A critical assessment of the quality of a research study into Diabetes
Demonstrate an understanding of factors affecting quality of evidence informing decision-making in healthcare practice.
Apply relevant evidence-base to nursing care across the lifespan.
search for a relatively current piece of primary research undertaken on the topic area. This should be a piece of primary research rather than a review or systematic review of the topic area – i.e. it should be a single research study on the topic you have chosen.
You will then undertake a critique of the research study you have selected. You should provide a clear and concise introduction to your assignment that reflects the learning outcomes above – i.e. that you will be critically assessing the quality of a research study into your topic area and discussing how the results and knowledge gained from the research are relevant to nursing care across the lifespan – i.e. what does the research say for our practice to adults, younger adults, children and older adults. You should briefly introduce the topic area and why it is significant to nursing care, and introduce the research study you have selected and what it specifically examines.
Once you have outlined the intentions of your essay and introduced the reader to the topic area and the research study you should start to critically explore the research study you have selected. Here you can make use of critical appraisal tools including but not limited to those available on the CASP website: Make sure you select a tool that lines up with the kind of research study paper you are analysing – e.g. a relevant quantitative tool or qualitative tool that matches the study methodology –i.e. RCT (randomised control trial) or qualitative study. You can use other recognised, published analytical frameworks if you wish.
Make sure you cite the research study you are critiquing accurately and have the full reference amongst your reference list – you can then refer to ‘the study’ directly by the citation – i.e. Williams et al. (2020) conducted a randomised control trial into the effectiveness of teaching critical appraisal to undergraduate nursing students. Naturally you should make sure you are accurately citing all other forms of evidence, guidelines and written references in the Harvard format as well.
Use your appraisal tool checklist to help you evaluate the quality of the study – i.e. if a quantitative study then how was the sample of participants selected – did this impact on the representativeness of the participants?,
how were participants blinded and allocated to the experimental and control groups?
Was this done in a robust way or is there a risk of bias in allocation or the measurements becoming biased because of accidental unblinding or participants or assessors?
Apply the checklist to your research study and discuss the quality of the study/research in relation to this. Make sure you also present the results of the study and what this means for how nursing care should be delivered to the relevant client groups across the life-span.
As you conclude your essay you can consider what you have learned from the study and how it applies to your nursing practice in the light of the quality of the research. So some questions to consider include:
what adjustments or changes to nursing practice should be undertaken as informed by the research you have critically assessed?
Are there any cautions to applying the knowledge to the various age-groups – does it apply to all or only to specific groups?
Are there any caveats to applying the knowledge because of the quality of the evidence?