N3321 Nursing Research: Ch. 5 Reading Worksheet

What is a research topic?
What do they contain?
a concept or broad issue that is important to nursing, such as acute pain, chronic pain management, coping with illness, or health promotion
Each topic contains numerous research problems that might be investigated through quantitative, qualitative, and outcomes studies
The purpose or goal of a study guides the development of the ______________________, _______________________, or the _________________in quantitative or outcomes studies.
objectives
questions
hypotheses
In a quantitative study, the questions, objectives, or hypotheses include the _______________, the relationship among the ____________, and often the ____________ to be studied.
variables
variables
population
Give a definition for: a research problem, research significance, and research purpose.
Be sure you are clear on the differences among each of these.
research problem:
is an area of concern in which there is a gap in the knowledge needed for nursing practice.
Research is required to generate essential knowledge to address the practice concern, with the ultimate goal of providing evidence-based nursing care
In a study, the research problem (1) indicates the significance of the problem, (2) provides a background for the problem, and (3) includes a problem statement.

The significance of a research problem:
indicates the importance of the problem to nursing and health care and to the health of individuals, families, and communities.

research purpose:
is a clear, concise statement of the specific goal or focus of a study

If little is known about a topic, a researcher usually starts with a _________________ or ________________ study and progresses to a _____________________ or _______________study.
descriptive
correlational
quasi-experimental
experimental
What is the purpose of descriptive research?
is the exploration and description of phenomena in real-life situations.
It provides an accurate account of characteristics of particular individuals, situations, or groups

are usually conducted with large numbers of subjects or study participants, in natural settings, with no manipulation of the situation

The outcomes of descriptive research include the identification and description of concepts, identification of possible relationships among concepts, and development of hypotheses that provide a basis for future quantitative research.

What is the purpose of correlational research?
involves the systematic investigation of relationships between or among variables

The focus of correlational research is on describing relationships, not testing the effectiveness of interventions

researchers measure selected variables in a sample and then use correlational statistics to determine the relationships among the study variables.

Using correlational analysis, the researcher is able to determine the degree or strength and type (positive or negative) of a relationship between two variables.

The strength of a relationship varies, ranging from −1 (perfect negative correlation) to +1 (perfect positive correlation), with 0 indicating no relationship

A positive relationship indicates that the variables vary together; that is, both variables increase or decrease together.

A negative relationship indicates that the variables vary in opposite directions; thus as one variable increases, the other will decrease

Why are quasi-experimental studies conducted?
to examine causal relationships or determine the effect of one variable on another.

Thus these studies involve implementing a treatment or intervention and examining the effects of this intervention using selected methods of measurement

Quasi-experimental studies differ from experimental studies by the level of control achieved by the researcher. These studies usually lack a certain amount of control over the manipulation of the treatment, management of the setting, and/or selection of the subjects.

Why and in what settings are experimental studies conducted?
Experimental studies are conducted in highly controlled settings, using a highly structured design to determine the effect of one or more independent variables on one or more dependent variables
The problems formulated for qualitative research identifies areas of concern that require___________________________________.
investigation to gain new insights, expand understanding, and improve comprehension of the whole
What are the four points to evaluate when determining the significance of a study problem and purpose?
Briefly describe them.
(1) influences nursing practice
Studies that address clinical concerns and generate findings to improve nursing practice are considered significant. These types of practice-focused studies often have the potential to improve the quality of nursing care provided, promote healthy patient and family outcomes, decrease morbidity and mortality, and reduce the costs of care. The ultimate goal is providing evidence-based practice (EBP) so that nursing care is based on the most current research

(2) builds on previous research
A significant study problem and purpose are based on previous research. In a research article, the introduction and literature review sections include relevant studies that provide a basis for the current study. Often, a summary of the current literature indicates what is known and not known in the area being studied. The gaps in the current knowledge base provide support for and document the significance of the study’s purpose.

(3) promotes theory testing or development
Significant problems and purposes in quantitative studies are supported by theory, and often the focus of these studies is theory testing. The focus of qualitative studies is often on developing theory

(4) addresses current concerns or priorities in nursing
The research priorities for clinical practice were initially identified in a study by Lindeman (1975). Those original research priorities included nursing interventions related to stress, care of the aged, pain management, and patient education, which continue to be priorities for nursing research today.

When examining the feasibility of a study’s problem and purpose, what four key areas should you evaluate?
Briefly describe them.
(1) the researchers’ expertise
The research problem and purpose studied need to be within the area of expertise of the researchers. Research reports usually identify the education of the researchers and their current positions, which indicate their expertise to conduct a study

(2) money commitment
The problem and purpose studied are influenced by the amount of money available to the researchers. The cost of a research project can range from a few dollars for a student’s small study to hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars for complex projects. Critically appraising a study involves examining the financial resources available to the researchers in conducting their study. Sources of funding for a study usually are identified in the article.

