Qualitative Article Critique

This is a critique of a paper presented on acute care of dementia. The article is called “Healthcare staffs’ experiences and perceptions of caring for people with dementia in the acute setting: Qualitative evidence synthesis” and it will be critiqued in two sections (Houghton et al, 2016). Part 1 will consist of a summary of sections of the paper, which will analyse the important parts of the research process such as the hypothesis, the methodology, and the discussion. Part 2 will consist of a rating scale, which will rate the quality of important sections of the paper as well as provide comments for each element that is rated.

Part 1
The main purpose of the paper is to carry out a systematic review of several healthcare staff experiences when it comes to caring for patients diagnosed with dementia, for the purposes of finding what barriers exist in current frameworks for their care. The authors state that there has been a steady increase in policies and initiatives targeted at treating patients that have dementia, without corresponding studies into the efficacy and quality of care in these initiatives (Baker, 2014). Thus, the authors decided to carry out a review of staff experiences with such initiatives and patients, so as to create a basis on which evidence-based policy amendment and formulation can be carried out for the treatment of patients with dementia.

The article appears in a nursing journal, and this discipline is heavily reflected throughout the paper. The authors make several references to nursing theories and terminology associated with nursing healthcare. In particular, the authors make references to patient-centred care and familial relationships, which display a strong relationship of the paper’s content to the holistic care theories that guide nursing practices and frameworks.

In terms of the quality of the rationale in the paper, there is a great amount of detail displayed in the text, and the authors make sure to explain the background behind each issue in a succinct manner. A clear train of thought is also demonstrated in the journey from the background and introduction to the results and the conclusion. Therefore, it is easy to understand the reasoning behind the process of the research, which appears to be logical.

In terms of objectivity, an analysis of the paper’s content shows that the authors do not show any bias. The information in the introduction and the research process appear to be objective. The authors carefully explain all the reasoning behind the justification, review, and data analysis portions of the study, showing that there was no bias in terms of the methods that were chosen or the secondary sources that were selected for review.

Major Sections
The background is the first major section of the paper. It introduces the topic that the paper covers, and explains the rationale behind the authors’ choice to research the issue. It provides a detailed background by defining the illness discussed therein, and explaining why an evidence-based study of staff experiences would be relevant to future policy formulation and amendment.

The next major section in any academic paper is the hypothesis. The hypothesis is the main statement of intent for the paper, and is usually modified into a research question as well, augmented by objectives that enable the researcher to prove or disprove the hypothesis. In this paper, however, the hypothesis is not explicitly stated. Instead, a study objective is provided, from which one can infer the hypothesis.

The absence of a hypothesis is not the only unique feature of the paper. The paper also lacks a literature review. The gap is a result of the fact that the paper does not use primary sources for its data. Instead, the paper is a review of the contents of several other articles. As a result, the literature review is left out and instead, the authors carry out a detailed explanation of their methodology and review process.

The methodology used in this paper is mainly a reviewing process whose steps are explained at each stage. The review committee created caries out a stepwise review process that is summarised in a diagram in the paper, so as to ensure an objective selection of peer-reviewed research articles. The review process and data collection is guided by a framework known as VIPS, which the authors explain adequately by referencing other authors (Brookers et al, 2016).

The analysis of the data collected via the VIPS method is presented in the paper through a combination of prose and tables. The data is presented in a means that has continuity with the sections highlighted in the methodology, including such sections as ‘patient-patient interactions’ and ‘individualised care’. There is also continuity and consistency in terms of the language used in the paper. There are no grammatical errors and the format of the paper remains true to APA.

Lastly, there are no ethical issues mentioned in the paper. The authors do not make any references to these issues likely due to the fact that each of the secondary sources had handled anonymity and consent in each of their data collection. Therefore, as a review paper, the authors did not have any legal content.

Strengths and Weaknesses
In terms of strengths, the paper maintains fidelity to its main discipline – nursing. It also presents a detailed and logical rationale for its justification, as well as the consequent sections of its body. The abstract is also informative while remaining summarised. The one weakness of this paper was the use of software called NVivo that not all readers might be familiar with for the review.

