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Alcohol Energy Drinks (AEDs) in Student Drinking Community

Info: 3592 words (14 pages) Essay
Published: 17th Jan 2018 in Nursing

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Adapted McMasters Critical Review Form – Qualitative Studies

Study Purpose:

Was the purpose and/or research question stated clearly? Yes No

Outline the purpose of the study and/or research question:

This research aims to investigate how the university students feel about the pre-mixed AEDs, including their perceptions and their experiences. Meanwhile the university students in this study indicate young people between 18 to 25 years’ old.

How does the study apply to nursing practice or patient care?

Considered the potential harm that young people might have from the alcohol energy drinks (AEDs), this study focuses on why young people take AEDs and what are their experiences of AEDs in order to reveal the unhealthy side of AEDs for more people. As a matter of fact, energy drinks reduced people’s subjective perception of the intoxication of alcohol (Ferreira et al.2006). However, alcohol energy drinks have a significant relationship with the risk taking activities. They actually increase the rate of drunkenness, drinking and the relevant harms from alcohol behaviour. Furthermore, AEDs target young people as the major customer segment (Simmon and Mosher 2007). In the perspective of the patient care, this study presents how young people think about the AEDs which benefit the prevention of unsafe alcohol behaviours.


Was relevant background literature reviewed? Yes No

Describe the justification of the need for this study. Was it clear and compelling?

This study has a clear justification of the need. Firstly, this study introduces the harm of alcohol energy drinks from the literature review of the previous studies, such as the non-consensual sex, blackouts and aggressive behaviours. It also demonstrates that people have not paid enough attention to the AEDs because of the ambiguity between soft drinks and AEDs. Many of them do not realise the alcohol intoxication inside AEDs. Secondly, instead of investigating the results of consuming AEDs, this study explores the reason why young people take AEDs which is more meaningful for preventing the risk alcohol behaviours in the early stage.


What was the methodology/ design used?



Action Research


Was the design appropriate for the study question (ie: rationale)? Explain:

Yes, it is appropriate for the study question. Since the study aims to explore the specific experience and perception of the young people from18 to 25, the design adopts phenomenological methodology to observe the groups. Phenomenology could analyse people’s perception of a certain experience. In this way, phenomenological methodology could help the researchers to find out why young people attempt to have AEDs.

Method(s) used:

Participant observation


Document review

Focus groups


Describe the method(s) used to answer the research question

The methods include participant observation, interviews, document review and focus group. Firstly, the researchers conduct the document review in the study to establish the research framework, such as the discussion guide from the moderator. Secondly, the participants are divided into specific 4 focus groups which benefit the investigation of social phenomena. Thirdly, the researchers conduct a group interview during the investigation in order to observe the participants in the group.

Do the methods used in the study fit with the chosen methodology/ design?

Yes, these methods fit with the phenomenological methodology. Since phenomenological seeks to understand the experience of the young people, it could be related to the emotion and relationship. Focus group interviews are good for the investigation; it allows the researchers to observe the reaction and viewpoints from the communication between group members. Meanwhile, the document reviews also help the researchers to design a proper way to conduct the phenomenological methodology.


Was the process of participant selection described? Yes No

Describe the sampling methods used (ie: how were potential participants identified for and recruited to the study?)

Yes, the study describes the process of participant’s selection. The participants were recruited from regional universities. The researchers post the information of recruitment on notice boards. After screening the information of candidates, the researchers keep the people who fit the requirements of the study sample, 18 to 25 years’ old, drank alcohol for social purposes. As a result, every participant would get a $30 gift by the end of the interview.

Was the sampling method appropriate to the study purpose and/or research question?

Yes, it is appropriate. Since the research aims to explore the perception from 18 to 25 years’ people, it recruits the participants from university. Meanwhile the gift also encourages the students to take part in the studies. However, the amount of the group is small. This study merely recruits 21 students, including 9 males and 12 females. Compared to the scope of the study which covers the whole Australian young people, this study only has a small size of the sample. It is also a limitation in the research.

Was sampling done until saturation in data was reached? Yes No Not Addressed

Are the participants described in adequate detail?

The saturation in data was researched.

