Both quantitative and qualitative research are equally important for the studying any discipline as they allow see the subject from different perspectives. In her article, Susan Peck turns to quantitative research with the purpose of determining whether therapeutic touch really helps elders with arthritis to maintain or improve their functional ability. The research is based on a solid theoretical basis, as the author tries to understand the intervention of TT by addressing the Roger’s theory. The quantitative research of the author is indeed sizeable. Therefore, only 108 of 60, 000 entered research, with more than twenty dropping out almost with the beginning of treatment. There were graphs provided that is very practical and demonstrates high competence of the author. Qualitative research is another dimension. The authors themselves refer to their study as to the descriptive one that demonstrates views of teachers about teaching combination classes. The research employs qualitative methods that included the selection of 35 combination class teachers out of 65 volunteers. The entire survey took place in the form of telephone interview. Such approach allows a prompt and satisfactory level of understanding how the majority thinks.
“The Efficacy of Therapeutic Touch for Improving Functional Ability in Elders with Degenerative Arthritis” by Peck, Susan D. (Eckes). (1998). Nursing Science Quarterly, 11(3), 123-131.
The Efficacy of Therapeutic Touch for Improving Functional Ability in Elders with Degenerative Arthritis
Critique. The long title provides the readers with the opportunity to understand what the paper is about in detail.
The introduction of the research explains what should be considered as functional ability and disability and how the latter may influence the quality of life. Arthritis is one of the biggest problems of the modern time as it grows in number and terribly affects the sick people. Peck (1998) writes that there are some tools such as routine treatment and progressive muscle relaxation used as common interventions (p. 123).
Critique. The author uses addresses only two tools, while there are many others.
Purpose of the Study
In her article, Susan Peck (1998) tries to determine whether therapeutic touch really helps elders with arthritis to maintain or improve their functional ability (p. 123).
Critique. The purpose of the study demonstrates that this study is a part of the bigger one, therefore its purpose and practical implications are limited.
Critique. The theoretic basis of the research is really overwhelming. However, it should be mentioned that what is studied in the research is not the same as the real life treatment.
Therefore, she addresses lots of scholars such as Dorfman, Hitchcock, Wright and others in order to emphasize that “as elders are the most rapidly growing portion of the United States population, the management of arthritis pain and its adverse effects on functional ability are significant problems” (Peck, 1998, p. 123).
Critique. The author fairly notices that the problem of having chronic pain is now one of the most pervasive and expensive. This section allows understanding that it has numerous negative effects and they are studied.
The quantitative research of the author is indeed sizeable. It employed almost 60,000 people who lived in different farming communities and received routine treatment. The selection criteria were quite strict as it allowed people of age between 55 to 99 years with officially confirmed diagnosis and chronic pain felt for more than 6 months. Moreover, the sample was limited to those who can speak and read English that may be seen as a serious limitation. Therefore, only 108 of 60, 000 entered research, with more than twenty dropping out almost with the beginning of treatment. The author divided people into two groups: those who took TT and PMR. She used the Arthritis Impact Measurement Scale, version 2 for the results determination.
Critique. Peck (1998) stated that age, sex and other factors did not have their influence on the results of six treatments, but it is obvious that they should have been also taken into account (p. 126). The results that come from the AIMS2 were carefully mathematically processed.
Significant differences were found in hand function, pain, tension, mood and satisfaction subscales (Peck, 1998, p. 127). The research also employed ANOVA in order to determine the significance of these differences. In general, quantitative analysis was made thoroughly and with adherence to all the established rules. In order to better understand the outcome, there were graphs provided. Analysis of mobility, hand function and arm function subscales were given particular attention due to their specific importance.
Critique. This analysis is very practical and demonstrates high competence of the author. It is worth pointing out that the author also observed post-sixth treatment progress that differed between groups.
Discussion, Implications and Suggestions
There was a statistically significant improvement after TT compared to PMR after the sixth treatment. However, the research at hand has some distinctive features from all previous studies such as multiple treatments, a full TT treatment and mobilizing patient’s resources. Peck (1998) suggests further research in the field with the help of other methodological approaches but does not (p. 131). Therefore, further researches should determine whether therapeutic touch can be of exceptional use in the arthritis treatment compared to the abovementioned interventions.
