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Article Evaluation: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Sexually Exploited (Coursework Sample)


Choose a source from your research paper and answer the questions on the attached worksheet.

Evaluating a Research Article


  1. What the Author Said
    1. What is the central question addressed by the article?  What is the study’s hypothesis
    2. Briefly outline the most important procedures the author used to test the hypothesis.  Also pay attention to the sample.
    3. Using your words, succinctly summarize the major findings of the study. 
    4. What major conclusions does the author draw from these findings?


  1. Integration and Evaluation
    1. Assessment: Do you think the author’s conclusions are valid (both internally and externally), reliable and reasonable?  Provide an explanation.  How do these conclusions relate to the methods used to test the hypothesis?
    2. Integration: How does this research article fit into your research project?  Does it support your project hypothesis?  Does it support other literature you are reviewing?
    3. What Questions Remain?   Are there important issue this article does not address or resolve? How do these issues relate to your research project?



Some Do’s and Don’ts from past semesters:


  1. Don’t simply copy sentences from the article or abstract.  Think about what is being said and put it in your own words.  If you do use a direct quote, it must be cited as such.  Just changing a word here and there does not make it your own words.
  2. You do not have to summarize the literature review in the article you are reviewing.  One our two sentences about the author’s rationale should suffice.
  3. Refer to the article by author and date citations only.  Don’t use first names or honorifics (e.g. Dr.).
  4. Offer your own criticisms, not just what the authors give.  On the other hand, don’t overlook the criticisms raised by the authors.
  5. You can mention materials used in the study but don’t give a long description of them unless it is relevant to your hypothesis or critique. 
  6. Use complete sentences.  Make sure what you are saying makes sense.  You can best tell this by reading your paper over after you write it.
Article Evaluation
Course title:
Article Evaluation
O’Callaghan, P., McMullen, J., Shannon, C., Rafferty, H., & Black, A. (2013). A randomized controlled trial of trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy for sexually exploited, war-affected Congolese girls. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry, 52(4): 359-69
What the author said
In this article, the central question is: what is the effectiveness of trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy provided by nonclinical personnel in minimizing behaviour problems, anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress and increasing pro-social conduct in a grouping of sexually exploited girls who have been affected by war? The hypothesis in the study is that trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy is highly effectual in decreasing the symptoms of posttraumatic stress but not very effectual in reducing anxiety and depression, prosocial behaviour and conduct problems.
In testing the hypothesis, the authors carried out a parallel-design, single-blind, controlled, randomized trial. The sample comprised a total of 52 twelve to seventeen-year-old young women who had been exposed to improper sexual touch and rape in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The authors screened these girls for prosocial behaviour, anxiety and depression, behaviour problems, and trauma. The authors then randomized these study subjects to a wait-list control group (n=28) or a culturally modified, group-based, fifteen session trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy group (n=24). Primary analysis which involved each of the randomly assigned study subjects took place before and after the intervention and at three-month follow-up – only the intervention group.
The main findings of this study revealed that in comparison to the wait list control group, the trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy group experienced considerably greater declines in the symptoms of trauma. Furthermore, the intervention trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy group exhibited an extremely significant improvement in the symptoms of prosocial behaviour, behaviour problems, as well as anxiety and depression. At follow-up which lasted three months, the effect size for the trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy group was –1.57 for prosocial behaviour, 0.95 for conduct problems, 2.45 for anxiety and depression, and 2.04 for symptoms of trau...
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