Qualitative Research Critique and Ethical Considerations

This paper is based on the critique of two qualitative research articles: “Exploring How the Home Environment Influences Eating and Physical Activity Habits of Low-Income, Latino Children of Predominantly Immigrant Families: A Qualitative Study” by Lindsay et al (2018), and “Managing Implementation of a Parental Support Programme for Obesity Prevention in the School Context: The Importance of Creating Commitment in an Overburdened Work Situation, a Qualitative Study” by Bergstrom et al (2020). The paper compares the backgrounds, study methods, results, and ethical considerations of the articles. It also examines how the information provided by each of the articles supports the nurse practice issue selected. The issue in this case is childhood obesity.

Study Backgrounds

According to Lindsay et al (2018), home is a vital social environment where physical activity and dietary habits that influence the weight of a child develop. Comprehending how parents support or hamper such habits helps to enhance nurses’ disease prevention and health promotion efforts. The purpose of the study was to investigate the parenting practices, parenting styles, and beliefs of parents in low-income Latino families pertaining to the physical activity and eating behaviors of their children at a home setting. The objective of the study was to come up with appropriate parenting interventions and effective home-based strategies for preventing childhood obesity among preschool children. The study was based on research questions that touched on perceptions, attitudes, beliefs and practices of parents associated with eating habits, physical activity, and sedentary behaviors.

Just like Lindsay and her colleagues, Bergstrom et al (2020) denote that parents influence the development of health-related behaviors among children. This observation helps nurses to understand the importance of promoting parental support programs that help to prevent childhood obesity. The purpose of this study was to determine factors that facilitate or hinder parental support in promoting physical activity and healthy nutritional habits within the school context. The objective of the study was to explore the experiences and views of school nurses and principles. The study derived from research questions pertaining to implementation of parental support program that enhance physical activity and healthy eating behaviors.

Support to the Nurse Practice Issue

The PICOT question that was adopted is as follows:

  • Among obese children and adolescents (P) is physical activity more effective than (I) health education (C) in promoting weight loss (O) within a period of six months (T)?

Lindsay et al (2018) provide useful information that can be used to answer the PICOT question. It gives important insights into what needs to be done within the home environment in order to ensure that parents play an active role in promoting healthy physical activity and eating behaviors among their children. The study derives from the understanding that poor eating habits and inactivity puts children at risk for childhood obesity. The populations, interventions, comparison groups, and outcomes of this study are consistent with those of the PICOT question. The study’s population comprises children of pre-school age (2-5 years old). Its interventions include physical activity and healthy eating habits. The interventions are compared with education and guidance sessions to parents by pediatric healthcare providers. The expected outcome of the study is prevention of obesity among children through various weight loss measures, including use of physical activity.

Bergstrom et al (2020) also give valuable information for the above PICOT statement. They investigate various facilitators and barriers to s implementation of successful parental support programs that promote not only physical activity, but also healthy dietary behaviors within a school setting. The population selected for the study, the interventions and comparison groups adopted, and the expected outcome were compatible with the PICOT question. The study population entailed children whose age was between 5 and 7. Interventions in this case also include good dietary habits and healthy physical activity. There is a comparison of such interventions with school nurses and school staff’s commitment. All these interventions are expected to bring about a positive outcome among children with obesity.   

Methods of Study

Lindsay et al (2018)’s article is based on a qualitative study that explores parents’ perceptions of preschool children’s physical activity and eating habits. Thus, the study derives from an exploratory research design. Exploratory research involves the study of a given problem which is yet to be thoroughly investigated (Maltby et al., 2014). One of the benefits of this kind of study is that it enables the researcher to have an in-depth understanding of an existing problem. However, its main weakness lies within the fact never leads to conclusive results (Maltby et al., 2014).

On its part, Bergstrom et al (2020)’s article derives from an inductive qualitative design that explores school principals and nurses’ views and experiences on putting in place parental support programs that enhance physical activity and appropriate diet. The inductive approach to qualitative research involves looking for observable patterns in collected data in order to generate theories that can be used to explain them (Patton, 2015). This research design is advantageous in the sense that it allows the researcher to investigate a given issue in detail.  Its major limitation centers on the fact that despite making accurate observations, the researchers sometimes end up with false conclusions (Patton, 2015).

Study Results

From the results of Lindsay et al (2018)’s study, it was established that the home environment was crucial in influencing the physical activity and eating habits of preschool children of low-income Latino families. Therefore, this environment can be helpful in the control and prevention of childhood obesity. The study also found that most Latino parents were unable to put in place favorable family routines that support healthy eating and physical activity among their children. For instance, permissive parenting which allowed excessive screen time and other sedentary behaviors increased vulnerability of children to obesity. 

The findings of the study have important implications to nursing practice. Pediatric nurses can use them to promote health measures aimed at preventing childhood obesity. These measures need to be implemented at the family level. For instance, the pediatric nurses should educate and guide the Latino parents on the role that physical activity plays in reducing weight, and controlling obesity.

The results of Bergstrom et al (2020)’s study revealed that the commitment of school nurses and staff members can help to facilitate parental support program implementation. It was also found that heavy workload and limited resources hinder parental support of physical activity behavior and healthy eating manners. It was as well established that for parental support to be effectively implemented within a school setting, it has to be based on individual needs of learners, and has to have policy support. The program must also be motivated by the need to improve children’s health.

This study’s findings also have some significant implications to the practice of nursing. School based nurses need to understand that they have a role to play in preventing obesity among school children. They can use the findings of this study in order to ensure that they promote parental support programs that help to control and reduce cases of childhood obesity.

Ethical Considerations

Adherence to ethical considerations is an important undertaking in any research work. It helps to promote not only professionalism, but also fairness. One of the most important ethical considerations in research work that involves human subjects is seeking permission to conduct it. This process helps to ensure that the intended research is healthy, and has no potential harm (Maltby et al., 2014). Lindsay et al (2018) got approval to carry out their research from Harvard University’s Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Subjects. On its part, Bergstrom et al (2020) got their approval from the Swedish Regional Ethical Review Board based at Stockholm.

Another important ethical consideration is seeking the consent of subjects. This ensures that the respondents are aware of what the research entails. The awareness helps them to decide whether to be involved in a study or not (Maltby et al., 2014). All the participants in Lindsay et al (2018)’s study handed in signed informed consents. In the same way, informed consent was sought from those who were involved in the study of Bergstrom et al (2020).  

References

Lindsay, A. C., Wallingon, S. F., Lees, F. D. & Boulevard, M. L. (2018). Exploring How the Home Environment Influences Eating and Physical Activity Habits of Low-Income, Latino Children of Predominantly Immigrant Families: A Qualitative Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, 15 (978). 10.3390/ijerph15050978

Maltby, J., Williams, G., McGarry, J. & Day, L. (2014). Research Methods for Nursing and Healthcare. London: Routledge. 

Patton, M. (2015). Qualitative research and evaluation methods, (5th ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Sundar, T. K. B., Londal, K., Lagerlov, P., Galvin, K. & Helseth, S. (2018). Overweight Adolescents’ Views on Physical Activity – Experiences of Participants in an Internet-Based Intervention: A Qualitative Study. BMC Public Health, 18: 448.10.1186/s12889-018-5324-x

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