N6130: Module 4 Short Answer Essays


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1. Read the scenario below, answer the questions that follow and please give reasons for your answers.


Brusser and Janosy wanted to test the effectiveness of a new relaxation/biofeedback intervention on menopausal symptoms. They invited women who presented themselves in an outpatient clinic with complaints of severe hot flashes to participate in the study of the experimental treatment. These 50 women were asked to record, every day for 3 weeks before the intervention, the frequency and duration of their hot flashes. The intervention itself involved five 1-hour sessions over a period of 1 week. Then, for the 3 weeks after the treatment, the women were asked to record their hot flashes again every day. At the end of the study, Brusser and Janosy found that both the frequency and average duration of the hot flashes had been significantly reduced in this sample of 50 women. They concluded that their intervention was an effective therapy in treating menopausal hot flashes.


a. Was there random assignment in this study? Explain. (5 points)

b. Is the design experimental, quasi-experimental, or nonexperimental? Explain. (5 points)

c. Discuss ways in which this study achieved or failed to achieve the criteria for making causal inferences. (5 points)


2. Read below a fictitious study, answer the questions that follow and please justify your answers:


Brady hypothesized that inadequate social support among the elderly results in a high level of chronic health problems and low morale. She tested this hypothesis by interviewing a sample of 250 residents of one community who were aged 65 years and older. The participants were randomly selected from a list of town residents. Brady asked a series of questions about the availability of socioemotional supports (e.g., whether the participants lived with any kin, whether they had any living children who resided within 30 minutes away, whether they belonged to any clubs or social groups). Based on responses to the various questions on social support, participants were classified in one of three groups: low social support, moderate social support, and high social support. In a 6-month follow-up interview, Brady collected information from 214 participants about the frequency, type, and intensity of the respondents’ illnesses in the preceding 6 months, hospitalizations during that period, and their overall satisfaction with life. The data analysis, which controlled for participants’ income, revealed that participants in the low-support group had significantly more health problems and hospitalizations and lower life satisfaction ratings than those in the other two groups. Brady concluded that the availability of social supports resulted in better physical and mental adjustment in the elderly.


a. Was there attrition in this study? Explain. (5 points)

b. Was selection a possible threat to the internal validity of this study? Explain. (5 points)

c. Could randomization have been used in this study? Explain. (5 points)


3. Here is a brief summary of the sampling plan of a proposed quantitative study. Read the summary and then respond to the questions that follow.


Patregnani studied the attitudes of recent nursing school graduates (registered nurses) toward evidence-based nursing practice. She was interested in exploring whether the nurses’ attitudes varied in relation to the type of employment or further training they had pursued. She obtained lists of graduates from three schools of nursing—one school in each of three different metropolitan areas (Boston, St. Louis, and Seattle). She then conducted structured telephone interviews with 50 graduates of each school. Her method was to find (using alumni information provided by the schools, local telephone directories, and Internet resources) the telephone numbers for as many names on her lists as she could and to make calls until she had completed 50 telephone interviews with graduates from each of the three schools. Thus, her final survey sample consisted of 150 recently graduated RNs.


a. Did Patregnani use probability or nonprobability sampling? Explain. (5 points)

b. What specific type of sampling was used? Explain. (5 points)



4. Read below the short excerpt from a report of longitudinal clinical project conducted with a sample of cancer patients undergoing active treatment and followed up for 3 months.


…We did not find statistically significant change over time between the intervention group and the attention control group…


a. What other information would you need to verify before reaching any conclusion about the efficacy of the intervention (referred above)? Please list all the potential factors that you think relevant in the critical appraisal of the above case, and briefly explain. (10 points)




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