History and Process of Nursing Research, Evidence Based Nursing Practice, Quantitative and Qualitative Research Process

Question description

Read the lecture and respond to the 2 discussions with APA format and Reference


History and Process of Nursing Research, Evidence Based Nursing Practice, Quantitative and Qualitative Research Process


Nursing research is a purposeful, structured, and disciplined process of discovery. It contributes to scholarly pursuits, which fill a void in the current literature of nursing and health care. As practicing nurses, it is critical to understand how to read research articles and consider the results in order to improve patient care. From the beginning, the importance of gathering data and presenting it to the health care community has been evident.

Historical Overview

Beginning with early leaders such as Florence Nightingale, important research has shaped the nursing profession. For example, Florence Nightingale was the first woman to be recognized by the Royal College of Statisticians for her contribution of visual display known today as the pie chart. Review Table 1-2 in Burns and Grove (2011), which provides an historical review of influences on research in nursing.

One notable year is 1986, when Congress created the National Center for Nursing Research (NCNR). Dr. Ada Sue Hindshaw was the first director of the NCNR, and, in less than 10 years, nursing had its own National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR). This recognition has moved nursing into the same level of importance as all other National Institutes of Health areas. Because NINR is subject to federal funding, it is incumbent upon all nurses to support tax dollars being allocated for this important work.

Purpose of Nursing Research

What makes nursing research different from research in other disciplines? This question has been debated in many nursing circles. The answer is that nursing research must be consistent with the philosophy and theories of nursing. Nursing theories are specific formulations that make up the realm of unique nursing knowledge. Furthermore, nursing research is a reliable, orderly, and ethical inquiry used to guide and direct nursing care, client outcomes, and health care systems. Therefore, nursing research not only generates new knowledge, but it validates and refines existing knowledge.

Early research started with true experimental design, which is best understood as research that is able to control, manipulate, and have true randomization. This specific method of research (quantitative research) focuses on the ability to control extraneous variables. Quantitative research is mentioned here to explain the difference between true experimental design and the unique nature of nursing research, which better fits into the realm of social science research.

In the beginning, research was agricultural−e.g., fertilizers could be tested by planting seeds in the same soil being exposed to the same elements of sun, rain, and wind. A section of the field would be given the experimental fertilizer, then compared against the other parts of the fields that did not get the experimental intervention. Human beings are much more difficult to study because there are numerous variables that make people unique. No two patients are alike, and experience indicates that no two patients with pain will respond the same way. The impact of culture, physiology, emotional stability, and cognitive function all affect the outcome. This fact is what makes nursing research interesting, demanding, and complex.

Components and Language of Nursing Research

The following table will provide you with an overview of the components of published research reports. All research reports have four major sections, as seen in Table 1.1: problem statement, methods, results, and conclusion or discussion.

Research Report Section Associated Terms
Problem Statement or Introduction:

Describes the gap in knowledge that will be addressed in the research study.

Literature review


Research question



Describes the process of implementing the research study.







Summarizes the specific information gathered in the research study.


Data analysis






Describes the decisions or determinations that can be made about the research problem.


Implications for practice

Table 1.1. Main sections of research reports Adapted from Macnee (2003)

Approaching a Research Study

For many individuals, the process of research is straightforward, beginning with a topic and ending with reference citations. For others, the process may be more complicated, moving back and forth between steps. Most nurses find it helpful to follow a general guide (Cooper & Schindler, 2003). This guide has been developed to assist nurses in their research no matter where they are in the process. Here are the steps involved:

1.Choose a topic. Some nurses find choosing a topic to be the most difficult part of the research process. Ideas for the topic can be obtained from personal interests, current journals, or patient care situations.

2.Find background information. Search periodical indexes (also called research databases) for citations identifying journal articles, then locate and read the actual articles of interest.

3.Refine the topic. The topic will need to be narrowed so that it does not cover too much material. Once background information has been obtained, the information can be refined into a narrow, focused topic.

4.Select references. References must be scholarly and no more than 5 years old.

5.Search for information. Information can be found in the library and through the Internet. Authenticity and reliability of information found on the Internet may be of concern. However, the Internet may be helpful for locating electronic journals and online library searches.

6.Evaluate the references. Scholarly references must be from a primary, peer-reviewed source. The references should be cited according to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (American Psychological Association, 2001).

The research process in many ways mimics the nursing process. It provides you with a logical format for approaching clinical research questions. A nurse should know and understand the basics associated with the research process. The research process, as defined by Macnee (2003), contains five steps:

1.Define and describe the knowledge gap or problem.

2.Develop a detailed plan to gather information to address the problem or gap in knowledge.

3.Implement the study.

4.Analyze and interpret the results of the study.

5.Disseminate the findings.

It is important to remember that the steps in the research process are not always linear; they may overlap or be revisited throughout the research process.


Nursing research began more than 150 years ago during the Nightingale era and has gained momentum in the past two decades. Many nurses find research to be daunting and unfamiliar, but certain steps can be taken which will make the process of research much easier. As nurses become familiar with the language of nursing research and recognize the power to make changes in nursing care to improve outcomes, knowing and understanding research becomes a powerful tool.


American Psychological Association. (2001). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (5th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Burns, N., & Grove, S. (2011). Understanding nursing research (5th ed.). Maryland Heights, MO: Elsevier. ISBN-13: 9781437707502

Cooper, D. R., & Schindler, P. S. (2003). Business research methods (8th ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill Irwin.

Macnee, C. L. (2003). Understanding nursing research. Philadelphia: Lippincott.

Discussion 1

Identify two areas of nursing practice, which evidence-based practice has improved patient outcomes. State the study and its impact on patient care. How have these findings changed your nursing practice? Please support your response with a minimum of two supporting peer reviewed articles.

Discussion 2

Nursing research is used to study a dilemma or a problem in nursing. Examine a problem you have seen in nursing. Why should it be studied? Justify your rationale.

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