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A Qualitative Critique: Rural Nursing

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Van Hofwegen, L., Kirkham, S., & Harwood, C. (2005). The strength of rural nursing: implications for undergraduate nursing education. International Journal of Nursing Education Scholarship, 2(1), doi:10.2202/1548-923X.1142

Your qualitative research critique requires an in-depth analysis using the following questions:

- Are the subjects obtained using a method consistent with the qualitative methodology?
- Is the setting appropriate for the study?
- Are the data collection methods consistent with the purpose of the qualitative approach?
- Are the rights of human subjects protected?

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In 'The strength of rural nursing: implications for undergraduate nursing education', Van Hofwegen, Kirkham, and Harwood (2005) presented the results of a qualitative study drawn from data gathered for a larger project about student learning opportunities in alternative educational settings. The purpose of the rural nursing study was to examine student learning opportunities for community health nursing in a rural clinical placement. For this study, a public health unit and a continuing care home care unit were chosen. These units were responsible for an area of 100 km with approximately 6800 individuals including several aboriginal communities with a three-hour drive from a large city.

In the literature review section, the authors defined rural communities as "greater than 80 kilometers (km) from a major regional hospital and have a population of less than 10,000" (p. 1). However, the authors failed to mention the source of this definition and if the definition used was the customary one for this type of research. There are multiple definitions of the word "rural" based on the purpose of the activity, such as an administrative concept, a land-use concept, or an economic concept (Cromatie & Bucholtz, 2008, para. 5). Definitions used on research should be based on those accepted as standards established by government, in other similar research protocols, or in research covering the same topic. Usually, the definition of the urban area is done first leaving the concept of rural to the area that was not included in this definition (Cromatie & Bucholtz, 2008).

Statistics in Canada stated that the Statistics Canada's Census of Population defined rural as the" population outside settlements ...

Solution Summary

The solution involves an analysis of a qualitative research published by L. Van Hofwegen, S. Kirkham, and C. Harwood in 2005 called "The strength of rural nursing: implications for undergraduate nursing education". It compares the goals, methodology, and findings in the study with established practice for qualitative research, discussing possible areas of errors, bias and improvement.

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Data Presentation and Reporting

In 2001, Laura Hamilton Thomson finished her honors thesis, "Can the creation of Community Networks enhance social capital in rural Scotland?" (Sounds formidable, but the sections are short and they read easily.) It's a very interesting investigation of the role of an on-line network in community development.

read with some care:

Methodology and Methods [http://www.caithness.org/laurathompson/chapter_three.htm]

Data Analysis [ http://www.caithness.org/laurathompson/chapter_four.htm]

Conclusions [ http://www.caithness.org/laurathompson/chapter_five.htm]

Then write a short critique of Thompson's presebntation of her research findings.

As noted, a critique is a review and commentary on a particular article(s) or piece(s) of research. It is not necessarily critical in the negative sense, although you may need to comment negatively on some aspects; both positive and negative aspects should be treated. Just because something appears in print, even in an A-list journal, does not make it free from possible errors or beyond criticism; nothing should be necessarily taken at face value.

In this case, your critique should address at least the following issues, as well as any other points that you find relevant and worthy of comment:

Your overall evaluation of her study, including:
Her research questions
Her theoretical base for the study and her use of research literature to support it
Her choice of research methods and her data gathering procedures
The quality of her analysis and her presentation of results
With regard to the following questions, you need to answer regarding both quantitative and qualitative findings, but those who did the quantitative module will be expected to supply a stronger critique of the quantitative findings than of the qualitative findings, and vice versa for those who did the qualitative module 4:
What is your overall evaluation of the quality and effectiveness of the quantitative findings? What do you find most interesting? Least interesting? What did you learn from her measures of central tendency? From her measures of dispersion? What about the relative value of the numbers vs. the graphical presentations?
What is your overall evaluation of the quality and effectiveness of the qualitative findings? What do you find most interesting? Least interesting?
With regard to the following questions, both module 4 groups will have the same expectations:
How do you evaluate her use of the results in forming and explaining her conclusions? Why? Are there other conclusions that you would have considered important that could be derived from her data?
What overall lessons for analysis and interpretation of data have you learned from her study and the other materials in this Module?

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