The sampled study was a quantitative research study. Quantitative research studies mainly focus on investigating a research phenomenon using numerical or statistical techniques (Bernard, 2011). Events and numbers were key features of the sampled study. For example, the duration of telephone interviews were numerical measures of the study’s methodological process. Similarly, the researchers used formal, objective, and systematic processes to gather information from the respondents (Patten et al., 2008). This approach differs from the qualitative research study design, which precludes the use of a predetermined structure of data collection (Bernard, 2011).
The main theoretical framework used by Patten et al. (2008) was the social cognitive theory. It was appropriate for the study because human cognitive skills are at the center of behavioral change studies (Bernard, 2011). Its use by Patten et al. (2008) meets most of the criteria stipulated in the theory checklist. For example, by identifying the theory by name, the study meets the first criterion in the checklist. Similarly, the study meets the fourth criterion outlined in the checklist because the authors advance hypotheses and prepositions enshrined in the theory. The study also meets the fifth criterion this way because it identifies the dependent and independent variables (smoking cessation and counseling, respectively). The authors explain this relationship in the same regard. However, they failed to use the theory to do so. Similarly, they failed to meet the second criterion because the study did not outline the theory’s development process. They also failed to show how other researchers used the theory in the past (Patten et al., 2008).
Considering the sampled study strived to investigate the potential for behavioral change among a selected group of respondents, who underwent telephone counseling, the racial bias, identified in the study, is a significant assumption by the researchers (Patten et al., 2008). Most of the respondents were Caucasian. This means that the representation of other racial groups in the study was insignificant. This issue could affect the study’s findings because behavioral change is subject to cultural influences that may vary across different races. For example, some cultures have patriarchal systems, which could affect behavioral change, while others have liberal social systems that could make it difficult to achieve desired behavioral changes. Therefore, the study assumes that its findings apply to all races.
Past studies have shown that telephone counseling causes tension between counselors and their subjects (Rosenfield, 1996). Patten et al. (2008) never mentioned the lack of face-to-face communications as an impediment to the research process. It would be interesting to investigate the impact of this counseling method, viz a viz the efficacy of face-to-face communications (also aimed at introducing behavioral changes among a group of smokers). In this regard, it is essential to ask a pertinent question in the sampled study – What is the difference between behavioral changes achieved through telephone counseling viz a viz face-to-face counseling?
Bernard, R. (2011). Research Methods in Anthropology: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. Lanham, ML: Rowman Altamira.
Patten, C. A., Peterson, L. R., Brockman, T. A., Gerber, T., Offord, K.,… Ebbert, O. (2008). Development of a telephone-based intervention for support persons to help smokers quit. Psychology, Health, and Medicine, 13(1), 17–28.
Rosenfield, M. (1996). Counselling by Telephone. London, UK: SAGE Publications.