Justification of the Title
The title of the research paper “Two dead frankfurts and a blob of sauce: The serendipity of receiving nutrition and hydration in Australian residential aged care” is a little distinctive and unique although it captures the essence of the research very well (Bernoth, Dietsch & Davies, 2014). Two dead frankfurts and a blob of sauce encompass the quality of food served in the RAC (residential aged care) services whereas the very word serendipity connotes with a sense of accidental discovery, chance or luck that perfectly describes the lack of certainty in the provision of nutrition and fluid for the aged persons in Australian residential aged care homes.
Validation of the Abstract
The abstract of the study is well divided into background, methods, findings and conclusion parts underpinning the key theme of each of the topics in the study effectively. In the summary of the background, the abstract clearly states the topic of the research and that how it has been conducted, through two distinct yet consistent research projects carried out in 2009 and 2011 mentioning the participants too (Bernoth et al., 2014 , p. 2). The methods and findings have also been fittingly summarized, while the conclusion part includes the implication of the findings.
However, the abstract of the conclusion does not hold any point on where the serendipity of the aged people to have good food and hydration in the aged care homes lies. Although this point is a part of conclusion chapter, the abstract fails to mention it.
Substantiating the Introduction
The major drawback of the introduction chapter is that the study does not separate the literature review from the background of the study and the opinions gathered from the relevant literature have been inscribed under the heading of introduction. In fact, the introduction of the study is merely the background stated briefly, whereas an ideal introduction of the research papers should specify the context in detail . Alongside, the introduction chapter fails to clarify the research questions or the research objectives that are essential to write any standard research paper (Martin et al., 2016). Here, the readers are in darkness about the research objectives of the researchers and this makes the paper a little vague.
Moreover, the introduction chapter neither specifies any problem statement nor states the purpose of the study. Without the problem statement, the readers will not be able to comprehend the importance of the study and the significance of the topic. For an ideal introduction, it is important to make the readers familiar with problem statement, research purpose, hypothesis and assumption of the research beforehand. However, in this study, after the brief description of the background, the literature review starts abruptly and thus, the ‘Introduction’ do not provide a strong foundation of the study that it is expected to do.
Commenting on the Literature Review
Literature reviews are obligatory to any research conducted as a perfect synopsis of the existing relevant literature provides the readers with an understanding how the study they are going through adjust in the wider context (Aveyard, 2014)). For an instance, the literature review of this study about the serendipity of aged persons to receive proper nutrition and hydration in the residential age care homes describes the amount of nutrition the aged people have been accustomed with when they were young. The way Bemoth, Dietsch and Davies (2014) have drawn the matter of nutrition in historical context, sets the platform for the readers to understand where the aged care homes are lacking. The literature effectively mentions, “Food has meaning, memories and traditions and these become more significant to those in residential aged care” and that “Mealtimes are one aspect of the day that residents should be able to anticipate” (Chisholm, Jensen & Field 2011, p. 165). The literature review is also effective in the sense this offers a deeper understanding on the topic of food and nutrition; in the very first line of the literature review it reveals that it is “…the companionship of meal sharing enhances the nutritional status of older people” (Vesnaver & Keller, 2011, p.2). The periodical analysis of food and changes in food habits occurred in Australia described in the literature review helps the audience to anticipate the sufferings and dilemma of the aged people in the RAC services.
An ideal literature review will “implicitly begin to justify the choice of subject” of the research and looking at this study it can be said that the literature review is never off the track and repeatedly, after every revelation from the literature, the authors try to return to their subject topic (Bernoth et al., 2014). The literature clearly shows that although, in their youth, the aged people were accustomed with food rationing during World War II but that had a specific purpose, to contribute to the effort of war (Lim et al., 2014). Now, in the RAC services, the restrictions in food happen on the part of the aged people themselves due to lonely dining room and poor quality food experience. Thus, the literature review, giving an insight to the happy days of the aged people, adds to the sense of misery.
The ending part of this section provides a grim idea how malnourishment can become deadly for the aged people and presents an alarming statistics of malnourished aged persons where almost half of the population residing in the aged care homes are under the threat of malnutrition. Therefore, the critique of literature review shows that to explore the serendipity of receiving nutrition for the aged people, the literature review has been effective in providing a good deal of research on the past food experiences of the aged people (Griffiths et al., 2014). Moreover, the multiplicity of literature used by the authors of this study has enriched the secondary research with knowledge and relevant statistical information.
Verifying the Methodology
The research methodology is referred to the science of conducting a research systematically to fulfill the objectives (Creighton, Davison & Kissane, 2016). Under the methodology section, the researcher offers a brief description of the various steps that are to be followed while conducting the research. Looking at the methodology of this study, it can be seen that in the very beginning, purposes of the first and second research project have been specified. This is indeed a great beginning of the methodology chapter as the readers get to know the context of the previously done researches based on which the present study is to proceed.
