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What goal is the goal of nursing research?
The ultimate goal of research is to develop, refine, and expand a base of knowledge.
What are the characteristics of the scientific approach
It is known as positivism. Positivism is rooted in 19th century thought. A fundamental assumption of positivists is that thre is a reality out there that can be studied and known. Positivists assume that nature is basically ordered and regular and that an objective reality exists independent of human observation, awaiting discovery. Determinism is the positivist’s belief that phenomena are not haphazard or random, but rather have antecedent causes
Quanitative (scientific) approach to research:
systematic approach
uses control
gather empirical evidence
uses deductive reasoning
not used for ethical questions
measurement in numbers
focuses on a part
Qualitative (naturalistic) approach to research:
flexible, dynamic approach
understanding the lived experience
occurs in the field
uses inductive reasoning
words, not numbers
focus on the whole (holistic)
What is deductive reasoning?
Deductive reasoning is going from a generalized observation to a more specific assumption. EX: All men are mortal.
Socrates is a man.
Therefore Socrates is mortal
What are the building blocks of theory
What is a theory
A systematic, abstract explanation of some aspect of reality. In a theory, concepts are knitted together into a coherent system to explain some aspect of the world.
What is the purpose of a theory?
theories serve to make research findings meaningful and interpretable. Theories allow researchers to knit together observations into an orderly system. They also serve to explain research findings
Applied research
Applied Research: focuses on finding solutions to existing problems. EX: a study to determine the effectiveness of a nursing intervention to ease grieving.
Basic research
undertaken to extend the base of knowledge in a discipline, or to formulate or refine a theory. EX: A researcher may do a study to better understand normal grieving processes, w/o having explicit nursing applications in mind.
How are research problems generated
by identifying an interesting, significant, research problem and developing research questions.
Why do research studies need to be based on a theory
theory is used as a basis for generating predictions that can be tested.
What are independent variables
The presumed cause
What are dependent variables
The presumed effect
What is a theoretical or conceptual definition
The abstract or theoretical meaning of the concepts being studied.
What is an operational definition
specifies the operations that researchers must perform to collect the required information.
Waht is a demographic variable
a variable that is an inherant variable.. ie race
What is a research problem statement
An enigmatic, perplexing, or troubling condition.
what is a research purpose statement
The researcher’s summary of the overall goal.
What kind of relationship does a research hypothesis predict
A relationship between two or more variables.
What is a positive relationship
A relationship between two variables that move in the same direction. Ex: height and weight have a positive relationship.
what is A negative relationship
an inverse relationship. EX: people with high self esteem tend to not have depression
What is a directional hypothesis
A hypothesis that specifies not only the existence but the expected direction of the relationship between variables
what is A non-directional hypothesis
Does not stipulate the direction of the relationship.
what is A null hypothesis
States that there is no relationship
what is A complex hypothesis
Hypothesis that predicts a relationship between two or more independent and/or two or more independent variables.
What are assumptions
A basic principle that is accepted as being true based on logic or reason, but w/o proof or verification.
what are Generalizations
Generalization is a broad statement or belief based on a limited number of facts, examples, or statistics. They are a product of inductive reasoning
What is the purpose of a literature review for quantitative researchers?
can help identify a research problem and refine research questions or hypotheses; helps with orientation to what is known and not known; helps determine gaps or inconsistencies in a body of research; identifies new clinical interventions to test; identifies relevant theoretical or conceptual frameworks for a research problem; determines suitable designs and data collection methods; helps gain insight for interpreting study findings and developing implications
What is the purpose of a literature review for grounded theory researchers
researchers collect data BEFORE doing the lit review
What is the purpose of a literature review for Phenomenologists?
undertake a search for relevant materials at the outset of a study
What is the purpose of a literature review for Ethnographers
review the literature to help shape their choice of a cultural problem before going into the field.
What is the purpose of a literature review for Non Researchers
Helps acquire knowledge on a topic, helps evaluate current practices and make recommendations for change; helps develop evidence based clinical protocols; helps develop a theory or conceptual framework; helps develop or revise nursing curricula; helps develop policy statements and practice guidelines
What is a primary source
Manuscripts, records, or documents providing original research or documentation
what is A secondary source
Materials that are not original manuscripts, contemporary records, or documents associated with an event, but which critique, comment on, or build upon primary sources.
