Guided Critique of a Research Study

Is there enough information in the title and introduction to tell what the study is about? Do they pique your curiosity in the subject? What is your reasoning? If you don't like the title, make one up.

Yeah, the title accurately describes the study. It provides sufficient information about the study's subject in a basic and plain manner. The title piques the reader's interest because it adequately covers significant features of the study, and prepares someone for answers to the given problem.

Literature Review

Read through the literature review. How many previous research studies were evaluated? Were those studies current and relevant? Did the researchers demonstrate a gap in knowledge about the topic? Did they convince you that more research needs to be conducted in this area?

The authors evaluated thirty-four previous research studies, which are relevant and related to the study, in the literature review section. All the studies were relevant, and almost all of them were done after the year 2000, thus they were relevant. The background of the study effectively brought out the need for the current study by noting the lack of enough research on effects of vitamin supplements' intake on the Korean elderly population for management of degenerative cerebral diseases.

Purpose/Research Questions

What is the purpose? Is the purpose clearly stated? What are the research questions? Are they clearly stated? What are the independent and dependent variables? The purpose of the study was clearly stated. The study sought to examine the effects of taking vitamin B6, B12 and folic acid supplements on the cognitive function, the level of homocysteine as well as depression on the elderly, diagnosed with MCI and in aged care institutions.

Research Design

What design was used for this study? Does this seem to be a reasonable design considering the purpose of the study?

A quasi-experiment was done. This design was reasonable for the study considering that a post test and a pretest were to be done, which are necessary for observing the effects on the patients' intake of the supplements.

Setting & Sample

What type of sampling was used? How were the participants selected? What were the inclusion criteria? Was the sample representative? Explain your answer. How many participants completed the study? How do you know if the final sample size was adequate for analysis?

Convenience sampling was used. Participants were selected from care facilities in Korea. 48 participants were used and having a certain level of MCI was the inclusion criteria. The sample was representative as the study sought to study elderly patients in a care facility, which was achieved. All the participants selected completed the study. The adequacy of the sample size can be told from the reporting of the effect size, type 1 and type 2 errors, tailed tests and standard deviation, which can be found in a research as a statement from the authors.


How was the study conducted? What were the interventions? How did the researchers ensure the intervention was manipulated consistently for all participants?

The study was conducted using questionnaires for measuring general characteristics, the cognitive function and the levels of depression. Multivitamin supplements for B6, B12 and folic acid were used as the interventions. A consistency in the intake of the supplements was ensured.


Describe the instrument(s) used to measure the outcome (dependent variable)? Were the measures reliable & valid?

Explain your answer.

The degree of cognitive function was measured using a Mini-Mental-State-Examination-Korean (MMSE-K), and the level of depression was measured using the Geriatric Depression Scale Short Form Korea Version (GDSSF-K). Polarization immonuassay analysis was used to tell the level of serum homocysteine.the measures were both reliable and valid as the levels of reliability were indicated by the respective cronbach's α. A scale was used to indicate the different ranges and thus the different conditions.

Data Analysis

What statistical tests were used? What were the significant results, if any? What was the significance level (p value or confidence interval)? Be sure to include all statistical tests and the variables analyzed by the test.

The statistical tests used were t-test, chi square test, a Fischer's exact test and an analysis of variance. The significance level was a p-value of .05.


What were the findings? Were there any significant differences discovered?

The multivitamin supplements were found out to have positive effects on cognitive functions, the level of serum homocysteine and depression amongst the elderly in care institutions. The Fischers exact test results were 3.624, 6.974 and 10.849 respectively while the p-values were 0.021, 0.001 and 0.001 respectively. There was a visible difference in the results after the intervention


How did the researchers interpret their study results? Did they compare their findings with the broader literature on this topic? Explain.

The study was sufficiently interpreted through a comparative analysis of the results against the broader literature. This is evident in the article where the authors explain the results in procedural manner, and clearly compare them with earlier literature.


What, if any, study limitations were discussed by the researchers? Were there additional limitations that were not noted?

The main limitation of the study was generalization of the results. The study was based on two conveniently sample Korean facilities, which the authors claimed that they limited the data taken. I opine there were no additional limitations.

Future Implications

Were implications for further research included? Was there discussion as to how this study may change the future of nursing practice? Will you incorporate their findings into your practice? Why or why not?

Future nursing practice can change benefit from this study by using vitamin supplements for improvement of cognitive functions, decreasing the levels of serum homocysteine and managing depression. Suggestions for future research have been given by the authors proposing a longer administration of the supplements and subsequent follow up.


Lee, H.K., Kim, S. Y., & Sok, S.R. (2016). Effects of multivitamin supplements on cognitive function, serum homocysteine level, and depression of Korean older adults with mild cognitive impairment in care facilities. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 48:3, 223-231.

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