(3) availability of subjects, facilities, and equipment
Researchers need to have adequate sample size, facilities, and equipment to implement their study. Most published studies indicate the sample size and setting(s) in the methods section of the research report.

(4) ethical considerations
Research objectives, questions, and hypotheses evolve from the problem, purpose, literature review, and study framework, and direct the remaining steps of the research process. In a published study, the objectives, questions, or hypotheses usually are presented after the literature review section and right before the methods section. The content in this section is provided to assist you in identifying and critically appraising the objectives, questions, and hypotheses in published studies.

Where (in the research article) are you most likely to find a study’s research objectives, questions, or hypotheses?
presented after the literature review section and right before the methods section.

The content in this section is provided to assist you in identifying and critically appraising the objectives, questions, and hypotheses in published studies.

Define a research objective (or aim).
is a clear, concise, declarative statement expressed in the present tense.

The objectives are sometimes referred to as aims and are generally used in descriptive and correlational quantitative studies.

an objective or aim usually focuses on one or two variables and indicates whether they are to be identified or described

Sometimes the purpose of objectives is to identify relationships among variables or determine differences between two or more existing groups regarding selected variables.

Define a research question.
a clear, concise interrogative statement that is worded in the present tense, includes one or more variables, and is expressed to guide the implementation of studies.

The research questions directing qualitative studies are often limited in number, broadly focused, and inclusive of variables or concepts that are more complex and abstract than those of quantitative studies.

The foci of research questions in quantitative studies are description of variable(s), examination of relationships among variables, use of independent variables to predict dependent variable, and determination of differences between two or more groups regarding selected variable(s).

These research questions are usually narrowly focused and inclusive of the study variables and population.

It is really a matter of choice whether researchers identify objectives or questions in their study but, more often, questions are stated to guide studies.

What is a research hypothesis?
a formal statement of the expected relationship(s) between two or more variables in a specified population.

translates the research problem and purpose into a clear explanation or prediction of the expected results or outcomes of selected quantitative and outcome studies.

Hypotheses also influence the study design, sampling method, data collection and analysis process, and interpretation of findings

A clearly stated hypothesis includes _________, ____________, and ___________.
variables to be manipulated or measured
identifies the population to be examined
indicates the proposed outcomes for the study
What two types of research use hypotheses? ___________ and ______________.
Quasi-experimental
experimental quantitative studies
List the four types of hypotheses.
You will learn more about each of these if you pursue graduate studies in nursing.
(1) associative versus causal
(2) simple versus complex
(3) nondirectional versus directional
(4) statistical versus research.
Independent and dependent variables (what types of studies are most likely to use these?)
The relationship between independent and dependent variables is the basis for formulating hypotheses for correlational, quasi-experimental, and experimental studies

independent variable
is an intervention that is manipulated or varied by the researcher to create an effect on the dependent variable. The independent variable is also called an intervention, treatment, or experimental variable.

dependent variable
is the outcome that the researcher wants to predict or explain. Changes in the dependent variable are presumed to be caused by the independent variable.

Research variables (what types of studies do you find these in?)
Descriptive and correlational quantitative studies

Research variables are the qualities, properties, or characteristics identified in the research purpose and objectives or questions that are observed or measured in a study.

Research variables are used when the intent of the study is to observe or measure variables as they exist in a natural setting without the implementation of a treatment. Thus no independent variables are manipulated and no cause and effect relationships are examined

Extraneous variables (include confounding and environmental variables)
exist in all studies

can affect the measurement of study variables and the relationships among these variables

Extraneous variables are of primary concern in quantitative studies because they can interfere with obtaining a clear understanding of the relational or causal dynamics within these studies.

These variables are classified as recognized or unrecognized and controlled or uncontrolled.

Some extraneous variables are not recognized until the study is in progress or has been completed, but their presence influences the study outcome.

What is a conceptual definition of a variable?
provides the theoretical meaning of a variable and is often derived from a theorist’s definition of a related concept.

In a published study, the framework includes concepts and their definitions, and the variables are selected to represent these concepts.

The variables are conceptually defined, indicating the link with the concepts in the framework.

What is an operational definition of a variable?
is derived from a set of procedures or progressive acts that a researcher performs to receive sensory impressions (e.g., sound, visual, or tactile impressions) that indicate the existence or degree of existence of a variable

Operational definitions need to be independent of time and setting so that variables can be investigated at different times and in different settings using the same operational definitions.

An operational definition is developed so that a variable can be measured or manipulated in a concrete situation; the knowledge gained from studying the variable will increase the understanding of the theoretical concept that this variable represents.

What are demographic variables?
are attributes of subjects that are collected to describe the sample.

The demographic variables are identified by the researcher when a proposal is developed for conducting a study.

Some common demographic variables are age, education, gender, ethnic origin (race), marital status, income, job classification, and medical diagnosis

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