The journal article on the research of Homeopathic treatment of acute otitis media in children is certainly one of the most well-designed and implemented research studies. Except for the sample size which was not an oversight since this was only exploratory research; the research was well planned from design, implementation, and analysis of research findings. The double-blind research design is ideally one of the best that serves to limit the occurrence of bias by a very high degree among research study participants (Blanchard, Morgenstern, Morgan, Labouvie and Hayaki, 2001). My peer review of this research article is also commendable, but there are a few areas that I found to be inconsistent, nevertheless, I concur with the critical review findings in some of the areas.
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Meta-analysis of a significant number of research studies would indeed prove very challenging as a method of clarifying the efficacy of Homeopathic treatment, given that it is unlikely the research objectives would be similar which would make consolidating such research findings extremely hard (Shang, Huwiler-Mu, Nartey, Ju-ni, Do-rig, and Sterne, (2005). As I mentioned before, though the sample size proved insufficient, this is not so important at this point given that the study was baseline research.
One of its objectives was to determine the required sample size that is necessary to test the efficacy of the Homeopathic treatment approach to a high significance level, which we later find to be 486 cases (Jacobs, Springer and Dean, 2000). Besides, a small sample size does not necessarily mean that subjects are not distributed randomly between control groups: rather it is one of the several factors that limit the generalization of research findings (Sobell and Agrawal, 2009).
I also feel that the education level of researchers need not be uniform, this is because they are performing different functions, the idea was to match this professional to the tasks in which they are most competent. However, a critic of the “outcome measures” method that required entries in the diaries by my peer is right on point; this is because this method was not standardized. Besides, the indicators that are being monitored are relative variables that cannot be defined in the same way by everyone else, raising the question of inconsistency.
Regarding the interpretation of results as critiqued by my peer, I beg to differ, throughout the research project Homeopathic treated subjects were consistently low compared to the control group. While the treatment failure that my peer describes to have occurred at week 6 was pegged at 48 hours, after which the study cases were pulled from the study and referred to standard treatment procedures. The other point regards uniformity of case treatment, since this research study did not intend to compare the efficacy of specific Homeopathic treatment, I feel it is not necessary to assign cases the same treatment medication.
In the same way, I also don’t see the relevance of the research study describing the mechanism behind Homeopathic treatment as asserted by my peer, however, I do agree that given the various study limitations of the research, the efficacy of Homeopathic treatment among otitis media patient cannot be concluded to be statistically significant.
Blanchard, K., Morgenstern, J., Morgan, T., Labouvie, E. & Hayaki, J. (2001). Research Methods: Within Treatment and Post-treatment Findings. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 69(6), 1007-1017.
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Jacobs, J., Springer, D., & Dean, C., (2000). Homeopathic Treatment of Acute Otitis Media in Children: A Preliminary Randomized Placebo-controlled Trial. The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, 20(2), 177-183.
Kleijnen, J., Knipschild, P., & Riet, G., (1991). Clinical Trials of Homoeopathy. British Medical Journal, 302(9), 316-322.
Shang, A., Huwiler-Mu, K., Nartey, L., Ju-ni, P., Do-rig, S., & Sterne, J., (2005). Are the Clinical Effects of Homoeopathy Placebo Effects? Comparative Study of Placebo-controlled Trials of Homoeopathy and Allopathy. Lancet, 366(1), 726– 732.
Sobell, B. and Agrawal S. (2009). Randomized Controlled Trial of a Cognitive Behavioral Motivational Intervention in a Group Versus Individual Format for Substances Use Disorders. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 23(4), 672- 683.