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Critical review of a research paper from the literature Essay

Orthotic devices, though very useful in treating lower extremity injuries, have become very expensive, which makes many patients be unable to afford them. This proves to be a challenge to the many patients in need of these healthcare services. As a result of this, semi-custom alternatives were introduced in the market in order to act as alternatives to successful treatment of these injuries (Zifchock and Davis 2008: 1287). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the success of these devices, especially when treating people who have extreme cases of either high or low arches.

A research was subsequently carried out in a laboratory which was equipped to analyse the comfort levels and rearfoot kinematics of the subjects. These subjects were thirty seven in number and were subjected to various tests, which included their behavior under semi-orthotics, custom orthotics and no-orthotic conditions. The findings of the study showed that both semi-orthotics and custom orthotics had reasonably high success rates in the reduction of excursion and eversion velocity.

The custom orthotics had a higher success rate in reducing the eversion excursion. However, the semi-orthotics realised higher success rates in comfort among high arched subjects, especially in the arch and heel regions. Generally, the research findings proved that the semi-orthotics were reasonably practical alternatives to custom orthotics in terms of controlling the rearfoot motion and comfort. Critical review. The authors begin the paper by explaining the success of the foot orthotics, which they place at 75%.

They also explain the uses of these devices with regards to correction of deformities, and they explain that the devices are used in extreme problems that occur in the lower part of the body. Such areas include the Achilles tendonitis and the anterior knee. The authors further explain the reasons behind the success of these devices, and their prohibitive costs which make many people be unable to afford them. The authors in this case have discussed a lot about the orthotics but have not really defined what they are. In fact, a lay man, may have no idea of what the subject of the study is.

The authors should have began by explaining that foot orthotics are special devices that correct or support musculoskeletal abnormalities or deformities, that occur in the lower parts of the human body, such as the legs (Advanced Orthotic Designs 2008). They should have explained the nature of these devices through the use of a diagram, if possible. The authors further explain the prohibitive nature in the cost of these orthotic devices and go further to give the price range, which they place between $100 and $400.

The authors must be commended for giving the price range, since it gives the readers of the article an insight of how affordable these devices are. However, the authors may have gone further and explained the reasons for this large price range and explained which types of orthotic devices cost $100, and which ones cost $400. The semi-orthotics are thereafter introduced to the article, and the authors explain how they are made. They explain that moulds are created based on the measurements of a person’s foot, and also explain the cost benefits that are gained through this alternative.

However, since the authors have not described how custom orthotics is developed, it is difficult to use the creation process of semi-orthotics described by the author to understand the difference between the two. The authors go on to describe the differences that people with excessively high and low arches face. They also go into detail explain the purpose of the study, which had been briefly discussed in the abstract page. The next phase is the introduction of the research methods. Research Methods. The research used a priori analysis, which only requires 18 subjects. The researchers used 37 subjects; 19 low-arched and 18 high-arched.

It is clear that the number of low arched subjects were higher than the number of high arched subjects. Since the research tests the subjects in terms of low arch and high arch characteristics at this stage, it is fair to say that they should have both been given a level ground when testing these characteristics. The number of subjects should have been the same, in order not to introduce bias in the experiment (Yin 2003: 62-67). The fact that the low arched subjects are more increases the probability that testing them will produce a lesser margin of error, since the sample size is higher. The average age of the subjects was 23.

6 years, 66. 5 kilograms in weight and 1. 7 metres in height. There were 20 females and 17 males. The number of females is greater than that of males. Since the genders are being tested for similar characteristics, they should have been equal in number so that any conclusions made in terms of gender can be accurate. Since females are more, it means that there will be a lesser margin of error due to a larger sample size, as opposed to their male counterparts. Any subjects who had injuries did not take part in the experiment, which is a good decision, since the injuries would have affected the results of the research.

The measurement of the arches using an arch height index system of measurement is commendable since it is a very accurate system of measurement. Subsequently, measurements of the feet of these subjects were performed, and the plaster casts created by professionals. After being developed, the subjects received the casts without knowing if they were custom or semi custom. The decision not to inform the subjects was wise, since it would prevent bias or manipulation of results (Tansky and Heneman 2006: 123-125).

However, the authors do not mention the checks and balances which were developed to prevent the manufacturers from manipulating the manufacturing process, which would have enabled them to manipulate the results. This is very important information which the authors did not give, since custom manufacturers are likely to manipulate the results to favour them and vice versa. Processing of data was done through the Visual 3D software, mixed ANOVAs amongst other means. Statistical significance used was 0. 05. The authors should have mentioned the various strengths and weaknesses of the data processing methods and other hardware and software used.

