Quantitative Article Critique

Quantitative Article Critique


In the article “Task Uncertainty and Communication during Nursing Shift Handovers” by Mayor, Bangerter and Aribot (2012), a quantitative study was conducted to examine the effects of task uncertainty on duration per patient and reported topics and functions of communication during nurse handover. In their research, authors focus on answering an explicit research question that was defined clearly in the study on page 1957. More in detail, their introduction to the article and the authors’ main propose are to define how the uncertainty of the task environment influences the topics and functions of communication. The authors offer their problem as a statement, which implies having a crucial understanding of the relationships between the task environment of a care unit and the functions of handover communication with the aim to achieve optimally designed handover procedures. Thus, the statement of propose in the abstract matched the ideas in introduction. Moreover, the order of statements in introduction part leads to the main aim of the study.

The strong formulation of variables is the vital part of any research. Accordingly, Mayor, Bangerter, and Aribot (2012) have examined their hypothesis by strict and well-grounded identification of variables to each particular study aim. Furthermore, the unit type was defined as independent variable, whereas the dependent variables were duration of handover per patient, topics of handover, and functions of handover. However, beyond these variables, extra significant minor variables occurred, for example, health issues, age, and so on, but these variables were not indicated clearly within their research. However, it was not critical, as many other factors were controlled throughout the procedure of the research (Mayor, Bangerter, & Aribot, 2012, p. 1960). This is an outstanding nursing research topic about a real and current problem, which will bring the results closer to a solution regarding topics and functions of communication during nurse handover. It is, therefore, essential to comprehend the relationships between the task environments to optimally design further handover procedures.

The title of this research report first precisely states the purpose and then mentions the key variables of characteristics and intentions of the study research. By reading the title, it can be clear and understandable what the research report entails. In sum, the title of this article was well-considered by the authors.

Literature Review

Following the “Background” section, the researchers have used the review of the literature to outline the variables as well as explicate how those variables had been reviewed previously in other similar studies. It enabled me to have a better understanding of the quantity of research that had been done on each variable. I also expanded an indication of the study direction and what issues the authors wanted to analyze. This was principally helpful since the introduction stated the purpose of the study.

To establish a structure, the researchers discussed the relevance of nursing shift handovers as institutional routines designed to coordinate care. In addition, they explored the role of variety in handover practices and the topics and functions of handover communication (Mayor, Bangerter, & Aribot, 2012, pp. 1957-1959). All of these issues were well-defined, although they were labeled as variables until later in the “Data preparation and variables” part of the article. It is clear for me how the authors had selected and identified their variables. All used information from prior researchers was cited appropriately to confirm connections between each variable and research finding. However, I noticed that the researchers had cited research that studied nursing handover within mental health rehabilitation, but I doubted if the research that related exactly to mental health rehabilitation could have been valuable to their study.

The researchers have drawn on prior research results and findings to purpose the aims of their study. Additionally, authors appear to have drawn on an incomplete list of sources throughout the study. For example, the support drawn from their reference to Hamilton et al. (2006) was misleading in that it does not truly authenticate the SBAR framework as primarily used for optimal information transmission between nurses and physicians. However, it is used for classroom-only SBAR intervention. Therefore, the research proposition to use SBAR framework in the current study was not well-based.

However, Scovell (2010) conducted a study that could have been helpful to reference. In that study, the researcher reported the description of the handover process locations in context the mode of communication. Authors also depicted the problems that could occur during handover and discussed the possible solutions. This evidence could have been used to improve the current study.

In relations of being up-to-date, the literature review seems to be valid, except forsome additional comments below. Therefore, in general, the article includes a well-organized bibliographical reference list of 52 studies, but only 8 of these research articles were published after 2007. Consequently, there is the inappropriate quantity of old publications used. Only five sources of the reviewed literature are books while all other sources are academic journal articles. Additionally, the literature seems to be related to the development of this study.


Generally, method part in article is named differently and it goes after the title “The Study”. In this part, there are clearly defined subparagraphs that adherently explain the algorithm of the study, its aims, apparatus, and data collection peculiarities. In this concern, it is helpful for the reader to understand and follow the basic concept of the methodology part, as it contains the detail description of each paragraph.

The main aims of current paper meant to explore the task uncertainty effects on communicative practices of care units throughout handover. Unlike the variables, the researchers of this study explicitly indicate their premises regarding the outcomes of the research. Particularly, these hypotheses are mentioned on page 1959. What is definitely most valuable about these hypotheses is that they are clearly testable via the observational instrument developed for the study.

In section “Participants”, the authors of the article clearly and explicitly identify the immediate population of this research ((Mayor, Bangerter, & Aribot, 2012, p. 1959). Of 18 hospitals (more than 500 beds are few in this region) in the French-speaking region of Switzerland were sampled in the study. In addition, only 4 hospitals (more than 500 beds), 4 hospitals (250–499 beds), 4 hospitals (125–249 beds), 4 hospitals (75–124 beds) and 2 hospitals of less than 75 beds were assigned to this study. It is critical that not wide geographical population took part in this research. The sample size was 80 participants, who were nurse unit managers. The Research setting was the hospitals. The exploration further monitored the protocol of the interview. This represents research settings and that the participants agreed with ethical rules, which would have affected their answer and the efficiency of data gathering. Female participants made up 88% of the interviewed participants, which is ineffective. This demographic variable possibly has affected and decreased the validity of the data as Coomber and Barriball (2007) found in their study that gender of the participants influenced the result of self-reported data. Beyond the authors’ extensive use of source referencing in terms of the preparations for the research, it seems to rely greatly on prior studies in the development of the empirical instrument and in the reasoning of their procedure in terms of sampling.

