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Detailed instructions for Assessment Task 3: Critical Appraisal of a Research Article (1800 words) – 45%

Description: This is an individual assignment which requires you to conduct a detailed and systematic critical appraisal of a research article. This critical appraisal will require you to examine a research article, evaluate it according to what you have learned in this unit, and consider how the results might inform practice. A guideline to assessing quantitative and qualitative articles will provide you with guiding questions to consider as you evaluate the article you have chosen. You can access the guidelines from the electronic learning system. It is important that you critically and systematically appraise all aspects of the chosen article.

Choose one of the following articles for this critique.

  • Quantitative article: Ackerman, I., Osborne, R. (2012). Obesity and increased burden of hip and knee joint disease in Australia: results of a national survey. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. 13:254 http://ezproxy.acu.edu.au/login?url=http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC35647 44/
  • Qualitative article: Porter, E. (199). ‘Getting up from here’: frail older women’s experiences after falling. Rehabilitation Nursing. 24(5) 201-206. http://ezproxy.acu.edu.au/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/218270979?Ope nUrlRefId=info:xri/sid:primo&accountid=8194

In particular, you are required to:

  1. Present the assignment as a scholarly/academic essay with an introduction, body and conclusion.

o Theintroductionshouldpresenttheoveralltopicandpurposeoftheessay, how you will address it, and why it is important to be able to assess a research study.

o Thebodywillfollowtheresearchprocesssetoutinthearticleandwillinclude all aspects of your appraisal and critique.

o Theconclusionshouldbeabriefoverviewofthemainpointsyouhavemade in the body. No new information should be included.

  1. During your appraisal:

o considerboththestrengthsandweaknessesofthearticle,and
o discusshowtherecommendationsfromthearticlecouldbeusedinevidence-

based clinical practice (EBP)

  1. Students are strongly advised to use the Marking Guide and detailed instruction in

LEO as a guide when writing the essay.


Page 1

  1. This essay should be approximately 1800 (± 10%) words, 1.5/double spaced, 1” margins, 12 point font, with a range of relevant scholarly references and using APA referencing. The format follows the research process

HLSC122 ACADEMIC ESSAY – The above assessment task is best addressed using the following format:

Introduction [Approx. 200 words]
Your introduction should include a brief overview of the overall topic and the focus of your essay.

Body [Approx. 1400 words]
Use the quantitative or qualitative guideline to structure the paragraphs in the body of your essay. Ensure you critically appraise all aspects of the article, and discuss the clinical implications in relation to EBP.

Conclusion [Approx. 200 words]
The conclusion should give a brief summary of the main points of the essay.

Due date:
Length and/or format
: Purpose:

Learning outcomes assessed: How to submit:

Return of assignment:

Week 11: 23:59hrs Sunday 17/5/2015


1800 words

To demonstrate your achievement of each learning outcome shown below.

1, 2, 4 and 6.

Submission is via the Turnitin Drop Box on the electronic learning system

Assignments along with comments will be returned via the Turnitin Drop Box on the electronic learning system not more than three weeks after the final submission date.


Page 2



Subject Essay Writing Pages 10 Style APA


Obesity and increased burden of hip and knee joint disease in Australia: Results from a national survey


The article focuses on the role of obesity in developing the hip and knee joint disease. The main concern is that most developed nations including Australia have an ageing population, which implies that arthritis and osteoarthritis (OA) are set to be an even more devastating challenge in the current and near future. Consequently, obesity and overweight problems are a major health concerns in the country. The researchers stress that obesity contributes to the development and progression of OA. Obesity is believed to cause increased mechanical load to obesity victims, which in turn causes the OA problem. This paper proceeds to analyze how effectively the researchers undertake the study in terms of methods, analysis, and findings.



The topic used by the author is effective in outlining the scope and the focus areas of the research. It is well defined and phrased in a way that gives a single meaning. This makes it easy to understand and conceptualize. Another evident characteristic of the topic is its clarity. Thirdly, although the research is about a technical field of study, the language used in the topic is simple (Cassell & Symon, 2011, p. 633). The topic mentions the two conditions that are the focus of investigation; hip and knee joint disease and obesity. This helps the reader to get a clear overview of what the research is about. Secondly, the researchers identify the area of study where the research was undertaken as Australia. Thirdly, the topic gives the type of research in this case a national survey. Generally, the topic is well defined and easy to understand.


