When critiquing phenomenological research, there are a number of questions the critique should answer to determine the validity of the research. The first is to determine if the research phenomenon of interest is clearly stated. In the article, the authors clearly state that they use the philosophical works of Merleau-Ponty in order to explore the existential phenomena of caring for the dying. According to the authors, death can only be known through the study of dying. The authors describe death as either a personal experience or the experience of death through a dying person. The authors’ desire to explore the perceptions of critical care nurses regarding death and dying lends itself to qualitative research.
The second question asks if the description given by the authors helps to understand the lived experience of the participants. They provide a background of the environment, emotion, and professional obligations that nurses ...view middle of the document...
The researchers did not want to control the interview and therefore no structured interview protocol was used. The participants were asked to describe their experience and questions were used to encourage the participants to describe what is like to have that experience. For this research, purposive sampling was used as the researchers wanted to gather information from nurses that experience death, as a result, ICU nurses were selected.
The authors took the transcripts of the interview and used a process of thematization and synthesis to interpret the data. An interdisciplinary group read the transcripts aloud and then looked for patterns of experience, metaphors, and themes. This approach provided a descriptive structure. While the interdisciplinary group was responsible for the patterns of phenomenon it is ultimately the researchers then used these patterns to interpret and analyze the data. Using the existential ground of body, time, world, and other people the researchers grouped the data into specific categories.
The final piece of critiquing a phenomenological research study is to assess whether the research meets the criteria of rigor. In order to assess this, the researcher may send a copy of the interview to the participant and ask them to reflect on the experience and have content either added or deleted. The participants then need to acknowledge that the findings by the researchers are understood and viewed as true and credible. This particular article does not specifically state whether or not the authors performed this final step. If the authors didn’t do this then it makes the research less valuable. If this did occur, the mentioning of it in the article would help those critiquing such research appreciate the authority of the study.
Overall, the study performed was excellent. The researchers found that five subthemes emerged from the data; the promise to be truthful, the promise to provide comfort, the promise to be an advocate, the promise that couldn’t be kept and the promise to remain connected. The research adequately met almost all the criteria for critiquing a phenomenology study. This research provides a deep insight into the nurse’s experience for the dying patient.