Yes the participants are described in adequate detail. For example, during the discussion of drinking to drunk, the researchers quote a participant in the study who thinks he would drink more when he gets AEDs rather the alcohol. Meanwhile, in the following sections of discussion, the researchers all present the quotations from the participants which make the study be more persuasive.

Was informed consent obtained? Yes No Not Addressed

Is ethics approval for the study stated?

Yes, it obtained the informed consent.

The study also stated the ethics approval. Since the participants were university students and the interview need to be recorded, the researchers get their ethics approval from the Human Research Ethics Committee of the university.

Data Collection

Descriptive Clarity – Clear & complete description of:

Study site/setting: Yes No

Participants: Yes No

Role of the researcher & relationship with participants: Yes No

Identification of assumptions & biases of the researcher(s): Yes No

Describe the context of the study. Was it sufficient for understanding the ‘whole’ issue/picture?

The investigation was conducted for an hour, one of the researchers play the role of the moderator during the interview to lead the discussion. Participants were encouraged to talk freely about their experience and perception of AEDs and the risks of the consumption. After all, the context of the study is very important to the ‘whole’ picture. It directly states that how the participants response to the research questions.

What was missing and how does that influence your understanding of the research?

In the study, the researchers do not present the whole interview questions or topics in the study. On the contrary, it focuses more on the summary of the focus group interview. The study presents the results directly. Even though without the whole interview topics or questions, it does not affect the conclusion of the study. It reduces the reliance of the study. It also makes me wonder how the participants come up with the description in the quotation of the study.

Procedural Rigour

Was procedural rigour used in data collection strategies? Yes No Not Addressed

Do the researchers provide adequate information about data collection procedures? (ie: gaining access to the site, field notes, who collected the data, etc)

Yes, the interview was conducted in the tutorial rooms in the university. One of the researchers leaded the communication through a discussion guide. There is a digital voice recorder to keep the record of how the participants discuss the topics. Meanwhile the moderator would pay close attention to the group dynamic and body language among the participants.

Data Analysis

Analytical Rigour

Was the data analysis inductive? Yes No Not Addressed

Were findings consistent with & reflective of the data collected? Yes No Not Addressed

Describe the method(s) of data analysis. Were the methods appropriate?

Yes, the methods were appropriate. Firstly, two researchers independently coded the transcripts from the investigation. They use the discussion guide as the provisional themes. Secondly, derived codes come out inductively. Researchers would discuss the provisional coding schemes and reach an agreement about the primary codes. Thirdly, they developed a hierarchical coding scheme with more detailed information. Meanwhile the verbatim quotations in the analysis are under pseudonyms in order to present patterns from the responses of the participants.

What were the findings?

Firstly, the study found that most of the participants had consumed AEDs, and they believe that the AEDs are in relation to the positive social experiences. There was no distinct difference between the result of females and the result of males. Secondly, the study found out four patterns among the participants, including drinking to be part of the crowd, to get drunk and convenience, and the negative impacts from AEDs.


Did the researcher(s) outline how they made decisions regarding the data? (ie: a decision trail was developed)

Yes No Not Addressed

Was the process of data analysis described appropriately? Yes No Not Addressed

Describe the decisions of the researcher re: transformation of data to codes/ themes:

The researchers used the discussion guide to form the provisional themes. For example, why the young people drink AEDs? Then they analysed the records from the interview which result in a certain pattern. Furthermore, they quoted the original words from the participants to support analysis results. The derived codes came out after the primary coding. The researchers presented their agreement of the final coding by the end of the section of the findings.

Outline the rationale given for how themes were developed:

The researchers analysed the reasons why young people drank AEDs in three main areas. The direct reason was that they drank AEDs to get drunk. The indirect reason was that young people believed it was in fashion to drink AEDs. Another reason was that it was convenient for young people to get AEDs. After the analysis on these three main area, the researchers focused on the negative impacts from AEDs. It fitted the objective and the questions of the research. Meanwhile the negative effects also indicated the researchers’ intention to prevent the consumption of AEDs.

Did a meaningful picture of the phenomenon under study emerge? Yes No

How were concepts/issues under study clarified and presented?

