These medical professionals are in need of further education and, though obviously dedicated, are most often "left with limited local educational support to continue in their clinical role in A & E." (McConnell and Webster 2000: 608) The question has been raised as to the effectiveness of offering a short course of training to these radiographers and, once further instruction has been completed, whether there is a statistically significant improvement in their performance. In the two studies cited above, the authors have undertaken the task of analyzing the skills of radiographers in various hospitals, providing them with a programme of instruction, and then evaluating any significant improvement in their performance. There are three quantifiable categories for this analysis: Sensitivity, which is the ability to spot traumatic abnormalities; Specificity, which is the ability to identify normal skeletal appearance; and Accuracy, which is the overall ability to provide the casualty officer with useful, precise information. The scope of this paper is to critically evaluate and compare the two articles.
The stated purpose and objectives of the two articles are clearly similar; as articulated by Hargreaves and Mackay, the studies are "aimed to investigate whether the introduction of a training programme for radiographers...could increase their ability to exclude fractures within a red dot system." (2003: 283) While both articles undertake and accomplish this task with varying degrees of clarity, the format and layout of the Hargreaves article provides a clearer statement of the intent of the study. The McConnell paper uses a textual abstract to frame the issue and, though sufficient for the purpose of outlining the content of the piece, it infers the objective more obliquely. The reader clearly understands the purpose and objectives only after reading both the abstract and the article. Hargreaves, however, provides a clear statement of the specific purpose at the beginning of the article, making the focus of the piece clearer from the start. This discrepancy can perhaps be accounted for by noting that the earlier article, McConnell, is addressing the somewhat narrower parameter of a "short course of study" within the context of a needs-analysis survey (2000: 608) while Hargreaves, which relies on McConnell as a source in its works cited, undertakes the broader question of generally improving performance through training without the constraints of survey parameters or course length. In terms of clarity, the more recent piece does a better job of stating the purpose and objectives through its format which allows the reader to come into the article knowing exactly what the purpose and objectives are.
Results - presentation and ease of interpretation
Both articles offer a clear presentation of their conclusions, substantiated by data tables or statistical figures. In their discussion sections, the interpretation of the data is clearly articulated and referenced. Both rely on the combination of narrative and tabular data sets to establish the results of their study. When the text of the discussion is read in conjunction with the data, the reader is able to easily understand the information