Question

Write a critical appraisal of the research paper called "Ear, Nose & Throat Journal"

Clues

- Start by identifying the conclusions. Then try to identify the evidence or reasoning the authors used to arrive at those conclusions.
- It can be useful to temporarily forget the specific treatment (e.g. a new hearing aid) and condition (e.g. otosclerosis). Think of it as ‘Treatment A’ for ‘Condition X’. Then consider what might do wrong when designing a study (also known as a clinical trial) to investigate whether Treatment A cures Condition X. You will be able to find lots of resources on the internet to help you critically appraise a clinical trial.
- It is also important to use your specific knowledge of either the treatment (or its underpinning principles) or the condition or both to consider whether there was a problem with the way the study was designed or carried out. For clues, see the example I gave
above regarding the new medicine. (Another clue: did the study use the right outcome measures? In other words, did they look to see whether the treatment improved aspects of the condition that are likely to be important to those suffering from it?)
- Check out the results. Can you even find the results that are supposed to support the claim? Are you convinced that the results show what the authors claim they show?
- Write the assignment with the intention of trying to convince me of your conclusion. A good place to start is summarising the claim the authors make and why they think it is reasonable. Then explain what you think. As part of this, you might decide to summarise what you think are the strengths and weaknesses of the paper and why. Also, you can and may need to refer to other studies to support your argument.

Solution Preview

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The purpose of this article is to provide evidence for the conclusion that the Epley maneuver is efficient and effective for relieving patients suffering from benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). By incorporating several experiment design concepts such as sufficient sample sizes, a control group, and proper experiment duration, the principal investigators were able to produce convincing results. According to the data published, it seems as a very large population of the treatment group experienced positive results at both the one-month and six-month intervals – at 89% and 92%, respectively. On the other hand, the control group did not produce successful results, only 10% reported improvement after one month and 50% after six months. In addition, a Fisher exact test was conducted for both time intervals and the difference between the two groups was determined to be statistically significant....

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