Firstly, during the section of drinking to drunk, the researchers analysed the basic research question that why young people consumed AEDs. In the perspective of directly influences, it found that the young people enjoyed the psychoactive impacts from alcohol and considered AEDs as RTDS which had more product features. Secondly, the researchers try to explore the other reasons why young people like AEDs. They found out that the consumption of AEDs is considered as the social bonding among the young people. It also revealed that AEDs were concerned in relation to the fashion. It indirectly affected the young people’s buying behaviour of AEDs. Thirdly, the researchers presented that the convenience was also a reason for young people to buy AEDs. It also supported their assumption that the ambiguity between soft drink and AEDs benefited the consumption. Finally, the researchers summarised the negative impacts from AEDs. It demonstrated that the researchers’ attempt to prevent the consumption of AEDs amongst the young people.

Overall Trustworthiness

Did the researcher(s) undertake activities to ensure the trustworthiness of the data & study?

Yes No Not Addressed

List the trustworthiness activities undertaken by the researcher(s) and explain why they are important:

  1. Verbatim quotations and pseudonyms of the participants. They indicated the credibility of the ‘true’ picture of the investigation. Different quotations indicated that there were a range of participants in the study.
  2. Adequate description of the participants and setting. It was transferability that the researchers presented the detailed information of the sampling, such as the tutor room and the gender and number of the participants.
  3. Clear explanation of the research process. The researchers explained how they get the results of the study through the analysis step by step in the study.
  4. Independent Coding. During the analysis, two researchers coded the transcripts independently which guaranteed the conformability of the study.

Study Conclusions:

Conclusions were appropriate given the study findings: Yes No

The findings contribute to theory development and/or future nursing practice/ research: Yes No

What did the study conclude?

The study concludes the ineffective public approaches towards the harmful AED consumption. Then it pointed out the meaning of the study was to benefit the strategies to prevent harmful AED consumption. Finally, it made a recommendation that the government could use more evidence of the harmful AED consumption to conduct more strict regulations in the alcohol industry.

What are the implications of these results for nursing practice and/or patient care?

The harmful AED consumption is in relation to the public health, especially when AEDs target the young people. The implication of this study helps people to understand young people’s attitude toward AEDs. However, it is not optimistic. In this way, this study is a strong evidence for the government to improve its regulation over the AED and alcohol market which would make a contribution to health of the young people and the society.


What were the main limitations in the study?

The sample size is too small. There were only 21 participants in the investigation. Meanwhile, the participants also try to avoid discussing themselves during the interview. Therefore the further study needs to have a larger size of sample to conduct a completed analysis.


Discuss the quality of the research based upon the critical appraisal you have undertaken:

This study explored the experience and perception of young about the consumption of AEDs. This study was a qualitative research. The researchers conduct a phenomenological methodology to study the theme, including group interview and observations. They also use focus groups and document review as a qualitative approach in the study. The process of the data collection and analysis has been clearly explained. The researchers have demonstrate that their rigour in the study process. However, the size of the sample is too small for the research objective. It the limitation for the study. Meanwhile the participants had attempted to talk about others rather than themselves during the investigation. Furthermore, the researchers had not stated their basis during the investigation.

Discuss how the appraisal process has broadened your understanding of assessing the quality of published research

The appraisal process helps me understand that even though the results of the study are important, the process of the study is more important to assess the quality of research. In the future, I would pay more attention to the design of the research, the size of the sample, the process of the data collecion and analysis. Iwould concern whether the author has conducted a rigorous research methodology (Letts et al. 2007). Then in the findings, Iwoud hold a critical attitude toward the results, whether the researcher gives a completed explanation of the relationship between findings and the analysis. In addition, I would seek the recommendations for further study in the conclusion of the research.



Ferreira, S.E., de Mello, M.T., Pompeia, S., de Souza-Formigoni, M.L. 2006, ‘Effects of energy drink ingestion on alcohol intoxication’, Alcohol Clin Exp Research, no.30, pp.598–605.

Letts, L., Wilkins, S., Law, M., Stewart, D., Bosch, J., and Westmorland, M., 2007, Guidelines for Critical Review Form: Qualitative Studies (Version 2.0), McMaster University, Hamilton.

Simmon, M. and Mosher, J. 2007, Alcohol, energy drinks, and youth: a dangerous mix. San Rafael, CA: Marin Institute.


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