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Critical Evaluation of Research Papers - Essay Example

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Critical evaluation of G. J. Andrews’ article on the consumption of private complementary medicine. Introduction The increasing popularity of complementary medicine in developed countries over the last 15 years has prompted the interest of researchers. This article by G.J…
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Download file to see previous pages It takes a consumer studies approach, and considers the factors which prompt this group of people to seek out complementary medicine in their local areas. It is underpinned by some ground-breaking studies on emergent trends in health care for older people in Canada such as Kelner and Wellman, (2001) and Welman et al (2001) which found older patients critical of the “paternalistic and patronising experiences” that they had in contacts with orthodox geriatric medicine. There is also some reliance on notions of place, and the “placelessness” of some modern locations such as shopping malls and housing estates which have become commodified by uniform planning and commercialisation, as theorised by Relph (1976). Aims of the Study. The aim of this study appears to be partly to devise and test a methodology for teasing out the way that place and settings influences the consumer behaviour of older individuals who seek out complementary medicine. As such it sets out to span multiple academic disciplines including planning, geography, gerontology and complementary medicine. Concepts like “consumer geography” and “macro-level” spaces such as towns and “micro-level” settings such as clinics and homes indicate the economic and geographic elements in this endeavour. Beyond this there is some consideration of “how older users articulate belief systems associated with complementary medicine” but this does not seem to be very thoroughly theorised, and it is not exactly clear how this would be quantified or defined. The aims therefore appear to be mainly methodological and descriptive, rather than empirical or analytical. Methodology The method chosen for this study is a combination of questionnaire and interview. Pilot questionnaires and pilot interviews were conducted first of all and then the full questionnaire was administered, followed finally by the interviews. The author notes that the dual method was not chosen for triangulation purposes, but rather in order to provide “different, and complementary breadths and depths of focus” (Andrews, 2003, p. 340). 400 questionnaires were given out using the patients in 20 volunteer therapist locations. 144 were returned, giving a response rate of 36%. Therapist locations were chosen through personal contacts which the author had built up during research on a previous large scale project. The final sample consists of 34 male and 110 female patients, with an average age of 73 and a predominantly middle class, retired professional demographic profile. The data collected in the questionnaire was mostly of a qualitative nature. Semi structured interviews of about 30 to 45 minutes in length were carried out with a subset of 20 patients, ten in each of the two counties, either in the patients’ own homes, or in a waiting room at the therapists’ clinics. These were audiotaped, and additional record sheets were filled out “to take note of all contextual, and other general observations” (Andrews, 2003, p. 341). The author also spent several days in each county engaged in non-participant observation of the general day to day running of the therapist practices. This amounts to an ethnographic style of research, in which the author attempts to immerse himself into the environment which he is studying, and to see it from the point of view of the various participants in that context, in the hope of gaining an all-round understanding of people’s lives (Taylor, 2001, p. 2). The author himself notes that the method is based on ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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