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Identification of significant research evidence through critical review


Discuss about the Evaluation Of Research Evidence.

The evaluation of research evidence is imperative for any research work. The critical review aids in the identification of research evidence that can be significant in the application of the findings into an organization. The critical evaluation of the research evidence aims at finding out crucial aspects invalidating a research or not (LoBiondo-Wood et al. 2016). The paper will also look at the research methodologies that were used and their ability of the researcher to address the research questions.  In addition, the paper  will  look at the  findings  of the  two articles , and review  their ability  to  address the aims , hypothesis or the  research questions of the study. Moreover, there is need to identify barriers that may be present and those that may affect applicability of the research evidence (Kong et al. 2014). Lastly, the PICO elements are identified as the guiding questions to research studies. The ability of a research to fully address the elements of PICO is imperative.  It is thus vital to check if the elements of PICO were addressed as it is required.  

The authors are all qualified given that they are all affiliated to various universities and specifically in the psychology/psychotherapy/psychiatry departments. It is certain that there may be some form of biases given that all the authors have relations from various learning institutions.  It is thus clear that the findings from the research may have an element of bias.

The aim of the research was to have an in-depth study on the drug-induced performance through the use of prescribed stimulants and other illegal stimulants such as Methylphenidate amongst college students. The study also aimed at comprehending the experiences of the participants, the impact of the utilization of the stimulants and the factors that instigated the students to use the stimulants (Lewis, 2015).  The latter formed the justification of the study.

Data for the research was majorly collected through interviews.  The participants who were primarily college students were engaged in face to face interviews. The sample encompassed 18 healthy college students (Hilt, Loeb, & France, 2014). The questions that were associated in the interviews were those that had a relationship with the environment of the student. Again the face to face interviews was imperative in asking for more explanations for questions that the incompletely answered.

The researcher ensured that those that were involved in the conducting of the interview were equipped with interview skills.  The total number of interviewers was 3 and 1 psychologist (Hilt, Loeb & France, 2014). Moreover, the tape recording of interviews ensured that no data was lost.  The research methodology ensured that the researchers were able to acquire an in-depth and well-researched knowledge appertaining to the study.

Evaluation of research methodologies used in the study

The findings of the research fully addressed the research aims, for instance, it was identified that the use of the stimulants was instigated by other factors that related to the life of the students other than achievement of academic performance (Frond, Liu & Bauman, 2013).   In addition, the findings were able to efficiently address the aim of identifying the other factors that influenced the use of the stimulants.

The strengths of the article appertain to its ability to precisely address the research aims. In addition, use of face-face interviews aided in acquiring of relevant data that could fully inform the research questions. In addition, the use of leading questions aided in the acquiring of relevant data for the study but also was a factor that could bring out an element of biased findings for the research.  The other weakness will be on the use of a small sample that can make it difficult to generalize the information to the study population.

All the authors of the article affiliated to different institutions majorly those that relate to the field of Neuroscience and Psychology. It is impressive given that the research topic appertains to the two fields. The fact that some of the authors practiced their profession in a tertiary institution, there may be a conflict of interest that can jeopardize the result.  For instance, Marraccini is affiliated with numerous universities and also specializes in Psychology (Fain, 2017). The author has written many articles relating to psychology and received numerous awards for the same. It can thus be stated that the authors incorporated profound skills in the publishing of the article on the topic.

The research aimed at establishing if there was really the use of the prescribed stimulants amongst college students. The other aim was to verify the relationship that exists between NMUPs and EF amongst college participants.  The author precisely justified that there was the need to establish the effect that prescription stimulants had on college students in relation to their academic progress, given that they were widely used by most of the students.

The research design was majorly qualitative with the used of scales and tests.  The rating scales that tool are the BDEFS and SSQ. Information was also acquired in screening of the GPA of the participants. It was imperative to acquire information on the GPA of the students given that it was important to validate if the use of the prescribed stimulants had an effect of improving the academic performance amongst the college users (Munro et al. 2017).

Findings of two articles on the use of prescribed stimulants among college students

The utilization  of the BDEFs  was  objective  given that the participants were all above  the age  of 18.(Grove, Burns & Gray, 2014).The instrument is crucial in the evaluation of the participants that will be reporting EF deficits in various  aspects like  in self motivation,  consciousness of  time  and  in  the control of  emotions (Munro et al. 2017). Again, the instrument is recommended to be utilized in a research context.

The  scale  is able  to  dictate  the difficulties that  are  felt by the  participant  in regards  to EF. Lastly, it is paramount to discover that the tool is the most precise in screening categories of EF and their prevalence in the normal human activities over a long time. The authors were able to realize a multiple perspective session throughout their exercise that was very insightful (Giger, 2016). The participants of the research were majorly 308 college students specifically from public institutions based in the US.

Firstly, research results indicated that about 18.8% of the participants admitted to the utilization of the prescription stimulants. The realization of this fully addressed the aim of identifying the prevalence of the use of the prescribed stimulants amongst college students (Craig et al. 2013).  Secondly, participants that showcased EF deficits were seen to be the greatest NMUPS and indicated lower GPAs contrary to those that did not exhibit EF deficits.  The finding addressed the research question on the relationship that EF deficiencies had on the GPAs attained. Lastly, the authors found out that use of the prescribed stimulants for non medical purposes had the effect of non-moderation of the relationship that existed between Executive Functioning and GPA.  The finding relates to the aim of achieving the relationship that exists between the uses of the prescribed stimulants to academic performance that is reflected by the GPA.