From the way they have addressed the issue, the authors Ilana Ackerman and Richard Osborne appear to be experts in the field.


The researchers use four well-developed paragraphs to present the essential information that is the focus of their study. The paragraphs are unified, coherent, and concise, making them easy to follow and understand. The authors have adopted the correct format of purpose, methods, findings, and conclusion (Zitomer & Goodwin, 2014, p. 193). The abstract gives enough information concerning the research by giving an overview of the research background/purpose, the methods used, the results of the study, and the conclusions derived from the findings. It mentions that a random sample of 5000 respondents was used. 

Introduction/Literature Review

The principle purpose of an introduction in a research should be to give the description of the problem that is being addressed. The main focus should be to discuss the nature of their research, the research purpose, the research significance, as well as the research questions that are addressed (Siddiqui & Fitzgerald, 2014, p. 137). The researchers have effectively addressed a number of these aspects in their introduction. They have given a detailed discussion of the nature of their research.

The researchers have put the topic of focus into context by providing some background information concerning the issue. For instance, they have highlighted the fact that both conditions; OA and obesity, presents a daunting health concern in Australia. They have clearly outlined the correlation between the two conditions and the way they relate to each other such that it is clear for readers that obesity is the risk factor for the OE condition.

 Secondly, the review mentions some statistics concerning the prevalence rates in the country in order to indicate the extent of the urgency and value for the given area of focus. The researchers have highlighted the existence of evidence in various studies and reports that link obesity to the OE condition.

The researchers have also cited a gap in the available information whereby information available linking obesity to OE is not specific to the Australian populations. As such, the researchers identify a gap and the need for a study that is based on the Australian population. This justifies the current study that is based on the Australian population. In addition, the researchers have identified another gap in the current literature whereby most of the available studies that link obesity to OA are conducted on a clinical setting limiting their generalability. As such, they identify the need for a more representative study that is done nationwide in order to gather data that is more geralizable/representative. The current study qualifies this criteria because it is a national survey.

However, the introduction/review presents some weaknesses as well. For instance, the introduction lacks a coherence and organization. The researchers do not use clear subtopics to highlight the different aspects/ sections in the introduction (Sandelowski, 2015, p. 137). Instead, all the information is mixed up in paragraphs making it hard for readers to relate the different ideas. It would more presentable if the researchers used precise sections to present the research background, rationale, and significance.

The researchers notes that a more representative sample is needed in expanding the understanding of the effects of obesity in developing OA beyond the primary care and the outpatient settings. The more representative sample will also help in addressing more aspects of the disease. This will make sure that the research outcomes address the entire relevant disease severity spectrum without limiting it to only a few aspects. The more representative sample will ensure that the study is more representative in terms of other factors such as socioeconomic status. This is because the current studies have only focused on a limited covariant of the population including Body Mass Index, disability, and racial differences. The studies were also done in the US and their application in the Australian population is lacking.

The article identifies that information concerning obesity as a risk factor and a determinant of the quality of life is crucial for understanding ways in which it can be addressed at a population level. Literature shows that obesity and overweight have been linked with deteriorated quality of life in patients with OA (Ackerman & Osborne, 2012, p. 4). In addition, computer simulations have also illustrated a significant loss of quality-adjusted life years among obese individuals with OA. Some studies involving convenience samples have established obesity to be linked with increased pain, greater disability in OA, and worse health status. However, the researchers also note that the applicability of these studies outside the clinical and primary health settings is not clear. As such, there is a gap on the current literature in terms of representation of samples to the entire population in Australia. The information available is also lacking in terms of covariant that would expand the understanding of the severity of the disease.


The study aimed to investigate the links between obesity and the prevalence of hip and knee joint disease in Australia and to explore the links between obesity and pain, stiffness, physical function, HRQoL and disease severity among people with hip or knee joint disease. The researcher sought to find out if participants had been diagnosed with hip arthritis, hip osteoarthritis, knee arthritis, or knee osteoarthritis. Questionnaires were mailed to selected respondents with reply-paid envelopes to maximize response rates. The study also included other techniques including WOMAC, AQoL, and MAPT to enhance the reliability, internal consistency, validity, and responsiveness of the study. The study only used information concerning arthritis that was diagnosed by a doctor to ensure credibility.

