Assignment on Evaluating Use of Smart Drugs in Improving Academic Performance

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Running head: CRITICAL EVALUATIONTitle page (for all students except those in CANBERRA)Student Name:Unit: HLSC122 Semester 2, 2017Assessment 3: Critical Evaluation of EvidenceWord count: 1786
1CRITICAL EVALUATIONIntroduction:Evaluation of a research article can be defined as the process by which the worthor value of the research interventions proposed in the article are determined byjudgingit against predetermined and explicit standards (Greenhalgh et al., 2017).Obtainingevidencefor a particular intervention encompasses interpretation of the empirical datathat has been derived from the systematic investigation. ADHD or attention deficithyperactivity disorder is a chronic neurodevelopmental condition, characterized by poorattention and impulsive behaviour among children (Ronald et al., 2014). Psycho-stimulants are generally used to treat ADHD. However, there a number of collegestudents who get addicted to misuse of these psycho-stimulants, in spite of being notaffected with ADHD. Some of the students use these drugs purely for recreation.However, major effects of these stimulants include enhancement of academic andclassroom performance. However, substance abuse of these drugs is illegal and cancreate potential harm to the health. In this assignment, I will be critically evaluating theevidences that suggest use of smart drugs in improving academic performance. I willfocus on two studies that evaluated the effectiveness of these drugs on academicenhancement.Body:Hildt, E., Lieb, K., & Franke, A. G. (2014). Life context of pharmacological academicperformance enhancement among university students - a qualitative approach.BMC Medical Ethics, 15(1), 23-23. doi:10.1186/1472-6939-15-23PART AStudent name/student number
2CRITICAL EVALUATIONAuthorship-Klaus Lieb and Andreas Günter Franke belong to the department ofPsychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Medical Centre Mainz (Germany). Thedepartment is headed by Klaus Lieb while, Franke works as a trainee under hissupervision. The other author Elisabeth Hildt is an expert in neuroethics and from thedepartment of Philosophy. Thus, all the three authors are well qualified to conduct thestudy.There exist some discrepancies regarding the academic results that the authorshave achieved and the subjective experiences of their respondents.Research Aims- In this study, the authors aimed to investigate the effects ofpsycho-stimulant use (through prescribed usage and illicit usage) on enhancement ofacademic performance. The effect of stimulants that the study intended to evaluate onuniversity students was methylphenidate and amphetamines. The authors specificallywanted to evaluate the experiences of the students subjected to the drug administrationand the influence of other factors such as peer or academic pressure that increasedtheir desire to excel in academics and personal life (Hildt, Lieb & Franke, 2014).Design- Participants were collected from the University of Mainz campus byposting placards related to use of psycho-stimulants. Healthy students without previousreports of psychiatric disorders were selected for conduction of semi-structured face-to-face interviews. Questions were mainly asked related to illicit or prescribed intake ofstimulants. Respondents were also questioned related to their individual perception onthe effects of stimulants related to improvement in academics and related negativeeffects. After being transcribed verbatim, the responses were systematically analyzedusing a qualitative approach.Student name/student number
3CRITICAL EVALUATIONFindings- Out of the 22 interviews that were carried out, only 18 were analyzedfor final results.14 participants reported use of illicit stimulants and 4 were underprescribed stimulant usage. It was found that in addition to using stimulants to gainstudy time, facilitate exam preparation and prepare a term paper, several studentsreported taking stimulants to achieve and pursue individual projects that were outsidetheir academic domain. Performance and time pressure were found to influence theintake. Furthermore, the findings also suggested that the participants were not aware ofthe stimulants creating any positive effect on their overall academic performance. Someof them reported an increase in motivation or reduction in sleep after use of the drugs.The analysis also revealed the stimulants to increase energy for leisure activities(Spencer, Devilbiss & Berridge, 2015). Thus, I can deduce from the findings that the twomost important effects of the stimulants were boosting motivation and maximizing time.Strengths and weaknesses- There were several limitations in the study. One ofthem was the inclusion of 18 interviews for the survey. Although the university had morethan 36,000 registered students, only 30 of them contacted the authors after seeing theplacards and 22 showed willingness to participate. The stigma related to drug abuseaccounted for the low participation rate. Secondly the type of students who were willingto participate and exclusion of willing participants who reported psychiatric disorders orwere under prescribed psychoactive medications led to selection bias. Moreover, thespontaneous answers given by the participants could have been influenced by socialdesirability, time frame or behavioural aspects. The strength lies in the fact that it couldact as a starting point for conduction of future qualitative and quantitative studies thatStudent name/student number
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