Healthcare Research and Design Methods


Bordens (et all, 2005) have explained the importance for using clear defined objectives and methodology while conducting research. The authors have commented about the fallacy in applying methodology without understanding the importance of the objective and wrong interpretations of the test results. The authors have emphasized the importance of accuracy, validity and reliability of the data for research to be acceptable in peer circles. The paper presents two articles one of which has a strong and a weak methodology and research.

Article 1: Weak Methodology

Barry T. Jones, Ben C. Jones, Helena Smith & Nicola Copley. (2003). A flicker paradigm for inducing change blindness reveals alcohol and cannabis information processing biases in social users. Journal of Addiction. Volume 98. pp-235-244

Barry (et all, 2003) has provided details of the Flicker Paradigm and Dot Probe test experiment that was performed at a university campus where 200 volunteers with substance related problems had agreed to be tests. The aim of the test was to apply a new paradigm by utilizing transient changes to visual scenes to explore information processing biases relating to any social levels of alcohol and cannabis use.

The experiment was designed for inducing change blindness with lighter and heavier social uses of alcohol with a sample of 100 and social users non users of cannabis with a sample size of 100. The experiment explored the association of a single substance related or neutral change made to a scene of a grouped substance related and neutral objects. The study utilized both the Stroop paradigm and the dot probe paradigm. In the dot probe paradigm, two words are displayed briefly on a computer monitor and are replaced by a single dot probe in register with one of them. The task is to respond to its appearance at which time probe detection is quicker for concern related than for neutral words.

The paper has also suggested that the pictorial approach to social substance users through a novel application of the flicker paradigm for inducing change blindness. In the paradigm, a single feature of a visual scene is changed back and forth between successive presentations. The change was not detected immediately even when individuals were told that change would occur. The paper explains the delay that is experienced in detection of any change in the grabbiness of the image. Grabbiness refers to the attention getting quality of an image. If an image had a figure with a head and in the next image, there was no head then the missing would have a greater grabbiness.

The student assessment of the paper is based on the critique provided by Cox (et all, 2006) with special reference to the Stroop Test. Cox has suggested that the test should be considered along with connectionist model. The model assumes that the automatic nature of attention does not occur in stages but it a continuous phenomenon.

The student of the paper would like to argue that the Stroop Effect couldn’t be conclusive at all as far as attention bias is concerned. Indeed for the first time when the student himself took the test, the words with different colour meanings were slower to read. The student also admits that it took a longer time to read words such as Blue (written in red), Yellow (written in green) and so on. But after the first few attempts, once the facts were known and the challenges about the trick became known, it was easy to beat the test.

As suggested by Cox with reference to the connectionist model, the fact that our whole life of learning prevents us from making wrong associations is correct, but again the student would like to argue that the human mind is capable very well of learning new things very quickly and an intelligent person would be bound to make the Stroop Test as inconclusive.

The student would like to argue that the Flicker Paradigm and Dot Probe Tests are basically flawed. What the Barry, the researcher ended up measuring was the intelligence level of the users. Even today, we do find puzzles in newspapers and magazines for kids where two identical pictures with small changes are displayed and the reader is asked to ‘spot the differences’. Some of us at some time of the day are able to crack the puzzle while at other times it becomes difficult. If the same test was given to two normal adults then one would find the differences faster than the other, not because the second person is addicted to cannabis but because the first person was more alert or has taken these tests a few times and knows the tricks that such puzzle setters adopt.

Article 2: Strong Methodology

Beth Mary (2003), ‘Preventing Ageism in Nursing Students: An Action Theory Approach’, Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp. 8-14

Beth (Beth 2003) has reported that with improved healthcare systems and technology, the life expectancy of senior citizens has considerably increased and this has given rise to a new kind of stereotyping called Ageism, for the old similar to racism and the discrimination and derogatory attitude shown toward African Americans and other race of deprived people. This attitude is not only shown by the general public but also by nurses and the medical fraternity who regard old people as a burden and who enjoy social welfare benefits, at the expense of younger people who pay taxes. Ageism is a very malevolent form of attitude since the older people do not have anywhere else to go and rely on healthcare professionals to meet their basic needs.

The paper has mentioned clear research aims and objectives and these were to explore the attitudes towards ageism, perceptions of the issues arising out of practicing ageism and to critically raise the consciousness levels to develop an understanding of the issues and to make choices in relation to the prevention of ageism in the future practice as a registered nurse.

The study was performed on nine final year BN pre-registered students who were in the 20 to 25 age range and working in aged care settings as assistants in nursing. The paper has cited peer reviewed journals to justify the small size of respondents. study Data collection and analysis were shared with the study participants in a collective, self reflective inquiry to allow the inquiry, action and evaluation cycle of research that was controlled by the researcher.

To make sure about the validity and accuracy, the study was conducted in multiple stages. Issues identified were reviewed and agreed upon in a co-researched manner with both the participants and researcher. In the study, the methodology was integrated and directed by using the Stringers PAR model that included setting the stage, looking, thinking and acting. The process allowed the outcomes of the analysis of the study to have an emphasis on emancipation of the participants through praxis.

The study had two surveys and the preliminary survey was designed to allow the participants to become aware of their own attitudes towards ageism. The second was done by using a focus group strategy that would allow the respondents to confront the issues emerging from the analysis of the survey. In the preliminary survey was used to identify self awareness of any present attitudes of ageism in the targeted population. The instrument was adapted from the Braithwate’s ageism scale and had an equal number of positively and negatively worded items. All the items were rated on a seven point scale from Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree.

The second study was the Focus Group Meeting allowed the participants to probe deeper into the influencing factors and to confront the underlying causes of attitude towards the older person. Based on the preliminary survey, the attitudes were found to contribute towards those already in place because of both positive and negative experiences with older relatives, upbringing and personal culture. The paper has mentioned some examples of the attitudes such as “At the moment I am watching my parents get old, they are watching their friends pass on. I am actually terrified of getting old because I am going to be in that same situation where my friends are going to be getting sick and passing on..”

The study has provided sufficient evidence to conclude that the practice of Ageism does exists among certain sections of the nursing fraternity. The study has made recommendations that appropriate measures be taken to include in the curriculum, studies that would reduce and remove the attitude problems towards racism.

In the student’s opinion, the paper was conducted and presented the results that are accurate, valid and reliable. The study has used adequately supported survey instruments and the both qualitative and qualitative methods have been used. Moreover, the research has brought to light a key issue of racism towards the old and the sick and has shown that it is wrong to deny respect for the aged and the sick.


The paper has examined two research papers for the correctness of methodology. One paper by Barry on Dot Probe and Flicker Paradigm had used a method that was not correct, the hypothesis were not suitably framed and the conclusions drawn were misleading. The paper by Beth on the other hand had used the proper methodology and it dealt with Ageism and the racist attitude that registered nurses display towards the old.


Barry T. Jones, Ben C. Jones, Helena Smith & Nicola Copley. (2003). A flicker paradigm for inducing change blindness reveals alcohol and cannabis information processing biases in social users. Journal of Addiction. Volume 98. pp-235-244.

Beth Mary (2003), ‘Preventing Ageism in Nursing Students: An Action Theory Approach’, Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp. 8-14.

Bordens, Kenneth S., & Abbott, B. (2005). Research design and methods: a process approach. (6th ed.). New York; McGraw-Hill.

Cox W. Miles, Fadardi Javad Salehi, Pothos Emmanuel M. (2006). The addiction Stroop test: Theoretical considerations and procedural recommendations. Psychological Bulletin. Volume 132. No. 3. pp: 443-476.