AIDS Orphans Living in a Township by Rooyen et al.


The article by Rooyen, Frood, and Ricks (2012) is dedicated to the experiences of orphans with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). This paper will describe the article, discuss its implications, and evaluate it. This critique will demonstrate the way the authors employed the strengths of their methodology to respond to their research question.

Title, Problem, Purpose, and Questions

Rooyen et al. (2012) titled their article “The Experiences of AIDS Orphans Living in a Township.” This title reflects the topic, purpose, and focus of the article well. The authors state the problem and purposes of their work and describe the population; the research question is also formulated explicitly. Regarding the problem, Rooyen et al. (2012) note that providing services to the studied population is challenging, which evidences its significance for nursing.

The article is meant to explore the population’s experiences and provide helpful information to the specialists who work with AIDS orphans; this purpose is capable of addressing the problem. The research question is aligned with the first purpose; the authors aimed to determine what experiences the population lives. This question is supposed to be addressed with a qualitative methodology.

Literature Review and Theory

No section dedicated to a literature review is present, but the problem statement contains several references. A literature control is mentioned in the methodology part, and there are references in the discussion part as well. The sources are not very numerous; the statistics come from a relatively recent source, but the rest are generally older than five years (given the year of the article’s publication). No appraisal of these sources is provided. Regarding theoretical underpinnings, only Guba’s model is mentioned with its original source, but it is a methodological element. No other model, theory, or philosophy is explicitly named, although the authors use the lived experiences approach of phenomenology.

Design and Methodology

Rooyen et al. (2012) provided a detailed description of their methodology; they defined it as a qualitative inquiry that consists of an “exploratory, descriptive and contextual design,” which is guided by phenomenology (p. 2). The choice is explained by the authors’ attention to lived experiences, which is a characteristic of phenomenology (Gray, Grove, & Sutherland, 2016; Polit & Beck, 2017). The authors involved eight AIDS orphans who came from three townships in a province of South Africa. The authors justified their purposive sampling technique and stated the inclusion criteria. The primary investigator conducted the recruitment procedures and spent a lot of time with the children; other duration comments are not explicit.

Data collection consisted of in-depth interviews (with tape recordings and field notes), which the authors connected to their phenomenological approach and justified by the article’s aims. Rooyen et al. (2012) also discuss data saturation, which explains their sample size. A form of thematic analysis was used and supported by a reference (Polit & Beck, 2017). Adverse events or changes in the process were not paid attention to.

Rooyen et al. (2012) included ethical topics (with a review board approval, informed consent, and risks). They recognized the vulnerability factors for orphaned children with AIDS, and their rights and anonymity were extensively protected. Moreover, the authors also discussed trustworthiness concerns in their methodology section. Here, they applied the Guba model and listed their trustworthiness precautions, including peer debriefings, peer examination, and triangulation (for credibility and conformability), as well as methodology description (for transferability and dependability). All these methods are suited for improving the quality of a qualitative study (Cypress, 2017; Gunawan, 2015).

Bias is not mentioned in the article, but triangulation should be helpful for its prevention; also, the methodology appears to be flexible (due to in-depth interviews), thorough, and aimed at reflecting participants’ perspectives (Gray et al., 2016). Based on all these data, the authors were true to their design and used phenomenological, in-depth interviews to explore the experiences of the sample of children that allowed achieving data saturation.

Analytical Preciseness, Theoretical Connectedness, and Heuristic Relevance

The analytical preciseness of the article was determined by the authors stating the details of their analysis process and ensuring peer examination. The data were coded by the researcher and another independent specialist; the process involved making sense of data, determining its topics, and refining the results until the themes were discovered. The article’s conclusions directly reflect the themes and sub-themes, which are logically organized and include examples of respondents’ statements.

The implications are mostly connected to the themes, and the themes are congruent with the studied phenomenon. They are also in line with the literature summarized in the problem statement and discussion section. In the methodology part, the authors claim that their sample is representative of the population, but they also discuss it as a limitation. From the perspective of heuristic relevance, the phenomenon of the traumatic and restorative experiences of the orphans is well-explored, but the authors focus on its practical (rather than theoretical) significance. Still, given the exploratory nature of the article, some contribution to the theoretical investigation of the phenomenon is present.

Discussion and Implications

The article did not aim to produce a theory; it explored and described a phenomenon. Since no framework was introduced, it is difficult to connect findings to a particular theory, but the article remained true to its methodological framework. The implications for nursing practice and education incorporated the general call for integrating the data about the children’s experiences in the planning for their care. Also, the authors recommended proceeding to study the population.


The primary strength of the article is the consistent alignment of its elements. The methodology elements are all aligned as well; the authors take the time to describe and justify them to improve trustworthiness. In general, the authors’ approach to ensuring trustworthiness is a strength.

A major weakness is the lack of a literature review with an appraisal of the sources. The absence of recent sources is a problem, and the lack of a theoretical framework may or may not be considered a weakness; the phenomenological framework appears to direct the research well enough. The authors point out that their sample was very small and location-specific, but they do not comment on the limitations of their sampling technique. Thus, the article demonstrates a very sound methodology with somewhat limited generalizability; the authors pinpoint almost all limitations and issues and comment on their safeguards for the improvement of their work’s quality.


Rooyen et al. (2012) developed a study that managed to fulfill its purpose and respond to its question due to a suitable methodology and scientific rigor. The authors tried to ensure the trustworthiness of their article, and the description of their project is very detailed. The article could have been improved with more limitations and a literature review; a theoretical framework could have helped as well.


Cypress, B. (2017). Rigor or reliability and validity in qualitative research. Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing, 36(4), 253-263. Web.

Gray, J. R., Grove, S. K., & Sutherland, S. (2016). Burns and Grove’s The practice of nursing research-e-book: Appraisal, synthesis, and generation of evidence (8th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Health Sciences.

Gunawan, J. (2015). Ensuring trustworthiness in qualitative research. Belitung Nursing Journal, 1(1), 10-11. Web.

Polit, D.F., & Beck, C.T. (2017). Nursing research: Generating and assessing evidence for nursing practice (10th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.

Rooyen, D., Frood, S., & Ricks, E. (2012). The experiences of AIDS orphans living in a township. Health SA Gesondheid, 17(1), 1-11. Web.

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NursingBird. (2022) 'AIDS Orphans Living in a Township by Rooyen et al'. 24 March.


NursingBird. 2022. "AIDS Orphans Living in a Township by Rooyen et al." March 24, 2022.

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NursingBird. "AIDS Orphans Living in a Township by Rooyen et al." March 24, 2022.