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Orathinkal Critique

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This paper is a comprehensive evaluation of an article entitled “Forgiveness: A Perception and Motivation Study Among Married Adults.” The researchers of this study are Jose Orathinkal, Alfons Vansteenwegen, Roger Burggraeve. This paper will attempt critique and evaluate all pertinent and assigned elements within this article. DDuring this comprehensive evaluation we will disclose the strengths and weaknesses of this research, its methods, results its possible limitations and future uses. This paper will seek to disclose the viability, structure and the construction of this article as it pertains to the perception of a reader and its validity to be utilized for future use, as well as the need for further evaluation as it pertains to the subject matter and problems discussed. Does this article satisfy the necessary elements, while evaluating the necessary elements of the study to obtain relevant results that disclose answers to the question posed by this study; did the article cover the topic in specific terms or general terms? Keyterms: Forgiveness, perception, motivation, reconciliation, cross-sectional, transgression

Forgiveness: A Perception and Motivation Study Among Married Adults: Orathinkal Critique

The research highlighted in this article conducted by Orathinkal, Vansteenwegen, and Burggraeve (2008) studied the perception and motivational factors between married adults. Forgiveness was classified as a religious factor for many years but is now of great interest to clinicians and psychotherapist alike. Many research projects prior to this study have sought to gain a working definition of forgiveness and its contextual uses. Previous research has established that “forgiveness is seen as something that helps to rebuild the damaged relationship” between married couples (Orathinkal et al., 2008, p. 155). This investigation was multifaceted and sought to produces a dual outcome. The first area disclosed within this article was the overall perception of forgiveness by the participants within the study. Secondly, the research attempted to identify a link between how a participant thought of forgiveness and the level of forgiveness. There were 787 participants from the Flanders region of Belgium; out of which 424 this was their first marriage, and the remaining 383 had previously been married.

The participants of the study had the following administered surveys mailed to them or given to them: Enright Forgiveness Inventory (EFI) and the Forgiveness Motivation and perception Checklist (FMPC).These checklist measured variables that pertained to interpersonal forgiveness, pseudo-forgiveness, and perception and motivation of forgiveness. Only 40% of those surveyed were able to distinguish between forgiveness and reconciliation. In the second portion of the research, it was identified that there was a significant difference between those who were first time married participants and the couple who had been remarried. Couple who had only been married once seems to have a more positive attitude toward forgiveness than those couples who had been remarried. The suggestions of the participating researchers of this study were that researchers and clinicians should consider these results when adopting new therapy models. In addition to the afore mention suggestions further more specific research was suggested, concerning forgiveness towards more severe indiscretions such as infidelity and/or violence. Critiques of Title and Introduction

Critique of Title
An examining the title, of this article “Forgiveness: A Perception and Motivation Study Among Married Adults,” (Orathinkal et al., 2008, p. 155) found that the criteria that concerns the title being sufficiently specific and reasonably concise, have been met. The researchers did not utilize yes or no questions within the title. The author did not identify difference in first time married participants and participants that had been remarried within the title, it only identified married individuals as participants. The title was specific and was effective to explain the purpose of the study but was not on an exceptional scale. Critique of Abstract

The article’s abstract section did clearly identify the purpose of the research and the article. The author did specify within the abstract, that they investigated the perception and motivation of forgiveness. The first sentence also plainly stated the purpose of the article, “This cross-sectional study investigated the perception and motivation of forgiveness among 785 heterosexually married adults from the Flanders region in Belgium.” (Orathinkal et al., 2008). The participants were classified into two groups, but this was not identified within the Abstract. The abstract was satisfactory in its criteria however there were criteria that were not met in a satisfactory manner. I would suggest a less than satisfactory rating because some key elements were left out. The researchers of this article stated the research methodology that would be utilized, “In the second phase of the study, a t-test showed evidence of a significant difference between the positive perception of forgiveness of the first-married and remarried adults.” (Orathinkal et al., 2008) Critique of Literary Review

