The aim of this assignment is to develop your ability to synthesis research findings to create a comprehensible and clear practice recommendation. The majority of marks will be assigned to the depth of your comparison, your synthesis of relevant results and your discussions regarding application to practice and future research.
This assignment will require you to move beyond discussing the similarities and differences between two studies, to exploring elements of the study design to determine potentially why similarities or differences exist between the results presented. You should be critically evaluating the evidence and comparing the papers to develop an overall understanding of the area. In doing this it is not enough to have generic statements like “a strengthening program results in improved muscle strength (Larsson et al 2015)”, this is superficial and does not demonstrate a deep understanding or critical review of the evidence. A more appropriate statement would be something like:
“A six-week program of twice-weekly progressive resistance training of the quadriceps, starting at 50% of one rep max, has been demonstrated to increase quadricep strength by 12% (Larsson et al 2015), however this improvement did not translate into improved walking speed. Although a transfer of strength to improvements in a functional task may be expected, as quadricep strength has been shown to relate to walking speed in people with mild knee arthritis (Sutton et al 2016), it may be that task specificity is important. A more recent study by Petrov and Lambert (2018) combined a similar progressive resistance exercise program with a walking component, and in addition to improvements in quadricep strength they found an average increase in walking speed during a 10mwt of 0.12m/s.”
You could then compare study outcomes based on other aspects such as the inclusion criteria, disease severity, and build up a critical understanding of the area (note: these are the areas for comparison you’re asked to decide upon for your specific articles). Make sure that your critical evaluation comes through, and it is clear what is information from a reference and what is your voice as the author.
Choose two studies (if you choose a systematic review, ensure the second study is not included in the systematic review) that have been published within the last 5 years.
For your comparison, please ensure you address the following:
• Your articles chosen for your comparison must be recently published (within the last 5 years)
• Provide rationale regarding why this is a relevant area of discussion
• What areas are you comparing (for example, population, inclusion criteria, intervention, or outcome measures) and why? Discuss their clinical or scientific relevance.
• How does your area of comparison influence the research? Consider methodology, results and application. For example, if discussing the inclusion criteria for a stroke visual rehabilitation intervention: Patient’s in one study needed to be independently mobile as the outcome involved scanning while walking, whereas the other could be dependent in wheelchair mobility. Thus, the second study had people with denser strokes which may have influenced the results, as no statistically significant improvement was shown in the second study.
• Comment on how the study designs and methods have contributed to the corresponding level of evidence and ability to trust the results
• What are the results? (be specific and show your understanding on interpreting the values) • Provide recommendations in terms of clinical application
• How could future research be enhanced or built upon from the findings of these studies?
• Ensure a logical flow to your writing and ideas presented
• Ensure you remain within the word limit, format is easy to read, your sentence structure and grammar have been edited, and incorporate accurate APA referencing throughout.
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