The conflict of interest notes at the end of research briefly explains some of these concerns. Results. The general results indicated that both the semi orthotics and the custom orthotics considerably reduced excursion and eversion velocity. The custom orthotic significantly reduced eversion velocity in comparison to the no-orthotic conditions. This was similarly observed in the semi-orthotic conditions. When comfort was analysed, the findings revealed that the semi-orthotic devices significantly improved comfort in the heel region, in high arched individuals.

These findings reveal that the semi custom orthotic is just as effective as the custom orthotic. However there is a lack of clear information on the exact differences between the two, in terms of superiority. It is not disclosed if indeed the custom orthetics are superior to the semi-custom orthetics. The major aim of the experiment appears to be the measurement of performance of the custom orthetics and the semi-orthetics, in relation to the characteristics of the subject of the study. There is very little comparison between the two types of orthetics, on their own.

We cannot therefore tell which is superior, and for what reasons. This can be said to be one weakness of the study. Methodology. The authors used case studies, academic journals as sources of information. These methods of collecting information can be classified as secondary sources of information. This is because they are obtained from research carried out by other people. According to Gall et al. (2003: 78-83), advantages of using academic journals include the fact that they more reliable than most sources of information, since they are written by scholars who are experts in the field of study.

This makes the probability of making errors or having bias reasonably low. They can also be accessed at low costs over the Internet and cover a wide range of topics. Finally, according According to Kothari (2005: 53-62), they are useful when carrying out exploratory studies, where there is limited information on the subject of the study. However, just as other sources of secondary data, there are limitations of using these forms of data (Maxwell 2000). The first weakness of the use of secondary sources of data is the inability to seek confirmation or further explanations from the authors of the work.

This is due to the reason that unlike some methods of collecting data such as observation, there is a very low possibility of seeking audience with the authors and getting further explanations on the topic of study. According to Steinberg (2004), another weakness is that the researchers face the possibility if relying on biased information when conducting their research, which may distort their findings. If the original author was biased when conducting the research, then relying on the same information may lead to inaccurate findings and conclusions.

However, it has been seen that the possibility of this risk has been reduced through the use of academic journals when conducting the research. Finally, the authors must be commended for conducting a comprehensive research, judging from the vast number and credibility of the references. They used over twenty references, most of which are academic journals, which enabled them to acquire a detailed report on the subject of study. Conclusions and recommendations. The overall research paper has been seen to have relied on a comprehensive research, judging from the validity of the references.

The research method was also consistent with the expectations of this type of experiment. However, there were a few flaws that needed to be addressed. In analyzing the format of a research paper, it becomes clear that the hypothesis is missing from this research. The statement of hypothesis is absent, and though the authors explain the intention of the research, the lack of it may make some people question the authenticity and validity of the research paper (Creswell 2000: 52-58). Another weakness that was discussed involved the use of secondary sources of data to obtain information.

The authors did not present these weaknesses to the readers, or other people who will rely on the same research when conducting future researches. In future, they should explain the weaknesses of the studies in order for readers to know the risks involved when relying on the same (Hinkel 2005: 239). In summary, the research can be said to be a success, since the weaknesses are far much lesser than the strengths of the research. Bibliography. Advanced Orthotic Designs. 2008. What is an orthotic device? Retrieved on January 19, 2009 from <http://www. aodmobility. com/body_orthotic_devices. htm>. Creswell, J. W. 2002.

Research Design: Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Method Approaches. New York: SAGE Gall, M. D. , Borg, W. R. , Gall, J. P. (2003). Educational research: An introduction. New York: Longman. Hinkel, E. 2005. Handbook of Research in Second Language Teaching and Learning. London: Routledge. Kothari, C. R. 2005. Research Methodology: Techniques & Methods. New York: New Age Publishers. Maxwell, J. A. 2000. Qualitative research design. Retrieved on January 19, 2009 from <www. socresonline. org. uk/1/4/hammersley. html – 7k>. Steinberg, D. M. 2004. Social work students research handbook. Retrieved on January 19, 2009 from <books. google.co. ke/books? isbn=0789014815>. Tansky, J. W. , Heneman, R. L. (2006).

Human Resource Strategies for the High Growth Entrepreneurial Firm. London: IAP. Yin, R. K. 2003. Case study research methods and designs. New York: SAGE. Zifchock, R. A. , Davis, I. 2008. A comparison of semi-custom and custom foot orthotic devices in high and low arched individuals during walking. Retrieved on January 19, 2009 from <:http://www. sciencedirect. com/science? _ob=MImg&_imagekey=B6T59-4TB6SK9-3-C&_cdi=4997&_user=899537&_orig=search&_coverDate=12%2F31%2F2008&_sk=999769989&view=c&wchp=dGLbVlb-zSkzV&md5=332b44c790485c5c32fa77c5cab24d08&ie=/sdarticle. pdf>.

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