According to Pope and Mays (2000), the status and credibility of a qualitative health care research largely depends on assessing the quality of the methods, and data collection procedures used in carrying out the research. In assessing such qualities, it is imperative that certain guidelines and criteria must be followed depending on the method used in the research. The guidelines and criteria become essential in ensuring that the quality of a qualitative and quantitative research is thoroughly assessed, thus distinguishing between a poor and quality research. The increased use of qualitative methods in clinical and health care researches require that an assessment is carried out, following set guidelines and procedures, in ensuring that the outcomes of the research are credible and can be used in improving health care services.
In this paper, the results and conclusions of a qualitative research process will be assessed in order to analyze the problems that were witnessed in relation to the health care grading criteria. The qualitative research that is involved in the paper was carried out by Phillips and Cohen (2011) with an aim of describing African American women’s experience of being at a high risk of breast cancer. Data collection was carried out through the use of phenomenological interviews of the sample women. Data analysis was done by the interviewer and an investigator who had experience in using phenomenological analysis (Phillips & Cohen, 2011).
There will always be errors to a given limit in researches. Nevertheless, there is the need to assess any given research for validity. In this case, validity refers to the extent in which the research’s methods, data collection, data analyses, results and conclusions represent an accurate account (Pope & Mays, 2000). It, therefore, becomes the duty of both the researcher and the reader to assess this validity by following a given criteria. According to Cohen and Crabtree (2008), the following evaluative criteria can be used in assessing the validity of a research; carrying out ethical research, clarity and coherence of the research report, importance of the research, attending to researcher bias and the use of appropriate and rigorous methods. Therefore, it is fundamental that a research is ethical, essential, precise and coherently presented, and the use of rigorous and appropriate methods are involved.
Criteria for Evaluating Data Collection Methods
A brief overview of the data collection procedures illustrated that the first step involved seeking permission from the institutional review boards of three medical centers. The women signed informed consent forms and were interviewed through a phenomenological process. Open-ended questions were used so as to enable the women being interviewed to determine the content being discussed. The interviewed were being asked specific questions and examples relating to the content of the research to get a full clarification on breast cancer. The interviews were taped for around 90 minutes, and the participants were asked to review their initial interviews (Phillips & Cohen, 2011).
According to Phillips and Cohen (2011), all the transcripts and interviews used pseudonyms to ensure that confidentiality and privacy of the participants prevailed. There were no preconceptions on the part of the researchers that would lead to bias. Value and rigor of the research were maintained in that a technique (pseudonyms) was established to ensure that bias was controlled. This was verified and confirmed through the guidelines and criteria of evaluating a research.
The hallmarks of a quality research should illustrate a substantive, validated and reliable account of the data collected and the outcomes of the research (Cohen & Crabtree, 2008). The validity of the data collected was illustrated by the fact that the participants were given a chance to review their interviews and prove that they were the original and genuine accounts. This process also acted as a reliability process. This was to ensure that data collection is standardized to eradicate errors, as well as, reducing the chance of obtaining differences.
Criteria for Evaluating Data Analyses Procedures
The analyses of the research began by the researchers reading the transcripts obtained from the interviews. This procedure was done several times to establish the themes of the participants’ answers. This process was repeated until the saturation point whereby all the required themes had been established. Additionally, an experienced external investigator was involved in analyzing the transcripts.
The procedure of analyzing data, which involved the expertise of an external investigator, showed that data analyses followed the required guidelines and criteria. The researchers used reflexivity to shape the research process and the data collected. The involvement of the experienced investigator was to ensure that the most required information (themes) was obtained. In this regard, reflexivity refers to the sensitivity by which a researcher can shape the data collected by involving external expertise or keeping research records (Pope & Mays, 2000).
The researchers ensured that the transcripts were read severally until saturation in order to establish the required themes. This illustrated that the hypothesis of the study was being answered. This is in accordance to the guidelines of a high quality research, which must remain relevant to a public concern (Pope & Mays, 2000). The hypothesis of the research remained relevant in the sense that many African American women are at high risk of breast cancer. Similarly, the relevancy of the hypothesis was portrayed by the fact that it can be generalized beyond the context in which it was generated. For instance, the findings of the study not only apply to African American women, but also to Caucasian women.
It can be noted that both qualitative and quantitative researches are based on the assumption that, theoretical and methodological frameworks, are used in assessing the quality of data collection and analyses, findings and outcomes of the research. The set criteria may include; ethics, importance, clarity and coherence, as well as, rigor and appropriateness of the research. The strengths of using a given criteria to assess the quality of a research are based on the fact that it helps in assessing, whether the outcomes of the research are useful in the health care settings and knowledge. Similarly, the assessment is crucial in emphasizing that researches should be clear, coherent, and precise and adequately answering the hypothesis. On the other hand, a notable limitation in relation to scientific assessment of data collection and analyses is that these criteria are mostly based on theoretical frameworks.
Cohen, D. & Crabtree, B. (2008). Evaluative criteria for qualitative research in health care:
Controversies and recommendations. Annals of Family Medicine, 6(4), 331-339.
Cohen, M. & Phillips, J. (2011). The meaning of breast cancer risk for African American
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Pope, C. & Mays, N. (2000). Qualitative research in health care. (Ed.). London: BMJ Publishing