Written by Dorgo, Robinson, and Bader, The Effectiveness of a Peer- Mentored Older Adult Fitness Program on Perceived Physical, Mental, and Social Function is a research document that seeks to compare the changes perceived in physical, mental and social function by Short Form-36 (SF36vr2) in a group trained by peer mentors (PMs) versus a similar group trained by qualified kinesiology student mentors (SMs).
The hypothesis of the research was; the older adult exercise program that the peers mentored showed equivalent changes in self-reported physical, mental, and social function compared to those that qualified young kinesiology professional trainers trained.
In its methodology, the researchers employed the use of a two-arm repeated measures longitudinal experiment. The researchers randomly subjected the participants into a 14-week physical fitness program with either peer mentors or young professional kinesiology student trainers.
At the end of the research the researchers established that peer-mentored exercise programs for older adults are more effective than the programs mentored by young professionals and may lead to adherence.
All the instruments were not identified and described. The researchers simply gave the names of the instruments and the data given by the instruments but have not made any extra effort to explain or describe how the instrument works. As a result, the reader will not have an in-depth understanding of this experiment. There is a rationale for the selection of the tool given. Since the researchers needed physical, social, mental and social function of the participants during the research period, for analysis, the choice of this tool was handy. The method of data collection that the researchers used is snowball sampling (Dorgo, Robinson, & Bader, 2008, p.118).
This method is appropriate because it helps to reduce biases which can affect the validity of the results. The data collection method used was similar for all participants. From the research, data collection and its analysis, the researchers have not mentioned about the accuracy of the measuring instrument. As such, there is high likelihood that they did not consider the accuracy of the measuring instruments.
The researchers discussed methods to test reliability and/or validity. From the research paper, it is evident that the researchers used the student’s t test to examine the reliability and validity. In particular, they used a two-sample t test to compare pre-test scores and investigate the differences between SM and PM groups. They also used the one sample one-sided t test to determine if the mean percentage difference was significantly higher than 0. They provided the results for the testing and reliability. From the two-sample t test, they noted that there was no statistical difference between the pre-test values of the two cohorts of intervention participants.
These results were not adequate because after using the student’s t test to compare cohorts in terms of the two summary and eight subscale mean scores, there were no statistical differences between the pre-test values of the two cohorts of intervention participants. As a result, they combined the data to improve its power. The strengths and weaknesses of the instrument reliability and validity were not addressed in the “limitations” section of the article. The other possible weakness come in after combining pre-test data sets for the two cohorts to improve its power; the researchers either did not subject it to a further test or they did not give the results of the test. As a result, the validity of the results from this experiment is questionable.
The statistical tests used were the two-sample t test and the one-tailed t test. The test is parametric because it compares data from two cohorts, whose parameters such as height, weight and age among others were used (Dorgo et al, 2008, p. 120). Perhaps, the test was used because of the need to compare two cohorts in terms of the two summary and eight subscale mean scores. A comparison of these two cohorts would give a significant indication on whether there was any difference between the two cohorts to determine whether to or not to combine the two cohorts.
In the null hypothesis of the study, the researchers assumed that the older adult exercise program that the peers mentored showed equivalent changes in self-reported physical, mental and social function compared to those that qualified young kinesiology professional trainers trained. The research rejected the null hypothesis because a comparison between the two cohorts using a two-sample t test revealed that there was a significant difference between the two cohorts as evidenced by the t test given. The fact that the two-sample t test showed significant difference between the two cohorts and that the researchers combined the two cohorts to improve its power supports this observation.
Right from introduction, through results to conclusion, this article has covered all areas that an experimental report should cover. The researchers chose their methodology well and analyzed the result. However, the fact that there is a significant difference between the two cohorts, which contradicts the researchers’ hypothesis, underscores the weakness of the research work.
Dorgo, S. et al. (2009). The Effectiveness of a Peer- Mentored Older Adult Fitness Program on Perceived Physical, Mental, and Social Function. Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, 21, 116-122.