The article being evaluated in this critique is “Successful Aging Among Assisted Living Community Older Adults” from the 2013 issue of the Journal of Nursing Scholarship by M. Kozar-Westman, M. Troutman-Jourdan, and M.A. Nies. The title appears sufficient to communicate to the reader key variables (successful aging, assisted living community) and the study population (older adults). The abstract clearly but succinctly summarizes the main features of the report. It does not include details of the literature review, and its brief presentation of the findings does not reveal much.

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The introduction provides a good, strong start for the article. It clearly highlights the main focus of the article, which is measuring or quantifying successful aging. The official problem statement – though occurring rather later in the introduction than expected – does build a cogent and persuasive argument for the study, which does indeed have significance for nursing. The significance it has for nursing is also clearly laid out in the introduction, highlighting many facts regarding both the multifaceted aspects of the question and the population under consideration: successful aging is comprised of both physiological and psychological aspects, and as a result of improved medical technology, the aging population is increasing.

Consequently, the populations in assisted living communities (ALCs) will necessarily increase. This population deserves closer study, especially in terms of offering wellness outreach and tailored interventions. The article is also closely focused on the use of a particular tool to measure successful aging. Based on that, and the methods, frameworks, and paradigms as related in the article, this reviewer would state that there is a good match between the research problem and the methods used. The quantitative approach is appropriate in this case, since the authors desired to find a meaningful way to quantify successful aging that took into account the multifaceted nature of aging. Using a selection of surveys and tests seems the best approach, especially since the authors were attempting to test the validity of a specific tool as well, the Successful Aging Inventory (SAI). The research question is explicitly stated and appropriately worded, with clear specification of key variables and the study population. The question is consistent with the literature and the conceptual framework as reported in the article.

The literature review is up-to-date and based mainly on primary sources, though the authors do reach back a bit beyond the standard 5-year mark of currency, though more of the literature they include is considered current. One of the tools they use was established in the 1970s, so some of the resources related to that are beyond the 5-year mark but by necessity. The review does provide an excellent synthesis of evidence on the research problem, providing the reader with a solid introduction to the topic, the problem, and the tool under consideration. The key concepts are adequately defined conceptually using a table so they are clearly presented. There is a framework/rationale presented, and it is appropriate, and its presentation coherent and thorough.

With regard to results, analyses were undertaken to address each facet of the research question. Appropriate methods were used, including appropriate software (SPSS). It appears that results were significant, given the novelty of the study. Their clinical significant resides the validity testing performed on the tool under consideration, the SAI. The article made no mention of Type I or Type II errors explicitly, but it was clear from the results that care was taken and several aspects tested and recalculated to confirm results.

The methods, data collection, and sample size were all handled ethically and appropriately. They were all reported appropriately and completely in the article with an eye towards repeatability. It was subject to external review, since it had been supported by a foundation award. The sample size was sufficient for the test, and biases appeared minimized. It appeared that the methods and data collection of the authors were rigorous. There appears to be no ethical conflict.

The findings are adequately summarized with good use of tables and figures. They are presented clearly and easily, demonstrating the variety of data and factors involved in measuring successful aging. The authors make the data quite easy to comprehend. The findings are reported in a manner that facilitates meta-analysis and with sufficient information needed for evidence-based practice. All the major findings are interpreted and discussed within the context of prior research and the study’s conceptual framework, though prior research was more disparate than the focus of the current research, which sought to bring together disparate threads in the testing of a single instrument.

In other words, whereas other studies examined different elements using different tools, this study sought to test the validity of a tool which would test all of those different elements using one test. The interpretations appear consistent with the results and with the study’s limitations. The report does address the issue of generalizability of the findings by clearly recording and acknowledging the demographics of the population involved. The researchers discuss the implications of the study both in the introduction of the study and in the findings/discussion section, as well as further research. These implications and recommendations for further research are reasonable and complete.

In conclusion, this is a well-written article that meaningful adds to the literature on its relevant topic. It achieves what it sets out to study, and its findings are in keeping with its object. The reporting itself is thorough and appropriate, with accessible, professional language that is not unnecessarily full of jargon. It is, in short, an excellent article that contributes new and useful information on a topic that is pertinent to nursing and in keeping with evidence-based practice.