The title of an article is an important component or section. It introduces the article to the reader, provides some idea about the work carried out and inferences reached. In other words, the title of an article plays an integral part in getting the attention of a reader. Therefore, a comprehensive and strong title is very important for reading an article with a higher frequency. Although, the timing of conducting a study cannot always be given in the title location of a study, country, or city, provides additional and interesting information. The authors of this article have developed a title that provides important information about the main idea of the article. Still, this title could have been improved.
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An abstract summarizes an article. It facilitates a reader whether to read the whole article or not. A good abstract is brief but comprehensive enough to capture all the important aspects of research work. The abstract written for this article is comprehensive and provides a good idea about the article in a brief.
After the abstract, the introduction is the first part of the original article. It is the section from where detailed documentation starts (http://www.science.mcmaster.ca/biopharm/critanal.htm). The author tries to explain the topic on which research was carried out and which is being presented in the current article. Through the reasonable size of available sources which describe the topic, authors move towards building the real scenario of their aims and objectives. The current article starts with an account of the topic in the title. The authors have utilized various sources available to strengthen their viewpoints.
Literature review in an article helps in understanding the strength of the work carried out in the current research and the level of expertise of the authors. The literature review also helps in refreshing and updating the knowledge of the readers on the topic in the debate. While presenting any work carried out on the topic by the time researcher presents his/her research work should be unbiased. The authors should bring into account all the positive and negative; supporting and opposing pieces of evidence. The writers have tried very hard to address important aspects through literature view. But the all evidence provided in this section is not current; sizable evidence has been provided through sources that were published even ten years back. The current evidence or one from the recent past makes more sense; the rationale for the current study is built based on the evidence if the evidence is old then it loses its importance.
The literature review also moves the debate in the direction of developing a well-built rationale for the research work which he/she wants to present. Apart from the temporal issues related to the evidence provided, the researchers have addressed the issue of building a strong rationale very well. They have worked out all the important components of the study, depression, quality of life, self-efficacy, and chronic illness, and supported their statements with the help of available evidence.
Next to rationale, the objectives of any research activity play an integral role. Objectives are the sole reason for conducting any research work. At times objectives are developed by the researcher but their presentation may not be appropriate. A good objective should be a SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) one (http://www.thepracticeofleadership.net/2006/03/11/setting-smart-objectives/). The authors of this article have not been able to describe the objectives properly and clearly. A single sentence with very hard and heavy language has been inserted in the section on introduction; rather it should have been presented visibly with simple and understandable language. Rather they have used the word purpose; in scientific articles, well-established terms should be utilized. An objective is the most comprehensive term used to make this point clear.
Overall, the methodology of the research study carried out has been very well narrated. This article presents the findings of an experimental work carried out on patients with chronic renal failure. Experimental design is the strongest one in evidence-based practice. This attribute of the article makes it a stronger presentation and research document. One of the important components of any experimental design is the randomization of study subjects to different groups (Agresti & Finlay, 1999; Rothman & Greenland, 1998). This process enhances the value of an experimental design. In this process, the researcher does not have any role, bias, or involvement in assigning different groups to the study participants. One of the limitations of this type of study design is that groups can be comparable as far as the external factors are concerned but internal factors of the study participants, in this case, patients with renal failure, cannot be controlled (Agresti & Finlay, 1999). In any case, the researcher carried out randomization and described the process.
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For the selection of study participants, inclusion and exclusion criteria are important. Usually, inclusion criteria are kept broad to include a maximum number of participants and then the exclusion is made very strongly to keep only the eligible participants which qualify to be kept in that study. Although, the authors have narrated inclusion criteria but have not mentioned anything about exclusion criteria. Moreover, they have not provided any information on the duration of the diseases, End-Stage Renal Failure (ESRF), or the duration and frequency of hemodialysis explicitly. The authors also did not share anything related to the level of depression, or other psychiatric problems in these patients; or the criteria for selecting these participants based on the presence of any of these morbidities.
The authors describe the intervention in greater detail. They have given the duration of the intervention, posttest, the moderator of the intervention sessions, and data collection procedures through records and weekly activity schedule. A detailed account of outcome measures and instruments capturing these outcome indicators have been given for each outcome measure as well as each instrument. They have given an account of all the important topics discussed in each of the eight sessions. They have given in a tabulated form which is good in a sense to easily get attention.