In order to ensure that the study was representative, the researchers used data from the electoral enrolment, which covers the Australian adult population comprehensively. The sample of 5000 was then selected randomly from all states for adults 39 years and above. This age bracket represents the segment of the population with the highest prevalence of the OA disease. The age categories 39-43 and 44-48 years were over sampled in order to increase precision because prevalence of higher among the older people.

The method and techniques used in the study are appropriate. The large population from all states is very representative. The use of questionnaires is also appropriate in this kind of research. In addition, the researchers has focused on the various tools to ensure reliability and validity and clearly outlined the procedure they used to collect data. They have outlined and justified the use of the sample, the way they ensured a high response rate, and the tools they used to ensure validity and reliability of the data. 

However, there is a weakness in the way the obesity aspect was approached. BMI was calculated through the self-reported height and weight. This presented the study under the limitation of self-report, which can be unreliable due to bias or false information by the respondents.

Another major weakness in the study is the use of postal methods to send and receive the questionnaire. This minimized convenience by respondents since the postal method is more cumbersome compared with the use of emails. Emails provide respondents of the convenience of not only accessing the questionnaires from any location, but also in terms of sending the filled in questionnaires. Most respondents are likely to forget to visit the post office to send the replies or lack time to do that.

Analysis was done using SPSS and Stata. It also involved calculations of the overall prevalence rates of OA and estimates of the Clopper-Pearson confidence interval. In addition, prevalence calculated for BMI, sex, marital status, age, socioeconomic status, location, education, and country of birth. The researchers then used the multiple binary logistic regressions to generate adjusted odds ratios of OA with the socioeconomic and demographic variables. These tools and techniques of make the analysis rigorous and effective in developing inferences concerning the issue of study. The research considered ethical factors by acquiring relevant permission. It was also based on informed consent of respondents.


The findings of the study are clearly stated. For instance, the study found 83 percent of respondents to have hip arthritis. Obesity was associated with high prevalence of hip arthritis. Participants who were obese were found to be twice more likely to suffer hip arthritis. Higher prevalence of hip arthritis was also associated with increasing age. Stating findings clearly helps the readers and other researcher who wish to use the study to understand the outcome of the study. As such, the study can be used for informed decision-making. The findings of the study are credible. The researchers adhered to all research regulations and standards and strived to be objective.

Discussions and Limitations

The authors have clearly linked the findings of the study to research aim. The main aim was to generate information that is more representative and to identify links of obesity to OA. The researchers clearly demonstrated the link between obesity and OA through the national survey. The research was very representative because it included samples from across the country. The researchers used the various covariant including socioeconomic status of the population to garner a deeper understanding of the issue.

The researchers strived to minimize the limitations of the study. They used reply-paid envelopes to maximize response rates. In addition, to minimize the limitation of underrepresentation, the researchers used samples that were randomly selected from all the states. The use of electoral data ensured that research captured a vast population of the adult population.


The conclusion highlights the aim of the study and the way the current study has achieved this aim. The authors do not discuss the relevance of the study to clinical practice and do not give recommendation for further research. This makes it hard for clinicians to use the current findings for clinical practice.




Ackerman, I, & Osborne, R 2012, ‘Obesity and increased burden of hip and knee joint disease in Australia: Results from a national survey’, BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 13, 1, pp. 1-13

Cassell, C, & Symon, G 2011, ‘Assessing ‘good’ qualitative research in the work psychology field: A narrative analysis’, Journal Of Occupational & Organizational Psychology, 84, 4, pp. 633-650

Sandelowski, M 2015, ‘A matter of taste: evaluating the quality of qualitative research’, Nursing Inquiry, 22, 2, pp. 86-94

Siddiqui, N, & Fitzgerald, J 2014, ‘Elaborated integration of qualitative and quantitative perspectives in mixed methods research: a profound enquiry into the nursing practice environment’, International Journal Of Multiple Research Approaches, 2, p. 137

Zitomer, M, & Goodwin, D 2014, ‘Gauging the Quality of Qualitative Research in Adapted Physical Activity’, Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly, 31, 3, p. 193






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