The researchers indicated a specific problems that they intended to identify and address within this research in the very beginning. The author proposed that forgiveness conceptual speaking was growing in the area of mental health and was no longer solely categorized as a religious practice. Fundamental theories and research that pertained to forgiveness were included, such as Murphy. The author cited different sources that were able to clarify several different aspect of the research; such as identification of specific participant groups, (first marriage and remarried); as well as descriptions of reconciliation and exoneration. The author avoid over complicated the research by citing an enormous amount of research in the same areas. The article was published in 2008 and the most recent research utilized was from 2005. Critique of Research Questions

The article detailed the two goals that the researcher sought to identify; first was an understanding of the nature and concepts as it concerned forgiveness and secondly, was to indicate whether there was a connection between the perception of forgiveness and the actual act of forgiveness. Could the participants identify the difference between what is known as reconciliation and true forgiveness? The researcher did identify the hypothesis and it was clearly stated within the research questions: “The goal was to examine the possibility of an empirical link between perception of forgiveness and actual forgiveness” (Orathinkal et al., 2008). The author clearly stated the purpose and what the researchers’ intent was and there was an identifiable and clear flow from the literary review to the research questions. Critique of Methodology

Critique of Population and Sampling
The research specified that all of the participants were from Flanders, Belgium. When critiquing population and sampling, the researcher should identify a target group. This is not a random study and the researcher clearly states this imitations. There are identifiable factors that cause a belief that the participants were similar in relevant variables and that they may share common interests and have similar elements that will affect the study results. The authors described relevant demographics of the samples. The article included the average age of the participants for women it was 44.80 years of age and for men it was 47.31 years of age. The mean number of children was identified as well. The research did generalize but that was appropriate due to the sample size. (Orathinkal et al., 2008). Procedures

“We employed a snowball sampling technique (snowball sampling consists of identifying respondents who then refer researchers to other respondents) and sought the help of regular college students for data collection.” (Orathinkal et al., 2008). Two groups were compared among the married; the first married and the remarried, but it is impossible to randomly assign the participants to the groups, since the groups were based on a specific marital status. Within the research the researcher identify the mean age of male and female participants in an attempt to identify some sense of equality.

The treatments utilized were defined in detail and they were ethically and politically accepted methods of research. Clarity was provided within the research when the author provided a descriptive analysis in examining the conceptual clarity and motivation of forgiveness, the researcher followed up his first use of the descriptive analysis by utilizing a t test for comparison. An EFI scales and the Pearson Product Moment was utilized. Since this study was more of an investigation, there were not any treatments given in the groups. No participants suffered anything harmful or dangerous within this study. Since this was an investigative study, treatments were not assigned or prescribed. The procedures were conducted with satisfaction. Critique of Methods

Two self-report test measures were used within this research process: the Enright Forgiveness Inventory (EFI) and the Forgiveness Motivation and Perception Checklist. Because both of the measurements in this study were “self-reports,” they were both predisposed “demand characteristics” (Pyrczak, 2008). Researchers included several examples of the questions that appear on the tests. They also included what each test was measuring, and the guidelines and the scale in which the method of measurement adhered to. The author included previous methods utilized. The methods and instrumentation that were referred to were cited sources that allowed the reader to find further information regarding the instruments and methods utilized.

This research revealed a strong internal consistency of 0.90 as it concerned the EFI (Jackson, 2009). However because the FMPC is a researcher-generated questionnaire, its internal consistency only revealed a0.70 which is adequate but identified a lower result (Jackson, 2009). The items focused on motivations toward forgiving and concepts related to forgiveness, for instance, “I forgive because my religion teaches me to do so”; “forgiveness is something that is freely given”; “I forgive in order to avoid quarrel or fights”; and “forgiveness need not always lead to reconciliation”. (Orathinkal et al., 2008). There were limitations that were discussed and identified concerning the FMPC; it was acknowledged that there was a need for this process to be further established. The further establishment will add to the validity of the use of the method. The methods and instrumentation were rated satisfactory and accurate. Critique of Results and Discussion

