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Research Critique

Paper Outline

Article 1
Article 2

Article 1
Fjellman, A. & Stahle, L. (2009). Parents. Experience in children with cerebra palsy and multiple disabilities: An interview study. Advances in Physiotherapy 11: 137_144.
This was a qualitative research conducted to establish the pain of children with cerebral palsy (CP). Since children who suffer from CP cannot talk for themselves, the study was carried out by interviewing the parents of those children who were suffering from CP. This study was carried out by Umea University’s faculty of Medicine, which is located in Sweden. All the parents interviewed were residents, and they lived with their parents in northern Sweden. The variables were controlled.
The authors state that they used an emergent design. As such, the design became apparent during the period of study. This gave the researchers an opportunity to adapt to the design as they were slowly gaining an in-depth comprehension of the topic. In my opinion, the design adopted was very appropriate for this study.
The study picked a sample of thirteen parents who were parents of seven children that suffered from CP. This sample included six fathers and seven mothers. The parents were in the age bracket of 37-59. On the other hand, the children were between the ages of thirteen and twenty. All the children whose parents were sampled had problems in motor capability and mental development, as well as other problems such as oral communication. However, the study also included the parents of other children who had never sought help or treatment regarding pain. To be included, one had to have had contact with a development center for children located in a county in northern Sweden. I find that the sampling was very appropriate for this design. In this case, it gave the researchers a chance to hear a first hand experience from the parents. Thus, the authors learnt from the most authoritative source. However, the sampling was limited to those parents who lived in northern Sweden. This means that the sampled population has a higher likelihood to have interacted with similar doctors, or individuals may have interacted among themselves. Although this sampling is appropriate for the design, it had a weakness. In this case, respondents may have given similar or biased feedbacks as a result of their interaction among themselves.
To ensure objectivity, the study was conducted by the primary author. The author is a physiotherapist at a development center for children and is experienced in issues of children and youth. The second author who assisted the primary author was also a physiotherapist with experience from qualitative research and occupational health. The experience and skills of the two researchers added to the credibility of the study. The fact that the primary author worked in the Development Centers also gave him a clear understanding of the topic. The assisting author was a researcher in qualitative research and thus understood the research issues that emerged from the study.
Data was collected through thematic interviews. The interviews were conducted at a place chosen by respondents. This was mainly at home or office in the Developmental Center. The interviewer in all instances was the primary author. The interviews were all tape-recorded and were conducted between durations of between forty and ninety minutes. The fact that the interviews were conducted voluntarily and at a place chosen by the interviewee means that the human subjects were protected.
Given the small number of respondents, it can be argued that the analysis were not very representative. However, the analysis was carried out using the grounded theory method of constant comparison. The theory is very appropriate in this analysis given that the parents had to give an experience of a long period. However, to mitigate the problem of a small number of respondents, the authors used a triangulation of researchers.
The results of the study were analyzed in one major category including parents as a mouthpiece of the CP child. There were three other categories: previous experience of pain as a guide in the future, nonverbal communication of pain, and ideas that parents thought would improve the situation.
Article 2
Madden, A., McCahey, E., McCullough, N., and Parkes, J. (2009). The health of children with cerebral palsy and stress in their parents. Journal of Advanced Nursing 65 (11): 2311–2323.
This qualitative study was carried out with an aim of defining the health of children with cerebral palsy. The study also aimed to find out the predictors of stress in the parents of these children. The study was conducted among children in northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom. The variables in this study were controlled.
The design adopted in this research was a cross sectional survey. This survey was conducted among children in northern Ireland and those who were between the ages of 8 and 12. However, the study was not entirely a cross sectional survey. In this case, the study relied on other sets of data collected in previous research on children with CP.
The participants or the sample population was selected from a register of children with CP. The participants chosen had indicated the population, as well as their geographical areas (the National Ireland Cerebral Palsy Register). To qualify to be sampled, the child had to have been diagnosed with CP and born between 31st July 1992 and 1st April 1997. It was also necessary for the participant to be a resident of Northern Ireland. A total of 284 children was selected for sampling. However, 84 children were not traceable. In addition, four children had either been misdiagnosed or had passed on and were thus disqualified. The final sample had 199 children, which was quite representative despite being small. This final sample was then contacted via mail. They were informed of the study, and their consent was sought through an invitation letter. The consent was sought so as to respect and protect the privacy of the human subjects. Given the design of this study, the sampled population was appropriate.
Interviewees were conducted by a research associate. A standard procedure was used in the study. The study further used a background proforma to get information relating to the child, as well as the socio-demographic factors. The researchers also used a Child Health Questionnaire to measure the health status of the children. The study also collected data on the emotional and behavioral problems through the use of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. Various other questionnaires were used to measure various aspects.
Data was analyzed using various levels of measurement that further boosted the credibility and relevance of the study. The dependent and the independent variables were analyzed separately. The study used both descriptive data, and inferential statistics to analyze the data. To find out how the dependent and independent variables varied, the study used a non-parametric analysis.
The results indicated that a total of one hundred and two children agreed to be part of the research. This is slightly less than the recommended sample of 120 respondents needed to carry out a research of this design. The study should have selected a larger sample. In this case, it will mean that there will be enough respondents even after some of the respondents were dropped from the survey. However, the findings and recommendations of this study are critical. In this case, the findings can help in dealing with the health of children with CP.

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