The first project done in 2009 attempted to explore what the friends and the families, who have some near and dear ones in the aged care homes feel about the RAC services. The purpose of the second project significantly inspects the impact on the communities, friends and the families when the aged persons had to depart their remote and rural communities to avail the RAC services.
However, it is little unusual that the methodology section describes the implications of the projects conducted and that in both of the research projects, what difficulties the participants had spoken of (Street et al., 2015, 520). This should have been appropriately mentioned in the findings section. Moreover, the methodology section does not clarify what methods the research is to adopt. Although it has been stated that for both the research projects interviews have been conducted, it is never clearly mentioned that the researchers have adopted qualitative analysis method. However, the verification of the methodology should concentrate on whether the followed methods are appropriate for the research. In this context of the study, the adopted research methods are appropriate, as the research problem is rather subjective and hence, taking interviews are the most suitable measure for this.
Analysis of Data Collection and Data Analysis Method
Participants of the interviews were employed through the CSU media release making the public aware of the opportunity to participate in the project. However, taking up interviews and recruiting participants in this way leaves a question on the authenticity of the accounts told by the participants since no confirmatory step has been taken by the researchers to authenticate the documents (Beattie et al. 2014, p. 60).
The interviews were audio-taped and thereafter transcribed precisely to structure the in-depth and unstructured interviews that lasted for one or two hours long. The notable part of the data collection process is that the transcribed interviews were sent to the respective interviewees to cross check the information noted down before the proceedings of data analysis (Bernoth et al., 2014). This ensured the validity of the data analysis conducted.
The data analysis, on the other hand, was conducted following the thematic investigation method, which is the best-fitted one for this study due to the subjective nature of the topic (Lim et al., 2014). To appear to an authenticated data analysis result, the researchers chose three different thematic analysis approaches. This is a well thought strategy by the researchers as with a single thematic analysis it was not possible to explore the themes of the stories, contents and to apply on the interpretation purpose.
Analysis of the Findings
The findings of the research are shocking and to present them in a well-fortified form, the researchers have divided the findings into sub-headings so that the readers are able to understand the varied problems that the research findings have come across. The research findings have also been subdivided into four sections to recognize the “serendipity of receiving food and fluids” (Bernoth et al., 2014). The first subsection deals with the negligence of the care staff and the atmosphere of loneliness and of long wait in the dining room. This finding effectively connects with the literature review where it was stated that the quality of nutrition offered by food increases with sharing and this environment leads to mental depression for the aged people (Creighton, Davison & Kissane, 2016). In addition, the care staffs are fewer comparing with the needs and are not adequately concerned about the safety and well-being of the aged persons.
On the other hand, the quality of food was also highly compromised in these RAC services, primarily which led to malnutrition and dehydration among the aged people. Recurring the information presented in the literature review again, the study confirms how the absence of preferred food according to food tradition and culture detract the nutrition quotient of the food served. The study also highlights a very important fact i.e. the absence of any dietician to measure the quantity and nutritional value of the food being served, indicating the low standard of monitoring here.
Moreover, the subsections of food hygiene and iatrogenic malnutrition startle the readers in terms of shocking findings in these areas. The matter of food hygiene is, however quite arbitrarily maintained as the research findings say. While some of the food items are completely prohibited in the RAC facilities due to hygiene issue, there are various other things where the hygiene issue is extremely compromised in the kitchen. The iatrogenic malnutrition i.e. inability to access the food served without the help of any assistance is also a grim issue that the interview findings deal with.
Critique of the Discussion
Although the discussion chapter tries to hold considerable discernment on the reasons of the issues emerged from the analysis of the findings, it fails to suggest any solution to these problems in the RAC services (Street et al. 2015, p. 516). However, the drawbacks in the RAC services have been well analyzed here viewing it as violation to legal standards as well as violation to basic human rights.
Reviewing the Limitations of the Study
The study fittingly recognizes its limitation of being based on one-sided reviews from the participants. The lack of positive experiences from the participants certainly makes the study depend on one-sided reviews (Bernoth et al., 2014). Thus, the basic limitation remains in the data collection process, especially the way the researchers have recruited participants.
Substantiating the Conclusion
The conclusion is brief and perfectly summarizes the key themes and ideas of the study without being reiterative at the same time. This is, by all means fitting to the structure and idea of the research paper, although the recommendations seem to be missing.
Value of the Study
The study offers a thorough understanding of how the elderly people are suffering in the RAC services. The writing style of the researchers is also vivid, clear and authenticated by excerpts of interviews. However, the study has little contribution in providing any solution for the grim situation in the RAC services that could have made any advancement in the practice and knowledge of aged care facilities.
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