E-cigarettes Research Critique

Research Design

The authors did not explicitly state the research design applied, but the provided information allows one to infer that the study is quasi-experimental as it implies a one-group orientated pretest-posttest survey study. The research question posed in the article is whether the students can be informed about the e-cigarettes by watching an educational module and whether they can provide information to the individuals. Therefore, the implemented model is appropriate for the research.


The research presented the independent variable as the educational module about electronic cigarettes and the dependable variables as attitude, knowledge, and self-efficacy that were to be measured. The primary instrument used to measure these dependent variables is a survey consisting of 21 questions and a seven-minute video about electronic cigarette use. These variables were implemented for measuring the level of awareness of e-cigarettes among students.

The authors did not prove the accuracy and validity of the applied instruments because no adequate statistics were presented in the tables. Despite that, the authors stated that “the survey instrument was reviewed by a panel of experts in health behavior education and research methodology” (Sergakis et al., 2019, p. 54). What is more, the authors stated that it was field-tested with students from different educational organizations (Sergakis et al., 2019). The measurement strategies are not described but can be clearly understood by the reader.


One hundred fifteen students from Respiratory Therapy, Nursing, Medical Dietetics, and Health Sciences were encouraged to complete a pre-survey, watch a seven-minute video about the impact of e-cigarettes on health, and take a final paper survey. The survey consisted of 21 questions concerning the students’ awareness of e-cigarettes, their attitudes, and their self-efficacy. “Data from pre-and post-survey instruments were matched and entered into a database, and data analyses included descriptive statistics and non-parametric statistical analysis” (Sergakis et al., 2019, p. 54).

The methods provided are concise and can be used in further researches as a foundation. “Data analyses included descriptive statistics and Wilcoxon signed-rank tests” (Sergakis et al., 2019, p.53). The methods were explicitly depicted, but there seems to be a lack of details. For instance, despite that the research setting can be easily identified, the time of research is missing.


The authors identified that the conducted study was based on the voluntary participation of the students. What is more, the analysis data was gathered from those respondents who completed both stages: pre-and post-surveys. The responses given by the participants were self-reported. I suppose the article must have more limitations such as the small sample size of participants, aspects to be taken into consideration while assessing the impact of e-cigarettes. Moreover, the extended statistical data would be efficient to use.


The researchers used descriptive statistics and Wilcoxon signed-rank tests to collect data. According to Sergakis et al. (2019), “data from pre-and post-survey instruments were matched and entered into a database and data analyses included descriptive statistics and non-parametric statistical analysis” (p. 54). These tools are appropriate when gathering such types of data. Moreover, they were clearly described in the article.

Some significant findings were identified in the article. The line of table 3, “understanding the e-cigarettes helps me to discuss quitting with individuals,” demonstrated its p-value to be equal to 0.091. Thus, it is evident that healthcare students try harder to encourage others to quit smoking e-cigarettes and realize the harm. Another significant result was shown in the same table. The line “I need to have a strong knowledge on the topic (of e-cigarettes)” has a p-value of 0.042.

The authors used tables to collect the data, which is a proper way of compiling descriptive data. Moreover, such a method of presenting the data is visually appealing, that is simple to understand, make assumptions, and draw a conclusion. The article provides three separate tables with information about the participants, pre and post comparisons, and sources of information about e-cigarettes. The type of data collected in the following: program type, gender, questions about smoking, sources of information about the e-cigarettes, attitudes, knowledge, and confidence.

The data analyses adequately address the main objective: to study the effects of watching a brief module about e-cigarettes on health professionals’ attitudes, knowledge, self-efficacy. Each line in table 3 provides information on each aspect of the objective. Therefore, the data is interpreted appropriately and can be easily perceived even by a non-professional.

Threats to Internal Validity

Several risks can be identified within the given framework. Firstly, the instrumentation can be a potential threat as it does not look reliable and valid for revealing statistical data. Another danger is represented by a lack of randomization, which means that only a particular scope of health professionals was surveyed. What is more, the testing may be considered a threat if researchers implement one test more than once within one research. No history, maturation, chance, regression, selection, or attrition threats were discovered in the research.

Discussion/Practice Implications

The results received correspond to the research’s primary objective. The authors repeatedly alluded to the previously conducted studies concerning the use of e-cigarettes. The conclusion part says that the students were poorly informed about the given topic and that the evidence-based research proved to be effective in addressing the e-cigarette’s effects. The researchers state that “overall, this pilot study supports the use of a brief e-cigarettes education module to increase students’ knowledge and improve attitudes and self-efficacy in counseling about e-cigarettes” (Sergakis et al., 2019, p. 57). Taking this statement into consideration, it is evident that the authors explicitly highlighted the most outstanding results.

Many studies related to the use of electronic cigarettes use as a smoking cessation aid, and the misconceptions concerning their use have been conducted. Although “there currently are no studies specifically exploring educational interventions for health care providers about e-cigarettes” (Sergakis et al., 2019, p. 54). Therefore, I can conclude that this study was carried out to support previous researches and to provide additional data.

The utility of this research was mentioned to prove its practical implementation. According to Sergakis et al. (2019), “the use of a brief educational module provides educational programs the opportunity to frequently update content in an area such as e-cigarettes where research is emerging” (p. 56). Thus, the paper proves that this module can be used in further practical researches.


To sum everything up, it is relevant to mention that despite that this study is pilot, it can be applied as a source of additional information in further researches. Moreover, this study proves to be useful as it provides awareness among the health programs students about the emerging health effects of e-cigarettes. Even though the survey is proficiently conducted, there are some parts to be slightly altered: apart from the descriptive data, statistics should also be gathered as it would provide more evidence to compare.


Sergakis, G., Clutter, J., Edler, B., Ali, B., Chom, C., & Hodgson, L. (2019). Evaluation of the effects of a brief educational module about electronic cigarettes on undergraduate health professional students’ knowledge, attitudes, and self-efficacy: A pilot study. Respiratory Care Education Annual, 28, 53-57.

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