things for granted and generalized them. It would have been expected that for every literature they used, more critical analysis would be done, for example, why they think the research obtained such results. As it is now, they seem to be reporting on previous studies but not critiquing them. The authors brought out a relationship between the problem to the previous research by sticking to the problem statement and methodologies of intervention (Olinda Pruitt & Rae W, 2015). The citations used are classic, but I would not say they are current. Bearing in mind that the researchers followed the participants for the study for weeks and the research was published in 2015, consequently I would expect some of the researches done in 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and even 2010 but they majored in 2009 and before (Balnaves, 2001). To bring out the review in an unbiased way, the researchers have cited both opposing and supporting researches in equal measure.
The researchers failed in how they logically organized their literature review. For example, I would have expected them to review studies based on the objective of their research and hence give appropriate subheadings, but that was not the case. However, they got it right by including the primary sources of the studies. And to give a reader a recap of the review, the researchers have got it right by concluding it with a brief summary.

Conceptual/Theoretical Framework

The researchers failed by not indicating a conceptual or theoretical framework. They should have had a title for it so that the readers could easily identify it (Yin, 2003). However, after the literature review, they implied the conceptual framework. The conceptual framework was applicable to their research; it elaborated about the groups used in the research and phrased the work or undertaking of the research. It explains how the research was undertaken, and the primary goal was arrived at.

Purpose of the Study

The researchers did not state the purpose of their study. One would have expected a titled clause explaining the purpose, but this is not the case (Yin, 2003). However, in the abstract, the researcher has stated the objective of the study. The purpose is appropriate for this research as it seeks to examine the effects of bereavement intervention on grieving women after pregnancy loss.

Hypothesis or Research Questions

The research questions for this research have not been explicitly stated, and the hypothesis is not complete.. The research question is hidden in between texts, and a reader will have to be keen to identify it, no title for it. The absence of a hypothesis has not been justified. In ordinary researches, one research question will not work out well; the researchers should have developed a number of them (Balnaves, 2001). The wording of the question is inappropriate, for example, it starts by "Do women who experience…" instead of being "To determine or to establish if women…" However, this single research question is consistent with conceptual framework and literature review.

Research Design

The researchers have identified relevant variable for the research in their analysis design; women are suffering miscarriages, treatment group and control group. They have also identified the type of research design; experimental posttest-only design. Considering the purpose of the study and the variables that the researchers have identified, then the indicated research design fits well into it, and that means they will achieve the desired result. The design is adequate to achieve intended results (Yin, 2003).

Population and Sample

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While stating the sample and population used for the research, the researchers stated their target population and the accessible one; they were targeting women who were on bereavement intervention after pregnancy loss and found them in an obstetrics hospital. The methods used to select the samples were appropriate as they were implemented through non-probability methods (Balnaves, 2001). The study had inclusion and exclusion criteria to select its participants. There were no threats to external validity in the study as the criteria for carrying out the procedures was set and a standard one, for example, ability to read and write in English.

Data Collection and Measurement

The researchers have described the instruments of collecting data, a demographic questionnaire and Perinatal Grief Scale (Olinda Pruitt & Rae W, 2015). The two instruments are appropriate for measuring grief through the experimental posttest method used for the study. The two instruments are reliable and valid with their reliability and validity already stated. The researchers also settled the range of scores for both instruments. As for the questionnaire, it intended to collect the demographics but the PGS stated high and low values and meanings of each.


The researchers got it right by having a procedures subsection in their article. There was an intervention stated appropriately and from the explanation, it was followed explicitly as they have stated that a particular protocol was observed, and the guidelines for the intervention were followed. The method of data collection; having a follow-up telephone call one week before a scheduled clinic then making contact during the clinic, reduced bias. The study used research assistants that had been trained. The way in which the researchers have described the design in terms of intervention and the procedures that they used are good enough to enable another person who intends to carry out the same research to follow the procedure and achieve results (Balnaves, 2001). The researchers addressed issues of consenting and a consideration of one's willingness to participate in the study. It also addressed the issues of keeping the subjects anonymous and their information confidential. No subject was forced because there is an indication that some even declined to participate.

Data Analysis

The statistical procedures that the researchers used, including Cohen's d effect, Chi-square, ANOVA among others were appropriate for the experimental posttest that the research is used. Because they were using two groups, the treatment group and control group, use of Chi-square tests to check the differences between the groups was an appropriate measure. The statistical tests have been identified, and their values stated, for example, a meta-analysis was done, and values ranged from 0.46 to 0.57 among others (Olinda Pruitt & Rae W, 2015). The researchers presented the information they obtained from the data analysis in such a way that this information could be used to answer the single stated research question that sought to identify if women received bereavement intervention after pregnancy loss. The information is presented in two subheadings namely sample characteristics and treatment effects.

Findings and Results

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The researchers first concentrated on giving the results obtained through demographic questionnaires, and that served to explain the characteristics of the sample. Since the researchers had only one research question, they answered it under one subheading. The results and the way they were presented reflect the research question as it had been stated. They show the levels of grief on women on bereavement intervention, and this was through the PGS scores and means of the two groups (Yin, 2003). The researcher tried as much as possible to stick to the data and derive their conclusions from it; at no one point did they generalize. The researchers used a table to present their data in this section; they labeled it correctly and discussed the data in detail.


While interpreting the findings of their study, the researchers made a detailed description of the limitations of the study as well as its strengths. They stated them in bullets to allow the reader to identify them easily. The researchers have also succeeded in relating the findings of their study to the purpose of the reasearch and problem statement, for example, they said that women who received the bereavement protocol reported fewer levels of grieving. Their findings depicted the problem statement of the research. The researcher also indicated that the findings of their research added knowledge to previous studies that had been done and found less levels of grief after interventions (Olinda Pruitt & Rae W, 2015). The findings discussed are all that the researchers had expected; nothing was unexpected. The researchers restricted their discussion of findings to their conceptual framework. They did not waiver and only gave what they had implied in their conceptual framework. Therefore, it can be concluded that they used the conceptual framework to interpret and discuss their findings.


The recommendations made in the research were more than the sample identified in the study; they recommended emotional care for all women during childbearing (Olinda Pruitt & Rae W, 2015). The recommendations made were not only for the nursing fraternity but the health care professionals. They stated that health care professionals needed to be equipped with bereavement education. The recommendations made show a generalization that has been made from the findings of the study. The results of the study were the basis for making recommendations.

Global Issues Presentation

The report discussed in this paper was well written, and it was well organized and detailed to allow for analysis. However, it failed to identify some critical parts in research by discussing them under their subtopics. It should have stated more than one research question, problem statement, and conceptual design in their own subtopics to ensure proper organization. However, by going through the research, I was able to get all the required information and I comprehended it. The way, in which the researchers have written it, allows its findings to be easily accessible to practicing nurses. The study can be replicated in other practice areas in the health banner, the methodology is easy and understandable, and the explanation is easy to allow replication.

Summary Assessment

Though the study identified some limitations, the findings appear valid. On my part, I have the truth in the values of the result. I believe that if women are exposed to a bereavement intervention as early as possible, then the psychological and emotional effects will be reduced. The results of the study are enough evidence for the nursing profession to change the way they handle women who undergo pregnancy loss. The results confirm that bereavement interventions do work.

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