Critique. The author gives full and complete answer to the hypotheses that were discussed. She also provides a framework for further research giving advice and pointing at limitations that may exist for future studies.
“Teacher’s Views of Combination Classes” by Mason, D. E. & Burns, R. B. (1995). The Journal of Educational Research, 89 (1), 36-45.
Critique. The title is brief but includes all the necessary information for a clear message to the reader. Mason and Burns (1995) tried to find out teachers’ opinion about combination classes that are often the result of uneven enrollment. Teachers’ ideas regarding the issue concerned cannot be scored that easily because the ideas about education strategy may vary from teacher to teacher.
Background of the Study
Critique. The present research turns to practical evidence more than it does to theoretical basis, because it often happens in the educational field that practice differs from theory a lot. Teachers themselves report that students do not benefit from such classes; instead they become less focused and more interrupted.
Purpose of the Study
The questions that this research puts are very important. They are aimed at finding out what are the origins of the combination class, what approaches teachers use to teach students, and their personal attitude to combination class.
Critique. The issue is very topical because the studies on combination class are so rare despite their long history. Understanding of teachers’ attitude and thoughts towards such classes may explain their declining effectiveness in providing good learning environment.
The research employs qualitative methods that included the selection of 35 combination class teachers out of 65 volunteers. The selected educational settings were famous for their cultural diversity. The sample also included teachers of various years of experience and different grades. The idea of the method is putting questions to teachers in the form of a questionnaire, with the time being limited to 1 hour. The entire survey took place in the form of telephone interview.
Critique. The sample is formed from such examples that has the most obvious characteristics of the issue in question. The strength of a quantitative method is in the fact that it allows making conclusions immediately after questioning all the participants. Such qualitative method is very effective and practical, as it requires minimum efforts from the interviewers and participants (Mason and Burns, 1995, p. 38-39). Therefore, qualitative research in this case allows better understanding and individual approach.
After some analyzing and combining the data received, it turned out that 85% of the sample insists on homogeneous enrollment to a class. The class should be formed either by student ability, or independence, or behavior. It seems to be quite wise suggestion as teachers are exposed merely to students of the same level, that allows application of the same approaches. However, small sizes of the selected educational setting allow some freedom in the question of combination class. Teaching such classes also proved to be quite difficult for teachers of various experience. Mason and Burns (1995) come to conclusion that the most obvious are problems with curriculum and instructions. Teachers have no time for instruction working with one group of students in the class. It also slows the process of providing new information.
Critique. The format of interview allows finding out more about negative effects of combination classes on the learning process. All this information is expressed through a simple comparison of the number of similar answers to the number of representatives in the sample. Such approach allows a prompt and satisfactory level of understanding how the majority thinks.
Practitioners mostly have negative feelings towards the teaching process in the combination class. They need to find different grades, prepare numerous additional curriculums, and still find no correspondence in the level of knowledge of students in the same class. Two curriculums may be an option in such case, but teachers find it extremely difficult. Also, this research helped solving the problem of choosing wrong strategy. They apply same approaches as they do for multiage and internationally organized classes. They treat them similar, but indeed they are very distinctive.
Critique. The research that includes interviews and opinions is important not only for study of some issues, but also for identification of other problems and drawbacks. The authors in their previous work found that combination classes have a slightly negative effect on achievement and this study shows it by employing qualitative instrument. If they do not feel satisfied about the idea of combination class, it means that its effectiveness is deemed from the very beginning.
Mason, D. E. & Burns, R. B. (1995). Teacher’s Views of Combination Classes. The Journal of Educational Research, 89 (1), 36-45.
Peck, Susan D. (Eckes). (1998). The Efficacy of Therapeutic Touch for Improving Functional Ability in Elders with Degenerative Arthritis. Nursing Science Quarterly, 11(3), 123-131.