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Part 2
Rating Scale
ARTICLE READ: Healthcare staffs’ experiences and perceptions of caring for people with dementia in the acute setting: Qualitative evidence synthesis
RATING SCALE: Use this scale to score your study:

1 = unable to determine
2 = not present
3 = marginally present
4 = present



1, 2, 3, 4



  1. The title is readily understood.


It is in easily understood language

  1. The title is clear


It is simple and concise

  1. The title is clearly related to content


It accurately summarizes the objective


  1. The abstract states problem and, where appropriate, hypotheses clearly and concisely.


It does not state the hypothesis

  1. Methodology is identified and described briefly



  1. Results are summarized



  1. Findings and/or conclusions are stated


They are well demonstrated


  1. What is the phenomenon of interest and is it clearly stated?


Acute care of dementia

  1. What is the justification to using a qualitative method?


The study is qualitative because the lack of data makes it exploratory

  1. What are the philosophic underpinnings of the research method?


The VIPS theory is used


  1. What is the purpose of the study?


To provide evidence-based data on acute care of dementia

  1. What is the projected significance of the work to nursing?


The conclusions can be used to influence future policy


  1. Is the method used to collect data compatible with the purpose of the research?



  1. Is the method adequate to address the phenomenon of interest?


The method does a detailed analysis

  1. If a particular approach is used to guide the inquiry, does the researcher complete the study according to the process described?


The authors are faithful to VIPS


  1. What type of sampling is used?  Is it appropriate given the particular method?


A review process is used

  1. Are the informants who were chosen appropriate to inform the research?


A qualified review team is used


  1. Is the data collection focused on human experience?


It is based on database entries

  1. Does the researcher describe data-collection strategies (i.e. interview, observation, field notes)?


It is

  1. Is protection of human participants addressed?


No protection is discussed

  1. Is saturation of the data described?


No mention of saturation is made

  1. What are the procedures for collecting data?


A review process guided by VIPS


  1. What strategies are used to analyze data?


The VIPS framework is used

  1. Has the researcher remained true to the data?


The authors are faithful to the data extracted from review papers

  1. Does the reader follow the steps described for data analysis?



  1. Does the researcher address the credibility, auditability, and fittingness of the data?




  1. Do the participants recognize the experience as their own?


No participants

  1. Has adequate time been allowed to fully understand the phenomenon?


No participants


  1. Can the reader follow the researcher’s thinking?


Yes, it is easy to follow

  1. Does the researcher document the research process?




  1. Are the findings applicable outside of the study situation?


The results are well applicable

  1. Are the results meaningful to individuals not involved in the research?


The results are applicable to the general public

  1. Is the strategy used for analysis compatible with the purpose of the study?


Yes, it is highly compatible


  1. Are the findings presented within a context?


There is context in the results

  1. Is the reader able to apprehend the essence of the experience from the report of the findings?


The essence is easily understood from the report

  1. Are the researcher’s conceptualizations true to the data?


They are true to the original sources

  1. Does the researcher place the report in the context of what is already known about the phenomenon? Was the existing literature on the topic related to the findings?


The report is well contextualized from the rationale at the beginning


  1. Do the conclusions, implications, and recommendations give the reader a context in which to use the findings?


They give a context

  1. How do the conclusions reflect the study findings?


They provide recommendations based on the findings

  1. What are the recommendations for future study?  Do they reflect the findings?


They are too general to specify

  1. How has the researcher made explicit the significance of the study to nursing theory, research, or practice?


By explaining it in the abstract, introduction and the conclusion



Baker, C.J. (2014). Developing excellent care for people living with dementia in care homes. London, UK: Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Brooker, D., Lantham, I. (2016). Person-centred dementia care. Making services better with the VIPS framework. London, UK: Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Houghton, C., Murphy, K., Brooker, D., & Casey, D. (2016). Healthcare staffs’ experiences and perceptions of caring for people with dementia in the acute setting: Qualitative evidence synthesis. International Journal of Nursing Studies 61, 104-116.