The strengths of the research are dictated by the authors precisely answering the research questions and aims.  In addition, the authors are able to use the precise and the most effective research methodology for the research. The weakness lies in the inability of the researchers to fully address the research gap (DiCenso, Guyatt, & Ciliska, 2014).

 Firstly, the size of the research/study is one the barriers crucial factors to the application of the evidence. In the context of the articles especially in the first article, the sample size is small and thus generalization of the findings can be a problem. In addition, there are problems with developing the evidence that was attained (Amour et al. 2014). When information cannot be developed in regards to the evidence, and then it becomes difficult to apply the evidence.   Moreover, if there is lack of time for the findings of a research to be followed up, read through, understood and implemented into an organization application is almost impossible (Sadeghi?Bazargani et al.2014). Then there are issues of organizational barriers and finding the best evidence. In the latter, it can be resources or size that can make an organization to be unable to apply the research evidence. (Stein et al.2017).   

Strengths and weaknesses of the research

The research studies closely relate to the PICO questions. To begin with, ‘P’, the research studies address the problem that is the use of prescribed stimulants with the aim of achieving academic performance (Stein, 2017). In addition, the study population is identified which in our case is the college students. In the context of ‘I", the  research studies look at an investigation into the relationship between the use  of the stimulants and  the academic performance and later on indicate that a relationship occurs to a small extent  amongst students that have no EF  deficits. In the context of ‘C', it is the question of students with EF deficits and those with no EF deficits. Lastly, in the ‘O’ section, the researchers indicate the effects of the use of prescribed stimulants on the academic performance. PICO questions are smartly answered throughout the research.


In conclusion, the two articles are significant in the scenario that was highlighted earlier due to the evidence that they portray. It is also clear that the two articles give different perspectives of the scenarios that equip the researcher with a wide range of data to borrow information from.  It is ideally important to note that the two articles deal with similar and different variables and these aids in the researchers being able to attain data that appertains to the various variables that can be associated with the study.  The analysis of the critical evidence aids in the analyzing if the articles are significant or not which relies on their reliability. It is clear that the evidence that is given can be used or applied in other settings. It is also clear that there are barriers that can bar the evidence from not being applied to the scenario or in another related context (Upton et al. 2014).  It is imperative to ensure that strategies are put in place, those that will enable the evidence to be used in another practice.


Ammouri, A. A., Raddaha, A. A., Dsouza, P., Geethakrishnan, R., Noronha, J. A., Obeidat, A.  A., & Shakman, L. (2014). Evidence-based practice: Knowledge, attitudes, practice and

 perceived barriers among nurses in Oman. Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, 14(4), e537.

Craig, P., Dieppe, P., Macintyre, S., Michie, S., Nazareth, I., & Petticrew, M. (2013). Developing and evaluating complex interventions: the new Medical Research Council guidance. International journal of  nursing studies, 50(5), 587-592.

DiCenso, A., Guyatt, G., & Ciliska, D. (2014). Evidence-Based Nursing -E-Book: A Guide to Clinical Practice. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Giger, J. N. (2016). Transcultural Nursing -E-Book: Assessment and Intervention. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Grove, S. K., Burns, N., & Gray, J. (2014). Understanding&nbsp nursing research: Building an evidence-based practice. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Fain, J. A. (2017). Reading, understanding, and applying nursing research. FA Davis.

Foronda, C., Liu, S., & Bauman, E. B. (2013). Evaluation of simulation in undergraduate nurse          

education: An integrative review. Clinical Simulation in Nursing, 9(10), e409-e416

performance enhancement among university students - a qualitative approach. BMC Medical Ethics, 15(1), 23-23. doi:10.1186/1472-6939-15-23

Houser, J. (2016). Nursing research: Reading, using and creating evidence. Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Lewis, S. (2015). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. Health promotion practice, 16(4), 473-475.

LoBiondo-Wood, G., Haber, J., Cameron, C., & Singh, M. (2014). Nursing Research in Canada- E-Book: Methods, Critical Appraisal, and Utilization. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Munro, B. A., Weygand, L. L., Marraccini, M. E., & Oster, D. R. (2017). The relationship between nonmedical use of prescription stimulants, executive functioning, and academic outcomes. Addictive Behaviors, 65, 250-257.doi:

Kong, L. N., Qin, B., Zhou, Y. Q., Mou, S. Y., & Gao, H. M. (2014). The effectiveness of problem-based learning on the development of nursing students' critical thinking: A systematic review and meta-analysis. International journal of nursing studies, 51(3), 458- 469.

Sadeghi?Bazargani, H., Tabrizi, J. S., & Azami?Aghdash, S. (2014). Barriers to evidence?based medicine: a systematic review. Journal of evaluation in clinical practice, 20(6), 793-802.

Stein, K., Hindin, M. J., Chou, D., & Say, L. (2017). Prioritizing and synthesizing evidence to improve the health care of girls and women living with female genital mutilation: An overview of the process. International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics, 136(S1), 3- 12.

Upton, D., Stephens, D., Williams, B., & Scurlock-Evans, L. (2014). Occupational therapists' attitudes, knowledge, and implementation of evidence-based practice: A systematic review of published research. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 77(1), 24-38.

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