The researchers evidently identified the need for more data of institutional routines deliberate to coordinate care. In addition, according to Nieswiadomy (2008), the studies that use questions are generally more imaginative in regards to exploration designs. This article attempted to explore the typical form of handover during a face-to-face encounter. However, authors mentioned and discussed the large variety of handover practices and proposed to advocate its standardization in their study. Data was collected from participants during the 6-month period starting from 2008. The interview was considered an instrument designed to assess the informational topics discussed during the handovers, the functions of handover, and resource allocation in the unit.

The research data are present in separate sections and separate tables. However, what is possibly most concerning about the demonstration of the data in these tables is that the tables do not give any statistical evidence and its validity. I presume this happens because they represent the implementation of distinct methods, but the quantity of correspondence in terms of high conclusion seems to be low. Mostly, the significance of the differences, which are purportedly the result of the independent variable, seems to be overrated. The titles to tables, however, are short, but they do not represent the full information under it. In addition, there are no illustrations in the article. In my opinion, it would be more productive if the authors had tried to visualize the data from table into the graphics.

Additionally, the fact that the interviews were given absolutely in different forms has severe consequences to the validity of the exploration findings. The study was based on the possibility of confusion instructional procedures. It would have been more effective if the sample population had made use of the same materials. As it stands, we cannot be assured that any contradictory effects in the interpretations were a consequence of the use of different interview’s form.

The amount of data collected was necessary for the investigators to summarize it into a form that could be developed. This usage of measures endorsed for a more valuable form of stats in this quantitative study (Squires, Estabrooks, Gustavsson, & Wallin, 2011). With this number of applicants, this was an exceptional method to validate the measurements.

The design of this research study was not explicitly indicated. In this study, the independent variable was unmistakably manipulated by the uncertainty of the task environment. Furthermore, researchers used interview content analysis and quantitative analysis methodology in their study. Thus, there are critical parts in the design and procedure of this study, which can and must be improved. In general, the researchers intended the initial objectives of the study.


Within the “Discussion part”, Mayor, Bangerter, and Aribot (2012) have focused on the variables that extended significance and interrelate them to prior research studies. The researchers also approved areas where it was necessary to make more examination because certain issues had not been observed thoroughly before in the “Background” section.

For the most part, the Discussion of this article summarizes the ideas obtained in the Results part and makes valuable accounts based upon them. Thus, the explanation of the results was reserved for this part as well as some interpretation that were undertaken in the foregoing section. In addition, it was stated that the qualitative and quantitative analyzes should be assumed to a better understanding of how communication during handover was impacted by task uncertainty. The researchers contribute to a more theory-driven understanding of how handover communication practices vary between different nursing care units. However, in this part it remains unclear whether it is the proposition that could be done by close examination of the verbal topics of handovers in relation to a theoretical framework or it has already been reached in this study.

In terms of success, I have appreciated finding that Mayor, Bangerter, and Aribot (2012) clearly identify the limitations of their study (p. 1963). They argue that the data of this study were gathered from nurse unit managers’ interviews that were accompanied as a proxy for actual observation of communication processes during handover. Thus, the observation procedure was not reasonable because of the large sample. Anyhow, it does not draw the problem, but only maintains the justification of why the empirical data was not collected appropriately. As I noticed previously in criticizing the study method, in the Discussion part, the authors also try to base collected self-report data as ones that might be recognized as a valid data collection method. This designates that the examiners, while holding on to the concept of success, acknowledge the fact that some of their study results are non-conclusive in and of themselves. They recommend modifications and proposition to the research methods that they have used through their study research, which can be useful in other trials to repeat their study.

As for the conclusion of this research, it takes the thoughts presented in the Results section and makes importance statements centered upon them. Therefore, the understanding of the results is set aside for this segment. Generally, the results are discussed poorly with regard to previous similar studies.


The abstract of this research is divided into sub-sections, including aims, background, methods, findings, conclusions, and keywords. The aim is stated clearly, which is to examine variations of the communication and handover duration in nursing units. However, in the description of the main aim, authors also mention hypothesis of their study, which is not appropriate for this section. The background contains the information about the relevance of the importance of this study, but it does not highlight the main theory or concepts used in it. The method description contains the information about participants, the sample of the study, and methodology. This section gives the reader a clear understanding of how the authors have conducted the study research. The results section points out the main findings from the research. The results are fascinating and they attract the attention of the reader to continue reading the article until the last page. The conclusions are short and not apparent as a conclusion of the current study. The conclusion statement contains a proposition that “task uncertainty and its relationship with functions and topics of handover should be taken into account during the design of handover procedures” (Mayor, Bangerter, & Aribot, 2012, p. 1956). Generally, it does not draw the conclusion of this study. Moreover, it sounds as the assumption, but not as a concluding statement. That is why I may conclude that the abstract overall is written unclearly and it does not give any specific and comprehensive knowledge of the analyzed article.

If to analyze the structure of the article, it is essential to conclude that the article contains a large number of paragraphs and sub-paragraphs. This helps the reader to go through the text and search for the needed information easily. In sum, the materials are well-organized under appropriate heading. To conclude, the authors’ writing style is clear, but the logic is somehow challenging for understanding without specific knowledge of the research area.

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