What is an abstract
An abstract is an abbreviated summary of a research article, review, or any in-depth analysis of a particular subject or discipline, and is often used to help the reader quickly ascertain the paper’s purpose. When used, an abstract always appears at the beginning of a manuscript, acting as the point-of-entry for any given scientific paper or patent application.
4. When you see a reference for a journal article in APA format, do you know what each of the items in the reference is?
One thing to keep in mind is that when you see a journal listed like this: Such and Such Journal, 40 (2), 40 is the volume number. 2 is the issue.
What are "key topics" in a literature review?
common words or terms that can be searched
a subset of the population
the entire aggregation of cases that meet specified criteria
an individual who participates and provides data in a study; term used primarily in quantitative research.
the process of selecting a portion of the population to represent the entire population. It is also called a subset of the population.
Snowball sampling
Early sample members are asked to refer others who meet the eligibility criteria. This is most often used when the population consists of people w/ specific traits who might be difficult to identify by ordinary means. It is a form of convenience sampling.
Purposive sampling
based on the belief that researchers’ knowledge about the population can be used to hand pick the cases to be included in the sample.
Quota sampling
researchers identify strata of the population and then determine how many participants are needed from each stratum to meet a quota
What is convenience sampling
The use of the most conveniently available people as participants.
Random Sampling
The random selection of elements form the population. Each element of the population has an equal, independent chance of being selected
What is meant by representativeness of the sample
The extent to which the sample is similar to the population.
What are the major methods of non-probability sampling
Convenience and Quota
Which types of sampling would provide you with a representative sample?
Probability sampling is the most reliable, convenience is the least
What is meant by bias in a sample for a quantitative study
The systematic overrepresentation or underrepresentation of some segment of the population in terms of a characteristic relevant to the research question.
why are larger samples better than smaller samples?
Because larger samples are more likely to be representative of the population
What is the Hawthorne effect
The effect on the dependent variable resulting from subjects’ awareness that they are participants under study
Describe the data used in qualitative research
Narrative descriptions
How does a qualitative researcher decide when her/his sample size is large enough
Data saturation—the point at which no new information is obtained and redundancy is achieved.
What is Ethnography?
qualitative inquiries that involve the description and interpretation of cultural behavior. It is a blend of a process and a product: field work and written text. It is concerned with broadly or narrowly defined cultures. Ethnographers seek to learn from members of a cultural group.
what is Phenomenology
rooted in a philosophical tradition. Phenomenologists investigate subjective phenomena in the belief that critical truths about reality are grounded in peoples lived experience. They use the phrase ‘being in the world’. The main data source is typically in depth conversations. There are two types: descriptive and interpretive.
Descriptive phenomenology
Primary question: what do we know as persons? Uses Bracketing and intuiting.
Interpretive phenomenology
Also called hermeneutics. The critical question: what is being. Stresses interpreting and understanding, not just describing. No bracketing occurs.
What is Grounded theory
Comprises methods for studying social processes and social structures. The focus of most grounded theory studies is on the discovery of a basic social psychological problem that a defined group of people experience. Uses a procedure called constant comparison.
What is the constant comparison method
It is used to identify the basic problem and to develop and refine theoretically relevant categories. The categories elicited from the data are constantly compared with data obtained earlier so that commonalities and variations can be determined and categories can be condensed and collapsed. The inquiry becomes increasingly focused on emerging theoretical concerns and on core processes.
What are the goals of qualitative research
Instrumentation, Explicating and validating constructs, Illustration, understanding relationships and causal processes, Theory building, testing, and refinement
What kind of sampling techniques are used in qualitative research
Convenience/snowball, sometimes referred to as volunteer sample; purposive sampling; theoretical sampling
What is debriefing
Communication with study participants after participation is complete regarding various aspects of the study
Which subjects are considered to be vulnerable subjects
Children, mentally or emotionally disabled people, physically disabled people, the terminally ill, institutionalized people, pregnant women
What are the requirements of informed consent
Participants have adequate information regarding the research; comprehend the information; and have the power of free choice, enabling them to consent voluntarily to participate in the research or decline participation.
