Critically Analysing Primary Research Articles

Locating and Critically Analysing Primary Research Articles

In their study, Housholder-Hughes et al. (2015) investigate the usefulness of a nurse-led disease management program for patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) following discharge from hospital. The study shows that ACS patients who attended the program after discharge depicted greater adherence to evidence-based self-management behaviour, improved mental and physical health, as well as increased satisfaction with care. The 12-week program — broken down into three one hour visits every month — involved assessing patients for clinical symptoms and risk factors, educating them about coronary artery disease (CAD), and referring them to appropriate nutrition and exercise. The study underscores the role of nurses in promoting physical and mental health in ACS patients after they are released from hospital. Nurses help ACS patients adopt the right behaviours post-discharge in terms of physical activity, dietary habits, compliance with medication, and lifestyle modification in general. This can minimise the likelihood of rehospitalisation, a rather common occurrence in ACS patients (Housholder-Hughes et al., 2015).

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Kines’s (2016) study demonstrates the effectiveness of nutrition and lifestyle modification in treating irritable bowel syndrome. Based on a 43-year-old female patient working as a professional athlete, the study shows that customised dietary guidelines, nutritional recommendations, and lifestyle adjustments were effective in treating the patient’s gastritis and hypochlorhydria signs. Generally, chronic gastrointestinal complications such as gastritis and heartburn are treated and managed with antibiotics and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). These drugs, however, often provide temporary relief rather than eliminating the root cause of the problem. The drugs may even complicate the problem due to their negative side effects. Indeed, the prolonged use of PPIs may negatively affect gastrointestinal processes, ultimately resulting in stomach cancer (Kines, 2016). One of the major underlying causes of gastrointestinal complications is diet. Some diets may affect gastrointestinal processes by increasing the production of methane, obstructing the digestion of proteins, raising stomach acidity, and increasing constipation. The problem may further be compounded by inadequate chewing. With the right choice of diet, therefore, these problems can be effectively resolved.

Lifestyle and diet are important predictors of health and wellbeing. The everyday activities as well as the type of foods post-hospitalization patients consume can cause serious health complications in the long-term. Indeed, majority of non-communicable illnesses such as cancer and heart disease significantly affect lifestyle and diet. This largely explains why evidence has increasingly demonstrated the importance of lifestyle and dietary changes in preventing lifestyle diseases. A study of 213 ACS patients conducted by Housholder-Hughes et al. (2015) shows that nutrition and lifestyle changes undertaken after discharge from the hospital can prevent the reoccurrence of CAD and improve long-term mental and physical health. Though the study may have generalisation difficulties as it only involved educated Caucasian males, it has important implications for the prevention and management of cardiovascular risk. Dietary and lifestyle changes can prevent not only cardiovascular complications, but also gastrointestinal complications. This is demonstrated in a case study of a 43-year-old female patient conducted by Kines (2016). Though the nature of the case study may be a major limitation, Kines’s (2016) study demonstrates the value of nutrition changes in promoting gastrointestinal health.

Evidently, there is a difference between summarising and synthesising. The objective of summarising is to provide a synopsis of the information presented in an article or other form of text. Attention is paid to each text at a time with the aim of offering a quick overview and expressing the text’s overall meaning. Synthesising is quite different. It focuses on providing not only a synopsis, but also a critique of the text as well as the reader’s own conclusion. Unlike summarising, each source of information is not considered in isolation; the different sources are accumulated and contrasted with another, resulting in a unified text. Indeed, compared to summarising, synthesising is a better reading strategy as it provides new insights.


Housholder-Hughes, S., Ranella, M., Dele-Michael, A., & Rubenfire, M. (2015). Evaluation of a post discharge coronary artery disease management program. Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 27, 371-378.

Kines, K. (2016). Nutritional interventions for gastroesophageal reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, and hypochlorhydria: a case study. Integrative Medicine, 15(4), 49-56.

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