Considering the article Effect of peer led programme for asthma education in adolescents: Cluster randomised controlled trial by Shah et al (2011), it is possible to say that having a substantial information and research proposal, the authors failed to create an appropriate research design and represent the study in an accurate way. The main claims which may be stated in the relation to the research design are as follows. First of all, some critiques should be offered in relation to the clustering of the randomized trial. The paper does not contain the information how clustering was accounted for. The information about samples is not detailed as it is impossible to understand whether the authors based their research on the number of schools in general, or the number of children in those schools. The authors of the research do not provide appropriate details of the study design. Second, the authors of the research fail to offer the appropriate analysis plan. Lack of information may frustrate the reader. The failure to introduce a substantial analysis plan led to the failure to present full research results, more information could be considered but the researchers failed to analyze it. The authors of the research wanted to save space and have not provided cluster-adjusted results in the printed version. It is inadmissible as not all people have an opportunity to get an electronic version. All the research results should be stated in brief.
One of the main failures of the study is that the author claimed that the research is a cluster randomized controlled trial, but in fact it was impossible for me to see it. Thus, I could not understand the author’s claim that clustering lead to gender imbalance. It should be stated that he authors of the research considered six schools in their research and did nit really differentiate between the, still, it is better to use one school as a unit in the research of this kind. It is impossible to follow the variability between the schools as there is no interschool research. The study is interesting and adds to the understanding of the effect of a peer led programme for asthma education on quality of student life and related morbidity in adolescents with asthma (Shah et al, 2011), but the authors of this research failed to work over a study design that has lead to some failures in the research conduction, analysis and results implementation.
Having read several comments of this study and the controversial arguments offered by the authors of the research, I want to say that such debates are useful and should be provided. First of all, the authors are pointed at some particular mistakes they have made. They are sure to eliminate the same mistakes in the future. Second, those who are interested in the study but are not sure that they can understand the reasons why such particular actions have been taken have an opportunity to express their ideas and get a correct answer. The disagreement and debates over the problem help understand the best possible research design in this sphere, identify the ideas for the further research and stress on research results one more time. Such practice should be implemented with each newly appeared research as I suppose there are many people who want to express their personal opinion and listen to the professional arguments and counter arguments in their relation.
Shah, S., Peat, J. K., Mazurski, E. J., Wang, H., Sindhusake, D., Bruce, C., Henry, R. L., & Gibson, P. G. (2001). Effect of peer led programme for asthma education in adolescents: Cluster randomised controlled trial. BMJ: British Medical Journal, 322, 583.