What is anonymity
Anonymity: when even the researcher cannot link a participant with his or her data
what is confidentiality
pladge that any information the participant provides ill not be publicly reported or made accessible to parties not involved in the research.
What is the purpose of the IRB
to ensure that proposed procedures adhere to strict guidelines regarding the treatment of study participants
What is meant by a rigorous research design
rigidly accurate; allowing no deviation from the design
Cohort studies
is a form of longitudinal study used in medicine and social science
Cross-sectional studies
involves the collection of data at one point in time
Panel studies
the same people provide data at two or more points in time. They typically yield more information than trend studies.
Non-experimental; researchers are interested in describing relationships among variables, w/o seeking to establish causal connections
the research has been conducted after variation in the independent variable has occurred. It is difficult to infer causal relationships in correlational studies. Correlation does not prove causation.
Ex post facto
the same as correlational
Manipulation of independent variable; no randomization and/or no comparison group; but efforts to compensate for this lack
Manipulation of independent variable; control group; randomization
Selection threat
biases resulting from preexisting differences between groups. When people are not assigned randomly to groups, the possibility always exists that groups being compared are not equivalent.
History threat
the occurrence of events concurrent w/ the independent variable that can affect the dependent variable.
Mortality threat
stems from differential attrition from groups. The loss of subjects.
Maturation threat
the processes occurring as a result of time rather than the independent variable. This effects things like wound healing and the developmental level of children.
What are the three characteristics of a true experimental design
Manipulation of the independent variable, control group, randomization
What is the best way to control extraneous variables
What is reliability
The degree of consistency or dependability with which an instrument measures the attribute it is designed to measure
the degree to which an instrument measures what it is supposed to be measuring.
What is a reliability coefficient
A numeric index of a measure’s reliability, to objectively determine exactly how small the differences are. The higher the value, the more reliable (stable) is the measuring instrument.
If you were given a reliability coefficient number, would you be able to tell if a tool was acceptable or not
Range is from .00 to 1.00. The higher the value, the more reliable.
Content validity
concerned with adequacy of coverage of the content area being measured. Content validity is crucial for tests of knowledge. It is also relevant in measures of complex psychosocial traits.
Concurrent validity
an instrument’s ability to distinguish among people who differ in their present status on some criterion. EX: a psychological test to differentiate between pts in a mental institution who could and could not be released could be correlated w/ current behavioral ratings of health care personnel.
Predictive validity
instrument’s ability to differentiate between people’s performances or behaviors on some future criterion.
Construct validity
concerned with the question: what construct is the instrument actually measuring?
Criterion validity
The degree to which scores on an instrument are correlated with some external criterion.
What is the advantage of a personal interview over mailed questionnaires
The response rate is high in face to face interviews; Many people can’t fill out a questionnaire (the blind, very young children, etc); Questions are less likely to be misinterpreted; interviewers can produce additional information through observation
Intra-rater reliability is appropriate for which aspect of reliability
Detecting weakness of direct observation (equivalence).
Visual analog scale
can be used to measure subjective experiences, such as pain, fatigue, nausea, and dyspnea. The VAS is a straight line, the ends of which are labeled as the extreme limits of the sensation or feeling being measured.
Open-ended questionnaire
allows participants to respond to questions in their own words.
Likert scale
consists of several declarative statements that express a viewpoint on a topic. Respondents are asked to indicate how much they agree or disagree with the statement.
Semantic differential scale
Respondents are asked to rate concepts on a series of bipolar adjectives, such as good/bad, strong/weak, etc. Respondents are asked to place a check at the appropriate point on a 7 point scale that extends from one extreme of the dimension to the other.
The lowest level of measurement. Involves using numbers simply to categorize attributes, such as assigning 1 to males and 2 to females. The numbers can’t be treated mathematically.
ranks objects based on their relative standing on an attribute. EX: people could be rated heaviest to lightest. Ordinal numbers do not tell us how much greater one level is than another.
when researchers can specify the ranking of objects on an attribute and the distance between those objects. The Stanford binet intelligence scale is an example.
the highest level of measurement. They have meaningful zeroes that provide information about the absolute magnitude of an attribute.
The mean is equal to the sum of all values divided by the number of participants (an average).
The median is the point in a distribution that divides scores in half. The value in the very center.
