QualitativeResearch Critique Assignment
The article “Facilitators for Empowering Women in Breastfeeding: aQualitative Study” by Kohan, Heidari and Keshvari examines thefactors that empower women in breastfeeding a key issue that promotesinfant health. The article was published in the international journalof pediatrics which is a reliable and peer-reviewed journal thatupholds quality research. This paper provides a critique of thearticle as a qualitative study.
The article clearly identifies its approach in research asqualitative and goes ahead to specify the research tradition asnaturalistic. A naturalistic research tradition seeks to studyphenomena in its natural settings with the researchers’ leastinterference in terms of interpreting the experiences of the studysubjects. However, this is not clear from the first sections of thepaper but it is revealed under materials and methods. The article isvery clear and direct on the used research tradition and it suitswell the purpose of the study.
The purpose of the study is clearly indicated as an investigation ofthe facilitators of women empowerment in breastfeeding. By taking aqualitative paradigm, it implies that the authors intend to collectdescriptive data in form of the lived experiences of the participantsin the study in regards to given variables in the natural setting.
The research design fits well with the purpose of the study. However,the study does not identify the guiding research questions orobjectives of the study. Nonetheless, specific questions of the studycan be derived from some of the questions posed to study participantsduring the interviews. Using individualsemi-structured interview questions allowed the researchers thechance to shape research questions to fit individuals’circumstances and also seek clarifications where necessary. Strictlystructured questions are not suitable for collecting varying data andseeking clarifications of certain answers. On the other hand, thestructuring of questions provides a support structure to capturerelevant data. Thus, using semi-structured questions maximizes thebenefits of both structured and open-ended questions. Therefore, datawas collected exhaustively which also included collection ofnon-verbal data from the participants.
The article does not provideany theoretical or conceptual framework. Such a framework wouldprovide a theoretical basis on how different theories on knowledge orways of understanding different concepts are applied in understandingthe subject under study. The absence of a theoretical/conceptualframework does not affect the significance of the study in any way.
As a qualitative study, dataanalysis was simultaneously done with data collection. This approachmeant that the semi-structured questions allowed for coverage ofcertain themes only relevant to the purpose of the study with otheremerging issues ignored. The simultaneous approach in collecting andanalyzing data does not offer a chance to evaluate the correctness ofsome participants’ responses and thus may weaken reliability of thefindings.
The semi-structured questionsonce again provided a framework for the category scheme in order tocover all the issues under study as covered by the interviewquestions. The scheme used exhaustively covered all the areas of thedata collected though there is no indication of how some factors suchas non-verbal cues, validations and clarifications were captured bythe scheme. The scheme covered three main categories with each havingtwo subcategories. The categorization is done manually and thecategories identified are adequate to capture all the core issues andthere is no evidence of overlap. However, there is no indication ofthe place of the mother’s health status and the influence it has onbreastfeeding decisions as some illnesses such as HIV/AIDS influencebreastfeeding decisions.
The report clearly identifiedidentifies the data analysis process as individual interviews thatwere recorded and transcribed. The transcribed text of interviews wasreviewed several times, phrases and concepts coded and analyzed andfurther analysis done using the Grantham and Landman`s methods. Thespecifics of the later analytical processes are not indicated.
Key emergent themes areidentified by the paper. Most importantly, the role of midwifes,nurses, and counselors in empowering women with education,information, and training on breastfeeding. Culture also played ahuge role in shaping beliefs. Other themes adequately covered includethe role of family members in empowering mothers in breastfeedingdecisions. The excerpts from the participants adequately capturethese themes and also highlight the lived experiences of participantsas opposed to the researchers’’ interpretations.
The report provides adequateinformation in study settings, sampling methods, data analysis, andbackground concepts provided for by support from literature to makethe study replicable. The inclusion of excerpts from the participantsmakes the study and the conclusions believable. However, the displayof data is wanting. The experiences of the different groups ofparticipants were minimally aggregated meaning that only a narrowview of responses was captured, which does little to justifyconclusions made.
Yes, the article provides mewith a clear insightful picture of the facilitators empowering womenin breastfeeding in Iran. From this study, I have learned that thehealth system factors play the greatest facilitating role inempowering women in breastfeeding. It is clear that mothers in Iran,where the study was carried out, relied most on the expertise ofmedical professionals and other factors in the healthcare system tobe educated and informed about healthy breastfeeding practices. Thus,women in Iran trust the healthcare system more than social andindividual factors to empower them in breastfeeding.
The authors clearly recognizedthe role of religion and culture in the target population. Theauthors used a female researcher to conduct the interviews with thesample largely comprising of women. The authors also sought theteachings of the Quran in regards to breastfeeding. Further, thepaternalistic nature of the target population was also recognized inthat the researchers sought to know the perceived importance of thesupport of husbands in empowering women to breastfeed. However, thearticle fails to state all assumptions made such as the paternalisticnature of the society and the role of religion, which is clearlyinferred. Another issue that cannot go unnoticed is that the authorsdo not indicate any contradictions or things that went contrary totheir expectations in conducting the study. In considering theseissues, some readers may doubt the transferability of the findingsgiven that the assumptions made about culture, religion and the roleof education in influencing breastfeeding practices are notmentioned.
The article does notacknowledge any limitations experienced during the study. This isunexpected of any study. This may affect the trustworthiness of thestudy. Acknowledging limitations act as caution on the findings andalso warn others interested in replicating the study.
The article clearly addressesa very important issue in general healthcare and fighting infantmortality. Breastfeeding is known to boost immunity in babies besidesproviding a safe and balanced diet and is thus highly encouraged.However some medical, cultural, religious, individual, and familyfactors may influence breastfeeding practices and how mothers areempowered in breastfeeding their infants. The study has addressedthree main categories of influences which adequately cover them togive a clear picture of the phenomenon from the study participants’perspective.
Kohan S., Heidari,Z. & Keshvari, M. (2016). Facilitators for empowering women in
breastfeeding: aqualitative study. Int J Pediatr 4(1): 1287-96.