Ethical considerations are the hallmark of any research; its importance increases even further when there is any external factor is introduced to humans or animals (Rothman & Greenland, 1998). The authors of this study have shared the ethical approval obtained for this study. They have just mentioned obtaining ethical approval; if this is accompanied by some detail like, the specific ethical review board which approves this study. Date and time, and geographical location add important information to any research study. It helps in assessing the period when the research was carried out and it is compared to other studies. It has not been stated in this article explicitly.
Data management is a group of activities conducted right from the time of development of the data collection instruments and it continues through the stages of data collection, validation, editing to entry, and analysis. For any valid research study, the role of the data management process is vital. If there is any breakage in this chain or disturbance of quality then the whole of the study is out at stake. The authors of this study did not mention anything related to data management except information on analysis.
They have described the analysis in some detail. The explanation for using a specific test is important and it also agrees to the requirement of this type of analysis (Machi, Campbell & Walters, 2007). However, it has not been shared which statistical software was used for analysis or which was carried out manually. This is necessary for the researcher to inform about the details of statistical analysis procedures.
The results of the study have been elaborated on in reasonable detail. The authors address all the main areas which required analysis. Quite frequently level of significance testing has also been utilized. These analyses are important to make a point clear and defend or accept any hypothesis which has been tested. This section reflects a hold on the authors on the statistical issues. They have dealt with this issue efficiently. This is an important quality of a researcher to convey or make the reader understand what he or she wants to present. The authors have provided the mean difference between baseline and posttest and tested that through applying t-test. They did not compare the values of the posttest in the two groups, treatment and comparison, as they did at the baseline stage and have provided the p-value. Among the socio-demographic characteristics, marital status was found different in the two groups; the authors did not mention or highlight this point. Rather they should have assessed this difference statistically.
In the descriptive results (Table 3), the changes in mean self-efficacy decreased in the comparison group after intervention. Similarly, depression levels increased in the comparison group after treatment. The authors should have discussed these issues why this happened? Was it because of the temporal effect? Or this was the reason that the patients in the comparison group did not attend therapy sessions so these morbidities increased in the level as they continued on their pace? This point should have been discussed in the discussion section but it is not found there.
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The discussion section of any scientific article makes the article acceptable or not! It is in this section where the results of the current study are compared to the previous ones and thus a detailed debate is carried out. The authors try to bring their study in the line of existing evidence if the results are alike; at times the results are against what had been presented in earlier studies then a plausible explanation is required by the authors to state his or her viewpoint. If the results take a new turn then the authors also suggest further research in the area. This article has been very well supported by a wealth of discussion points. The authors have provided arguments to explain what they have found in this study. They have discussed all the important points and the outcome measures which they have looked at in this study one by one. This has been carried out properly.
Narrating the limitations of a research study explicitly reflects the hold and neutral position of the authors. It also suggests the careful nature of the authors who could identify the shortcomings of their study. No study can be carried out with 100 percent accuracy and without any deficiency but sharing any limitations are very important and professional characteristics. The authors of this article have shared the limitations of this study. Rather they have enumerated important issues related to the limitations of the study.
Drawing some important conclusions is also a key task that should not be overlooked. It determines the accomplishment of the objectives set at the beginning of the research study. It also reflects the ability of the authors to extract what have been important findings other than the set objectives.
The reference section of any article lists the evidence used in that article. As research is an outgoing process and at the same time new research activity either supports the previous evidence or refutes what has become a fact. This is a continuous process. Usually, evidence from the recent past is the area of focus. This evidence either has suggested some new areas of research or needs further research to support that evidence. Based on this evidence base new research questions are formulated and new hypotheses are developed to test them. A strong rationale for the research activity is developed with the help of current evidence because the old evidence has been either tested and eventually approved or refuted. The evidence base used in this article has not been current. There were almost half of the articles which have been cited in this article were published ten years.
Agresti A., & Finlay B. (1999). Statistical Methods for the Social Sciences. 3rd edition, pp 21. Prentice Hall, New Jersey.
Machin D., Campbell MJ., & Walters SJ. (2007). Medical Statistics: A textbook for the health sciences. 4th edition, pp. 129-132. John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Rothman KJ., & Greenland S. (1998). Modern Epidemiology. 2nd edition, pp. 67-70. Lippincott –Raven, Philadelphia.