Article Appraisal Essay Example

Article Citation: Tjulin, A., MacEachen, E. & Ekberg, K. (2009). Exploring Workplace Actors Experiences of the Social Organiation of Return to Work. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation. 20 (3): 311-321

Study Purpose

The authors have clearly outlined the purpose of the study to the readers in the abstract thus to explore how workplace actors experience
social relations at the workplace and how organizational
dynamics in workplace-based return-to-work extends
before and beyond the initial return of the sick listed worker to the workplace (Tjulin, MacEachen, & Ekberg, 2009). The article’s title is precise, concise, definitive though written in lower case it provides an interest to the reader to read the article since it gives the reader an overview of the article without having to read it. The abstract is structured in a logical manner in way it outlines to the reader in summary the purpose of the article, methods, results and conclusions of the research which is according to the characteristics of a good abstract (Elisabeth, 2009).


Introduction provides a context for author’s arguments attracts reader’s attention and gives the reader an overview of the thesis (Mildred, 2008). The article’s introduction starts by providing background knowledge to the reader as far as the research field is concerned. The first line of introduction sets a background in which the author defines the context for his arguments after which the author relates the arguments in relation to the problem of study in the fourth line of the first paragraph. In the last paragraph of the introduction part the author’s clearly states the objective of the study to the readers. The objective of the study has been clearly stated through which the reader can easily determine the thesis of the study after reading through the article. The elements of a good introduction have been full adhered to by the author as well as in a logically manner though not comprehensively covered (Tjulin, MacEachen, & Ekberg, 2009).

Literature Review

A literature review establishes hypothetical framework for the author’s area of research, it defines key terms and terminologies, identify related studies, models supporting the topic of research, defines and establishes the area of study. It also demonstrates the ability of the author to identify relevant information and existing knowledge on the topic of study. The Article’s literature review has been covered in summary in introduction section. Though, the literature review has been covered in brief it extensively summarizes the body of knowledge related to the phenomenon of interest (Letts et al, 2007).

In the first paragraph line thirteen the author’s shows evidence of both quantitative and qualitative studies done on the topic study. Moreover, the authors comprehensively identify the existing knowledge gaps as far as t topic of study is concerned. In order to establish the significance of the study topic, the author’s use a combination of older and current literature review. By using a combination of older as well as new pieces of literature review, the author’s establishes topic area foundation hence making the problem more significant and appropriate as far as the research study is concerned (Tjulin, MacEachen, & Ekberg, 2009).

Research design

Exploratory qualitative research paradigm was used in the study which has been adequately described by the author’s as one would expect with a qualitative study as well as the methods of data collection (Marshall, 2005). The study was based on a general grounded theory perspective which is normally used in situations where little knowledge is known like the problem of study. Primarily, the author’s considered using exploratory qualitative approach based on a general grounded theory since it provides a better understanding of how and why things happen in a certain manner as well as it displays the needs and behaviors of workplace actors and how social relations can
affect the success of return-to-work.


Purposive sampling was used in selecting research participants as well as work units hence only work units with participants who had experience of return- to work process were selected. Sick listed workers who had been absent for at least a month were selected too for the research study. The author’s have comprehensively covered this under the data collection section (Tjulin, MacEachen, & Ekberg, 2009). The sample size comprised of three employers from the public sector from which seven workplace units were selected. From the seven workplace units 33 participants were selected who participated in the research. Though, the author’s describe in detailed the criteria used in choosing the research participants they fail to describe adequately to the reader the proportion of males and females used in the study.

Data collection

Document review and individual open-ended interviews were used as data collection instruments which were conducted individual across the seven work units. From the article the interviews were conducted at the workplace private room and at each single work unit interviews were conducted with re-entering worker, 2-3 coworkers and the persons who had the delegated return-to work
responsibility thus the supervisor and the human resource manager. Co-workers who were used within the work unit primarily were identified and selected for their interviews based on their individual closeness to re-entering worker.

The co-workers as well as the supervisors were contacted for individual interviews through the consent of re-entering workers. The interviews conducted were complemented by organizational policies through a contextual understanding of how each organization approached the return-to-work process (Tjulin, MacEachen, & Ekberg, 2009).

For purposes of data reliability and accuracy the interviews were audio taped
and transcribed verbatim by a professional transcriptionist. In addition, the interview transcripts were read and code categories developed in relation to the themes and concepts related to the study topic. To make the research study results more reliable translation of transcripts from Swedish to English was done by the lead author.

Data analysis

The data analysis has been covered in depth by the authors’ and from the article the author’s used Inductive analysis which was concurrent with data collection. As a way of understanding the content of each employer’s policy for return-to-work, the author’s conducted a document analysis through which possible themes and concepts were identified.

Ethical considerations

Ethical considerations are usually an important section in any research study and as far as this study was concerned the regional Ethics Committee situated at the University of
Linko¨ping approved the project. In addition, the sampling strategy was performed with knowledge and consent of the re-entering
worker by filling out the sociogram. The research study was carried out with the informed consent of all participants hence their identity remained anonymous as well as their statements were treated confidentially. Moreover, the author uses figures to make the explanation even more concrete (Tjulin, MacEachen, & Ekberg, 2009). In addition, the description is detailed enough allowing other researchers to replicate the work more easily.

The results have been summarized adequately in relation to the topic of study. In addition, the author’s provide an in-depth presentation of the results by linking the research findings and data collected. The research study results identified three distinct phases in the return work process namely; off work, back to work and sustainability of work ability. The two prominent themes which emerged from the study as well as across these phases was the theme of invisibility in relation to
return-to-work effort and uncertainty, particularly, about how and when to enact return-to-work. The discussion arguments are relevant to the topic of study and no misinterpretation was done. Conclusion part is precise and concise according to the research findings.

Conclusions/Overall comments

In regards to the article there is consistency in the article with elements stated clearly. The instruments used are valid and reliable as far as the research process is concerned as well as topic of study. The research style used is update and in accordance with the stipulated characteristics of a good research study (Letts et al, 2007). Though, this case some key elements in the research are missing such as, implications, research hypothesis and research questions. The problem definition is quiet clear and here the author defines the problem both in the abstract as well as under introduction which has been covered well by the author’s.

The literature review is covered in brief though it broadly covers the knowledge of study in relation to the topic of study (Marshall, 2005).The Research methodology for the study covers outlined characteristics of a good research methodology though the sample size used was not adequate enough. The interpretation of results and analysis of the research data has been done deeply by the author’s hence giving concrete results as far as this study is concerned. In terms of originality, the author‘s of the article have based the article from their thoughts and ideas. The referencing style as well as citation style used is appropriate in relation to Vancouver referencing guide.

Moreover, the references are in alphabetical order which is usually seen as an important element in any research study. The article gives in brief the research study strengths such as different types of data collection methods used including document review, interviews and multiple
data sources .Though, author’s states the limitations encountered they are not covered fully they are merely stated by the author’s.


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Letts et al (2007).Guidelines for Critical Review Form: Qualitative Studies (Version 2.0)

Marshall, G (2005). Critiquing a research article. Vol 11.Lancaster: St. Martin’s College,


Mildred, G., T (2008).How to write a research paper. Publisher: Pacific Books,

Tjulin, A., MacEachen, E. & Ekberg, K. (2009). Exploring Workplace Actors Experiences of the Social Organiation of Return to Work. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation. 20 (3): 311-321