Inferential statistics
based on the laws of probability, provide a means for drawing conclusions about a population, given data from a sample. A branch of statistics that consists of generalizing from samples to populations, performing hypothesis testing, determining relationships among variables, and making predictions.
Descriptive statistics
describes the population taking the test; the most common descriptive statistics include mean, mode, medium, standard deviation and range; they are also known as the measures of central tendency
Standard deviation
measure of the variability of a distribution of scores. The more the scores cluster around the mean, the smaller the standard deviation. In a normal distribution, 68% of the scores fall within one standard deviation above and one standard deviation below the mean
What are parametric tests
Parametric tests have three attributes: (1) they focus on population parameters; (2) they require measurements on at least an interval scale; and (3) they involve other assumptions about the variables under consideration, such as the assumption that the variables are normally distributed in the population
Nonparametric tests
do not estimate parameters and involve less restrictive assumptions about the shape of the distribution of critical variables. Nonparametric tests are usually applied when the data have been measured on a nominal or ordinal scale.
Which of these two is the most powerful: parametric or nonparametric?
parametric tests
What is meant by the term "statistically significant"
It means that the obtained results are not likely to have been due to chance.
Pearson's r
It is both descriptive and inferential. As a descriptive statistic, r summarizes the magnitude and direction of a relationship between two variables. As an inferential statistic, r tests hypotheses about population correlations; the null hypothesis is that there is no relationship between two variables.
Chi-square test
a nonparametric procedure used to test hyotheses about the proportion of cases that fall into various categories, as in a contingency table. It is computed by summing the differences between the observed frequencies in each cell and the expected frequencies—the frequencies that would be expected if there were no relationship between the two variables.
A statistical test used to determine the probability of obtaining the observed results by chance, under a specific hypothesis.
The comparison of two scores on a dependent variable for groups of people. T-tests are used to test the statistical significance of a difference between the means of two groups and is parametric. EX: testing the effect of early discharge of maternity patients on their perceived maternal competence.
analysis of variance: a statistical method for making simultaneous comparisons between two or more means; a statistical method that yields values that can be tested to determine whether a significant relation exists between variables
Major purposes of research critique
To objectively identify areas of adequacy and inadequacy, virtues as well as faults.
How to adjudge the credibility of the findings of a quantitative, study
If the results are consistent with previous research, believability is enhanced. Analyze all the major methodological decisions made in planning and executing the study to determine whether alternative decisions might have yielded different results. Examine the research methods and conceptualization and various types of external and internal evidence. Take into account limitations of the study.
How to adjudge the credibility of the findings of a qualitative, study
Credibility involves two aspects: carrying out the investigation in a way that believability is enhanced, and taking steps to demonstrate credibility. Prolonged engagement, persistent observation, triangulation, an member checks are all ways of making qualitative research credible. Pg 435: Are the results believable? Adopt the posture of a person who needs to be persuaded about the researcher’s conceptualization. It is appropriate to consider whether the researcher’s conceptualization of the phenomenon Is consistent with common experiences and with your won clinical insights.
Meaning of “significant” results
that means that the variables are likely related and that the results have also not been obtained by chance.
Meaning of Type II error
Accepting a false negative conclusion
Refers to the use of findings from a disciplined study or set of studies in a practical application that is unrelated to the original research. In projects that have had research utilization as a goal, the emphasis is on translating empirically derived knowledge into real world applications.
Evidence based practice
A basic feature of EBP is that is de-emphasizes decision-making based on custom, authority opinion, or ritual. The emphasis is on identifying the best available research evidence and integrating it with clinical expertise, patient input and existing resources.
Barriers to research utilization
: for some problems, an extensive base of valid and trustworthy study results has not been developed. The dearth of published replications. Nurse’s lack of research skills, attitudes, resistance to change. Organizations resist change. There are few established procedures o reward critiquing studies, organizations may be reluctant to expend resources. It is sometimes difficult to encourage clinicians and researchers to interact and collaborate, there is a shortage of role models, there is historical baggage, nursing educators must promote the valuing of research.
Ways to improve nursing research utilization
disseminating current research findings, facilitating organizational changes needed to implement innovations, and encouraging collaborative clinical research.
Well known research utilization projects
Conduct and Utilization of Research in Nursing Project (CURN)

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