Results Evaluation
The results were reported as a cohesive essay and detailed examples were highlighted within this section. The research questions were utilized and clearly stated, within the initial portions of this section. The research made use of reporting the results of each test on tables. The author maintained a consistent flow within the section and brought clarity by ensuring that a paragraph preceded the tables to offer and explanation of the statistical data and percentages presented. This section was adequately done. Discussion Evaluation

The discussion briefly summarized the purpose and the results of this study. The researchers gather information concerning the participants knowledge and understanding of forgiveness: approximately 40% of the respondents were able to distinguish between forgiveness and reconciliation, and for approximately 60% of the participants, forgiveness and reconciliation were undistinguishable. “More than 90% of the respondents agree that forgiveness is part of marital life” (Orathinkal et al., 2008). The researchers admitted the limitations that were came as a result of employing a researcher-developed test and of the snowball sampling techniques that were used during this study. Other limitations highlighted were: “There are a number of limitations to this study. First, the motivation and the perception scale is a researcher-developed scale and therefore its psychometric properties need to be further established before further use.

The sampling technique employed in the current study could caution the interpretation of the results, because the married couples with whom the university students have connections might be systematically different from married couples in general” (Orathinkal et al., 2008). The author discussed different implications for researchers and therapists alike. The researchers suggested that the results of this study could be utilized when establishing a forgiveness therapy, educational programs, and for future research (Orathinkal et al.,2008). There were numerous suggestions made in reference to future research. Research on forgiveness is relatively new outside of the realm of religion and can be explored thoroughly through scientific methods. Future research should possibly be more focused upon specific types of transgressions that require forgiveness. “ Future research might consider the possibility of using a qualitative research methodology,” (Orathinkal et al., 2008, p. 160). The discussion was satisfactory and thoroughly accomplished. Evaluation of Entire Article

Putting It All Together
If we look at the current trends of divorce and specifically within the church, we understand that forgiveness is a concept that needs to be not just understood but employed, within the marital relationship. Forgiveness is a topic that is strongly identified and spoken of in the Bible, and now science and psychology are beginning to recognize its affects upon humanity, its development and existence. Forgiveness is critical topic for everyone to conceptualize and utilize, especially therapist who seek to aid in healing and the development of life skills that are productive and healthy for clients, as well as methods and practices that can employed in our own lives. Mental health and forgiveness are connected as we are beginning to see on a larger scale. The researchers picked a valid problem and did a decent job of attempting to identify areas that affect forgiveness and thoughts’ concerning what forgiveness is, but there were some areas that were challenging.

Forgiveness is a vast subject that encompasses many variables; this study only identified a scarce amount of those variables and the possible scenarios that can call for the need for forgiveness. The participants were not random, and the sampling should have been less centralized. Demographic information was not provided, such as religious beliefs, race, education and background. One of the first questions identified was within the first sentence of the article stated which, “Forgiveness was considered to be something of a religious concern” (Orathinkal et. al., 2008). There was also a question on the EFI that was related to religion and forgiveness. The researchers lacked to capitalize on correlating this information by providing us with the participants’ religious beliefs or affiliations. Follow-up Research Improvement Plan

It is my belief that this article was conceptually too narrow. To fully utilize this study it is my belief that you must explore a vast sampling of married individuals from a variant of backgrounds, socioeconomic status, religions, class systems and cultures. Everyone views forgiveness differently and to gain a more comprehensive understanding what we may encounter as a therapist dealing with people from all different walks of life it would behoove us to further examine forgiveness on a broader and more specific level. Transgressions and reconciliation should further be explored as well. It is my belief that future studies should also include not just surveys but actual cases of infractions where forgiveness concepts and therapy can be utilized.


Jackson, S. (2012). Research methods and statistics (4th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. ISBN:
Orathinkal, J., Vansteenwegen, A., & Burggraeve, R. (2008). Forgiveness: A perception and motivation study among married adults. Scandinavian Journal Of Psychology, 49(2), 155-160. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9450.2007.00605.x Pyrczak, F. (2008). Evaluating research in academic journals. Glendale, CA: Pyrczak Publishing.

ISBN: 1-884585-78-7.

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