Qualitative Critique: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Qualitative Critique: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease


The research is an exploration of the experiences of people living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The study employed a phenomenological research tradition in providing the best understanding of daily lives of patients living with the condition. Ten participants provided information through unstructured interviews to give verbatim details of their experiences. The paper then used a seven stage analysis to harmonize the identified themes and understand the challenges that evolved from the interviews. Results were relayed from a patient’s perspectives revealing valuable insights on the impacts of the diseases on the patients’ daily lives. The results show that breathlessness is the most troublesome symptom but half of the patients interviewed believed they had fairly good quality of life.


This paper critiques an article that explored the experiences of patients living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and how it affected their daily lives. The ethical aspects are first explored to ascertain the extent of ethical validation sought in the process of research. The research tradition is also identified and its suitability for the specific study critiqued. In addition, the congruence of the methodology and data analysis is tested with relation to the research tradition employed. Further, the sampling and data collection techniques used are analyzed with a focus on their effectiveness in the particular study. Ultimately, the relevance of the research in clinical practice and the implications of the same in future studies is analyzed.


The study is anchored around the topic of the experiences of patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In the study, the experiences were captured through an investigation of the subjective phenomena that the patients described. The topic perhaps stems from the increasingly growing prevalence of the disease both in the UK and the globe and the resultant high mortality among the patients. Surprisingly, the symptoms increase with progress of the condition thus heralding the onset of more challenges on many aspects of the patients’ lives.  By focusing on the experiences of the patients, the paper breaks the academic norm to listen to the voices of the people that are most affected, something that is a rarity.

Ethical Aspects

The paper is validly ethical in both practice and design as most of the ethical principles were considered during the study and the publication. Even before the interviews were conducted, the researchers sought for ethical approval from the local ethical research committee to ensure all conditions were met. In addition, the participants were asked for their permission to use their narration in the study way before the interviews were conducted. In addition to the participants, permission was also sought from the respiratory consultants from who some data was attained (Barnett, 2005). Through these developments, it is clear that the researchers had the clear intention of maintain the highest levels of ethics. In addition to seeking consent from participants and the relevant bodies, the research further maintained confidentiality throughout the research. The assurance for anonymity of information collected was given to the participants as one way of improving motivation. Moreover, the research does not provide the names of the participants in the publication thus ensuring confidentiality of their personal information.

Research Tradition

The research identifies the paper as a phenomenological study studying the experiences of the patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In this research tradition, the researcher suspends their belief on the existence of the objects under study in order to investigate how these objects are experienced. In the case of this study, the object is the chronic pulmonary obstructive disease and how it is experienced by the patients. In line with the tradition, the paper employs a methodology that is congruent with the dictates of the same. The paper thus focuses on the individual lived experiences by detailing how their daily lives are affected by the disease. In this regard, the methodology employed the use of unstructured interviews in gaining rich and full experiences of the patients’ accounts. Moreover, the analysis of data was done in seven stages to comply with the research tradition selected thus culminating in a holistic data analysis spanning from the stage of data collection (Barnett, 2005). In the end, the uniqueness of each experience shared as well as its understanding was preserved in the data analysis.


Based on the style of study employed, purposive sampling was selected in collecting in depth information from the participants identified. The qualitative nature of the study ruled out the possibility of having participants based on their representativeness. Rather, and contrast to quantitative methods, the participants were chosen based on either their experiences with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or expertise on the same. In the end, sixteen participants were sourced from a chest clinic with certainty that they suffered from no other disabling condition. After the selection, only ten of the sixteen participants gave consent to the use of their information in this study.

Data Collection

Interviewing was the main data collection method employed in the study due to the nature of the objectives. Before the collection of data, the researchers sent each of the participants a letter with details of the study’s purpose as well as an information sheet on the same. The participants were required to return an attached slip indicating their decision to participate in the study. The interested parties were then contacted by telephone to arrange for interviews at their homes in order to minimize disruptions. In order to maximize on the information collected from the participants, the questions asked were structured to initiate conversations. In addition, one broad and open question was asked that captured all the intended responses from the participants. In essence, the participants were asked to detail their daily experiences living with their breathing problems. In the same breadth, the participants were encouraged to explore all their experiences in their own words. Data and information from the participants was audiotaped to obtain true accounts from the participants’ own words.

Clinical Practice

The research has a section on the implications of the study for future professional practice. The level of awareness raised in relation to the frightening experiences of living with the diseases is identified as an important area in clinical practice. The paper uses past studies to conclude that the disease has no cure with minimal effects from medical interventions. However, the expeeri8ences of the people living with the disease can be improved through listening to them and adapting coping strategies for the same. The paper delves into a topic that is rarely studied thus providing greater understanding of the condition.



Barnett, M. (2005). Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a phenomenological study of patients’ experiences. Journal of clinical nursing, 14(7), 805-812.

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